Letter Bag: PETA, Social Security & Freedom of Religion

We've had a busy month on the comment boards for Biblical Conservatism...well, relatively, anyway...which is to say we've had five.  So today, we're going to take time to answer three of these responses.  Remember, friends, I welcome comments here, as long as they follow the Rules for Comments, and may be used in a future "Letter Bag" posts!

To kick it off, we've got a comment from the post Seriously PETA, Mario Brothers?

Seems ridiculous in modern times, but PETA is sliding closer and closer to animal worship. Some comments of both PETA and the Sierra Club place higher value on animal lives than humans. If this isn't animal worship then it is the next step closer. - Anonymous

A great point from our Anonymous friend, who we're going to refer to heretofor as Worf.

Worf, I've said for years that in many ways the environmental lobby as a whole is far more religion than science.  (The Animal Rights nuts are part of that greater Environmentalist movement.)  These individuals, who continue to trumpet the hoax of Global Warming, even after Climategate demonstrated how trumped up and/or fabricated these claims were.  I can tell you the basis of that, by the way.  There are a whole lot of people whose religion is science.  Sure, they tell you they listen to "logic and facts" but they rarely believe that scientists would be subject to bias and falsifying their data or overstating their case.  They genuinely believe in the old school, Dr. Alan Grant type characters who are above the fray of politics and just assess the truth. The reality is some of these scientists are this honest and good at their job.  Others bitterly cling to their Global Warming, Evolution and Animal Rights and won't reassess their beliefs.

Thanks for reading us, Worf, and thanks for commenting!  Glad to have you here!

Secondly, we have a comment from A Dose of Reality on Obama's Payroll Tax Holiday:

Except, if we live long enough, "we" will receive 3 of 4 times as much as we ever put it. In 1940, 42 taxpayers supported each retiree. Right now each retiree is supported by 3.3 workers.http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/cbigelow/social-security-violates-younger-generations-prope

It's estimated that by 2030 it may be 2:1 or even 1:1. That is unsustainable. It hasn't been "me" saying for myself for a long time, though that's exactly what it should be and should revert to. I should only get out as much as I paid-in, plus the interest the govt made on my money. - Anonymous

Another great point from another Anonymous friend of Biblical Conservatism, who we will henceforth refer to as Scooby:

You're absolutely correct, Scooby, the current receipients are receiving more than they paid in, as will we...theoretically.  Honestly, I don't expect to receive a dime, and I don't know how old you are, Scooby, but if you're under 50 I wouldn't expect on seeing anything either.  Here's why:  There's absolutely no way they can get away with taxing current workers at a high enough rate to pay for the social security of the retirees...you'd have to tax everyone at like 80-90% (and not just those evil rich people, friends, everybody) at which point we'd have such ridiculous poverty in America that the system would collapse.  Social Security is, as Rick Perry said, a Ponzi Scheme, except Ponzi Schemes are voluntary. 

What Obama's Payroll Tax Cut is just accelerating the day when Social Security is insolvent by reducing the incoming revenue.  As I said before, if you're going to cut taxes, cut them in the general fund, not in Payroll Taxes, because Payroll Taxes are the sole funding mechanism of Social Security.

Thanks for reading, Scooby, and thanks for commenting!

And now, finally, we've got a comment from DH on the post Freedom of Religion Doesn't Mean Freedom FROM Religion:

"Liberals would rather have us believe that the most disgusting pornography on the planet is protected speech under the Constitution, while saying “Dear Jesus, thank you for this meal you have provided us and for your 
blessings on our lives. Amen,” is not protected speech."

Wrong. Liberals believe that both are protected free speech. And both are inappropriate in situations where the government has paid for a stage and microphone (such as a graduation ceremony at a public high school).

Well, Designated Hitter, I have to disagree with you.  The average Neighborhood Liberal may think that, but the average Activist Liberal does not. Look around you:  There are people saying you cannot show a manger scene ON YOUR OWN LAWN and wanting "In God We Trust" off our money, even though it is our national motto. 

There is also a fundamental misunderstanding of why there is an Establishment Clause in our Constitution in the first place:  To stop there being an official state religion.  The United States is not officially a Christian nation or more specifically a Methodist or Baptist or Episcopalian nation.  That does not mean that public exercise is forbidden.

Liberals have this idea that the Establishment Clause opposes "endorsement" of a particular religion.  Wrong.  It opposes officially establishing an official religion.  Public affirmation by a group is not the same thing as establishing an official religion.

"... the Founders intended to protect free expression of religious faith, all political speech, and assembly in protest when they ratified the First Amendment. The Constitution protects my right to pray in public, to talk  about Jesus in public, to quote the Bible in public. I have that right."

