This Just In: Democrats to take away your Bible, force you into same-sex marriage (Now Updated – Twice!)


Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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168 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    In the Democrats’ defense, the 2008 reference was “God Damn America!” so getting rid of it is a step in the right direction, kinda.Report

  2. Avatar Chris says:

    Hey, if that graph shows anything, it’s that the 2012 Republican platform has as many mentions of God as the Democratic platform has in the last 12 years! Go Team Red!Report

  3. Avatar MikeSchilling says:

    she already knows his terrible secret

    Tod, I just can’t quit you.Report

  4. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    The Arabic word “Hezbollah” translates to “the party of God.”Report

  5. Avatar Mo says:

    Actually the reason why FOX has never compared the number of times “God” is mentioned in the platforms before now, it’s because they didn’t know the CTRL-F trick yet.Report

  6. Avatar Michelle says:

    That commercial is a hoot and your interpretation of it is priceless. Thanks for the laugh. Good to know that Fox is on god-watch for us.Report

  7. Avatar James Hanley says:

    a man trapped in a loveless marriage realizing that he’s about to be free to find the love he’s always dreamed of, and then a quick realization of where he is as he rushes to agree with his wife so as not give up the game. And … the pointed, wooden way she’s telling her husband that a marriage is between a man and a woman reveals that she already knows his terrible secret.

    Space-time continuum awesome.Report

  8. Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

    But they did take God out. Clearly on purpose. The rest is a smokescreen. And I’d rather take my chances of being pro-choice in the GOP than be pro-traditional marriage [or pro-life, for that matter], in the Democratic Party.

    “chance to make the most of their God-given potential.”

    Nope, can’t have that. No wonder they took it out. Sounds too GOP. Oh well, anybody who says there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the parties isn’t paying attention.Report

    • Avatar Sam says:

      Nobody amongst the Democrats is anti-traditional marriage Tom. But you know that already.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        And you know what I meant, Sam. BTW, did you google “Obama mother cancer health insurance” yet? I haven’t heard back from you since you asked me about it.Report

        • Avatar Sam says:

          Yes, I Googled it, but because it was utter nonsense, I didn’t bother to respond.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            Not nonsense atall, even the NYT and WaPo said Obama lied. And it was a direct and courteous answer to your question, for which you did not thank me.Report

            • Avatar Sam says:

              You’ll not get thanks because confusing two types of insurance is not the same as flat-out making up a marathon time.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                You’re really going to litigate this one and say marathon times matter more than lying about your mother’s victimhood to score political points?

                Regardless, you challenged me for proof on President Obama lying, something I only alluded to. I gave you the proof you asked for and then, by your own admission, you purposely ignored it.

                So I’m like WTF here. What’s the point in answering you? You want to go your merry way, Sam, fine, but if you’re going to call me out, you owe an acknowledgement of the answer.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                If we’re going to compare porkies, wouldn’t it be reasonable to observe those who shave over an hour off their race time, a penny-ante rounding error sort of lie are less to be trusted?

                It’s by no means clear Obama was lying.

                In mid-August, CIGNA denied Ann’s claim on the basis of her visit to the New York gynecologist two and a half months before she started work in Jakarta. [Gynecologist Barbara] Shortle’s office notes indicated that she had formed a working hypothesis of uterine cancer, though Ann said Shortle never discussed that hypothesis with her. When I spoke with Shortle, she said it was quite possible that she had not told Ann of her suspicions. “Whenever you do a D and C on any woman who has bleeding on and off, you’re always doing it to rule out uterine cancer,” she said. But, she said, the procedure can be therapeutic as well as diagnostic. She might not, at that point, tell a patient her thinking. [Janny Scott, A Singular Woman, Pages 337-338]

                Back off on this business of proof. If this isn’t proof enough, I can’t come up with the insurance claim. But my software has denied tens of thousands of claims on pre-existing conditions and it’s a real problem, Tom. Whether you want to call it a lie or not — Earth to Commander Tom, take your protein pill and put your helmet on.Report

              • Avatar DBrown says:

                TVD is correct – the two parties are very different: the GOP wants to encourage large numbers of abortions and the death of woman and cares zero for any child once it is born; the democrats want as few abortions as possible, save the lives of woman and provide medical care to sick children so the parents can afford to raise them and not have to make that terrible decision. Yes, I do see the difference – democratic party is of life and republics is the party of death (let us not forget Iraqi and cheney with the good old days of torture of americans, too.)

                Of course President Obama does kill enimies like Ben laden and Al Queda … so, not exactly Christian in spirit but few of those exist in this country and none are republicans.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                I’d prefer not to go down this road, demonising all the Republicans and amen-ing the Democrats. Health care policy in the USA is a huge problem and there are no simple answers. Neither party has covered itself in glory here. Obama and the Democrats have given us half-o’-this and none-o’-that.

