HuffPo and YouGov are teaming up to take daily polls of Americans’ views on a diversity of issues. The latest one, described here, reveals a depressing fact: more than one-third of Americans would favor (either strongly or mildly) the establishment of Christianity as a state religion. 37% of Americans think that the U.S. has gone too far in separating church and state, 42% either believe that states are allowed by the U.S. Constitution to establish state religions (they are not so allowed), and 32% favor a Constitutional amendment making Christianity the official U.S. religion.
Gay-rights advocates scored a major and unprecedented victory at the polls yesterday as voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington approved same-sex marriage. In Minnesota they defeated a proposed constitutional amendment, modeled on federal law, that would have banned same-sex marriage in the state.
With that, nine states—Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington—and the District of Columbia—have solidly approved same-sex marriage. Another 12 states permit ‘domestic partnerships’ or ‘civil unions,’ which provide varying degrees of rights. (The laws in New Jersey, California and Oregon give same-sex couples virtually all the state law rights opposite-sex married couples have.)
Daniel Johnson, Michigan Congressional Candidate, Promotes White Supremacism, Environmental Protection
Daniel Johnson, a white supremacist with ties to Rep. Ron Paul, is running for an open congressional seat in Michigan as the candidate of a minor political party.
Johnson, the nominee of the Natural Law Party, is running on a platform stressing white supremacy and environmental protection, highlighting both in a message that greets callers to his campaign phone. Johnson, who has proposed a constitutional amendment that would only allow whites to be U.S. citizens, is one of five candidates seeking the seat of former Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R) in the Detroit suburbs. Johnson is also known, and has run for office, under the name of William Daniel Johnson.
Johnson’s website and campaign phone promote his white supremacist views. Callers have the option of either listening to Johnson’s views on “race and European Americans,” the environment or to say why they oppose Johnson’s opinions on race or the environment. Johnson’s full racial platform can be heard here.
As Pakistan’s media has expanded in recent years, there’s been a rise in Islamic preachers with popular TV call-in talk shows. And they’ve had their share of scandal. One famous TV host fled the country after embezzlement allegations. Others are accused of spewing hate speech.
That’s the case for Pakistan’s most popular televangelist, Aamir Liaquat, who’s just been rehired by the country’s top TV channel despite accusations that he provoked deadly attacks in 2008.
Liaquat, 41, is once again the face of Pakistan’s biggest and richest private TV station, Geo TV. He also appears in commercials for everything from cooking oil to an Islamic bank. During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, he’s been broadcasting live 11 hours a day — while fasting — and drawing record ratings.
“I say peace be with you, from the deepest core of my heart, with all sincerity and respect,” he says warmly to viewers.
But the beaming TV personality has not always sounded so benign.
Four years ago, Liaquat did an hourlong special on a religious sect known as the Ahmadis. They consider themselves Muslim. But under a constitutional amendment in Pakistan, they are banned from calling themselves Muslim.
They believe in the Prophet Muhammad. But they also believe in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a 19th-century figure they believe was the messiah. Many Muslims call that blasphemy.
On live TV in 2008, Liaquat condemned the Ahmadis’ messiah.
“He was like a dead body in terms of morality and character,” Liaquat said. “He never spoke the truth and never kept his promises. He was a coward. His speech and writings make me vomit.”
Then he sat nodding in approval while a guest mullah said people like the Ahmadis’ messiah should be killed.
“Anyone who claims to be a prophet is an infidel, and deserves to be murdered,” Maulana Muhammad Ameen said.
100,000-Plus Signatures Gathered to Support Colorado Ballot Measure Calling for a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens
Coloradans are fed up with corruption and have chosen to fight back. Today, more than 100,000 signatures are being turned in to state officials from citizens who support a statewide ballot initiative. Initiative 82 calls for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and get corporate and wealthy donor money out of our elections.
Our elected officials are supposed to serve the voters, not the highest bidder. Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, Super PACs and other independent groups have spent huge amounts, in some cases outspending individual campaigns by a ratio of 2-to-1. Citizens United-enabled outside group spending, much of it secret, is devoted overwhelmingly to negative attack ads. The funds come from a very small cluster of people; a recent report found that just 47 people, each giving at least $1 million to Super PACs, accounted for more than 57 percent of the money raised by Super PACs during this current election cycle.
