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6 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2008 - 3:33PM #1
JohnQ
Posts: 5,637
In the USA, are there religious groups that are working to influence our government that are actually working in a positive manner...for the benefit of all citizens....or, are they all working against some group of other people?

I listen to Focus on the Family, Jay Seculow Live, and Janet Parshall's America most days.  More often than not, they all seem to be railing against some other group of people.  And, even more often that not framing themselves and/or their group as being victimized by these other people/groups?
Peace!                 
------

Christian LIES wed Christian HATE......Begot a child....it’s named Prop 8! 

Supreme Court let it stand.....which means we can vote away the rights of others in our land.

Sad as that may be...it hurts all of us.....not just me.
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2008 - 4:40PM #2
DGMelby
Posts: 970
[QUOTE=JohnQ;543609]In the USA, are there religious groups that are working to influence our government that are actually working in a positive manner...for the benefit of all citizens....or, are they all working against some group of other people?[/quote]

Both.

There are some religious groups that are genuinely concerned about making this place better for everyone, regardless of religion.  And there are some religious groups that are working to give themselves extra privilages or power, and/or are actively working against other groups of people.

It does seem to me that there is a definite bias in the first group towards liberal thinking and progressive theology, and a definite bias in the second group towards conservative thinking and fundamentalism.

[QUOTE=JohnQ;543609]I listen to Focus on the Family, Jay Seculow Live, and Janet Parshall's America most days.  More often than not, they all seem to be railing against some other group of people.  And, even more often that not framing themselves and/or their group as being victimized by these other people/groups?[/QUOTE]Not surprising.  Messages of fear, hatred, and especially superiority over your fellow human beings, bring in the money.  Messages of compassion, love, and especially subverience to your fellow human beings don't.  And lets face it, those that follow the latter course also tend to think that acts of compassion, charity, and faith are best done privately and anonymously.

So it's not surprising that only those that follow the former path demand a spotlight.  These groups are more about self-righteousness and making sure that everyone knows what "good" Christians they are, even as they wallow in prejudice, hypocricy, greed, and lust for power.

I'm not quite sure, but didn't some notable historical figure have something to say about people like that?
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2008 - 4:40PM #3
TPaine
Posts: 9,259

JohnQ wrote:

In the USA, are there religious groups that are working to influence our government that are actually working in a positive manner...for the benefit of all citizens....or, are they all working against some group of other people?

I listen to Focus on the Family, Jay Seculow Live, and Janet Parshall's America most days.  More often than not, they all seem to be railing against some other group of people.  And, even more often that not framing themselves and/or their group as being victimized by these other people/groups?



JohnQ,
I think there are many religious groups that are seeking the best for all Americans. Christian denominations such as the United Church of Christ, [FONT=arial,helvetica]Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, [/FONT][FONT=arial,helvetica]American Baptist Churches in the USA, Presbyterian  Church (USA), United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church, and others are examples. Most Wiccans, Pagans, Heathens, Reform Jews, Deists, Unitarians, etc. etc.  also fit in this group. Fundamentalists, or what is usually called the Religious Right, actually are a minority  of Christians, but they are the ones that scream the loudest and get the most press.

I have to laugh when the Religious Right claims that they are being victimized or persecuted.
In 2004 Jerry Falwell Ministries took in $15,266,689 tax free. Pat Robertson's empire received $461,475,115 in tax free contributions. James Dobson's Focus on the Family earned $150,017,629 tax free. If that's being victimized please victimize me!!
[/FONT]

"It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves." -- Thomas Paine: Dissertations on First Principles of Government (July 7, 1795)
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 06, 2008 - 10:43AM #4
Sacrificialgoddess
Posts: 9,496

TPaine wrote:

JohnQ,
I think there are many religious groups that are seeking the best for all Americans. Christian denominations such as the United Church of Christ, [FONT=arial,helvetica]Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, [/FONT][FONT=arial,helvetica]American Baptist Churches in the USA, Presbyterian  Church (USA), United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church, and others are examples. Most Wiccans, Pagans, Heathens, Reform Jews, Deists, Unitarians, etc. etc.  also fit in this group. Fundamentalists, or what is usually called the Religious Right, actually are a minority  of Christians, but they are the ones that scream the loudest and get the most press.

I have to laugh when the Religious Right claims that they are being victimized or persecuted.
In 2004 Jerry Falwell Ministries took in $15,266,689 tax free. Pat Robertson's empire received $461,475,115 in tax free contributions. James Dobson's Focus on the Family earned $150,017,629 tax free. If that's being victimized please victimize me!!
[/FONT]




We should form our own church.  I jump for joy if I got even a third of that kind of money.

Dark Energy. It can be found in the observable Universe. Found in ratios of 75% more than any other substance. Dark Energy. It can be found in religious extremists, in cheerleaders. To come to the conclusion that Dark signifies mean and malevolent would define 75% of the Universe as an evil force. Alternatively, to think that some cheerleaders don't have razors in their snatch is to be foolishly unarmed.