                ACA is only a starting point. We don’t have enough data to know if it’s going to be a success or a failure. At best it will require a great deal of fine-tuning.

                Anyone with as much common sense and impartiality as the squirrel outside my window knows neither party is willing to admit the other is not the Party of Satan. Fact is, once you watch them in action, it’s almost impossible to tell them apart.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                But it was a lie. Google “Obama mother cancer health insurance.”Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                That’s bullshit and you know it. I’ve given you the citation. CIGNA denied the claim. End of fishing story. [falsetto whine] “but it was a lie.” You’re a joke.

                You need to start thinking for yourself and quit being a Google Genius.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                No, Obama lied about his mom’s health insurance. I don’t think it’s the end of the world, but he did.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                No, Tom. You have to provide a citation which says CIGNA didn’t deny the claim. Now that’s going to be hard to prove, HIPAA rules govern the release of such information. But you’re the one who said it didn’t happen, so now you come up with a cite to that effect. Denial is not rebuttal. I’m sick of your flabby thinking.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Blaise, take it up with The New York Times.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                I have already provided the only citation worth a damn on this subject. CIGNA denied the claim on the basis of a pre-existing condition. The only factual discrepancy here is which policy didn’t pay. Politifact rates it Barely True, but it’s true enough to say he didn’t lie.

                Interesting you should mention the NYTimes, because the author of that book took leave from the NYTimes to write it up.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                Please tell me that someone who portrays himself as wise as you is not seriously citing Politifact.Report

              • Avatar Tim Kowal says:

                Blaise, Janny Scott, to whom you cited, revealed that, although Obama had referred to a denial of health coverage, CIGNA’s dispute was over disability coverage.

                Scott writes that Dunham, who died in 1995 of uterine and ovarian cancer, had health insurance that “covered most of the costs of her medical treatment…The hospital billed her insurance company directly, leaving Ann to pay only the deductible and any uncovered expenses, which, she said, came to several hundred dollars a month.”

                Dunham had filed the disability claim to help pay for those additional expenses. The company denied the claim because her doctor had suspected uterine cancer during an office visit 2 ½ months before Dunham had started the job with Development Alternatives, though Dunham said the doctor had not discussed the possibility with cancer with her. Dunham requested a review from CIGNA, saying she was turning the case over to “my son and attorney Barack Obama.”

                When Scott’s book was published, the White House did not dispute her account.

                That is taken from Washington Post’s fact-checker, which I found by following the first link after googling “Obama mother cancer health insurance.”Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Tim, that’s what Blaise was saying.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                I’ve made my position clear enough, Tim. I might add in passing, ACA hasn’t reformed disability policies which can still deny claims based on pre-existing conditions.

                You’re a good man, Tim. You’re scrupulous about what facts are available. I should hope I’ll always stipulate to facts as they’re uncovered. I’ve put up the original cite: anyone can look at it and derive the facts for themselves. Obama wasn’t lying. He was conflating a whole raft of legal matters.

                Claims are denied for hundreds of reasons: I’ve written the rules which deny them. They’re all conformal to existing statute law and every goddamn one of them has been vetted by lawyers who charge a higher billing rate than I do.

                Obama put up every dime of political capital he had to change this situation. I’m deeply angered by folks who are damning him for it. The insurance industry is out of control. They’re essentially unregulated banks, hugely profitable, completely unaccountable. The insurance industry ought to be reformed and I have no respect for the craven ass-kissers who think profits equal success, not when those profits are made on the backs of the dying.Report

              • Avatar Tim Kowal says:

                It didn’t sound like what was exchanged in this thread—no mention of disability coverage anywhere here—but maybe it’s orphaned from a larger discussion I missed elsewhere.

                Health care is a big issue, and fair enough to credit Obama for “spending his political capital” on it. I think Obama and the Dems could have done much better but for the orthodoxy that says everyone needs health insurance as opposed to care. More insurance without more care is basically what they got, so it’s hard to condemn insurance companies and praise Obama’s reforms in the same breath. But the only ways to allocate care are single payer, insurance companies, or the market (health insurance doesn’t resemble a free market). Obama couldn’t get single payer, and he’s most certainly not going to cede government control to individual choice, so insurance was it.

                Though we’ll debate single payer vs. the market, we can at least agree the insurance industry as it exists is mostly wretched—a little better and a little worse in different ways after the reforms, but still, basically awful.Report

      • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

        Sam, I’m opposed to traditional marriage. I think married women should be allowed to own property.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

      Yup, Bob Casey Jr. is surely feeling terrified as a pro-lifer in the DNC.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        Elias, “Senator Bob Casey, Jr. has achieved a mere 44% pro-life voting record according to the National Right to Life Committee.”

