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  1. American 2008 Election

    The Republican in me says [Obama] is highly unlikely to be elected, in part (sadly) because of lingering racism, particularly in the South and in part because he has no experience in higher office.quote> Ouch, buddy. Things in the South aren't as bad as folks make them out to be. I've lived in both the North and the South (currently an SC resident), and I've known no difference between the two except that many people in the northern states believe that racism is a problem down here. It was in the past, but the last two generations have grown up largely outside of such influences. Lingering racism is a real thing, for sure, but it's surely not regional. About SC though, everyone I know down here knew that Obama would have a victory here. There is a large segment of the black population in SC that hasn't represented itself at the polls for many years now. There's nothing else like the prospect of a black president to get them to the polls though. The only thing that has been a surprise to many S. Carolinians (and probably most Americans) has been the change in tenor over the last few days with Bill Clinton going on the offensive against Obama. I honestly haven't listened to much of it, but I have picked up on a few thing from the nightly news. As long as I keep hearing various commentators talking about the possibity of a racial backlash vote against Obama due to his victory (suggesting a black voting bloc) here in SC, I'll be concerned. If that's a real issue then the politicking has only just begun to get very dirty. Let's all hope this is a myth or the discourse can at least rise above such things. edited for clarity
  2. Crazy Tom Cruise babbling about scientology

    Originally posted by: hamsterTK Careful...we don't want any trouble...if you know what' I'm saying... quote> Well, if you're speaking in regards to my comments, I'm not trying to spark any sort of religious debate. Just commenting. I do find more than a few things upsetting about scientologist beliefs. The only guy I knew who flirted with scientology was pretty vulnerable when he went over. I did a bit of research on them at the time and found that a lot of folks really hate them. I started at a website called "Scientology Kills", go figure. For a while, I was kind of drawn into the perception the website promoted. They listed some pretty compelling reasons, but ultimately I couldn't clearly tell how much was propaganda and how much was reality. It seems you figured out that much already though. I will say this about the CoS. I have family near Clearwater, Florida, apparently the home base of operations for CoS. Scientology has brought a lot of money into the town, and its definitely a nice place. But you can't shake the feeling that you're being watched when you go pass through certain areas of town. A little bit Orwellian, but that's about as far as I'm willing to delve into the conspiracy stuff.
  3. Crazy Tom Cruise babbling about scientology

    This is my first post here at Simtropolis, but I found this topic so interesting I thought I might like to have a say. I'm a Baptist and a Southerner, so I probably have homed on a few points more than others have. I apologize if I seem to digress, I intend to get back to the point, but I feel the need to represent my beliefs in a better light than it has been portrayed. Most of the Baptists I know don't believe that other Christians are doomed to hell or purgation (we don't believe in purgatory). That includes Catholic, Orthodox, and the many Protestant denominations. I am personally disconcerted by my fellow Christians making any such divine proclamations. I have relatives who have converted to Mormonism, and while I hardly believe that their faith is right, but I hardly believe they are damned. Baptist churches are fiercely independent of one another, so you'll get a lot of different viewpoints if you ask around. I'm personally not at all a relativist in my beliefs, I simply believe that God judges the quality of a man or woman, not any human. I cannot, however, disconfirm what SciGeek and hym have said about some Baptists wailing about all the various "apostates" out there. Those folks tend to be the most extreme in the crowd. You won't normally hear the regular folks around the pew get up and say "Ahem...sorry, I don't believe that." This is true for pretty much every major religious (or political) group or subset out there. The only religions that don't spend too much time railing on the others, in my opinion, are the Hindus and Buddhists, who are greatly concerned with personal merits as a gateway to salvation or enlightenment. Scientology, in my understanding, focuses greatly on enlightenment, as described by L Ron Hubbard. One of the reasons that lots of folks ostracize them is because their beliefs (alien overlords, evil spirits in your body, spaceships) seem pretty silly. I would venture to say that such beliefs seem as silly to me as the biblical creation story must seem to most atheists and agnostics. If you follow my points, I'm going to walk out on a limb and suggest that Tom Cruise might just be one of the various fanatics that you'll find in any faith. However, unlike a Baptist, bible-beating, flagellant, tent-revivalist, self-proclaimed-prophet (yes, they're out there) or a violent Mujahadeen, Tom Cruise doesn't strike me with elemental fear. At his level of "Ascension" he's supposed to be able to bend spoons with mind waves, so he's either very modest or a total quack. I feel the same way about "Uncle Hub", but he started the belief system. It wouldn't be right for me to make any snap judgements about the rest of the Scientologists out there. I'm sure they're just as diverse a crowd as the folks I've met at the churches I've attended, with all of the same faults and vulnerabilities we all have.