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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 93 - 1/6/2003
Should Pagans Apply For Federal Funds?
Under the new U.S. ‘faith-based’ initiatives, religious groups cannot be denied federal money if they otherwise qualify for a social service program grant. Should Pagans go for a piece of that pie?
Do you think that an openly Pagan organization, all qualifications being met, would have a real chance at obtaining funding from the current administration?
What about the separation of church and state issue?
Federal funds and tax money going to religious organizations in order to provide social programs: A good idea or not?
| Reponses: There are 56 responses posted to this question.
|| Reverse Sort
| Okay! ||Jan 6th. at 7:41:03 pm UTC|
|lilith (lost angeles) ||Age: 33 - Email |
back in the bad old days of my evil past i attended an over the top right wing fundamentalist christian college [insert chorus of voices groaning "we KNOW, lilith! you only repeat this EVERY TIME YOU POST!"]. the debate over federal/government funding was loud and nasty and frequent-- there were the people who would jump up and down shouting about how their tax money was going to fund abortions, for example, and yet did not understand that the street runs in two directions and that they were permitted to discriminate against women and gays in hiring practices, which of course they had no problem doing despite the fact they were receiving funds from the rest of the tax payers in the country, including a good percentage of women and gays. personally i found the entire argument distasteful-- i felt then, and i feel now, that if you do not want government interference you should not accept government funds.
having said that, though, i do admit that the idea of a fully organized and accredited pagan organization in a position to act as a faith-based charity applying for those funds does somewhat intrigue me. and as most christian groups have proven, their paranoid delusions to the contrary, the government has very little ability to actually screw up the tenents of any religious organization whether it is accepting funds from them or not. so while i have this old view malingering on, the one acquired while living life within the protection of a religious majority, i think perhaps in this instance it would be worth a shot. i dont imagine anything really horrific could happen, and maybe something really great would. and at the very least it might piss off some of the geniuses who came up with the dumb idea of funding faith-based charities with government funds in the first place.
| No, It's A Bad Idea To Cross That Line. ||Jan 6th. at 8:14:04 pm UTC|
|M. Macha NightMare (San Rafael, CA) ||Age: 59 - Email - Web|
No. We must continue to keep church and state separate and independent, as the founders of this country so wisely intended. The minute we take their money, we become beholden to them. I offer the example of this worthy website's independence from taking ads. Now I do not think that politics and spirituality can be separated within an individual, but that's a different matter. Further, how many Pagan organizations do you know that are mature enough, grounded enough and developed enough to offer any of the services (education, childcare, elder care, health care, food services, hospice, etc.) that are supposed to be provided with these funds? We are known for our individuality and independent thinking. Let's not sacrifice it for government funding. Let's keep our independence.
Link to More info related to this post -- HERE
| I Can See Both Arguments ||Jan 6th. at 11:19:52 pm UTC|
|Stella (Pasadena, CA) ||Age: 24 - Email |
While I am against this program in principle because of my belief in separation of church and state, I certainly believe that pagans should be treated equally under the law and allowed to apply for funds.
As to the question of whether or not to accept these funds, my gut instinct says "no." It seems to me that accepting the money gives validation to the program that you may not intend to give. It is hard to say "I think this is wrong" when you readily participate in it.
another poster brought up a point, which I wouldn't have thought of. Politicians will use this information to figure out who to pander to in the next election. Also, this would be a good opportunity to again enforce legal recognition of paganism as a religion.
Overall I still think that accepting money from this program is probably not a good idea.
| Comment ||Jan 6th. at 11:59:09 pm UTC|
|James (Tx) ||Age: 18 - Email |
I'm not sure... Think of what Danielle said... Though, it may be hard, considering paganism isn't a religion, and there are MANY pagan faiths and practices..
| We Pay The Taxes, So We Should Not Be Excluded... ||Jan 7th. at 12:48:23 am UTC|
|J. Christopher (Portland, Oregon) ||Age: 28 - Email |
As a pagan business and as a pagan person, my tax dollars--both personal and business--are going into this fund. Therefore, by logic, I am entitled to a portion in return, should I be eligible. Although I personally may not be eligible, the logic remains the same for every pagan and pagan organization I know, and as such, many of us do qualify. As long as we are a part of the system, the system may not disqualify pagans or pagan groups from the programs we as free citizens pay for on many levels, including tax dollars, contributing to the national economy, voting, etc.
| Political Payback ||Jan 7th. at 1:17:01 am UTC|
|Silver (Ft Worth, Texas) ||Age: 41 - Email |
This bit about taking out tax money to subsidise certain cults is political payback for the
fundies and ilk those who support the Republican party.