        See also:

        So when Democrats for Life rallied in Charlotte yesterday morning, it was striking that the group couldn’t muster a single sympathetic office-holder. The panel consisted of two representatives who were ousted in 2010 (Bart Stupak and Kathy Dahlkemper) and two academics (Catholic University’s Stephen Schneck and St. Thomas’s Thomas Berg). It was a sad, but revealing, presentation.

        See also:

        Former Michigan Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak, who served as an important swing vote during President Obama’s push to pass his signature heath care overhaul in 2010, now says the HHS mandate violates an Executive Order signed by the president and is plain “illegal.”

        Stupak, a pro-life Democrat, said at the time that he could not support Obamacare without the president’s word that abortions would not be covered by the sweeping legislation.

        Because he needed his vote, President Obama issued an Executive Order that supposedly ensured that abortions would absolutely not be covered by Obamacare. However, critics at the time argued that the presidential order was toothless and would not actually prevent abortions from being covered. Now, after retiring over President Obama’s health care law, Stupak has seemingly realized that he was duped and is claiming that the HHS mandate violates the president’s Executive Order and “statutory law.”

        He argues that because the mandate covers “contraceptive services” and drugs that induce abortion, the entire thing is “illegal.”

        “To tell you the truth, I am perplexed and disappointed having negotiated the executive order with the president.” Stupak said during a panel discussion. “Not only does that HHS mandate violate the executive order, it also violates statutory law.”

        “If you go back to the Omnibus Budget Act of 2009, passed by Democratic House, Democratic Senate and signed by President Obama, that is probably the most specific particular language that no funds can be used to promote abortion,” he added.

        Talking about the HHS mandate, he said “I think it’s illegal. I believe it has contraceptive services, it also has drugs that induce [abortions].”

        • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

          The ease with which Stupak blurs the line between contraception and abortion is a nice reminder of what’s at stake here. It’s a key part of my flip over the last few years from fairly pro-life to fairly pro-choice.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            The point being the pro-life Democrat is gone for all practical purposes. They couldn’t even come up with ONE officeholder at the convention.

            I don’t think Stupak is confusing contraception and abortion. He’s saying that Obama broke his word, or more accurately, violated the assurances Stupak was given about the HHS rule, probably from Nancy Pelosi or other Democrat congressional leader.

            The question of abortifacients does lie in the middle here.Report

            • Avatar gregiank says:

              Tom- Google Harry Reid….you might have heard him re: pro-life D’s.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Greg, I don’t believe you believe your own argument. You shouldn’t, anyway.


                Things have changed in the Democratic Party. Only a few years ago, there was a significant pro-life strain in the party. Now there is not.Report

              • Avatar gregiank says:

                nice try tom. Reid is against R v W and thinks A should only be legal in cases of rape, incest or life of the mom. That would be called pro-life in any other situation except for your spinning. He’s okay with Fed funding…so what. You are picking a micro issue to fill in for the fact the Senate leader of the D’s is pro-life.

                And how many pro-choice R’s are there?Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                You didn’t refute the point that the Dem Convention had ZERO officeholders for its pro-life meeting. You’re pinning your whole argument on a single senator with spotty pro-life credentials. There’s really no point to this.

                In 2006, there were 37 Democratic members of the House pro-life caucus. Now there is one, tops.


                I don’t understand why we have to fight over the facts. It is what it is. Just cop to it. The Dem platform just put in gov’t financed abortions. The Rubicon is crossed.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                ahhh yes the D convention. The Senate majority leader doesn’t count. No point at all Tom. And again tom, how many pro-choice R’s are there?Report

              • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

                At the risk of breaking the Seventh Seal here… *shudder*… I agree with Tom.

                (OH GOD!)

                There are a lot of reasons for this – a growing share of the Democratic Party’s base is women, voters are much more ideologically sorted than they have been… ever, etc – but it’s largely true. The Democratic Party is rather explicitly a pro-choice party. If you missed the convention last night, they hammered this point home repeatedly.

                I’ll cite the exchange I had with Kyle earlier for like the 50th time today. There’s no reason our first response to this should be, “No! Democrats are too pro-life!” They basically aren’t. There’s no shame in that. And, hell, between Tom’s comments here and the DNC this week, I’m almost convinced I don’t totally hate the Democratic Party. That’s surely something.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                You’re arguing the rare exception as the rule, Greg. It’s not an argument. As for pro-choice R’s, the GOP isn’t the subject here. But per my original statement, I’d rather take my chances being Rudy Guiliani or Condi Rice than Bart Stupak.Report

              • Avatar gregiank says:

                So to sumerize the D’s are a pro-choice party which nobody has ever denied, in fact its something they proudly note. However there are some pro-life D’s who find room in the big D tent. The R’s have largly pro-life which they proudly note, but don’t talk about R’s being pro-choice or having differing views becuase….because…ummm…urr…just don’t. That isn’t fair to ask about since it just is.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                ” there are some pro-life D’s who find room in the big D tent.”

