Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Remaking this Nation?

Continuing on the theme of our new secular religion, I notice Barack Obama's activities today in regard to the call for national service:

Calling on Americans to volunteer, President Barack Obama signed a $5.7 billion national service bill Tuesday that triples the size of the AmeriCorps service program over the next eight years and expands ways for students to earn money for college.

"What this legislation does, then, is to help harness this patriotism and connect deeds to needs," said Obama, a former community organizer in Chicago.

"It creates opportunities to serve for students, seniors and everyone in between," he said. "And it is just the beginning of a sustained, collaborative and focused effort to involve our greatest resource — our citizens — in the work of remaking this nation."

Excuse me--"remaking" this nation? Since when does America need to be "remade?"


The service law expands ways for students and seniors to earn money for college through their volunteer work. It aims to foster and fulfill people's desire to make a difference, such as by mentoring children, cleaning up parks or buildings and weatherizing homes for the poor.

"I'm asking you to help change history's course, put your shoulder up against the wheel," Obama said. "And if you do, I promise you your life will be richer, our country will be stronger, and someday, years from now, you may remember it as the moment when your own story and the American story converged, when they came together, and we met the challenges of our new century."

Bolstering voluntary public service programs has been a priority of Obama, who credits his work as a community organizer in his early 20s for giving him direction in life. The president cited his work in Chicago as an example of how one person can make a difference.

Ah, yes. Obama making a difference. Of course, he's remembered for failing to achieve the goal of getting his community-led group to get the asbestos out of their housing complex, but whatever; it's how you feel about it all that's important, says our secular religion.

Still more:

Obama on Tuesday also nominated Nike Inc. vice president Maria Eitel to lead the federal agency that oversees the country's national service programs.

Eitel, who's also president of the Nike Foundation, would have to be confirmed by the Senate to become CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Congress passed the bill last month with largely bipartisan support and Obama is seeking $1.1 billion to fund it next year. Some Republicans complain it is too costly and is an unnecessary intrusion by government into something Americans already do eagerly and in great numbers — helping their neighbors and communities.

Those silly Republicans! You can't help neighbors and communities without government-funded community activism. Why, you might actually get something done! And, what is much, much worse, you might feel free to witness the Gospel to these neighbors and communities without the promise of government funding to make you sign away your right to freedom of speech--and we can't have that. I mean, you religious people might make those who disagree with your values way too uncomfortable to come eat a free meal in your soup kitchen, or to let you build them a house.

I am beginning to believe that Barack Obama and the Democrats intend a two-pronged attack on religion in America. The first prong is to marginalize and exclude people for holding "Christianist" views on subjects like abortion, gay marriage, ESCR, and the like (note how cleverly Obama conflated opposition to the last with "anti-science" views, a code for those of our Christian brothers and sisters who are skeptics about Darwinian evolutionary theory). The second prong is to build a parallel government-structured "church" which allows people volunteer opportunities, the chance to get involved, the positives that come with knowing you are helping people--without all that messy uncomfortable judgmental stuff about sin and forgiveness and redemption and so on.

Obama betrayed more than he meant to with his "...they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion..." comment during the campaign. If religion is something destructive that bitter people cling to, why not replace it with a new secular faith? Why not replace "Alleluia!" with "Yes, we can!"? And why not replace religious-based volunteerism, which leaves people free to express their Christian faith to those they are helping, with a secular variety that has all the feel-good benefits and none of the "bitter religion" drawbacks?

Americans ought to remind the president that we've been doing fine working in our communities without the help of billions of dollars of federal money, and that we don't need the federal government telling us who to help and how to help them. And there's no need to "remake" America; but I'm starting to think there's a need to protect her from the people who think that the religious beliefs of Americans are some sort of undesirable character flaw.


freddy said...

...to earn money for college through their volunteer work."

On what planet does this even make sense? If you "earn money" then you are not volunteering, no? If you "volunteer" that usually means you are giving your time free, no? If you must participate to gain some sort of tenuous reward, the proper word is "servitude," yes? And when all our children have been condiditoned to believe that they *must* work for the government for some unstipulated measure of time for some unknown and unknowable possible reward, that's "slavery."

Talk about a cult. These people have sure been reading Heinlein!

LarryD said...

Whatever remaking is done during this administration, it will surely have to be un-remade in the next...provided of course the One allows another presidential election.

eulogos said...

No, in Heinlein they had to FIGHT for their country in order to earn full citizenship. Not at all the same thing as the kind of useless makework sort of thing this is going to be, including I am sure lots of sloppy work which the poor will have to put up with because they can't afford to have it done over correctly. PS, when I was poor I was a recipient of some very well intentioned purely volunteer house fixing up by college students coordinated by a rural ministry run by a couple of good nuns (modified habit nuns, they would be in their 70's or 80's now) but the work still was not done right. College students on their Easter break do not automatically know how to lay floor tile on an uneven floor so that it doesn't crack. And these were good hearted, well intentioned, teachable young people, not kids who were told they had to do this to get their scholarships for college.
Susan Peterson

freddy said...

Oh, boy: up all night with a sick toddler and my brain turns to mush!

Your right, eulogos, I wrote "Heinlein" when I meant to write "HUBBARD!" Yikes!

I've always liked "Starship Troopers," and find it a great way to engage the teenage mind regarding several interesting themes. However, in much of his other work, Heinlein wanders much to far t'other way into the realm of aggressive individualism and sexual license; his characters often end up so liberated that they really can't achieve an enduring, meaningful relationship with another character.

Which, of course, is wayyy off the topic of Erin's post! Sorry, y'all!