From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Forcing Republicans to defend the indefensible

November 30, 2004 11:21 PM

We know the issues Democrats are supposedly vulnerable on, so what are the issues Republicans are vulnerable on? According to Pew's 8/04 survey it's: 1. Stem cell research, and 2) Renegade churches endorsing political candidates

So let's get ballot initiatives encouraging stem cell research in any state we can, and introduce legislation or ballot initiatives barring churches from endorsing political candidates. Also, it would probably help to start challenging the tax exempt status of those churches as well.

Force Republicans to say we shouldn't research cures for diseases like Alzheimers, diseases that kill people like Ronald Reagan. Run ads with Nancy Reagan. Then start going after these whack jobs like Jerry Falwell who are telling people that in order to be a good Christian you have to vote for George Bush. This is not stuff church leaders should be doing, and 65% of America agrees.

It's hard to play offense in this environment, but there are some things we can do.

More from the archive in Health, Politics, Religion.

Forcing Republicans to defend the indefensible (11.30.2004)

Next Entry: General Myers' "moral values" (12.01.2004)
Previous Entry: Defending the "indefensible" -- taxes, lawyers, gays and abortion (11.30.2004)

Read the 19 comments.


Going after churches would hurt the democrats much more then would hurt the Republicans. Ever wonder why Jackson and Sharpton keep the "Reverend" so prominent in their name? You should really learn more about the minority voting base.

Wed Dec 1 2004 6:02 AM

Jim Gilliam:

Most Christians know the difference between the handful of Jerry Falwell and Al Sharpton's in the world and real preachers and churches.

Wed Dec 1 2004 8:13 AM

Right Wing Robby:

Attack the church and exploit Nancy Reagan. Terrible plan for democrats. I'm all for it.

Wed Dec 1 2004 9:27 AM


Down with political preachers.

Wed Dec 1 2004 11:59 AM


Other issues where Republicans are weak:

Holding American citizens without a trial.
Attempting to strip the privacy from tax returns.
Authorizing torture to try to extract information from terror suspects (and then releasing them without charge).
Failing to win a single conviction against a 9/11 terrorist.
Failing to capture Bin Laden.
Divisive politics.

Wed Dec 1 2004 12:13 PM


Ever been in a Black Baptist church around election time (believe it or not I have been several times)? They should lose their 501(c)(3) on the spot, but they won't nor should they.

Everyone knows that Jesse and Al's "Reverend" title is for show only (unless you're Bill Clinton looking for moral guidance on adultery). But they have it to show connection with the basic social structure of every Black community.

Most political analysts believe the gay marriage issue, abortion, and stem cell research issues (you know – moral issues) are how the evil George Bush had a 50% increase in black voters this election (pre election polls showed it at 100% increase). These issues don’t sit well with those preaching from the pulpit but most hold their nose and tell their congregations to vote democrat anyway. Wonder what they’ll tell their congregation if the democrats start saying having Christian beliefs is wrong and their tax exempt status is in danger.

Read how exit polls showed Blacks voted on those issues - near polar opposite of the candidates they voted for. The democrats are going to let their biggest voting block slip away from them if they continue to support issues Black voters are against.

Wed Dec 1 2004 1:36 PM


I'm Christian and I support stem cell research. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there like me as well, so it's not some rule written in stone that all Christians must follow the supposed "moral highground." From my own experience, people blindly follow what they are told by the leaders of their church and never even think to question it. They are so concerned with the whole "well I'll be in Heaven eventually so screw other people" aspect they forget to empathize with the people AROUND them. "Love your neighbor" ring a bell? And I wouldn't say it's "exploiting" Nancy Reagan IF (and I'm saying only if) she voluntarily appears in ads supporting stem cell research. I know that Nancy is an advocator for stem cell research, and sometimes I feel the media makes it look like she's intentionally trying to go against our "oh-so-great" leader Bush.

And it is WRONG to have a leader of a church tell their members to vote for any candidate by any means. What the hell is wrong with these people?