                But the pro-life D’s are saying the same things as the pro-life R’s, and we’re told that the pro-life R’s pro-lifeness demonstrates the fundamentally evil nature of the Republican party. But the pro-life D’s, well, That’s Just Bob, He Has Some Craaaaaaazy Ideas Doesn’t He, Oh That Bob, But Seriously Republicans Are Bad.Report

              • Avatar gregiank says:

                Well the pro-life D’s make signifcantly less comments about “legtimate rape” and making all abortions illegal. The pro-life D’s tend to want to do that safe, legal in limited circumstances and rare thang, while R’s want a bit less.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “The pro-life D’s tend to want to do that safe, legal in limited circumstances and rare thang”

                Ah-heh. So long as Uncle Sam doesn’t pay for it. And, as we all learned in the contraception-coverage debate, “not pay for” equals “ban”.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                But the pro-life D’s are saying the same things as the pro-life R’s, and we’re told that the pro-life R’s pro-lifeness demonstrates the fundamentally evil nature of the Republican party. But the pro-life D’s, well, That’s Just Bob, He Has Some Craaaaaaazy Ideas Doesn’t He, Oh That Bob, But Seriously Republicans Are Bad.

                That’s damn good, Mr. Duck.Report

              • Avatar DRS says:

                Things have changed in the Democratic Party. Only a few years ago, there was a significant pro-life strain in the party. Now there is not.

                So what? All that means is they finally got smarter.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                A welcome breath of honesty, DRS. Cheers. Pity it takes so long.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                Because Pennsylvania doesn’t exist suddenly??? Dude, go home.Report

        • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

          Also, that’s Jesse, not Elias. Just FYI. I would alter your comment, because obviously you meant to address him, but I have a sort of squeamishness about editing other people’s comments, even if I’m not making substantive changes.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            Both have 5-letter Biblical names, and I apologize for mixing them up. Again. You have my OK to fix it if you wish, although I suppose there’s no point.Report

    • Avatar b-psycho says:

      Say hypothetically the GOP had taken mentions of God out of their platform, yet changed absolutely nothing about their policies. Would that be a problem, in your opinion?

      IMO these platforms are irrelevant, elevated to pseudo stories to fill time. This election must really be fishing dull if this crap is even being dragged out on either side.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        It’s the difference between putting up a cross and tearing one down. It’s a purposeful act. In our new day and age, putting up a cross as they did in Whiteville, TN is “establishing” religion. No go. OTOH, if we tear out long-existing crosses, in that case we’re taking a stand about religion as well, against it, and that’s no go too.

        In the Democrat case, there’s a purposeful tearing down. In fact, it appears that the delegates just booed putting God back in, which indicates that there indeed was an anti-religious strain at the convention, and that the platform language wasn’t irrelevant.

        Had they just left the “God” language, it would indeed have remained meaningless boilerplate, ceremonial deism, as they say. By taking it out, they made a statement.Report

        • Avatar b-psycho says:

          The reinsertion of “God” and the insertion of language about Jerusalem as capital of Israel (a matter which should be completely irrelevant to any U.S. party) were a simultaneous vote. One which from the looks of it was nowhere near as decisive as the guy calling the result claimed it was. I wouldn’t assume they were directly booing “God” when they had multiple things to boo about otherwise.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            Mr. Psycho, I also read a report they weren’t booing God, they were booing the chair calling it for the Yeas.

            Still, the delegates seemed split 50-50. Whether they were more stoked about God or Jerusalem, I dunno, but let’s not pretend there’s not a here here somewheres.Report

            • Avatar b-psycho says:

              God, Jerusalem, and clearly breaking the rules and ignoring the delegates. The delegates who see the platform as way more relevant than I do. Hmm.

              I figure they took it out because they didn’t see it as inclusive, or maybe they were just sick of playing the game with it when what matters is policy. It’s true they needn’t have bothered, but because most could care less. Whether it was inclusive or not doesn’t matter if all but party diehards and lazy pundits

        • Avatar Liberty60 says:

          And of course, rendering God down into meaningless boilerplate is the point and purpose of the Fox News chyron.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            It was a legit issue, and the Dems got caught. Taking God out was overtly anti-religious, like tearing down a cross. Leaving the language in would be like leaving an existing cross up, more ceremonial than overtly religious. Boilerplate.

            Very bad move by the Dems, and I think it came from an honest antipathy toward God in the public square by some or even many at the convention. This can’t be weaseled away.Report

            • Avatar Liberty60 says:

              We only hate God because God hates fags.

