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The Big Bird Blunder: Romney's Artless Austerity Campaign Devolves Into Corporate and Christian Right Greed.

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There are things you do not suggest cutting from the budget without cutting your own political throat: one of them is reducing Big Bird to becoming a pimp for Chick fil-A.  

While pundits decry the lack of fire in Barack Obama in the recent presidential debate, the biggest criticism of Romney was his almost amoral attack on the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation For Public Broadcasting which funds PBS. "I love Big Bird" didn't do much to soothe the feelings of Americans who have come to love and appreciate the educational properties of Sesame Street. And the thought of commercializing the lovable avian more than he has been is too nauseating for America to stomach.  
Romney's argument - that we would have to borrow from China to keep funding PBS - rang hollow in the face of firing Big Bird altogether. Would we have to "borrow from China" to fund Big Bird? Hardly. Compared to the Defense budget, funding for the arts in Obama's 2013 budget is a pittance: 

*   President Obama's FY 2013 budget asks for:  


-$154 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
-$154 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities
-$660 million for the Smithsonian Institution
-$22.3 million for the Kennedy Center
-$120 million for the National Galleries of Art
-$445 million for two years of funding   for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting  

A total less than $1.5 billion in the budget barely matches the budget for Congress ($7 billion). Comparatively, PBS is a bargain, but not quite as entertaining.  

The Religious Edge  

PBS has always been considered the poster child of secularism and the evils attended thereof by today's Christian Right. It's "liberal" values of honesty and fair play have been promoted to youngsters... without mentioning God. This makes the likes of PBS an abomination. Likewise the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for Humanities, etc.  

What most churches fail to realize is that their tax-exemptions are a form of subsidy from the government - a tax deduction, if you will, albeit a "God-given one." Imagine the taxes due on the holdings of the Catholic Church, estimated to be at $557 BILLION. Add to that figure the worth of Protestant churches, and the figure is well over $1 TRILLION. Add to that the fortunes of Pat Robertson, prosperity preachers "Bishop" Eddie Long, Creflo Dollar and charismatic healer of human dominoes Benny Hinn ...well, you get the picture.  

No wonder that many churches link themselves to corporations for support and that they in turn support the Ryan-Romney economic plan: tax cuts for the rich might "trickle down" to churches, and the ones that require tithing ...For example, the more a rich Mormon makes, the more money for Romney's LDS.  

Upsetting the American Psyche  

It has long been said that America has made a religion out of entertainment and an entertainment out of religion. In other words, BOTH religion and entertainment are sacrosanct in America: both are considered God-given rights. And neither can be tampered with, adjusted, or eliminated in any way. In a dual, they are almost evenly matched (a slight edge to entertainment thanks to evil "secularism" and the comedic value of Jon Stewart's Daily Show and SNL).  

Romney's cavalier attitude towards entertainment - even educational entertainment - ranks with his unconcern for the poor and his 47% gaff.  
It also puts him in the category of artless campaigner. 


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Rev. Dan Vojir is has been writing/blogging on religion and politics for the better part of ten years. A former radio talk show host (Strictly Books éČ" Talk America Radio Network) and book publisher, Dan has connected with some of the most (more...)
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