Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Plains Pops: Money And Religion Edition

The Week calls executive salaries "enraging" and reveals the biggest disconnects between the rich and the rest of us.
$10.8 million
Median pay in 2010 for top executives at 200 large companies, according to an Equilar report commissioned by The New York Times. "Total C.E.O. pay hasn't quite returned to its heady, pre-recession levels — but it certainly seems headed there," says Prandyna Joshi in The New York Times.

Average weekly income of the average American worker in late 2010, just a 0.5 percent raise over the previous year. "It's not as if most workers are getting fat raises," says Joshi. After inflation, they're actually making less.

Percentage increase in profits for American businesses in the fourth quarter of 2010, "the fastest growth in more than 60 years"

Percentage increase, since the recovery began, in the amount businesses are spending on employees, according to the Commerce Report

Percentage increase in the amount they're spending on equipment and software. "The economy is producing as much as it was before the downturn, but with seven million fewer jobs," says Catherine Rampell in The New York Times.
Writing an opinion piece for CNN, Kenneth Davis, author of Don't Know Much About History, opines that original intent properly understood implies that United States was not founded as a Christian nation.  Several take away paragraphs.  First, the founders were probably not evangelicals.
No one can argue, as "Christian Nation" proponents correctly state, that the Founding Fathers were not Christian, although some notably doubted Christ's divinity.

More precisely, the founders were, with very few exceptions, mainstream Protestants. Many of them were Episcopalians, the American offshoot of the official Church of England. The status of America's Catholics, both legally and socially, in the colonies and early Republic, was clearly second-class. Other Christian sects, including Baptists, Quakers and Mormons, faced official resistance, discrimination and worse for decades.
Davis then goes on to give the following facts to bolster his claims that the United States founders saw the nation as a secular state.
Beyond that, the first House of Representatives, while debating the First Amendment, specifically rejected a Senate proposal calling for the establishment of Christianity as an official religion. As Lambert concludes, "There would be no Church of the United States. Nor would America represent itself as a Christian Republic."

The actions of the first presidents, founders of the first rank, confirmed this "original intent:"

-- In 1790, President George Washington wrote to America's first synagogue, in Rhode Island, that "all possess alike liberty of conscience" and that "toleration" was an "inherent national gift," not the government's to dole out or take away

-- In 1797, with President John Adams in office, the Senate unanimously approved one of America's earliest foreign treaties, which emphatically stated (Article 11): "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, -- as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen (Muslims) ..."

-- In 1802, Jefferson added his famous "wall of separation," implicit in the Constitution until he so described it (and cited in several Supreme Court decisions since).
Because these first two pops seem a bit disjointed, I'll try to tie money and religion together.  The Pope tweets, and Bloomberg reports that Twitter is worth $7 billion which is about $2 billion less than the National Football League which arguably functions as America's secular church.

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