              So really, He started it.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                I have it on good authority from The Almighty he’s not much on Mexicans either. And if you noticed, there weren’t many Brothers down there among the faithful of God’s Anointed Ones in the Big Tent at Tampa, though there’s a singular abundance of ’em in Tampa / St. Pete proper. Just not where the Blue Hairs live in their gated communities.Report

            • Avatar Michelle says:

              I bet G-d would prefer to be left out of American politics and a lot of other stuff done in G-d’s name.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                “All men are created equal” is a riff off “love thy neighbor as thyself,” Michelle.Report

              • Avatar Michelle says:

                Endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights–unless, of course, they’re slaves, or women. Words that were penned by a Deist who saw G-d as a prime mover, who set the world in motion for humans to maintain and improve. I’m not sure Jefferson would be particular concerned with the removal of one glancing reference to G-d in a political platform.

                But it’s been amusing to watch you work yourself up into a lather about it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                How did the rights thing work out from people who had non-supernatural assumptions when it came to where rights came from?

                Do we have examples that would allow us to do a side-by-side?Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko says:

                Thomas Paine. He was publicly beloved by the intelligentsia of the new United States, but never really accepted into their social circles. Part of that was probably because he was irascible enough to find insult or slight in nearly everyone around him, which is more a function of his personality than his faith in an age when gentlemen responded to insults to their honor with duels, but on the other hand, if Adams and Jefferson could reconcile and find respect for one another, Paine could have made nice with people after conflicts had died down, too. Paine never really felt at home pretty much anywhere, and made his way back to Britain, and then France, and the back to the US where he died almost unnoticed. His last act before dying was to shoo away a priest. Only six people attended his funeral.Report

              • Avatar RTod says:

                Good lord that’s depressing. I had never heard any of that.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                I suspect Jay meant something like France circa 1793, or Soviet Russia (in Soviet Russia, property owns you! hey-oh) and the Eastern Bloc, or maybe China. I suspect there’s a Reagan Republican deeply imbedded in Jaybird’s brain.

                It’s probably not irrelevant to Jaybird’s question that, with the exception of China (which isn’t done yet, and wasn’t Christian to begin with), all of these countries quickly went back to their native Christianity. One might even say it never left, even if it was more latent at some times rather than others. I’m not sure what this means, but then, I’m not sure what the “godless” part, such as it was, means either. It’s probably also relevant that, with the exception of parts of Eastern Europe (which were sort of forced into their “godlessness,” such as it was), the “godlessness,” such as it was, was in large part a response to the deeply ingrained and at the times in question still rampant feudal systems propped up by Christianity that left the bulk of the people merely subsisting, if that. But these sorts of things make these questions difficult, and difficulty isn’t particularly amenable to short, pithy blog comments.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Nor, I should add, do these sorts of analytical difficulties lend themselves easily to facile interpretations of what Christian values are, and how they lead inevitably to the United States of America and its wonderful and beautiful and brilliant and timeless Constitution and Declaration of Independence (here I’m not addressing Jaybird, but the person or persons I’m addressing know who they are). We’ve arrived, in the Enlightened West, at a particular interpretation of Christian values, interpretations that had to bring in a lot from outside of Christianity, even outside of God (at least that one particular God, the one who condemned an entire species because a couple people ate some apples at the suggestion of a friggin’ snake). But a bunch of other interpretations, some much less amenable to our current conceptions of Rights, have dominated at different times, from the violent anarchic tendencies of first century followers of Christ to the feudal and strictly hierarchical Christianty of much of Europe for much of its post-Roman history. Hell, even the genuinely brilliant Christian minds to whom many of us would trace the origins of our current “Judeo-Christian values” didn’t see Christian values anything like we do now. I suppose one could argue that it just took 1800 years for Christians to get their own religion right, but I’m more inclined to think that there is no one way to get their religion right, and the God part, while it can do a lot good from the perspective of our current values, can also do a lot of bad from their perspective too (and I don’t mean Inquisitions and Crusades, I mean the entire European social, cultural, and political system for about 1500 years).Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko says:

                I’d venture to say that the most secular large society in history is contemporary Western Europe. There seems to be no shortage of commitment there to the idea of innate human rights, although to be fair to the argument Messrs. Van Dyke and Kowal raise from time to time, these are nations with richly Christian histories and traditions and derive both their moral compasses and their philosophical structures from those Christianity-infused backgrounds.

                To my knowledge, contemporary Japan is quite secular also. I have little basis for evaluating the deepness of that society’s commitment to individual rights as I lack experience interacting deeply with people from that culture and have never had the pleasure of traveling there, even as a superficial tourist.

                But these are all, like the U.S., contemporary, ongoing, and perhaps most tellingly, industrialized societies. I am not really aware of any singificant polity or culture from history that has been dominantly secular, and come to think of it I’d shrink from calling European or European-derived societies (e.g., Australia, U.S.A., Brazil) dominantly secular even today.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko says:

                And yes, Thomas Paine’s story is for the most part a sad and lonely one. It’s a chancy proposition to diagnose someone post-mortem, but I see hints in his life story of what today we’d call either something like Borderline Personality Disorder or Asperger’s Syndrome.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Thomas Paine went to revolutionary France to save them from atheism, you know. You could look it up.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                It’s more a Reagan Democrat than Reagan Republican, honestly.