-- Tori Amos
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 06, 2008 - 11:54AM #5
Chiyo
Posts: 5,799

JohnQ wrote:

In the USA, are there religious groups that are working to influence our government that are actually working in a positive manner...for the benefit of all citizens....or, are they all working against some group of other people?

I listen to Focus on the Family, Jay Seculow Live, and Janet Parshall's America most days. More often than not, they all seem to be railing against some other group of people. And, even more often that not framing themselves and/or their group as being victimized by these other people/groups?



Personally, I'm against the idea of government funded faith-based groups, if only because of events like this one;

Pastor resigns over embezzlement allegations

[SIZE=-1][B]10:46 PM CDT on Tuesday, August 14, 2007[/B][/SIZE]


[SIZE=-1]By KEVIN PETERS[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]KVUE News[/SIZE]

The senior pastor at a Round Rock church has resigned amid a criminal investigation.
48 year old "Roddy" Clyde had been the pastor at the Fellowship at Forest Creek Church since 1992.
He is currently under investigation by the Round Rock Police Department after allegations he embezzled money from the church.
http://www.kvue.com/news/top/stories/08 … cd5ff.html

and this one

When the Rev. Brian Lisowski was caught with an alleged prostitute last summer, parishioners at St. Bede the Venerable Catholic church in Chicago, Illinois, began to suspect their pastor had been keeping secrets from them.

They were right -- he had a million of them. When the Roman Catholic priest resigned in July 2004, the Archdiocese of Chicago said it discovered Lisowski had systematically skimmed more than $1 million from the parish in his five years as pastor. The theft was discovered when collections went up dramatically after Lisowski left.
http://www.adventistreview.org/2005-1508/story5.html

and this one

Former Waltham pastor indicted for embezzlement
BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

by Eric Convey
Thursday, January 23, 2003

The former pastor of a Waltham Catholic church was indicted yesterday on charges he embezzled $135,000 between 1997 and 2001
http://www.poynter.org/dg.lts/id.46/aid … column.htm

Ad nauseam...

A lot of these guys are "in it" just for themselves.

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6 years ago  ::  Jun 06, 2008 - 3:38PM #6
davelaw40
Posts: 19,669

Friend! wrote:



There is no constitutional barrier to religious groups' competing on equal terms for government contracts provided no establishment clause violation happens.  That is what President Bush's great program - Faith-Based Initiatives - is all about.  It's a genuine success story of equality of treatment for all regardless of belief.  No longer will people of devout faith be treated as second class citizens in competing for government contracts.  As Rush Limbaugh would say, "That's the way it oughtta be!"




  http://members.tripod.com/~candst/tnppage/qmadison.htm
 
  One can get some idea of Madison's defintion of establishment by looking at his veto messages for certain legislation presented to him by Congress during his presidency. Generally, Madision's definition was expansive; he vetoed legislation incorporating an Episcopal church in the District of   Columbia, and reserving a parcel of land for a Baptist church. Read in context, these veto messages demolish the claim that Madison would have turned a blind eye to minor religious establishments.
  [LIST]
[*]Veto Message, Feb 21,      1811 By James Madison, to the House of Representatives of the United      States: Having examined and considered the bill entitled "An Act      incorporating the Protestant Episcopal Church in the town of Alexander, in      the District of Columbia," I now return the bill to the House of      Representatives, in which it originated, with the following objections:[/LIST]  Because the bill exceeds the rightful authority to which governments are limited by the essential distinction between civil and religious functions, and violates in particular the article of the Constitution of the United States which declares 'Congress shall make no law respecting a religious establishment.' [Note: Madison quotes the Establishment Clause incorrectly; Constitutional scholar Leonard Levy comments on this misquoting as follows: "His [Madison's] use of "religious establishment" enstead of "establishment of religion" shows that he thought of the clause in the Frist Amendment as prohibiting Congress from making any law touching or "respecting" religious institutions or religions; The Establishment Clause, p. 119].
  The bill enacts into and establishes by law sundry rules and proceedings relative purely to the organization and policy of the church incorporated, and comprehending even the election and removal of the minister of the same, so that no change could be made therein by the particular society or by the general church of which it is a member, and whose authority it recognizes. This particular church, therefore, would so far be a religious establishment by law, a legal force and sanction being given to certain articles in its constitution and administration. Nor can it be considered that the articles thus established are to be taken as the descriptive criteria only of the corporate identity of the society, inasmuch as this identity must depend on other characteristics, as the regulations established are in general unessential and alterable according to the principles and canons by which churches of the denomination govern themselves, and as the injunctions and prohibitions contained in the regulations would be enforced by the penal consequences applicable to the violation of them according to the local law.
  Because the bill vests in the said incorporated church an authority to provide for the support of the poor and the education of poor children of the same, an authority which, being altogether superfluous if the provision is to be the result of pious charity, would be a precedent for giving to religious societies as such a legal agency in carrying into effect a public and civil duty [Note: both of the last paragraphs suggest that Madision did not think it was the role of government to aid even the charitable and educational aspects of religion, even non-preferentially].
  [LIST]
[*]Veto message, Feb 28,      1811, by James Madison. To the House of Representatives of the United      States: Having examined and considered the bill entitled "An Act for      the relief of Richard Trevin, William Coleman, Edwin Lewis, Samuel Mims,      Joseph Wilson, and the Baptist Church at Salem Meeting House, in the      Mississippi Territory," I now return the same to the House of      Representatives, in which it originated, with the following objection:[/LIST]  Because the bill in reserving a certain parcel of land of the United States for the use of said Baptist Church comprises a principle and precedent for the appropriation of funds of the United States for the use and support of religious societies, contrary to the article of the Constitution which declares the 'Congress shall make no law respecting a religious establishment (note: Madison again misquotes the establishment clause).

