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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
| Mixed Feelings On This Issue ||Jan 6th. at 1:55:46 am EST|
|Callen (Elgin, Illinois, USA) ||Age: 34 - Email |
I have mixed feelings on this particular issue. In all fairness, if the goverment is handing out money to organizations which are designed to help others in the community then these funds should be available to *all* such groups -- religious or not. The majority of these groups are run by Christians and Christian organizations, and many require some form of biblical "counseling" or Bible class attendance in order to gather benefits from them. This is all fine and dandy, until one starts adding government money to the mix -- a de facto support of religious institutions.
While this troubles me as a Witch, I have found that it also, surprisingly, troubles some of the people who are involved in these Christian-based charities. My employer donates on a regular basis to such a local charity, and the people who run it do *not* take any state-money -- they are strictly supported by donations and other non-governmental funds. In their view, at some point the government might dictate what they could preach and to whom they could preach it -- they value their freedom to believe more than a hand-out from the government. Our contact person also has stated that she, as a Christian and an American, is uncomfortable with the state even seeming to support one religious tradition over any other -- even if it is her own tradition that is being supported.
Given the current state of both the economy and government I realize that there will be many, many more people who will need the help of such community organizations, and that said organizations themselves are always in need of cash to help others. However, I fear that government support of charitable works could, in the wrong hands in the future, be devastating to our freedom of religion and religious choice.
Just my two cents.
| All Religions Put Aside.... ||Jan 6th. at 4:21:33 am EST|
|Aaron (Folsom, CA) ||Age: 26 - Email |
If you look at the Question from the aspect of... does religion really matter in this? You might feel the same. Christians are always grabbing out and taking whatever they can and they look down on those that don't give them money and say things like, "You'll be damned if you don't", just to scare people into giving them money, or anything else for that matter. We Pagans, Wiccans, Spiritualists and others of the sorts, don't. We instead rely on our fellow brethren and our beliefs to bring in the flow. However, when you and I work for someplace or buy ANYTHING, including that book of spells from your local spiritualistic store, the Government has NO PROBLEMS taking money from you and I. We should be allowed to have it back. When, and if, something arises from the Government, as some fear, that they (the government) will control us and say what we can or can't do or say or when or where we can say it... there we have certain rights, i.e..Freedom of Religion to back us up. If that should fail.. then we can always just go back to not accepting it.
Free money is Free money. If you were to walk down the street and see a hundred dollar bill on the sidewalk, would you not pick it up? Not to say you would not try to find the owner, I would, but you would not just leave it there. Well maybe some of you would... Here lies the same Question... Does Religion determine wether or not you pick up that hundred dollar bill?
| Fund Or Not To Fund ||Jan 6th. at 5:49:45 am EST|
|Sloopz (Bonnybridge, Scotland) ||Age: 17 - Email |
even though I dont live in America I feel that pagans etc should get funding. Paganism is no longer illegal and you cant get killed for practicing it in most places. So it is unfair that christians can get funding where pagans cant.
Everywhere you look people talk about equalising stuff so why cant they make paganism equal to other religions and stop dissing it.
| Stand Up And Be Counted ||Jan 6th. at 6:52:16 am EST|
|Spirit Walker (Long Island, New York) ||Age: 44 - Email |
A part of what the government does when they offer any kind of money, is that they are taking a census of those who apply for it. So when money is available and given out over the year, they crunch the numbers and a report is generated.
[figures are for example only]
The politicians then look at these numbers and know who to smooze during election time at what percent of their campaign budgets and time. And when someone comes to see them and asks for other help, this report helps the politician say, 'HEY! this person represents 50% of the people in my district, I better help them out!". [who ever said politics was fair]
If we are to be viewed as a religion, one that is real and safe for the public to consider as an alternative to the ones listed above and others that I have not, then we have to stand up and be counted. Our numbers have to be viewed outside of that Misc column and stand on our own. When someone of our faith comes before anyone, we must dispell what others have painted us as and show what we really believe.
I look to the day when a Pagan, Wiccan, etc. walks into a politician's office and gets the same respect as a Christian or Jew would when they ask for funding or help.
Our problem is that we are not united. but we do all have our own minds and are not lead like sheep by our priests to the slaughter. Imagine seeing a election exit poll that said, "Well it looks like the encumbent got 60% of the christian vote; 70% of the Jewish vote and 40% of the Pagan vote"?
