Lincoln’s House Divided Speech 1858

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On this day in 1858, Abraham Lincoln, then a Republican nominee for a U.S. Senate seat, delivered his famous House Divided speech in Springfield, Illinois. Calling attention to the problems that slavery would cause in the future, the speech included these famous words:

“A house divided against itself, cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.”
~ Abraham Lincoln, 1858

Misplaced priorities: Trump administration cuts back on medical research using fetal tissue to please anti-abortionists

The decision is clear either the fetal tissue can be used for scientific research to save lives from such diseases as Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Parkinson’s or be incinerated…

Why Evolution Is True

So much for Republicans and conservatives valuing the sanctity of life! They’d would prefer to have fetal tissue—derived from abortions—destroyed than to be used for medical research that could save lives. Use of tissue: possible saving of lives. Destruction of tissue: no saving of lives. Trump administration decision: Destroy the tissue. Such is the cockeyed logic of religiously-influenced zealots.

According to several sources, including the New York Times and Science articles below (click on screenshots), the Trump administration announced two days ago that they were going to sharply cut back on federal spending on medical research using fetal tissue, i.e. tissue from aborted fetuses that would otherwise be discarded.

The new plan, adopted after a nine-month federal review, includes the following:

  • No scientists working directly for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be able to conduct studies using fetal tissue. There are now only three such projects out of…

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H. L. Mencken

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Politics 1920’s edition:

“The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
~ H. L. Mencken (Baltimore Evening Sun: “Bayard vs. Lionheart” 26 July 1920)

#Quotes #Elections #Politics

School Prayer – Yes or No?

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Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
~ First Sixteen Words of the First Amendment

The Constitution guarantees each of us religious freedom: the right to believe what you want, or not believe at all. Preaching and teaching are very different things. Telling teachers and school officials that they can’t preach to their students does not in any way bar our educators from teaching about religion.

The reason for this becomes clear when you stop and think about the mandate of public education in a pluralistic society. Public schools should give all kids an equal sense of belonging and respect their rights. School boards, principals and teachers must embrace this reality, and this means they must not be in the business of deciding which religious beliefs matter for students, and which don’t.

These examples are not hypothetical, but plucked from the plethora of choices in the news. This is not an uncommon occurrence:

An elementary school teacher walks around her classroom in Louisiana asking each of her young students what they want to pray for, they bow their heads and she recites a Christian prayer. But not all of her students are Christian. Do they opt out and risk being ostracized?

A coach in Michigan leads his players in prayer on a public high school football field after the games. But not all the kids agree with the coach’s faith, and some are not religious at all. Do they not participate, but then have to worry about the coach retaliating and not letting them play in the next game?

Preaching in public schools also undermines the unifying role public schools play in our communities. More than 90 percent of our nation’s children attend public schools. Those institutions are open to all students regardless of religion, race or ability; they should be safe spaces that enable all students to learn and grow. Public schools bring us together across our differences, rather than divide us because of them.

Religion’s effect on humanity and American life in particular is undeniable — and profound. In fact, you simply can’t understand subjects such as history, art, music, literature and even science without grasping how religion has shaped our thinking. So, it can be argued that a public school teacher should have the right to discuss religion with students — as long as it’s part of a legitimate program of instruction. American society is grounded in religious freedom. We should celebrate, treasure and honor this right and the diversity it fosters whether you’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh or any of the multitude of other religious belief system or not a believer at all.