Rest assured that amy Pagan group, no matter how established and "qualified" by guidelines will NOT receive one cent. There will be controversies, and this court-appointed administration tends to go by their own rules. Note the coming war on Iraq. John Ashcroft first made a name for himself by helping the state of Missouri get around civil rights legislation.
We must resist this "faith-based" program for the cynical political pay back scam that it is.
| Confusion ||Jan 7th. at 3:15:24 am UTC|
|Stella (Pasadena, CA) ||Age: 24 - Email |
OK, I know I already posted, but I am a little confused. I am totally against this program, for previously stated reaons, but it seems like my understanding of what it is differs from is being talked about here. The focus of this program is religious based charity organizations, not religious groups, isn't it? For example I used to volunteer at a restaurant that was run by a Lutheran church. It gave the profits and tips from the restaurant to hunger related charities. While the restaurant itself gave no signs of any religous affiliation, it was technically a faith-based organization. The church itself, without the charitable program, would not be eligble, would it?
That said, it seems like a program which could be easily abused and unfairly applied.
| As Most Others... ||Jan 7th. at 1:59:47 pm UTC|
|Lunae (rural St. Louis, MO) ||Age: 31 - Email |
I'm against the faith-based, government-funding scheme. I believe 100% in separation of church and state.
There IS a correlation in this separation and the greater freedoms enjoyed by members of a society. It's not just for individuals, it aids groups too whether that's political, religious, or other.
Since this is going to be the way of it, I see nothing wrong with a Pagan based charitable organization applying. Mr. Bush has already commented (when he was running for office) that he doesn't see Wicca as a religion. I'm not Wiccan, I'm Pagan but I see organized, chartered groups of people who form a "church" as Religious Groups. He doesn't. This is enough to tell me the government will not allow Pagan based organizations matching funds.
I think it's sad that we aren't recognized as the honorable people we are. I think intolerance can never be "okay." This is where we live. We must continue to strive to let others know WE DO GOOD WORKS and especially COLLECTIVELY. This of it as a Pagan "Love" P.A.C.
| Do We Want It! ||Jan 7th. at 3:22:46 pm UTC|
|Jade (canada) ||Age: 16 - Email |
I am Canadian, but I feel that this is a very important question. Wicca has recently been recognized as a religion in the US, but I don't believe that the gouvern,emt is ready for such a request. Most people view Wicca as a satanic (according to stereotypes) based religion, and they would laugh in your face. They would think it was a joke. By law, you should have the right to ask for the money, but do we want it? Right now, Wicca is still in the Broom Closet, and nobody really knows what it's about unless you follow the Wiccan path. In my city, you would be thought to be a threatening person if you openly admitted to being a witch. But...if other religions are allowed this money, then we should ask for it to. what do we have to loose?
| Would You Want The Government To Dictate Us? ||Jan 7th. at 3:59:17 pm UTC|
|foreverknightfan (Dardanelle, Arkansas) ||Age: 39 - Email |
While it seems like a good idea to have federal funds so some of our Pagan groups can actually DO the good work that we wish we can do, I see a few problems.
Assuming that we COULD get federal funds, anyone want the Government ( a really bureaucratic, mire filled process) to DICTATE what we do and do not do or risk losing the funds?
Then there's the matter of privacy. You accept federal funds your records could be open for public scrutinty. Let's say, for example, that you run a battered women's shelter. An abuser with a lawyer and a judge in his pocket could legally force you to give up the location of his spouse.
I do wish that more Neopagan groups did have open charitable organizations, but like restrictiong our freedoms in the name of "home security", the idea sounds good on the surface but is one tar baby of you get sucked into the whole mess.
| Not A Chance ||Jan 7th. at 7:01:12 pm UTC|
|Starlady (Jacksonville, Florida) ||Age: 45 - Email |
Since someone high up in the government already stated that Pagan groups would NOT be given any funds, it won't happen. That's the result of the fundies being in power. They pass laws that benefit themselves.
| Absolutely Not ||Jan 7th. at 7:53:28 pm UTC|
|Bittersweet (New Jersey, USA) ||Age: 29 - Email - Web|
The separation of Church and State is one of the pillars of what personal freedom we have left in this country. If the current administration is composed of individuals from one particular type of path (fundamentalist Christian) don't you think they might just be doing this to benefit themselves? Would it be crass of me to just say, "DUH!"
If you support the separation of church and state, and subsequently apply for federal aid as a charitable Pagan organization, where do your loyalties lie? Can you truly rally for separation when you've got a hand in Big Brother..err.. I mean, Uncle Sam's pockets?
When you become dependent on someone else's wallet (whether it be government or advertisers) you become beholden to them. You are no longer on your own two feet. In other words, it's harder for you to just walk away when you realize you no longer agree with their methods or morals.
At best, "faith-based initiatives" are political bribery. At worst.. well, I'll leave that up to your imagination.
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