                You can take the libertarian out of Michitucky, but you can’t take the Michitucky out of the libertarian.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I’d venture to say that the most secular large society in history is contemporary Western Europe.

                I think I might agree, after I point out all of the established churches. And that’s not snark. I’d just want to point those out before I agree.Report

    • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name says:

      “I’d rather take my chances of being pro-choice in the GOP”

      YOU DON’T HAVE THAT OPTION! Sorry for shouting, everyone else, but this is classic TVD: deciding from a position of privilege what’s best for the rest of us.

      Unless you grow a uterus, you don’t have any chances to take.

      But you knew that.Report

  9. Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

    I like that there were seven references in 2004. Let’s all keep that in mind next time someone trots out that Jesusland map.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      John Kerry? Seriously? Jesus Christ!Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Seriously? Jesus Christ!


      • Avatar MikeSchilling says:

        I am curious how many references there were, in different years, to “Our Lord, Jesus Christ” and when that started to be seen as impolite.Report

        • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

          Yes, let us know what you find, Mike. The monotheistic, providential God has usually sufficed.Report

          • Avatar MikeSchilling says:

            UCSB has the platforms back the the 19th century.

            I just spot-checked, but found no Jesuses or Christs, and very few Gods.Report

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

              Mike Schilling, that link to party platforms of the past like so totally wails! Thanks for getting back to me/us on that.


              1888, the GOP railing about the Mormons: Priceless. After beating the Dems like a drum all day, here’s a gift to the other side of the aisle. Enjoy!

              The political power of the Mormon Church in the Territories as exercised in the past is a menace to free institutions too dangerous to be longer suffered. Therefore we pledge the Republican party to appropriate legislation asserting the sovereignty of the Nation in all Territories where the same is questioned, and in furtherance of that end to place upon the statute books legislation stringent enough to divorce the political from the ecclesiastical power, and thus stamp out the attendant wickedness of polygamy.

              The Republican party is in favor of the use of both gold and silver as money, and condemns the policy of the Democratic Administration in its efforts to demonetize silver.

              We demand the reduction of letter postage to one cent per ounce.

              In a Republic like ours, where the citizen is the sovereign, and the official the servant, where no power is exercised except by the will of the people, it is important that the sovereign—the people—should possess intelligence. The free school is the promoter of that intelligence which is to preserve us a free Nation; therefore, the State or Nation, or both combined, should support free institutions of learning sufficient to afford every child growing up in the land the opportunity of a good common school education.


  10. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    Last week it appeared that Republicans had made a tactical decision to shed their stuffy, country club image by reaching out to women, minorities and the poor.

    Actually, I’m pretty sure that women, minorities, and the poor are more religious than rich white men, so playing the God card arguably does qualify as reaching out to women, minorities, and the poor.Report

    • Avatar MikeSchilling says:

      It’s not a question of being religious, it’s a question of trying to appear religious while picking people’s pockets. That’s rich white men all the way.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        That Jesus guy had quite a bit to say about that sort of pocket-picking religiosity. I know you’re a Jewish kinda guy and Jesus references might not go over so well with you, but I think he was a fine upstanding Jew who ran afoul of just such people as you describe.

        Wasn’t it you who put in the RamBam’s tzedakah list up the other day?

        Though it’s a great tragedy, Tisha B’Av and all, but the best thing to happen to Judaism, intellectually, was the destruction of the Temple and the rise of rabbinic Judaism. Put the whole enterprise on a much sounder footing. As the destruction of the First Temple would in time lead to the Torah, the destruction of the Second Temple would lead to the Talmud, a very great improvement for all concerned. Talmud has a lot to say about levitical larceny.Report

        • Avatar MikeSchilling says:

          If I recall correctly, Jesus used to spend a lot of time with Republicans and sinners.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP says:

            That’s what his enemies called him: “Friend of Sinners”. It’s a pretty good yardstick for anyone who wants to follow a spiritual path, that he will encounter finger-pointers and scoffers who will call him names of that sort.

            Jesus got into a lot of trouble for hanging out with tax collectors and prostitutes.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck says:

              Slackers, too. Remember the parable of Mary and Martha.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Samaritans, Romans, women, the whole sorry, scummy lot of ’em. That’s why Christianity made such headway in the Roman world: it was a religion for slaves and crumb-bums and losers of every description.

