Thursday, July 15, 2010

RJ Harris for Congress, part 2

Last week, I announced my endorsement of R.J. Harris, candidate for Congress in Oklahoma’s 4th district and discussed the positions of his opponent in the Republican primary. I don’t agree with everything he says, but he is a typical Tea Party Republican.

He is against bailouts, stimulus packages and welfare of all types including Obamacare, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. (But he believes in continuing to compensate people who already paid into the system.) He opposes the War on Drugs. He supports a Balanced Budget Amendment, Civil Rights Amendment, free markets and free trade, and the elimination of the Departments of Education, Energy, and Interior and the EPA. The courts should be used to protect the property rights of those whose property has been damaged environmentally, not bureaucratic federal agencies. He supports a literal interpretation of the first, second and tenth amendments, but would repeal the 16th and set taxes at a maximum of 10% (Fair Tax). He would repeal the Federal Reserve Act and return the power over monetary policy to the People. He opposes federally imposed term limits. He would require that all bills be read in order for them to be voted on. He would run his office with transparency, free from undue influence of lobbyist campaign contributions, refuse congressional perks, operate under budget, and represent all constituents in his district, even if they didn’t vote for him.

Harris did do two tours of duty in Iraq as a member of the National Guard, but now questions the wisdom of the war. He believes in using the military sparingly and only when there is a real declaration of war. In an older version of his campaign website, he said that he believes that a war would be justified even if a foreign sovereign unjustly killed even one American. As he points out, though, this was not the case with the government of Iraq. He supports the idea of issuing Letters of Marque and Reprisal against Al-Qaeda. He understands the importance of a Constitutional militia and that it could solve many of our problems, including that of illegal immigration. He supports protecting and increasing benefits for our badly treated and misused military veterans.

Harris is not much on conspiracy theories. He does not believe in “911 Truth”, but says that he supports an independent congressional investigation to settle the issue once and for all. (911 Truth is a conspiracy theory that the attacks on September 11th, 2001 were an inside job.) How does he explain the high concentration of the metal-melting explosive nano-thermite found in the debris? How does he explain the reports of (and footage of) “bombs going off” and what appeared to be detonation charges prior to the collapse of the twin towers? How does he explain that this also happened to Building 7 just before it collapsed a building which WAS NOT EVEN HIT BY A PLANE? He is not even a Birther.

Another tidbit that you won’t find on his website now is that he believed that life does NOT begin at conception. But he said that he would be in favor of laws protecting the unborn from conception “just in case I’m wrong”. That sure is an interesting twist. Usually it’s the other way around. Candidates like John McCain say that they believe life begins at conception, but also say that abortion should be legal in cases of rape and incest (thus advocating legalized murder). But Harris’s position advocates punishing people for what might not really be a crime, thus punishing someone not proven to be guilty (if in fact life does not begin at conception) beyond a reasonable doubt. In order for his position to be consistent he would have to advocate that an abortion should be crime even if it isn’t murder. That would be difficult for a libertarian. But Harris appears to have changed his position saying now that abortion is unconstitutional and that he “will support or propose legislation defining personhood as beginning at conception”. Given his opponent’s abismal record on the issue, I certainly am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Harris takes the standard libertarian/states’ rights position on marriage--the government should not get involved, leave it up to each church to decide, but the states can make their own laws without interference from the Federal Government. He is in favor of a Constitutional Amendment to revoke the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution in cases where the constitutions of two states conflict. I personally think that this is unnecessary because this clause was never intended to allow one state to impose its laws on another state. It is only that legal records from another state must be admissible in court. Although I personally believe that state credentialing is ludicrous, different states have different requirements to become, for example, a registered nurse. Being licensed in one state does not legally entitle you to practice nursing in another state. The same is true for gun licensing, concealed carry permits, and host of other things. Why should the clause be interpreted differently regarding the marriage issue?

Another eye-opening statement Harris makes is this:

In the same traditions of our founders, I am a Christian Deist…” Wait a minute…a Deist?! Isn’t that some heresy that the left is always saying our nation was founded on--one that denies the Deity of Christ and that God currently intervenes in world? Is this man a real Christian or some kind of heretic? Well, I’ll let you be the judge. He goes on to explain himself:

Theologically I believe that Christ is the Savior of the world and exemplar to humanity. The Deist part comes in when I debate Atheists in that I must prove to them the existence of God without using the Bible because one is not allowed to prove one’s argument by reference to a source document still being argued. Philosophical Deism, NOT religious Deism, is useful here because it holds that proof of God’s existence can be found in the order of the natural world. With my Justifiable Belief in God established, I then can get back to witnessing to my Atheist and Agnostic friends in the academic community. :)

Actually Deism is defined thusly,

Deism - a movement characterized by the following beliefs:

1. The world was created by an intelligent Creator.

2. Knowledge of the Creator comes through the conscience and reasoning (Romans 2:11-15).

3. Organized religion is marginalized.

4. Miracles, Revelations from God, and other divine interventions tend to be marginalized.

But it should be noted that the last two are not absolute and that even Thomas Jefferson believed in both the institution of the church and divine intervention.

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