Monday, March 05, 2007

In Which I attempt to zing Mark Kleiman who wrote

"After all, Jefferson himself — no orthodox believer — chose to frame his assertion of human equality and human rights in religious terms."

I believe that Kleiman is referring to the words "and are endowed by their creator with certain rights including ..." in the declaration of independence. The declaration was a bill passed by the continental congress after Jefferson's draft declaration was amended. IIRC Jefferson wrote "and from that creation proceed certain rights including ...". I believe that Jefferson's draft made no mention of a creator and was amended to Christianize it (he was almost as unusual then as a non Christian non Jewish politician would be today).

On the broader point Kleiman writes "In fact, the use of religious language to appeal to black (and Latino) voters isn't controversial among liberals. The controversy is about whether liberals should try to woo Bible-believing, church-going, born-again whites. To which I say, "Why not?""

I think the controversy is over how far to go to try to woo them. I don't know of anyone who objects to Obama's use of Christian references in his speaches (I sure don't and I'm an atheist). The question is whether it is time to compromise over issues which are key to "Bible-believing, church-going, born-again whites" meaning abortion, gay marriage and laws against discrimination against gays.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Phooey; all Democrats need to do to be successful is become Republicans, conservative Republicans, radically-conservative Republicans. This sort of rubbish makes me want not to go to church next weekend.

If only Franklin Roosevelt has been a Hoover Republican, all would have been well.

Anonymous said...

What amazes me is how little these supposed Democratic voices know of what it has been to be a Democrat. These folks have forgotten how to read.

anne

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/21/us/21janitor.html?ex=1321765200&en=f139e42d0ca84d0a&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

November 21, 2006

Cleaning Companies in Accord With Striking Houston Janitors
By STEVEN GREENHOUSE

Houston's major cleaning companies and the union representing 5,300 janitors there announced a tentative contract yesterday that ends a monthlong strike, raises the workers' hourly wages by nearly 50 percent over two years and provides them health coverage.

Under the three-year deal, the first for the janitors since they unionized last year, their pay, which now averages $5.25 an hour, will increase to $6.25 on Jan. 1, 2007; to $7.25 on Jan. 1, 2008; and to $7.75 on Jan. 1, 2009.

Further, the employers agreed to increase a janitor's typical shift to six hours a day, from four. Many of the janitors had said they were being given too few hours of work to support their families.

As a result of the rise in both hourly pay and the hours in the workweek, the employees expect to see their paychecks double over the next couple of years.

"It's a moment of great victory," said Mercedes Herrera, a janitor for five years who earns $5.15 an hour. "We all came together, and the union gave us strength. Many of us have never received a raise. I've earned the same ever since I started, so the raise is great."

D. Michael Linihan, the lawyer who negotiated for the Houston Area Service Contractors Association, said the five struck companies — ABM, GCA, OneSource, Pritchard and Sanitors — were pleased to have reached the agreement.

"Throughout this long process," Mr. Linihan said, "we have worked diligently to do two things: one, to protect the interests of our customers, and secondly to ensure that our employees are treated fairly."

The Service Employees International Union's organizing of the janitors last year was hailed by the labor movement as a big victory. Not only was it one of the biggest unionization successes ever in the South, it overcame several other significant hurdles as well: most of the janitors were part-time employees, worked for subcontractors and were immigrants who spoke little English, and many were also illegal immigrants....

anne

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/03/us/03labor.html?ex=1320210000&en=7e1de42c381db409&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

November 3, 2006

Janitors' Union, Recently Organized, Strikes in Houston
By STEVEN GREENHOUSE

Last year, more than 5,000 janitors in Houston decided to form a union, giving organized labor one of its biggest victories ever in the South.

But now the janitors are locked in a new struggle. They have gone on strike because five Houston cleaning companies have rejected their proposal for a salary increase to $8.50 an hour, up from the current average of $5.25 an hour.

The companies say the proposal for a 62 percent increase, along with health insurance, is unrealistic.

The janitors, who generally work four hours a day, say they are merely asking for enough to support their families....

Anonymous said...

Heck, we still do not have even a decent minimum wage through America. We need to try back against decades of Republican anti-union campaigning to get to a reasonable management-worker balance.

anne

Anonymous said...

Darn, I posted these thoughts on the wrong thread. I do not quite understand the format yet. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

As for Mark Kleinman, let him become a Republican for I could care less for his advice which will be destructive to Democrats.

The whole point for Democrats is not to be Republicans, and stop the destructive policy from Iraq to Walter Reed that we have been subject to.

Oh, and we need to leave Iraq immediately. Can I be allowed to say that an be a Democrat?

anne

Anonymous said...

The more I look to Mark Kleinman, the more disgusted I am. What condescending self-defeating backward hypocritical rubbish. Become a Republican, fast.

anne

Anonymous said...

By October 2006, more than 100,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan had already been variously granted disability status by the Veterans Administration. Thinking of what has happened in Iraq these 4 years, I cannot imagine how many are the Iraqi disabled. I still have not the slightest idea however why we went to war in and, worse, occupied Iraq. We need to leave Iraq, immediately.

Also too controversial for a Democrat to say?

anne

Robert said...

I finally understand that many of Anne's comments belong in the thread on unions. However, I am very surprised by her opinion of Mark Kleiman. I think very highly of him, and actually agree that Democrats should use Christian arguments whenever they can (which is roughly always when they are debating Republicans). I'm an atheist, but I have no problem with people pointing out what Christ said.

Also notice Kleiman is working through the old testament in his Tanakh study group but says go for the gospels, that's where the progressive stuff is and (roughly) let's make the next election the Sermon on the Mount vs Leviticus. Odd how Jewish Americans seem more impressed by the teachings of Christ while evangelicals make a choice for Moses. Kleiman's willingness to confront what Moses really said shows admirable integrity.

Anonymous said...

No; I find the idea of using religion to appeal to people politically highly offensive and the weapon, yes, weapon of Republican demogogues and those who would imitate them. Barack Obama uses religious references to teach as did Martin Luther King, not to cater to those who may be religious or of a particular religion.

Martin Luther King spoke universally, and religious reference was but a means of teaching though of course heart-felt. I am not interested in Democrats pretending to be what they are not, which is part of the reason we got into Iraq and part of the reason we cannot get out.

Democrats as imitation Republicans, who are all imitations, will not do.

Anonymous said...

Remind me not to go to church this weekend; and trust me to not go near Confession. I am not interested in false Democrats.

Think Democrats can fool the Christian Coalition-ers? Try. Should I begin to speak in tongues?

anne

Anonymous said...

Barack Obama thinks to Lincoln and Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, not to Christian prejudice.

anne

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I do not understand where the comments really go but I will learn.

As for Mark Kleinman, who I never bother to read, I just read a little and will even more never bother to read him. There are lots better preachers around, lots nicer too from what I can tell.

anne

Anonymous said...

As for compromising on what on critical principles and rights, that will destroy the Democratic Party which last I noticed was doing fine the less it compromised. Compromise got us the immoral attack on and occupation of Irag and 4 years of anguished lunatic destruction. Enough compromise nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Ah, and as long as I am complaining about religious posturing. Why the heck can't a Barack Obama learn a Senator should not be speculating with campaign donors? What is wrong with these jerks? Let's have more preaching now, just to show we can compromise with the rest. Phooey. Darn.

Robert said...

Actually there was nothing to the Obama speculating story (which I personally didn't bother to read)
see
http://mediamatters.org/items/200703070015

This is a "John Solomon" type article in which it is hinted that something improper may possibly have occured although there is no evidence of impropriety.