                I always laugh when people point out how the churches are full of sinners. “Yes”, I reply, “and AA meetings are full of alcoholics. Don’t have a sin problem? You don’t need Jesus.”Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        That’s not bigotry, because bigotry is something Republicans do.Report

  11. Avatar Chris says:

    I would have been very disappointed if someone hadn’t come into this thread and taken the God-count seriously. Thank Jebus someone did.Report

  12. Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

    The deletion of “God-given” is what disturbs me, as it encapsulates the Founding view of rights. Many these days deny our rights come from God. this is a valid argument, but I vote for those who believe our rights are God-given, not from governments and social contracts.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        That’s not an honest rebuttal, CK. Using the Bible for snark is, I dunno, wrong.Report

        • Avatar CK MacLeod says:

          That’s not snark, TVD. I could have chosen any of numerous examples of the indictment of those who cling to the letter of the law, or mere words or other shows of piety – among which I would include repetitions of a name of the deity – with little or no attention to, or direct contradiction of, or as a substitute for consideration of their meaning. This kind of “God”-counting would truly qualify “Pharisiacal,” though that particular traditional description, I have been informed, is considered outdated and even antisemitic.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            I was speaking of God-given rights, CK, the Declaration. Many have abandoned that theory of rights and I’m afraid of where that leads.Report

            • Avatar Kyle Cupp says:

              If the nation stands or falls with a theory of rights, then we’re screwed.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                That’s what you say.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

                The beauty of liberal pluralism is that it admits all theories of rights.Report

              • Avatar Kyle Cupp says:

                And other theories besides. In my estimation, it’s unwise to build a national morality on a single moral theory. If that theory falls, then…Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                And fall we would.

                “…dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…”

                It is of this that nations are made; governments change.

                “We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We — even we here — hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just — a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.”Report

              • Avatar RTod says:

                ““…dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…””

                I suspect this is one of those lines that everyone interprets differently in order to buy in. I suspect no one believes that it is true in a literal sense.Report

              • Avatar Tim Kowal says:

                There is no moral basis to differentiate among men. This is what Lincoln meant, and it is as true today as it was when it was first spoken. But people understood then what it meant to give and receive justifications based on moral reasoning. Rejecting that makes us cynical, and leads us to regard those ideas among the greatest ever uttered by a stateman into mere hortatory fluff.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                This is kind of my point, Tim.

                In order to get to point that B right there, you needed to start off with a pretty big honking “the way they *should* interpret those words is….” And you had to reach for a guy that made an argument about what it meant almost three quarters of a century after it was written.

                And you may be right, in terms of the best way to interpret them.

                But it’s kind of like “though shalt not kill,” wherein everyone knows exactly what it means because it’s so obviously self-evident, and yet everybody still thinks it means something different.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko says:

                So we could all agree that we understand the command to be “Thou shalt not murder” or we could be literalists about the wording, in which case we have to get back into translations and nuances of how languages have evolved over the last three thousand years and… by the time we’re done with that, we’ve sort of forgotten the point that this is supposed to be a moral guideline in the first place!

                What is the Toranic or Biblical equivalent of a “strict constructionist”? Is that a “fundamentalist”?Report

              • Avatar RTod says:

                Maybe. I have always had the impression there is a high overlap of SCs and Funds. I have no data to back that up, however.Report

        • Avatar Liberty60 says:

          “Using the Bible for snark is, I dunno, wrong”

          Whereas counting the number of times “God” is invoked in a political platform, as a way of proving that the opposing team hates God, is the most sincere form of piety.

          Ck is right on the money- Jesus had nothing but scorn for those who think that invoking God is the same as obeying him.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            Context matters. In this case, the Dem party brass agreed with me and put “God-given” back in.

            This is not the type of invocation that says “God is on our side.” I have no problem with sincere anger at those who want to hijack God for their partisan politics.

            But that’s not what CK did here, tossing off a Bible verse condemning hypocrites. If he meant to, he needed to show an objectionable context that the GOP might have been using. [Frankly, I’m not very good with “social gospel” types using Jesus and the Beatitudes as religious “proof” for left-liberal politics, but I tolerate it.]

            As for “God-given,” it was that exact phrase cut from the Dem Party platform that I focused on, and that exact phrase the party brass put back. I believe I’ve been completely logical about the whole affair.Report

            • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

              I think you’ve been rather fair and supremely patient on this thread, Tom.

              I also think you’re really going to be increasingly uncomfortable over the next 20 years. Your distinction about nations and governments is notable. Nations, in the 17th-20th century sense, are dying.

              I’m not entirely convinced this is a bad thing. Subsuming tribal and religious and cultural factors under the banner of the nation has led to all sorts of bad outcomes as well as the good ones. Some of those bad outcomes have been particularly terrible for people who aren’t around much any more.Report

            • Avatar Michelle says:

              You do realize that the passage cut from (and then restored to) the platform referred to G-d-given talents and not G-d-given rights, don’t you?Report

  13. Avatar Chris says:

    By the way, it appears that 2 of the God’s in the Republican platform are repeats (they took sentences out of the body, bolded them, and then put them in the middle). So let’s give them 10.Report

  14. Avatar dhex says:

    i do wonder if someone actually watched the ad after it was edited or just said “ahh, to hell with it, we’re gonna lose anyway”?Report

  15. Avatar Kyle Cupp says:

    The Demoncrats have no god but Moloch. Wake up America!Report

  16. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    “and blackball Kirk Cameron.”