As Minnesota voters prepare to go to the polls this fall, the Catholic Church has mounted a major effort to convince them to approve a constitutional amendment that would only allow marriage between men and women.
But Catholics are not united behind the church’s official position, a point made clear today, when a group representing 80 former Catholic priests spoke out against the marriage amendment. They said the amendment violates Christian principles of love and justice.
Also coming forward to oppose the amendment were John Brandes, Tom Garvey and Tim Power, three retired priests who are still part of the church. They also came forward to oppose the amendment, putting them on a collision course with John C. Nienstedt, the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, who last year informed all priests that they could not publicly dissent.
Catholic bishops have made passage of the amendment a top political priority this year, even though Minnesota law already prohibits gay marriage. Proponents of the amendment say it is needed to block a Hennepin County court case that seeks to overturn state law and numerous attempts by Democratic state legislators to legalize gay marriage.
It is my sad duty today to give yet another basic civics lesson to the far right.
Here it goes: There are three branches of government. They are co-equal. Each performs a check on the other. Each balances out the other.
Congress can pass a law. The president can sign it or veto it. If the president vetoes it, Congress can override that veto with a two-thirds vote. A court can strike the law down, if it is unconstitutional. If a court does that, Congress can go back to the drawing board and craft a new law that conforms to constitutional measure. Or they can try to pass a constitutional amendment to send to the states. (Remember this from seventh grade?)
Newt Gingrich is having a bit of trouble with this concept lately. He argues that judges who dare do things like uphold the separation of church and state or issue “radical” rulings should be apprehended by U.S. marshals, hauled before Congress, denied staff and support and driven from office.
On more than one occasion, Gingrich has singled out for attack U.S. District Judge Fred Biery, who in May handed down a preliminary ruling in a Texas school prayer case sponsored by Americans United. Biery’s decision displeased Gingrich, and he has called for the judge’s removal from office.
Over the years, I’ve heard many Religious Right figures make similar arguments. Upset over court rulings that uphold the separation of church and state, these people have sought some way to neuter the legal branch of government. They would essentially turn our courts into a rubber-stamp body for Congress.
If the press weren’t so lazy they would pin down Paul on the large logical inconsistencies between his libertarian posturing and pronounced theocrat leaning.
During his years in public office, Paul branded himself more as a “constitutional conservative” than a crusader against gay marriage and abortion. Most political observers know him more for his youthful fan base of passionate and, occasionally, rowdy supporters and his earnest defense of drug legalization. But the latest Iowa Poll, conducted for the Des Moines Register at the end of November, found that 17 percent of likely Republican caucusgoers said they thought Paul was “the most socially conservative” candidate in the race, second only to Michele Bachmann with 27 percent. (The margin of error was plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.)
Only 1 in 10 likely caucusgoers in the poll said Newt Gingrich was the most socially conservative candidate, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney fared even worse with just 8 percent. The same poll found that 64 percent of Iowa’s likely voters considered themselves to be “very” or “mostly” conservative on gay marriage and abortion. In June, a survey conducted by the same group found that 58 percent of likely caucusgoers said a candidate’s support for civil unions for gay and lesbian couples would be considered a “deal killer.”
Paul sides with social conservatives on most issues: He believes that marriage should be defined as being between only one man and one woman and he does not think the federal government should guarantee women the right to have an abortion, a position influenced by his decades as an obstetrician who delivered thousands of babies. In public speeches, Paul often articulates a biblical foundation for his economic policies, framing capitalism as the moral giant among all other economic systems.
Prominent religious conservatives in Iowa, however, object that Paul does not apply his beliefs at the national level. Paul does not support a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, and he opposes a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. He thinks both issues should be left up to the states.
“I don’t want the federal government dictating marriage definitions nor a position on right to life,” Paul said in March during an event at the University of Iowa. “It should be done locally. It’ll be imperfect, probably, because every state won’t be the same, but what is really bad is when you allow the federal government to define marriage and put the pressure and make the states follow those laws.”
Hip-Hop legend Russell Simmons and author of the book, “Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All”, released on January 24, 2011 (Chris Morrow - Penguin Group USA ) came to Occupy Los Angeles to visit the occupiers’ encampment and present a constitutional amendment that disallows politicians from getting it all.
Russell Simmons is calling for a constitutional amendment that would take all but public money out of elections. He has been on the road speaking with occupiers and visiting camps from Occupy Boston to Occupy Los Angeles.