Thursday, February 03, 2011

"Islam is terror," say critic. My reply.

I recently posted an article on this blog reporting that in Egypt, Muslims citizens attended a Coptic Christian mass to act as human shields to protect Christians from violence from Muslim extremist. In response to that post I got the following response from Tracy Tarum:
Rod, you are a good voice for the Conservative movement for the most part. That said; your reluctance to admit that Islam is terror, and your "picking-and-choosing" of pro-Islam stories is idiotic at best. There are moderate Muslims; however, there is NO SUCH THING as moderate Islam. When you begin to understand that, you'll give up this ridiculous crusade to "prove" Islam as a wonderful religious choice for a certain group of interested Americans. You can throw out all the "Is this from the Bible or the Koran" quotes that you want, but you ignore the OBVIOUS distinction when you do: the "violent" lines from scripture are the Old Testament, which were done away with the coming of Christ as the "New Law;" and that the further in the Koran you go, the more violent it gets (because Muhammad the six-year-old-marrying, rapist, murdering, plundering, thief of a "prophet" gets more and more violent in his actions and demands the later he gets in his life; while Christ comes to erase violence and institute love and self-sacrifice; Muhammad eventually removes love and self-sacrifice and institutes violence, hate, murder, and lies). TELL ME WHERE I'M WRONG!!! I don't want your "Bible vs. Koran" quotes (again, OT progressing to NT vs. peace progressing to violence; chronologically), rather I want you to tell me WHERE I HAVE MISSPOKEN!!"
Thank you Tracy for your response to my recent post and thank you for the complement. I will try my best to respond. 

I also believe you are a good conservative. I am a conservative and as such I believe in fidelity to the constitution, limited and minimally intrusive government, private property, free markets, a strong national defense, balanced budgets, sanctity of life, the rule of law, individualism, reason, and respect for tradition and inherited wisdom.

Often today however, I feel that the conservative movement has been hijacked by bithers, Birchers, conspiracy theorist, angry populist, xenophobes, bigots and assorted fringe nut jobs. I do not identify with a lot of what passes for conservatism, including the anti-Muslim bigotry. When anti-Muslim zealots start attacking a patriot and conservative hero like Grover Norquest, it is time to denounce them. Norquest for almost 30 years has fought tirelessly for the conservative cause. He has been a leader in both the anti-communist and the limited government branch of the conservative movement. It is time real conservatives denounce the radical fringe.

I do not think it is conservative to deny to Muslim the same First amendment rights enjoyed by other Americans. Rights are not grants handed out by the government to favored groups and denied to groups out of favor. That is not a proper understanding of the nature of rights nor respect for the constitution. I am not the same type of conservative as those who would deny Muslims in Murfressboro the right to build a house of worship. You either believe in the constitution or you don't.

I fear that the same kind of fear and bigotry that led to the rounding up and imprisoning of innocent Americans of Japanese ancestry in World War Two is with us today. I will not be surprised when certain conservatives began calling for the rounding up and imprisoning of Muslim Americans.

The Muslim faith is the religion of one and a half billion people or about 22% of the world's population. I am not at war with those 1.5 billion people. I do recognize that radical Islam is a threat and I think we must be vigilant in combating radical Islam and defending ourselves. It is worth noting, however, that the greatest number of victims of radical Islam are other Muslims. Many more Muslims are killed by radical Muslim jihadist than westerners and Christians.

If I post stories that reports that Muslims in Egypt rally as human shields to protect Coptic Christians it is to make a point that not all Muslims are the enemy. There are Muslims who are decent people. If I post a pin-up pic of a beautiful bikini-clad Muslim babe who wins the Miss USA crown, it is to show that not all Muslims fit the same mold. Too often the anti-Muslim zealots want to paint all Muslims with the same brush. They portray the whole Muslim world as burqa-clad women and jihadist ready to behead you.

My point in posting, "Know your Bible; Know your Qur'an" is to show that some very terrible things are also written in our holy text and to show that you cannot judge a contemporary institution or a person by what is written in some archaic ancient sacred text. If you do, you would have to denounce Christians and Jews. I don't judge an adherent to Christianity by what is in the Bible. I judge them by how they currently practice or interpret their faith. Thus, I am not concerned that the Bible may follow a path of from advocating more violence to less and that Islam may follow a path of lesser violence to more violence. I think that is insignificant. Most Christians, nor most Muslims I suspect, are religious scholars.

I understand the Christian concept that Christ came to fulfill the law and we are no longer bound by law but by grace, and thus we can discount those Old Testament passages that embarrass and make us uncomfortable. However, those offensive passages are still in our sacred text that we as Christians still hold dear and consider holy. Christians just pick and choose which parts of the Old Testament they will preach and honor and ignore the troublesome portions. Embarrassed by it or not, the Bible does ordain genocide, rape, murder and plunder. You may choose to dismiss it because it is in the Old Testament but what are you going to say to our Jewish brethren who do not accept the New Testament? I am going to judge them by how they act, not the words in some ancient text.