    Oh if only…Report

  17. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Time to sharpen your #2 pencils, and complete this sentence. Quadrennial party platforms…

    A) can be safely disregarded because since they aren’t binding on anyone, candidates freely adopt positions contradictory to them all the time.
    B) shouldn’t be taken seriously because they are sops thrown to frothy-mouthed zealots who will never have real power over the actual crafting of public policy.
    C) are most often used as cannon fodder by the opposition party than as any sort of rallying point for the party authoring the document.
    D) have not, since 1964, been read from cover to cover by any single human being who remained sober for the entire exercise.
    E) are roughly as trustworthy and as relevant as a used car salesman’s representations about the personal habits of the former owner of the 1994 Ford Escort which you’re thinking about buying for your teenage daughter so she can drive herself to band practice already.

    NOTE: this comment has been edited because the original HTML formatting really sucked and the original setup for the joke was incomplete.Report

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

      At the Democratic convention, they just put “God-given” back in, Burt. Make of it what you will.

      [Since “God-given” was precisely the term I thought key, I’m assuaged.]


      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        I’ll stand by my joke, whether “God-given” is in or out, and it applies with equal force to either platform.Report

        • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

          Sorry to ruin yr reductio ad absurdum, Burt. On the whole true, just not today, on this issue. As it turned out, the OP was dismissive if not sarcastic, but the “God” thing turned out to be a genuine issue. And I thought it should be.

          [Jerusalem too.]Report

    • Avatar balthan says:

      What bothers me is not necessarily the content (if it had been there from the beginning I probably wouldn’t have cared) but the fact that they made a conscious effort to make the platform less inclusive and the way they implemented the change.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        “Inclusive.” Tough word, tough concept. “Discriminating” used to be a compliment, like being able to tell a good wine from swill.

        “Inclusive:” Roses, shit, all the same. They all smell. Some like the smell of roses, others prefer shit.Report

        • Avatar balthan says:

          It would be easy to craft language that respects and supports the right of the individual to have their own preferences. If you’re trying to attract the most voters and donors, it would seem like the prudent course of action.Report

  18. Avatar Manny Panning says:

    Wow. I don’t think either one of them could act dead after their own executions.Report

  19. Avatar b-psycho says:

    Imagine if party platforms were legally binding. Really, like if they had force of contract and any party member that got elected had to attempt to put it into law otherwise they could be sued by the laymembers.

    No reason, just a thought.Report

  20. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    Imagine a platform that had multiple paragraphs about “diversity” but didn’t say the word “black”, in reference to race, a single time.

    Does it matter? If not, why not?Report

  21. Avatar MFarmer says:

    Godless communists have no use for God in their platform — I’m not making a judgement, just saying — partial birth abortions are more important to Democrats than baby Jesus, but that’s just the way it is, neither good nor bad, it just is. I think it’s unfair to slam the Democrats for anti-semitism and atheism when both are traditionally accepted viewpoints in certain circles. Understanding the communist, Kenyan anti-colonialist culture is necessary if we’re ever going to make bi-partisan progress.Report

  22. Avatar Jason M. says:

    Correlation is not causation, but that chart at the end shows the party that mentions “God” the most has lost the last 3 presidential elections.Report

  23. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    “Obama is trying to force gay marriage on this country.” Sounds like you’re marrying Canada, America! We get the side of the bed closest to the bathroom!Report

  24. Avatar Michelle says:

    There’s a graph over at The Dish showing the number of G-d mentions in the Republican platform from 1856 on. (I’d provide a link but haven’t figured out how to do so with the iPad.) For most of the 19th and early 20th centuries, G-d rarely makes an appearance. G-d starts getting more mentions during the 1950s (around the same time G-d was added to the Pledge of Allegiance) with increasing hits during the 1980s when the party began it’s outreach to evangelicals. G-d mentions peaked this year at 10.

    My conclusion: the number of times G-d gets a call out in the Republican Party says more about the party than anything else.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      Writing “G-d” is more ostentatious than just writing “God”. If you’re trying to be humble, you’re doing it wrong.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        or it could just be traditional…Report

      • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name says:

        Jews don’t write the name of the Lord. Which is why “Adonai” is used in texts. I think the same is true of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

        Michelle could be being true to her faith, not being “ostentatious”.


      • Avatar Chris says:

        Dude, how long have you been on the internet? And you’ve never seen a Jewish person type “G-d?” Your trolling skills are deeply inferior.Report

      • Avatar Piper says:

        The idea is that one should not write the lord’s name in any way that it can be disposed of (i.e, a piece of paper). Whether digital communications can be “disposed of” I’ll leave to others, but as someone raised with a Jewish upbringing, I maintain the tradition of using G-d.Report