Wed Dec 1 2004 6:44 PM


Not only is it WRONG to have a church tell their members who to vote for, it also means the church legally should LOSE it's Tax Exempt status.

Seperation of Church and state wasn't meant to protect the church it was to protect the state.

Thu Dec 2 2004 8:59 AM


Text of the First Amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

If the Founding Fathers were so keen on protecting their new gov't from the evils of "church", why did they write the 1st Amendment protecting the "church" from the "state" and not the other way around (as you fasly presumed)?

Democrats going after "church", be it Jerry Falwell or other, is a losing issue. Go ahead and try it, I say...

Thu Dec 2 2004 7:35 PM


You give either side absolute power, church or state, and it's a dangerous things. Apparently people have forgotten the "divine right of kings." These people were treated horribly, but why didn't they protest like Marx said they would? Because they figured they'd die and go to Heaven anyway. It's sick. And supposedly the pilgrams came to this land to escape religious oppression as well; their government was religiously-based, and that's how they ran things. I think that's what the Founding Fathers were referring to in my opinion. Church shouldn't rule over state, and state shouldn't rule over the church.

And it's not like these people are "going after 'church'", but the people who use the church as political influence, which was the one of the original subjects of this thread.

Fri Dec 3 2004 4:46 PM



If the Founding Fathers "intented" to seperate church from state as much as state from church, why didn't they say that in the 1st Admendment?

You're entitled to your beliefs, but I see no facts to back up what you've said...

And going after religious people, wether it be extremists, 'church', whatever, is a bad idea for democrats. There would be a backlash in this country 10x worse than the democrat party is feeling right now...

Sun Dec 5 2004 5:01 PM



If you want to have a debate based on words, have you noticed that the word "God" does not appear anywhere in the Constitution? And that the whole "separation of state & church" was brought on by Thomas Jefferson and those words don't appear in the 1st Amendment either. For further detail into this, you can go to:

My "beliefs" about government being religiously-based isn't based on nothing. Back then, these governments were telling their people HOW to worship and WHO to worship instead of allowing them the freedom to practice their own form of religion.

Do you believe that church should be a place to force political beliefs on its members? If you can think of a better way of going about it, I'd like to hear it. No one should be told to do something in order to be a "better" person, especially in terms of politics. Using the church as a medium of political control is what the 1st Amendment was written for: to protect the people from a form of religious oppression.

Sun Dec 5 2004 10:04 PM


"Using the church as a medium of political control is what the 1st Amendment was written for: to protect the people from a form of religious oppression."

You're kidding, right? The first amendment had one purpose: To keep gov't from having ANY control or influence over religion. That ways people are free to worship as they see fit, not as the gov't sees fit as you mentioned earlier.

If a pastor wants to endorse a candidate or political position, who are you to say he can't? If you don't like it, leave that church. No one is forcing you to listen...

And btw, the whole "seperation of church/state" thing NOT being in the constitution, as you correctly stated, was my original point to Ben...

Thu Dec 9 2004 6:03 PM


But if you're having a pastor or some higher-up in a church telling you that you'll only be a good church member by voting for a particular candidate, that's religious oppression, or they might as well be threatening them. I'm guessing you don't go to church, because most people who do hold their pastors in HIGH regard; they really listen to what they say and think it's the right thing or the thing they should do because they're a figure to look up to. See, I'm lucky enough to go to a church where I agree with what my pastor teaches. However, I used to go to one where they would totally drill in ridiculous things into your head, and I saw my friends around me just taking it in without question. For most people in church, it's not an easy thing to just "not listen." They're being taught "Here's what you should know and think in order to get to Heaven," and that's what they go by.