I really do not care what the Qur'an says. I do not judge a contemporary Muslim by some ancient text, no more than I judge a Jew by the words in the Old Testament. To many Christians, Christianity is a cultural identify. They are not theologians. I doubt it is no different with most Muslims. They were born Muslim but are not theologians.

Too often the anti-Muslim activists want us to think of all Muslims as the same and wish to spread hatred of all Muslims. They also often distort the meaning of Islamic teaching. Anyone who cares to know can learn that Jihad also has a spiritual meaning, but if one gets all his opinions from the anti-Muslim zealots one would never learn that.

Islam is not monolithic. There are several branches to each of the two main divisions of Islam and many other minor denominations. There are many different sects within the Muslim faith with a wide range of beliefs. While the sacred text may prescribe certain things, the application in practice varies wildly.

I wonder if the anti-Muslim zealots know about the whirling dervishes of the mystical Sufi branch of Islam. Are those mystics cut from the same cloth as radical jihadist? If it is not so already, I believe that with modernization and assimilation we will see as much diversity of thought and practice within the Muslim faith as we see within the Christian or Buddhist faith.

Not all Islamic countries look like Saudi Arabia, either. Turkey has been a secular democracy since 1923. I visited Turkey a few years ago and the Turks are just not that devout. The Mosques are often empty during the call to prayer. People do not stop their car to pray mid-day. While young girls did dress more modestly than western girls and you did not see bare mid-riffs and plunging necklines, many young Turkish girls dress stylish and wore tight fitting jeans and most did not wear a head scarf. In Turkey they had a Turkish version of MTV. While it was not as vulgar as the American version, it did feature young lovers dancing and looking at each other longingly. Unlike Nashville where I cannot purchase wine in the grocery store, I could do so in Muslim Turkey.

Just as I do not judge all of Christianity by the Spanish inquisition and do not feel compelled to defend the Spanish inquisition, I do not judge all Muslims by Al-Qaida and do not assume all Muslims feel compelled to defend the terrorist acts of 9-11 or feel compelled to defend the 9-11 perpetrators.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Florida Governor: We are not going to implement Obamacare.

The momentum continues to build to derail Obamacare. Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott said yesterday that Obamacare may not be implemented in Florida as a legal battle over the law appears headed to the Supreme Court.

"We are not going to spend a lot of time and money with regard to trying to get ready to implement that (law) until we know exactly what is going to happen," Scott told reporters.(link)

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson's ruling that the law is unconstitutional is empowering States to take bold action and announce they have no intention of implementing the unconstitutional law.

Bill Haslam, Won't you please join Governor Scott in announcing you will not implement Obamacare as long as the constitutionality of the the law is in question? 

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Wisconsin will not implement Obamacare; Other states should do likewise.

Today, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said that since a federal judge had struck down Obamacare, Wisconsin would not implement the law. "This means that  for Wisconsin", said Hollen, "the federal health care law is dead." He went on to say Wisconsin"was relieved of any obligations or duties" to carry out the statute. (link)

Tennessee and other states need to follow Winconsins' lead. Momentum is building to repeal Obamacare. We need rachet up the pressure. Also, if more states take the same position as Wisconsin, the Supreme Court may be motivated to expedite consideration of the case.

Unfortunately, Tennessee will probably not follow the lead of Wisconsin. Unfortunately our unelected Democrat Attorney General Robert Cooper, who is accountable to no one, refuses to even join the other 26 states in challenging the law despite being asked to do by the State Legislature.

If there is some legal way to do so, our state legislature should hire an attorney to carry out the will of the people of Tennessee and join the other states seeking to overturn Obamacare. Also, Governor Haslam while campaigning said he supported joining the health-care lawsuit but has said little about the law since getting elected. Bill Haslam needs to show leadership now! Haslam should pressure the Attorney General to join the lawsuit and Haslam should pressure the Attorney General to take a position like that of Wisconsin. If the Attorney General cannot be persuaded, Governor Haslam and the State Legislature should work around the Attorney General and do it anyway. Additionally we should begin the process of changing the way the attorney general is selected. He should be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate or be popularly elected.

Editorial: ObamaCare Is No Longer A Law

Business Investors Daily, 2/1/2010
Already bruised and unpopular, ObamaCare has now been issued a death sentence. Yet the White House says it will "proceed apace" with its implementation. Has anyone there heard of checks and balances?

The White House plans to appeal Vinson's ruling. But until it asks for a stay and a court grants one, the government should cease and desist from implementing ObamaCare if it's to stay within the bounds of the law. Don't be surprised, though, if it doesn't. (

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Free Admission, $15 Box Lunch optional
Moderator: Timothy B. Lee
This is the year to elect Metro Councilmembers. If YOU, or someone you know, is interested in running for Metro Council please join us for some inside information from experienced candidates, office holders and community activists that will provide you with the essentials of how the process works and what you need to know to be a successful candidate. The election is August 5 and the qualifying deadline of May 19 will be here all too soon.

This is a great opportunity to network with folks who can help you win!

8:30-9:00 am: Registration and coffee.