Non Quis, Sed Quid
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 06, 2008 - 9:35PM #7
TPaine
Posts: 9,259
Excellent post, Dave!! When Madison's views are considered what is often forgotten is that he proposed an additional amendment that read, "No State shall violate the equal rights of conscience, or the freedom of the press, or the trial by jury in criminal cases."
Although this amendment received the required two-thirds majority in the House, it failed to pass in the Senate. Therefore, it wasn't until the 14th Amendment was passed that the states fell under the Bill of Rights.
"It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves." -- Thomas Paine: Dissertations on First Principles of Government (July 7, 1795)
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 06, 2008 - 10:30PM #8
Chiyo
Posts: 5,799

Friend! wrote:



I don't care which religion is , or what religions are winning government contracts. I don't want my tax dollars going for those contracts.

And I've illustrated why. And yes, I'm very well aware that such corruption doesn't exist only in Christianity, but in all religions. Which is why, as I'm now saying for the third time; I don't want my tax dollars going to fund faith-based programs.

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6 years ago  ::  Jun 06, 2008 - 10:33PM #9
TPaine
Posts: 9,259

Friend! wrote:

There is no constitutional barrier to religious groups' competing on equal terms for government contracts provided no establishment clause violation happens.  That is what President Bush's great program - Faith-Based Initiatives - is all about.  It's a genuine success story of equality of treatment for all regardless of belief.  No longer will people of devout faith be treated as second class citizens in competing for government contracts.  As Rush Limbaugh would say, "That's the way it oughtta be!"



Since I believe that Dubya's presidency may go down as the worst in US history (and yes, I include James Buchanan, Warren Harding, and Richard Nixon) it doesn't surprise me that he would come up with Faith-Based Initiatives. The whole concept opens a huge can of worms which, I believe will tie up the federal court system for years.
According to the White House web page Partnering with the Federal Government: Some Do's and Don'ts for Faith-Based Organizations, it would be illegal for a Faith-Based charity run by a church that considered homosexuality to be a sin to refuse services to homosexuals, yet it clearly states that these groups are not allowed to proselytize. Therefore, if a church such as Westboro Baptist received federal funds to operate a food kitchen, they would have to allow GBLT people to eat there.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/government/fb … ing.html#1

Further, although SCOTUS ruled in 1987 that churches could discriminate in hiring, when tax money is given to those religious organizations, it's quite possible that exemption could be overturned in the future. It's a basic concept of civil liberties that an individual cannot be forced to contribute, through his tax money or otherwise, to those organizations that discriminate against him. The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment is quite clear on that.

1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

"It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves." -- Thomas Paine: Dissertations on First Principles of Government (July 7, 1795)
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 06, 2008 - 10:35PM #10
JohnQ
Posts: 5,637

Friend! wrote:

Firstly--
Did not Martin Luther King do the same?  Was he not always railing against racists and segregationists?  Did he not portray himself and other colored people as victims?


What an interesting analogy you draw.  Do you really think it fits?  Really?

MLK was working for the betterment of our entire nation.

"colored people"....are you using the vernacular of the time are is this a term you regularly use?

I have no idea of your age.  If you are not old enough to remember the 1950's/1960's....perhaps you would benefit from reading up on the state of our great nation at the time.  There was widespread victimization of blacks at the time.  Segregated water fountains and restrooms were still legal in some areas until 1965. 

BTW, there were many Christian churches at the time still using the same rhetoric against  Negroes/colored people that are being used against  lgbt people currently.


Friend! wrote:


Secondly--
Unlike MLK and the civil rights movement the groups you cite above DO NOT violate unjust laws.  They fight against unjust laws and win in the courts and in the legislatures.  Both groups are loyal to Jesus Christ.



*smile*
Really?  The groups I cited are often verbally assaulting the court justices and politicians.  Do the terms "activist judges" and "judicial fiat" sound familiar?   

As far as your suggestion that the groups are loyal to our Lord.....the term Pharisees comes right to mind.

Peace!                 
------

Christian LIES wed Christian HATE......Begot a child....it’s named Prop 8! 

Supreme Court let it stand.....which means we can vote away the rights of others in our land.

Sad as that may be...it hurts all of us.....not just me.
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