Hammer Time Thoughts

Technologist, Architect, Video Gamer, These are my musings.

Religious Freedom, as a Weapon

2022-05-13 5 min read Politics Religion Sterling Hammer

With the continuous rise of Christian Nationalism and our religious freedom actively under attack in this country, I wanted to take some time to talk freedom of religion and why I believe it is one of the most important rights enshrined in the United States Constitution. And why people from all religions and none should take it seriously.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The founders considered it so important that it was in the Bill of Rights and part of the First Amendment.

Benjamin Franklin when editing the draft of the Declaration of Independence changed the original wording from “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable” to “We hold these truths to be self-evident” It could be argued with that one phrase Franklin placed United States on a secular foundation. Is there anything more empowering than having self-evident truths? Our very freedom is founded on that proposition.

Phrases like “Under God” and “In God We Trust” were added to the pledge of allegiance and currency in the 1950s. Over 150 years after the nation’s founding, and largely to emphasize the distinction between the atheistic Soviet Union and the United States.

There are several major Religious Freedom cases before the Supreme Court this session. Obviously, the future of Roe v. Wade which could result in abortion being banned across the country which appears more likely with the leaked draft opinion. And Kennedy v. Bremerton School District where a public high school football coach lost his job after repeatedly praying on the 50-yard line. Students felt pressured to pray with him due to his position of authority.

Christians in particular have taken the line “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” and are using it to weaponize Religious Freedom into Religious Privilege. They see equality, the expansion of LGBTQ+ rights, consequences for using your position of power to push prayer, and of course a woman having the freedom to decide her own course in life as an infringement on their freedom to exercise religion. And because they do not believe in these things, they want to erase these very freedoms from existence.

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Republicans Gift to Democrats

2022-02-28 10 min read Politics Sterling Hammer

As President Biden prepares to deliver his first State of the Union address tonight and Republicans begin to investigate parents of transgender children for child abuse, I figured it would be a good time to ask - what exactly is Republican’s plan for America should they take back control in 2022 or 2024? So lets dig in to their recently announced plans.

Last week Senator Rick Scott released the Republicans 11 Point Plan to “Rescue” America. This document is a gift to Democrats for the mid term elections, and it’s quite frankly a laundry list of culture war wedge issues that are hugely popular with the far right echo chamber of Fox News and the Republican Party. It’s a manifesto of classic Republican ideas mixed in with some Christian and White Nationalism. Importantly given this recent poll - people seem to think Republicans are better for the economy. So what do they plan to do?

In an attempt to keep this on the shorter side I will not be covering every point, and there’s some off the wall stuff in it I won’t touch on. You can read the actual document here (mirrored here), as well as some additional coverage here.

To be quite frank this is an 11 point plan of fascism, bigotry, racism, transphobia, isolationism, xenophobia, and the list goes on. Let’s go into some of the finer points…

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Speaking Out

2022-02-17 3 min read Politics Sterling Hammer

I’ve followed politics most of my adult life, and I actually enjoy the inner workings of the US government and how it functions. I used to stay fairly quiet about it and my views on issues. I was an informed observer. But over the past six years that’s changed drastically for me. I wanted to write a post and explore why that is and my reasoning behind it.

In my view of todays politics, it is not about liberal vs conservative, democrat vs republican, or left vs right.

It is about right vs wrong, it is about truth and lies, it is about decency and outright filth.

For the most part, I am not speaking out on Republicans anymore. I am speaking out on people who got behind the cult of personality, and believe literally everything he says. I am speaking out on the the absolutely authoritarian tendencies of todays Republican Party. I am speaking out against a party who considers a violent insurrection, and beating first responders with thin blue line flags to be “legitimate political discourse

Donald Trump brought out the absolute worst in people. He’s divided this nation more than it’s been in generations and on top of that, we’re dealing with multiple realities today. I am speaking out on the lies and blatant misinformation whether it be people STILL claiming Trump won in 2020 or that critical race theory is even something taught in public school.

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Republican Normalization

2022-02-05 3 min read Politics Sterling Hammer

A few months ago I posted an update on Facebook complaining of media bias against Democrats. One of my friends challenged me on it. It caused me to re-evaluate my statement.

Facebook Post

After re-evaluating I realized I was oversimplifying the issue. The issue we are seeing today is normalization of a political party that has gone off the deep end into far right conspiracy and all out culture wars.

The Republican Party is currently the vessel for a modern day fascist movement. They’re actively dividing our nation and positioning white people, especially white males as victims who’s country is being taken away. They’re actively demonizing racial justice movements and protests as criminals. They’re actively trying to erase our nations history and saying kids should not “feel shame” for our county’s history. They’re using things like CRT (which isn’t even taught in K-12) to fashion policy which will make teachers unlikely to teach our actual history. Not to even speak of voting law in places like AZ that will allow them to pick their own slate of electors.

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Whitewashed America

2022-02-02 3 min read Politics Sterling Hammer

The latest Republican culture war, and disturbing new trend - is the banning and censoring of books. In this latest NBC News special report they uncovered some of the books parents have asked school libraries to remove.

Records requests to nearly 100 school districts in the Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin regions — a small sampling of the state’s 1,250 public school systems — revealed 75 formal requests by parents or community members to ban books from libraries during the first four months of this school year. In comparison, only one library book challenge was filed at those districts during the same time period a year earlier, records show. A handful of the districts reported more challenges this year than in the past two decades combined.

These parents feel empowered now to come out of the woodwork, fueled by white grievance stoked by Republicans and the former president. They wish to have their kids grow up in a whitewashed version of reality, devoid of thought or critical thinking.

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