This will never happen until we Stand Up and Be Counted. And if part of that is applying for Federal Funds, then that might be the way to start.
| WHATS GOOD FOR THE GOOSE..... ||Jan 6th. at 6:58:12 am EST|
|Moon (New York) ||Age: 41 - Email |
.....should be good for the gander. If other religions can have this option, then so should pagans. We are a legitamate religion and should be recognized as such with all the benefits allowed to other religions. Think how the world could change for the better if this option were available to us. Pagans already contribute a tremendously huge amount of charity and good will in the world. Most would do much more if given the monetary resources to work with. I think this could also be a positive step toward world acceptance of alternative religions such as ours.
| This Raises A Few Questions. ||Jan 6th. at 7:08:06 am EST|
|amy wallen (southampton, england) ||Age: 22 - Email |
Somehow I find it difficult to believe that the US government is taking these measures for the benefit of all religions. The majority (I think) of religious charities are church based and the Bush administration's leanings toward christianity are well known.
Of course, there are schemes such as women's lands which would benefit from extra funding, but I suspect these would not require that you read the Book of Shadows and learn some spells in order to be given help. I don't think any pagan would pressure people to become part of their religion just because they are giving them charity.
What confuses me is whether the administration means to fund the churches that engage in these sorts of programmes (an obvious violation of the separation of church and state) or the charities themselves (in which case, where does religion come into it?). Either way I doubt the pagan community would benefit in the slightest from the plan.
Over here, Tony Blair has announced his plan for more 'faith based' schools. (As if we don't have enough already - we're still officially a christian country!) More schools are a good thing any way you look at it, but why 'faith based'? Will this affect the way we teach children in the same way as the churches may well affect how their charities are run?
I suggest you perform a little experiment by finding out whether or not two similar charities, one christian, one pagan, would get funding, by actually applying. That way, if there is religious discrimination, you immediately have a case against the measure.
It is impossible that Bush and his lot cannot have an ulterior motive for this type of funding, and it is inconceivable that they would not ask for something in return from a religion they do not endorse or recognise. This law is just a way of both funding the christian church and deferring responsibility for social help to another organisation.
Link to More info related to this post -- HERE
| The Joining Of Church And State... ||Jan 6th. at 9:40:27 am EST|
|Rowen Moonbath (PA) ||Age: 29 - Email |
is an extremely BAD idea. And this isn't just because I'm pagan. One of the main reasons we live in America today is the early settlers needed to escape the oppression of their many faiths. The first amendment gives us religious freedom. And even though, the Catholic Church has lost much of it's power, the new threat is the fundamental Christian organizations like the Christian Coalition which really backs Bush in the White House and close-minded idiots like Jerry Falwell and Billy Graham.
Basically, Federal Funding of Faith-based social service programs, I feel, could be the start of a chain of events that can lead to A LOT of problems. Do you really think a fundamental 'social service' program ran by someone with the beliefs like Jerry Falwall would help someone desperate in need if they were even suspected of being homosexual? Do you really want your tax dollars contributing to jerks like this? I sure don't. And I know that there are Faith-based organizations that do want to help all they can for the good of all as well as organizations that have no faith basis that also could use federal funding but are denied it. The gov't will give your tax dollars to whom they choose, they no longer represent the people for the good of all, but try to enforce what they think is good for the people.
So with this as my opinion, I really don't think pagans should take a piece of the gov't pie, it's a rotten piece with worms in it. (Pagans probably wouldn't even be offered a piece anyway.)
I still think we live in the best country in the world. But I also see a big threat to our personal freedoms and all in the name of 'Security'. Thanks for letting me get on my 'soapbox'. This is one issue that is really important to me and have tried writing my representatives regarding this issue, apparently I didn't badger them enough.
I hope you all have a great day. And Smile, I believe we'll get through this.
| Hmmmm.... ||Jan 6th. at 9:55:36 am EST|
|Tonayallicue (midwest usa) ||Age: 21 - Email |
as much as i agree that church and state should be completely separate, i think that if the current administration decides to fund religious/spiritually-based groups...which the decision itself is prolly totally out of our control as joe blow regular people...then they should have funds available for ALL sects and paths, not just christian and/or jewish. As much as we have the power to change the world, we don't have the ability to influence the partisan minds of those talking heads in congress. So essentially, we don't really have the power to change the world. But if there is one thing that we can change, it will be ourselves - we can grow stronger in our own paths without their money - we'll just leave the country and go somewhere where we can be appreciated i guess.
| Hmm... ||Jan 6th. at 10:19:22 am EST|
|Allison (USA) ||Age: 41 - Email |
"Should Pagans Apply For Federal Funds?"
