God Behind Right to Work Laws


Republicans in control of the Michigan legislature rammed through a right-to-work law during their last-minute lame-duck session, as I’m sure you’ve heard by now. Turns out God was behind the whole thing, according to the state senator who pushed the bill through. Here he is talking to none other than David Barton:

I had a great colleague in the state House, state Representative Mike Shirkey has been phenomenal, he’s a phenomenal Christian.

We’ve also got what I call kind of a patchwork quilt that if any one of those patches would have came out of the quilt, this never would have happened. We had folks at the grassroots level, we had union members that were for us, we had business leaders that were for us, we had folks that had been in the political environment for quite some time, we lobbyists helping us. There were people all over the place and, reflecting upon everything that happened, if any one of those pieces – simple little pieces – would have disappeared and we wouldn’t have had them, then it never would have passed.

So this is, we believe, knit together with some divine providence and when we pursued it, we pursued it with biblical principles. We had what we called the Philippians 4:8 Strategy that said focus on what’s noble, true, excellent, and praiseworthy. Don’t go off an do the usual political whack-a-mole when you find somebody who’s not a hundred percent agreement with you; you go off and systematically work through them, make the values proposition for them and give them a reason to vote it and not against it.

Well that explains it.

Comments

  1. trucreep says

    Hmmm 65th district is around Jackson it looks like? I know the further west you go the more conservative/religious you’ll get. I’m curious if David Barton has any more friends in MI or just this guy?

  2. Michael Heath says

    One more illustration that when the religious merge their beliefs with politics and become religionists, that the political aspect of their ideology will dominate; even if it means violating their religious beliefs and edicts.

    Such violations are easy by the religious since their religious practice develops them into thinkers which avoid, deny, and submit to social dominators. Where those dominators are no longer just their religious leaders, but also the plutocrats who finance the GOP.

  3. slc1 says

    How much money did the Koch brothers and the DeVos family contribute to the legislators who voted for this bill?

  4. Sastra says

    When you think about it, how would anyone not merge their religious beliefs with politics? Even the ‘liberal’ religious will use inspiration from God to guide how they treat others — and this eventually translates into law. We simply notice it less in those cases because their God is a humanist: He, She, or It always wants or manifests itself in ideas and actions which are reasonable even to an atheist. Except, of course, when they aren’t. There has to be stuff a hypothetical rational person of the world would object to, or it’s not spirituality or religion which transcends the rational world.

    This is why religion needs to be attacked and criticized and analyzed in public life. It can’t stay private. How the hell could something which is supposed to be a revelation of the meaning of the universe and inform all that you think and do remain “personal,” like a taste for herbal tea? Of course it’s going to seep into politics. It might be overt, it might be covert. But it’s bound to be there because people are bound to think their philosophy of life ought to be followed. It’s a guide.

    Religion allows the facts which guide you to go all over the place. The revelations are special, can’t look normal, and can’t get a consensus. And — as far as I’m concerned — therefore can’t themselves stand outside of the public debate. It’s all grist for the mill.

  5. Michael Heath says

    Sastra writes:

    When you think about it, how would anyone not merge their religious beliefs with politics?

    Simple, one can be both religious and dedicated to secularism. In fact most of the pioneers of secularism were also religious. That’s not to say one’s religious beliefs could or should never inform one’s public policy advocacy, only that people can and do choose secularism over their religion.

    If your religious edicts prohibit the exercise of a right where the right is protected by the government because to not protect that right would be a violation of our liberty and ‘just governance’, than the religious have the obligation to defend government protection of that right. Especially if they demand their valued rights be protected. Even conservative Christians mostly get this though only in a few cases. E.g., they belong to misogynist churches who discriminate against females, yet they predominately don’t promote the same level of discrimination in government or business.

    Another example, consistent with John Kerry and Hillary’s Clinton’s position, is on abortion rights. Both argue that their religious beliefs has them concluding that abortion is immoral except in certain cases, but argue that’s not a sufficient argument to leverage the power of government to deny others who disagree with them the exercise of their abortion rights. While I realize the odds are high both merely voice this argument where their actual motivation is political convenience, it is both a real example and an arguable position.

  6. plutosdad says

    I fully support the idea that people should not be forced to join unions or non-members forced to pay money to unions (the idea that non union members benefit is ludicrous when you consider that non union members get laid off when unions negotiate increases, like happened recently at the hospital in East Lansing when almost 100 non-union members were laid off to pay the increases the unions demanded).

    To force people to do either violates their 1st amendment right of association.

    But all the other crap about unions not being able to negotiate benefits, and other things, is also wrong for the same reason: people have the right of association. If workers want to delegate their benefits negotiations they have every right to.

    However I don’t think anyone in politics is really concerned with workers rights, no matter what they call it. It’s either pro or anti union.

  7. Sastra says

    Michael Heath #6 wrote:

    Simple, one can be both religious and dedicated to secularism. In fact most of the pioneers of secularism were also religious. That’s not to say one’s religious beliefs could or should never inform one’s public policy advocacy, only that people can and do choose secularism over their religion.

    Such people have not chosen secularism over their religion: they have a religion which dedicates them to secularism in politics.

    I know this sounds like I’m splitting hairs, but it’s a significant point. We’re looking at how important religious or spiritual beliefs are in motivating public actions — and I think they’re still at the center of even staunch advocates of separation of church and state.

    As I said, the God of religious humanists is a humanist Himself. They are following a God which just fortunately happens to make sense to us. God wants them to act as if they were atheists. That is the holy, sacred, transcendent nature of God the divine Mystery: secularism as a political value.

