The opinions posted on the Pagan Perspective pages are those of individuals and are not neccessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
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
| If We Can ||Jan 8th. at 6:30:32 pm EST|
|Tai Estes (Jonesboro Arkansas) ||Age: 25 - Email |
I think it would be an idea worth pursuing. If we did so maybe we could work towards ending some fo the confusion about us that a lot of people still have. This would also give us a base for helping members of our community who have problems they can not handle alone.
The difficulty is that the President and many of his advisors have already said that Wicca was not a valid religion. The president made this statement shortly after he became the pres.I also believe I heard a similar statement made prior to his election but it was buried as a back page news blip.
The main violation of church and state would be only against those who did not get funding. Everyone should get funding, including the Atheists and the Agnostics. If anyone applies and gets rejected AFTER proving they are a charitable organization, then the court would either have to allow all or they will have to through it out as unconstitutional. I think eventually it will be rules as unconstitutional myself.
Its not a good idea, but it goes on anyways. I'd be glad to explain in an e-mail.
| This Was How It Was Slowly Explained To Me.. ||Jan 8th. at 8:03:36 pm EST|
|bearmother (ks) ||Age: 32 - Email |
republicans want to bypass social/welfare bureaucracy cuz they feel that more money is lost in the red tape before it reaches those needing it. if a faith based org proves that they can serve a community need better than xzy gov agency, then they would have the opp to receive federal funding, with NO strings attached. Dubya may not think that Wicca is a religion, but the neccesity of service is more important and i'm sure if someone were so inclined to 'make a difference' with this option, they could start with one of the Unitarian Universalist Churches/ Fellowships for an established affiliation. i was under the impression that ANY faith based org could apply for the annual lump grant and the IRS still had no business in the social works of those with 501(c)(3) tax exemption status. as to the question of seperation of church and state, at BEST, i feel that this was a benign attempt for big government to better serve a community's needs by helping those IN the community serve. so what if the fundies were there before anyone had heard of the faith based initiative, it still benefits someone needing help. ~~love and light~~
| On The Pipe ||Jan 8th. at 8:31:21 pm EST|
|Doken (US) ||Age: 24 - Email |
Pagans are 'on the pipe' if they actually think that they will get a piece of this pie. I really think its NOT about discrimiation due our spiritual choice. We (as a community and MOST individuals) are just too self-centered and self-serving. to have ANY of the community services that mainstream religions do. We could, but we don't.
We sure can apply but we better have that soup kitchen, rehab facility or homeless shelter. Until then we need to get real.
Personally, I hate what this is doing to erode the wall between church and state and see it as yet another payback to the religious right.
I say TAX the churches (even the Pagan Churches) and keep them free of ANY ties with the US Gov.
| Absolutely Not! ||Jan 8th. at 9:10:59 pm EST|
|Starlight Bunnybutt (FL, USA) ||Age: 26 - Email |
The biggest problem with any institution that recieves federal funding is that the goverment has the right then to mandate how that institution runs it business. Lets assume we've got a Wiccan charity here (for my convenience).
The government approves your request for federal money for your program that helps homeless people find jobs and housing. Under the new regulations your charity cannot openly prosetylize, but thats ok because you never did before anyway. Any religious symbols you had up have to be taken down, no biggie, you didn't have any.
Later on, you notice things that start happening. Restrictions the government starts putting on your regular worship practices because they don't meet new government safety mandates. No more skyclad rituals, no knives allowed, and since its your church that recieves the money your church is whay they can regulate. No more wine at the altar, if your covenstead has a kitchen, the health inspectors get to come in and mandate how you cook in it.
We, the second least liked religious groups in America, don't want the government regulating how we worship. Nevermind that there are precious few Pagan charities and they could all use some help to get going, we don't want the government telling us how to call on our gods.
| Step Out Of The Shadows ||Jan 9th. at 1:16:20 am EST|
|delia (san francisco) ||Age: 26 - Email |
clearly a lot of issues here. i'll say first that i support the separation of "church" and state. the idea that concerns me is people who identify as pagan being wary of being open about that. i agree that the time has come where it is not only safe for us to be visible, but imperative that we do so. the values that most pagans espouse (sweeping generalization coming)include freedom of expression, of individuality, of the sacredness of all life- values that are very threatened in this political climate. possibly there are many ways that we can have a political presence without applying for federal funds; however, perhaps an overt denial of the validity of paganism as a religion via a denial of federal funds would have the same effect on the administration as sen. lott's overt admission of racism: forcing it to take an inclusive stance.
| What Are We Becoming? ||Jan 9th. at 3:22:21 pm EST|
|Bear (WVa) ||Age: 36 - Email |
I'm lost. Are "we" trying to gain "church" status? Or a recognized Religion? I personally do not trust this "government" no matter who sits in the Oval office. If your desire is to help those in need, by (almost) all means, do so. I feel it would be much better to do so if that support came from the community. Every time a group gets money from Big Uncle Brother Sam, taxes are raised. It has to come from somewhere. The domino effect is endless. Those just barely getting by now have to get help from welfare. Trust in the path that was laid ahead of us. We have come this far without Government assistance, why give in now? Let us not give into the easy way and allow "them" to have power over us.
| Go For It !! ||Jan 9th. at 4:40:43 pm EST|
|Danielle (California / USA) ||Age: 28 - Email |
I certainly Believe that if all requirments have been met, a Paganism orgainization should be
treated as any other organization... Yes.. Go for that peice of pie!!!Social programs,.. well we certainly need them.. Mainly for the young kids and teens in the world .. Who need a deeper guidance than they seem to be recieving.. If You can make a difference like the local churches then why not.. Go for it!!!
| Of Course! ||Jan 9th. at 5:06:14 pm EST|
|Vespertia (virginia) ||Age: 46 - Email |
I think there is no doublt that a Pagan organization can get federal funding. Beware that if your "cause" is receiving federal funding you are subject too, and held hostage by, federal and state regulations.
| Yesandnoandyesandno... ||Jan 9th. at 5:18:05 pm EST|
|Alice (TX) ||Age: 47 - Email |
O.k. if we are going to be mixing church and state here, then we ought to be
mixing all churches with the state or we are in danger of having only one
church and state mingle to become a sturch. I agree with whoever it was who
pointed out that this could lead to governmental control of religion. It has
allways been true that the one with all the gold makes all the rules,
especially in religious situations. But, if we don't participate, we can't
be in the golden palace keeping an ear to the ground and bribing the
janitorial staff to get information.
However, this could present a problem with groups that have folks who must remain in
the broom closet if federal grant recipients were required to disclose the
names of members. It could also be a ruse to corral and identify folks who's
beliefs were unpopular with the power structure.
But I also can't help but think that we are as entitled to federal funds to
build our schools, stock our food banks and maintain our charitable works as
the religious traditions that brought about the Crusades and the Inquisition.
No easy answer here.
| Keep The Fed. Gov. