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As Americans, we've become so polarized and divided over a host of issues on how to live our lives. Issues like gay marriage, abortion, gun rights and the drug war have had a huge impact on American politics over the past several decades, and it appears to be getting worse.

Many Americans are caught in the middle, while the extremists on both sides control the debate. Lately, however, with the influence of the religious right, it appears that the balance is tilting towards more paternalism from our government and more intrusion on our rights. Many of us would like to see the government stay out of our personal affairs, but that won't happen as long as the GOP is in power.

Perhaps with the Terry Schiavo fiasco, Americans will begin to realize how dangerous it can be to let politicians invade our personal decisions.

Liberals are not without blame in this fight. The political correctness movement is one example of how liberalism has also surrendered to extremists. The harsh rules of behavior advocated by the politically correct far left are no less oppressive than the rules advocated by the religious right. Both spring from a belief in moral superiority. (Updated on 5/16/06 by Gerardo Orlando)


Commentary:

There's no doubt that the GOP has been taken over by the religious right. Former GOP Senator John Danforth expressed his disappointment with this trend.

Iím not a big fan of Hillary Clinton, but, as Andrew Sullivan points out below, her recent speech on abortion presents a position and approach that most Americans could support. If Kerry had given this speech, he might have won the election.

Cal Thomas has a great column on the danger of invoking God for political purposes.

Liberty vs. Paternalism - Many conservatives now want to tell you how to live your life by imposing "moral guardrails." This is nonsense. Americans can handle their liberties without guidance from uptight conservatives and our corrupt government.

Porn Obsession - The Bush administration and Attorney General Gonzales are making the prosecution of adult porn a priority over trivial things like terrorism and corruption. What a joke. This stuff hasn't been prosecuted for years, but now the religious extremists who support the Bush administration are getting their way. Fortunately, other officials are resisting this idiotic policy. Many FBI officials are mocking the new initiative.

GOP donors cash in on porn
(WP)

Porn superstores thrive in Red State America
(LA Times)

Ashcroft wages war on pornography, spending millions
(Baltimore Sun)



DRUG WAR:

Alaska voters asked to decriminalize marijuana use (Reuters)



POLITICS:

Brad Carson examines why he lost his Senate race in Oklahoma, explaining how issues like abortion decided the race. Yet he draws the wrong conclusions. Democrats cannot be blamed for losing Oklahoma, where fervent anti-abortion voters dominate the electorate. Democrats stand for choice, and they have no more hope of winning Oklahoma than the GOP would have in Vermont.



EVOLUTION:

Is this really still an issue in the United States?

Wisconsin school district to teach creationism along with evolution (CNN)

AARP poll finds support for medical marijuana
(MSNBC)

PA school board OKs challenge to evolution (MSNBC)



POLITICAL CORRECTNESS:

Andrew Sullivan explains how multiculturalism is just as dangerous as as religious extremism.



RELIGION:

Christopher Hitchens and George Will express concern over the increased role religion is playing in American Politics.



QUOTES:

"I recognize and celebrate that our country is founded upon Judeo-Christian values. And I have pledged my life to defend America and all her values, the values that have made us the noblest experiment in history. But political intolerance by any political party is neither a Judeo-Christian nor an American value. The political tactics of division and slander are not our values. They are corrupting influences on religion and politics and those who practice them in the name of religion or in the name of the Republican Party or in the name of America shame our faith, our party and our country." - John McCain, in the 2000 primary

"However, on religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism.'"- Barry Goldwater, September 16, 1981. 




Comments, questions and suggestions can be sent to Gerardo Orlando at editor@orlandoreport.com.

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