Religious belief and allegiance to the state can coexist comfortably, or even overlap entirely (as in Iran). But in many instances across history, the two have been rivals, even antagonists.
A sense of political stability provides comforting reassurance that our world is orderly and controlled. So does belief in an all-powerful deity. This puts the two in a seesaw relationship: When one goes up, the other goes down.
That’s the contention of a group of researchers led by Duke University psychologist Aaron Kay. Writing in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, they provide evidence of this dynamic and suggest it can be found in Eastern as well as Western cultures.
79 participants read one of two articles ostensibly published in the journal Science. One stated that science increasingly believes in the existence of a God or God-like entity who is “continually making changes to alter the course of cosmic history.” The other explained that while God may exist, the laws of physics mean he could not interfere in man’s affairs.
Afterward, the participants answered a series of questions, including eight that measured their support for the current national government.
“When participants were led to believe that scientists have concluded that God is unlikely to intervene in the world’s affairs, participants showed higher levels of government support,” they report. “When God was depicted as a source of control and order, participants less ardently defended the legitimacy of their government.”
If I said anything about the election in general, I’d probably be wrong. At about 9:17 pm, while everyone else was watching election returns, I was at the hospital, meeting 7 lb. 14.9 oz. little Benedict Denton (Luckily for you, I’m not one of those dads who posts absurd quantities of pictures of his irresistibly adorably cute son). So I didn’t really give a damn about the election (though I did vote in it), nor did I glean much other than the GOP performed in the mid-range of everyone’s expectations, and that the coming of the Tea Party was overrated. The latter is all that really matters to me, as I expect it will have consequences for the GOP candidate in 2012 (sorry Palin). I’ll leave it to others to craft the results to fit nicely in their gradiose theories about the inevitable victory of their political persuasion.
The only race I did care about was Louisiana’s 2nd district in which La. Rep. Joseph Cao lost to Democrat Cedric Richmond. It was one of the bright spots of the Democrat’s night, but it was entirely expected as Cao only won two years ago b/c most of the Bill Jefferson’s voters didn’t know he hadn’t already won the election. Cao always was an odd-ball, with his significant votes coming in the healthcare debate. A Catholic who cared deeply about the opinion of the bishops, he voted for the healthcare bill with the Stupak language and then, recognizing that without abortion would be funded, changed his vote.
His votes made everyone uncomfortable. The Republicans didn’t like their unanimous front being broken. The Democrats didn’t like the stinging rebuke on their lies about abortion funding in the bill. In heavily Democratic 2nd district, Cao was almost certainly giving up any chance of re-election in order to vote for life.
It was no surprise that Cao received almost no national support, even from some “Catholic” organizations. What may be surprising is who came down hard opposing Cao: Pres. Barack Obama. Two years after promising to change the tone in Washington, Obama campaigned hard for a indisputably corrupt Democrat against the only bi-partisan Republican in Congress. Hope & Change? hardly.
This makes me question whether Americans are telling the truth when they claim they want a less partisan Congress. We say we’re tired of the stupid games, but we don’t support the candidates who fight to change that. I’m not talking here about RINOs or other candidates who lie through their teeth about their true positions. I have no problem giving them the boot. I’m talking about candidates who don’t like up perfectly with their parties but are honest about the differences. Candidates who are willing to work with those outside the party for the good of their constituencies, not those working to get a plug for the New York Times.
So if don’t want Cao, and we claim to not like the status quo, then what do we want?
Now would be a good time as any to re-visit this David Frum column from about a year ago:
Well, I suppose if Frum meant that the Republicans would be the one administering the bloodbath, he was right on the money. Alas, I don’t think that’s what he meant.
Now that Republicans, led by an array of conservative candidates, have enjoyed their most successful election in 80+ years, Frum and his acolytes must be fairly chastened.
Yeah right. FrumForum contributor Andrew Pavelyev writes that the blame for the failure of the GOP to re-capture the Senate lies in the successful campaign of men like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. Read the rest of this entry »
The video depicts a little bit of excitement on the floor of the Alabama Senate in 2007 between two Senators.
Lost in the attention paid to the marquee races for the Senate, the House and the Governorships, were the huge Republican gains in the state legislatures:
The Republicans’ 60-seat pickup in Congress – the most by any party in a half-century – appears insignificant when you consider that in the New Hampshire state House, Republicans appear to have gained at least 120 seats.
All told, Republicans gained at least 680 state legislative seats nationwide on Tuesday night, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures, an outcome that could have far-reaching implications for both parties.
Preliminary results indicate that the GOP gained control of at least 19 of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers, while holding others where they were already in the majority. Heading into the election, Democrats controlled both houses of 27 state legislatures, while Republicans held both in 14, and eight were evenly divided.
The result is devastating for Democrats in this respect: Many state legislatures control the decennial process of redrawing state legislative and congressional district boundaries. The NCSL now says Republicans have unilateral control of the boundaries of 190 congressional districts.
“2010 will go down as a defining political election that will shape the national political landscape for at least the next 10 years,” Tim Storey, elections specialist with the NCSL, said in a news release. “The GOP … finds itself now in the best position for both congressional and state legislative line-drawing than it has enjoyed in the modern era of redistricting.”
At a minimum, 54 legislative chambers will be under GOP control when they reorganize, the highest number for Republicans since 1952. They will hold 53% of the total number of seats, nearly 3,900 – the most since 1928. Read the rest of this entry »