I agree 100 percent — as long as my tax dollars aren't paying for the stage from which you're speaking. Now would you feel if I tried to prosthelytize to you (assume I belong to a different denomination, or practice a different religion than you)? Would YOU want to hear MY prayer when I am speaking at a public high school graduation ceremony?

You talk about what stopping certain religious expressions on propert your tax dollars are paying for, Designated:  based on that logic I can also demand that no speeches promoting liberalism occur on property that my tax dollars pay for...after all, I vehemently disagree with liberalism!  Do you see what a slippery slope that is...and what we've already started to decend down?  Freedom of speech is just that...you can speak of your politics, or your faith, on public property, period.  My options with that liberal speaker are as follows: Listen, not to listen and walk away, or engage in discussion with that liberal speaker.  I do not have the right to silence them.  The same goes for expression of religious faith.
Now to your other point, I don't see a reason at all in prosthelytizing someone to a denomination.  The Presbyterianism doesn't save, neither does Catholocism,  Faith in the blood of Jesus Christ is what saves!

When I meat a Christian who attends a Baptist or Lutheran Church and they are earnestly seeking God in that church and serving and worshiping Christ, why would I bother trying to get them to attend an Assembly of God church like me?  Why would it matter? Hallelujah!  They're under the blood of Jesus!

Now if you are of a different religion than me, feel free to try to prosthelytize me to yours...just as long as you're willing to listen to me as well.  You see, it's not about feelings or being left alone in my comfortable box.  I'm not a Christian because it "makes sense to me" or because it "works for me personally."  I'm a Christian because I am 100% convinced that I am right, that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and Savior, that He is the only road to salvation, and out of that love and conviction I want to share my faith so all can be saved. 

I know most modern Americans care more about not having their momentary lives not interrupted and their real or imagined sense of security questioned.  My purpose is both very genuine and very loving...I want them to receive the same forgiveness of sin and place in Heaven I have received from the blood of Jesus!  I'm willing to make people a little uncomfortable in that attempt, because I care more about people's souls than being politically correct.

Now, those people have the right choose between listening, not listening, and engaging in debate with me, just like any other topic.  People of other faiths have the right to try to prosthelytize me too...all I ask is that they also listen to me in return.

Let me ask you: Do you really think that's fair in a situation like a high school graduation?

Let's assume you're, say, a devout Baptist or a Catholic and your grandchild is graduating from the local public high school. Let's assume you're the kind of devout Christian who certainly does not belive in Mormonism. And suppose the high school valedictorian, who is allotted time to speak at the graduation ceremony, happens to be a Mormon.

Do you think that speaker has the right to say Mormon prayers and otherwise advocate the Mormon faith as part of the valedictorian's speech?

Your choice is either to listen or leave? You have to listen to Mormon prosthelytizing (which you find offensive) OR you can leave and miss a once-in-a-lifetime event in your grandchild's life.

Seems to me the fair thing to do, and the thing to do that is in keeping with the First Amendment, is to limit the valedictorian's speech to matters related to graduation from high school and similar matters.
Designated, there's a couple issues with your point.  One, Mormons are ridiculously garded about what they show in public from the specifics of Mormon ritual, from everything I've ever read.  Two, what you're talking about is a very different issue than free speech.  What you're talking about is good taste. You might have a point about being in good taste.  But, if I was allowed to legally regulate taste, the Occupy protesters wouldn't be allowed to speak.  Secondly, you're talking to a guy who took the opportunity of a college speech where the assignment was to give a rhetorical critique of a famous speech and chose to analyze Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, so yes, that is completely protected speech if said Mormon did it.  Especially if it was kept to generic references about God, which, quite frankly, covers Christians, Muslims, Jews, and the cults that claim Christ's name (I do not mean cult like drink the poison Kool Aid in their matching Nikes, by cult as in group that names Christ but doesn't follow the orthodox Biblical Jesus) like Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons.  Frankly, the problem isn't these people.  The problem is Atheists who don't want their sensitive ears to be bothered with hearing the word God.

Thanks for writing, Designated Hitter.  Even though I do continue my campaign to have both artifical turf and the designated hitter made illegial in baseball via a Constitutional Amendment, I'm still glad to have you as a reader!  Glad to engage in friendly debate with those who disagree with me.  To these people, my response hasn't changed:  Life isn't about not offending you, get over yourself.

Thank you all for reading and for commenting on Biblical Conservatism!  Special thanks again to our three commenters, Worf, Scooby, and Designated Hitter!