I don't see why not, we are no different to any other religious organisation regarding that.
"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?"
Surely they should, long as it's not some coven that's run like a pay-to-pray church with the same greedy intentions. But in truth, I disagre with ANY government programmes to aid religious organisations. I favour heavy taxes be imposed on them instead. That'll weed out all the greed mongers.
What I think is a joke is that ANYONE can become a so-called "reverend" just by visiting the Universal Life Church site and filling out an online form. And then these same people really believe they are "reverends" and even have a cheek to use the title for a bigger ego boost. Just to see how much a joke it really is, my cat applied for "ordination as a reverend" and guess what, he is now REV.Lucky the Tonkinese. How about that? He can perform cat weddings now and also apply for free government money. LOL!!! I do not recognise these people as anything but gullible. And the problem is that the government does not bother to check into these things when dishing out the money. So what you have basically is too many bogus ULC "reverends" corrupting the system. What a joke.
"Do you think that an openly Pagan organization, all qualifications being met, would have a real chance at obtaining funding from the current administration?"
Of course they would - they'd have as good a chance as a Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim or Christian organisation. If it is a programme meant to fund christians only then it should say so clearly and if that WERE the case then the programme should not exist at all because it would be discriminatory.
"What about the separation of church and state issue?"
Only answer to this is to remove Bush by whatever means necessary because he is doing more to throw the two together than anyone in history. And in his arrogance has no regard for the non-Christians he offends by doing this. he assumes the whole nation is Christian, but then again, when the average 6th grader has an IQ higher than the president these things can be expected.
"Federal funds and tax money going to religious organizations in order to provide social programs: A good idea or not?"
NO, not a good idea. I really do not agree with religious organisations getting ANY free money or government assistance for ANY reason. I believe they should all be taxed heavily in fact because as it is now, there's far too much corruption and misappropriation of funds.
| Recognition Through Funding? ||Jan 6th. at 1:24:56 pm EST|
|The Sweeper (OK) ||Age: 48 - Email |
My first thought was yes.
However, then I began to consider the price.
There are of course the strings attached to every dollar.
There is the concern of eventual dependency on these funds.
There is the reality that many will eventually jump through smaller and smaller hoops to keep these funds.
Money is addictive, government money is extremely so.
Its addictive powers may very well pull some from there chosen path.
Today, when I help someone, I help them in a way I choose.
With government funding, will I one day only be able to help in the way the government chooses?
That doesn’t mean Pagans shouldn’t apply for these funds, they should, however once the government is forced through the court to recognize Pagan legitimacy, the money should be pushed away using a very long pole.
| Screw With Them... ||Jan 6th. at 3:36:27 pm EST|
|Neko (Texas) ||Age: 19 - Email |
Goverment funding to religious organizations seems like one of the stupidist moves from the current admin., it completely goes against seperation of church and state. But I say Pagans go for it, but as some one said earlier, don't become dependant on it...because as soon as the people in charge of passing out the money hear that Pagans want their share I have a feeling it will hit the fan. But that's a good thing in my opinion. Maybe they'll stop passing out money. The whole point of doing it in the first place was to get in good with the Christian community, I think.
| GO FOR IT!! ||Jan 6th. at 7:34:14 pm EST|
|ShadowSong, a.k.a. Nick Pearson (Stuart, FL) ||Age: 0 - Email |
i feel that pagans should definitely go for the funding. however, as a student of history and politics, i don't feel that this is anything more than a way to sway the views if constituents in a given area. this will, in effect, amount to an unfair representation of pagan citizens. nonetheless, funding is funding, and i know that a lot of pagan groups would be in need of and would appreciate the extra money. such money should be used responsibly, and should be supplemented; it is doubtful that it will amount to enough to sustain such an organization. despite much of this, i do not feel that this will yet violate the separation of church and state. instead, what it would probably do is to create a sense of harmony where there is now distrust. religious groups can begin to feel more at ease when dealing with the government. in the long run, the larger religious groups will most likely end up with a bias; this is not necessarily to be an intentional one. population alone will create a natural and acceptable bias, but it will be the action of politicians and religious leaders that will create an unfair "favouring" of the main religions in the US, namely sects of christianity. all in all, pagan groups that qualify should apply for financial aid, but should't anticipate too much finacially or politically in return.
ShadowSong, a.k.a. Nick Pearson
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