    Whew!. We like where they draw the line against us. It’s very high up, so we can stand under it politically. That’s the way people ought to make faith: reasonable, and approved by atheists almost completely. If only the religious thought people set the standard — instead of God. Who doesn’t exist. And yet who is apparently the foundation of their humanism. Lucky. Hope it stays that way.

    Method, method, method. The results are fine, good, lovely. But the method is still a problem. That’s my point.

    We shouldn’t attack the “bad” religions. We need to go after religion itself. We need to go after faith.

  8. Michael Heath says

    plutosdad writes:

    (the idea that non union members benefit is ludicrous when you consider that non union members get laid off when unions negotiate increases, like happened recently at the hospital in East Lansing when almost 100 non-union members were laid off to pay the increases the unions demanded).

    One anecdote which addresses only one narrow feature of the union and non-union debate is not sufficient to make a compelling case, let alone support that contradictory assertions are, “ludicrous”.

  9. Michael Heath says

    Sastra writes:

    But the method is still a problem. That’s my point.

    I got that the first time and responded accordingly. My examples don’t fit your framework, which is exactly why I used both to argue your wrong. In both cases I used we have religious beliefs being sacrificed to support secularism, in neither case are these parties submitting to a, “humanist god”, nor are they agreeing with their position from a religious viewpoint.

  10. says

    It’s exactly like the New Testament, where Jesus hung around with the CEOs and shareholders and told them He could help pump up their stock prices and buttress their already considerable power (“For it is good to raceth to the bottom, saith the LORD”).

  11. Sastra says

    Michael Heath #12 wrote:

    In both cases I used we have religious beliefs being sacrificed to support secularism, in neither case are these parties submitting to a, “humanist god”, nor are they agreeing with their position from a religious viewpoint.

    So the religious believers in the examples you cited would say that they believe God wants them to make their religious beliefs into law for non-believers — but they are rebelling against His will on this issue?

    I think I understand what you’re saying, but unless you’re going to assert that their religious beliefs have really been “sacrificed” in order to support secularism — and not just the church but a true and genuine appreciation of God and religion would go against their choice — then they ARE worshiping a God which is humanist enough to be fine with secularism.

    Not all gods are.

  12. Michael Heath says

    Sastra writes to me:

    So the religious believers in the examples you cited would say that they believe God wants them to make their religious beliefs into law for non-believers — but they are rebelling against His will on this issue?

    I think we need to separate out my two examples.

    Re most conservative Christians not advocating for the level of misogyny they practice in their churches:
    Based only my personal observations, I think most of them hate that the Pauline passages exist. They practice discrimination in their churches not because they want to, but because it’s a price to remain committed to an inerrant Bible. The trend towards less sexism is also increasingly dramatically as older generations die out. So they easily rationalize interpreting those passages as narrow as feasible, where those edicts are considered specific to females in church and not the workplace or other non-religious categories.

    Re Kerry and Clinton: The evidence shows that limiting abortion rights doesn’t reduce abortion rates. Instead other policies and circumstances reduce abortion rates, e.g., sex education, good education in general, opportunity (which generates future thinking), more people in higher socio-economic tiers, less people in welfare or the uneducated working class, availability to quality adult mentors.

    So Kerry and Clinton don’t have to choose between God and manna (their convenient political positions). They can also make the case, and both relentlessly do when the topic comes up, they want to reduce the demand for abortion and the best way is the items mentioned above, not prohibiting access.

    But lets take a case where they do have to choose to answer your point; those who believe drinking is sinful where another person’s rights don’t compete. In this case, fealty to their beliefs doesn’t require them to be in disobedience to God by not promoting prohibition; only that they not drink. In fact Christians have plenty of biblical passages which provide arguments they should be setting an examples of how to live; where are there no sufficiently explicit and relentless demands they advocate for laws consistent with God’s will to the point they can’t ignore such passages.

    I share your promotion we need to kill off faith; I think the practice of faith a juvenile failure of character. But I can’t avoid the reality that secularism is largely a result of enlightened thinkers who were and I think unfortunately, remain religious. That practicing both religion and secularism has and continues to be done, they can and do co-exist.

  13. Sastra says

    Michael Heath #17 wrote:

    But lets take a case where they do have to choose to answer your point; those who believe drinking is sinful where another person’s rights don’t compete. In this case, fealty to their beliefs doesn’t require them to be in disobedience to God by not promoting prohibition; only that they not drink.

    I don’t think you quite understood the question, because you seem to be both disagreeing with me and answering “no,” that religious believers who believe that drinking is sinful do NOT think they are disobeying God when they don’t get behind prohibition laws. God does not (in their view) require that they legally stop sin. Thus, they don’t. Which is my point.

    Whether it is in the nature of God/Spirit to approve of keeping religious rules for the religious is as much a matter of faith as deciding that the nature of God/Spirit is to fuse church & state. In both cases believers first figure out and then follow what God wants — or, rather, they themselves think they ought to — and have — done this.

    You’re right. Liberal theists do not use religion to justify a public law to the public. But they do use religion to justify a private belief in a God which wants them to justify all public laws with public reasons. We atheists can then say they’ve formed good conclusions about the law — but we can’t say they’ve formed correct conclusions about God. And God is more important.

    The co-existence between religion and secularism is based on how believers think about the divine. That is such an uneasy, accidental form of co-existence that it’s not a reality we should accept on its own terms. I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t happily work with religious secularists for a common goal. But we shouldn’t content ourselves with the comforting assurance that the primary problem is with fundamentalism and those who fail to keep religion in check, where God wants it. The primary problem here is God.

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