Ironic Republicans

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The Republicans have hit a new low with their hypocrisy and misunsderstanding of the Constitution. Regarding Syrian refugees, Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is suggesting we accept only Christians, not Muslims (he didn’t mention Jews or any other religions). Senator Ted Cruz agrees saying Christians don’t terrorize (note to Mr. Cruz: try being gay or believing in evolution and living in Texas). Former Governor John Kasich wants us to export Christian Judeo propaganda to show the world our values.  This stands strongly in opposition to the values on which our country was founded. The Pilgrims came here  fleeing religious persecution, and the Founders wrote into the Constitution freedom of religion, and separation of church and state.

This seems to be lost on the Republican candidates. Perhaps an even greater offense is that they  completely miss the irony of the situation  when they fight to “protect” bakers from making cakes for gay weddings, in the name of the misapplied term, religious freedom, but advocate denying refugees entry to the U.S. based on religion. The list of things that offend Republicans is long, but absent from it is hypocrisy, which, by their actions, they support loudly and clearly.

Dangerous Ground. A fight we need to have to put this issue to bed

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The fact that divorced and married three and four times, with children out of wedlock, Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis violated the law by refusing marriage licenses to gay couples, is a good thing. It brings to light an issue that needs clarification: the difference between being free to practice one’s religion, and what the conservatives are calling ‘religious freedom’. While the distinction is obvious to many of us, there are large groups of people who don’t seem to understand that the US is not a theocracy.

The crux of the issue is that we are free to practice our religions in ways that don’t violate the rights of others. God’s law does not supersede our secular law as U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning, who jailed Ms. Daviscorrectly pointed out. There is an excellent discussion of the topic in this Washington Post article:

Legally, ‘God’s authority’ is a tough issue

To simplify it in a way that even the former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee can understand, with a little humor:

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Mike Huckabee

As for the claim that we are a Christian nation, here’s Hitchens explaining  to an obstinate Ken Blackwell, of the Family Research Council, why this is not the case.

Provoking Hitchens

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Hello All!

I’m publishing this blog to discuss Christopher Hitchens and his ideas.  It will be partly biographical, but more importantly, it will be about ideas that were important to Hitchens, and it will use current events to highlight these ideas.  Those of us who follow Christopher’s work, acutely feel his absence when topics he cared about (freedom of speech, separation of church and state, and free thinking, to name a few) are highlighted in the media.

I’ve spent much of this last year on a personal journey to learn more about Christopher, whom I never met.  I’ve been meeting people in his circle, who have helped me better understand him.   I will post about my experiences, and welcome any ‘leads’ or introductions to people who can help with this.  Thanks to those of you that have so far been kind enough to help me meet some of these individuals.

I have exciting news.  I am in the process of organizing a Christopher Hitchens festival in New York City (more about that in future postings) and I’d like to hear the opinions of the community as I continue to shape the outline and themes.  So far the reception to the idea has been fantastic – I found a great partner to work with and I am excited about seeing the vision realized.

As the name of this blog implies, it (and the festival) will embrace the tone and spirit of Christopher – provocative and feisty at times.  Hitch was not known to stray clear of contentious topics or confrontational engagements (understatement!).  The festival will feature debates, and participants will be encouraged to shake it up and to not hold back – the way Hitchens would want it to be.

The idea for the festival came after I hosted a tribute event when Hitch passed.  It was a small gathering of friends and acquaintances who met in the West Village of New York City.  We selected three essays from “Arguably”, and debated them over glasses of Johnnie Walker Black (Hitch called it “Mr. Walker’s amber restorative”). We placed a hard copy of the book on the table so we would have his intimidating glance looking down on us, keeping the discussion on point.

A special mention is due to filmmaker Hector Carosso, for providing the space for that meeting, and for coming up with the name of this blog (Thanks Hector!)

I hope this blog inspires interest in, and discussion of Christopher and his work, and I look forward to meeting the community of fans, free thinkers, and also, those who disagreed with him.