9:00-9:45 am: Panel 1: Doing the job of Council member - a view from the Chamber
Council members: Lonnell Mathews (1), Michael Jameson (6), Eric Crafton (22), Emily Evans (23) &Carter Todd (34)

10:00-10:45 am: Panel 2: Working with Council - from the outside perspective
Joe Hall of Hall Strategies, Doug Collier, President SEIU Local 205,
Catherine McTamaney, East Nashville Resident & activist , Joey
Garrison, reporter of Nashville City Paper

11:00-11:45 am: Panel 3: Major issues for 2011-15 term: What they are and how will we deal with them:
Budget,Councilman at -large Charlie Tygard;
Education, School Board Member Michael Hayes;
Zoning, Councilman at-large Tim Garrett;
Transportation, Chairman of Board of MTA, Thomas J. O'Connell

11:45 Box Lunch from Swetts

12:00-12:30 pm What the Metro Council is NOT!!
Councilman Randy Foster (27)

12:30-1:00pm Wrap up, final questions and where do you go from here.

Please RSVP by Thursday, February 3, to ensure sufficient meals and materials. RSVP by emailing Payments can be made with check or cash the morning of the event.

We hope to see many of our conservative friends this Saturday at our "Running for Metro Council Workshop".

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Judge rules Obamacare unconstitutional!

U.S. district judge Roger Vinson ruled today that Obamacare is unconstitutional and void. He threw out the whole 2200-plus page law saying that to simply void the mandate that people must purchase insurance would leave an unworkable law and that it was beyond his ability and authority to determine which of the rest of the law would be workable without the mandate.

He struck down the law saying the Commerce Clause did not give Congress the power to mandate that people purchase insurance arguing,"the Commerce Clause can only reach individuals and entities engaged in an 'activity' and because the plaintiffs maintain that an individual’s failure to purchase health insurance is, almost by definition, 'inactivity,' the individual mandate goes beyond the Commerce Clause and is unconstitutional."

The judges decision will be appealed the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals but will likely end up in the Supreme Court. In making his decisions the judge quoted the Federalist Papers and James Madison. Reading the judges decision is inspirational. It is good to know that we have judges who take their duty seriously. To read the entire 78 page decision click here.

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A Great Meeting. Emily Evans frames the Fairground Debate.
by Peter Voysey

After a one week postponement due to inclement weather, the morning of Saturday, January 29 was sunny, much warmer and very hopeful. Although the appointed time was 8:15 a.m. for the beginning of the breakfast service, some folks showed up at 8 a.m. all ready to go with our Green Hills Kick-Off Meeting For 2011.

This was our first time at our new meeting venue—Swett’s of Green Hills---located in the Retired Teachers’ Building at 2209 Abbott Martin Road, in the heart of the Green Hills Business District. The Swett family rallied around to serve everybody a hearty breakfast and then we settled down to hear about The Hottest Topic In Davidson County—The Tennessee State Fairgrounds Issue.

Our fellow group member and Metro Council Representative, Carter Todd (District 34) served as the program chairman for this meeting, and he introduced the topic and our special guest speaker, Council Member Emily Evans (District 23). Emily Evans’ background includes two decades of experience in the area of municipal finance and she drew upon this in her discussion. She pointed out that Mayors want to attract businesses to their area (they invariably see it as a part of their ‘legacy’). In Nashville (and other cities) free land for companies to build upon is especially important, along with tax abatement and other inducements. Interestingly, the “Economic Impact Study” done in connection with the Fairgrounds site was said to be only some two (2) pages in length.

Both Carter and Emily spoke of the historical importance of the Fairgrounds throughout the history of Nashville, and Emily believes that this was not fully appreciated by those pushing for redevelopment of the property. It was also pointed out that some 40 acres of the site are located in the Flood Way.

Other council members in the audience commented that the Flea Market and other commercial events held at the fairgrounds are very important to the financial success of a very large number of independent small businesses who rely upon this income-producing opportunity.

At least one audience member expressed concern about the effect the racetrack at the fairgrounds could have upon residential property values. In response, Emily noted that council members had received a diversity of viewpoints from individuals living in the neighborhood. Some—whose property is located right next to the racetrack—love racing and the racetrack. All of this was reflected in the close vote on a key proposal before the Council in the course of the overall consideration at the recent public meeting attended by over 1,000 people.

It was a fascinating meeting for our group, with over 40 enthusiastic attendees.
Peter along with his wife Gail are Event Chairs of the Green Hills Summit. Peter is also on the Executive Committee of the Davidson County Republican Party.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Run for Metro Council

I did't know Metro engaged in "Central Planning." In fact, I think it is impossible for a local government to engage in central planning. Central planning is what Russia and China did. We have a general plan which addresses land use and guides zoning decisions and we have a street plan and a parks plan and lots of plans but central planning usually refers to a system of extensive central government control of the economy. Those libertarians get carried away sometimes. Nevertheless, I would welcome a couple libertarians on the Metro Council. You can be sure they would vote against the abuse of eminent domain. I would like to see a lot of new faces on the Metro Council.

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