My point is that when the 1st Amendment was written, the government was HIGHLY religious, and pushed those religious beliefs on their people. Therefore, it's religious oppression coming from the government. If people are using the church to tell its members to support some aspect of politics or else you'll be denied certain religious rights, it's getting to the point of religious oppression. If the pastor wants to say how he feels about a certain candidate, that's okay as long as it's presented as an opinion. Then again, I just don't know what's so hard about keeping politics out of a sermon in the first place. It's just religious leaders that are using religion as almost a ransom for a political view I'm worried about.

Sat Dec 11 2004 2:36 PM



I learned a while ago that assuming makes an @$$ out of you and me....hehe

Actually, I go to church every week and my pastor is one of the most, if not the most, Godly man I've ever known... I hold him in very high regard.

I think that talking about how the State of California wastes tax money from the pulpit is silly. Still,t eh pastor has every right to say whaever he wants without gov't beign able to say boo...

However, I think every Godly pastor in America has an OBLIGATION to preach out against the horrors of the genocide going on against our unborn, or the whole homosexuality issue running through our nation.... Very easy to preach that message with proper biblical context and I think that endorsing those ideas and the candidates who stand on the rigth side of the issues is well within their rights as shepards of their flocks...

Wed Dec 15 2004 7:48 PM

Tom from Madison:

If death of a fetus or embryo from abortion is murder, is spontaneous [natural] abortion accidental death in the same sense that sudden infant death syndrome [SIDS] is? Americans would likely differ on this question just as their philosophical and religious principles vary.

I don't see cemetaries full of markers for embryos that didn't make it to term. Of course you can choose to think of all lost embryos, aborted or not, as souls who never made it. Or you can choose not to. I think this issue is best left to individual conscience.

Wed Dec 22 2004 9:47 AM


A Chrismas Story of a different kind.

The university professor challenged his students with this question.

"Did God create everything that exists?"

A student bravely replied, "Yes, he did!"

"God created everything?" The professor asked.

"Yes sir", the student replied.

The professor answered, "If God created everything, then God created evil,
since evil exists, and according to the principal that our works define who
we are, then God is evil".

The student became quiet before such an answer. The professor, quite
pleased with himself, boasted to the students that he had proven once more
that the Christian faith was a myth.

Another student raised his hand and said, "Can I ask you a question

"Of course", replied the professor.

The student stood up and asked, "Professor, does cold exist?"

"What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been
cold?" The students snickered at the young man's question.

The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the
laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat.
Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits
energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy.
Absolute zero (-460° F) is the total absence of heat; all matter becomes
inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist.
We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat."

The student continued, "Professor, does darkness exist?"

The professor responded, "Of course it does."

The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist
either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study,
but not darkness. In fact we can use Newton's prism to break white light
into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You
cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of
darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is?
You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a
term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present."

Finally the young man asked the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?"

Now uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course as I have already said.
We see it every day. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man.
It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These
manifestations are nothing else but evil."

To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does
not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like
darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of
God. God did not create evil. Evil is not like faith, or love that exist
just as does light and heat. Evil is the result of what happens when man
does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that
comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no

The professor sat down.

The young man's name --- Albert Einstein

Thu Dec 23 2004 3:33 PM


Thanks njguardsman - another wonderful urban myth. Have you heard the one about the kangaroo and the jacket?

Thu Dec 23 2004 4:22 PM

Mike of the Great White North:

Merry Christmas all. Even those whom disagree with me and stubbornly refuse to weigh fact over obedience and belief.

On this 25th, when you celebrate the birth of Christ, remember who the man was and what he stood for. Rembmemr that He came to bring peace to man, not by the sword, but by turning the cheek. Remember the man who helped the sick and sheltered the poor, not because of who they were but just because it was the right thing to do.

Let us also remember that God favoured NO ONE, not a person, nor nation, in any conflict or dispute, for we are all his children. All He asks is for us to do unto other as we would have done unto us. His greatest rule, above the 10 in stone.

Not bad for an atheist eh'

Merry Christmas all and don't drink n drive.

Thu Dec 23 2004 6:14 PM

Jim Gilliam
Jim Gilliam


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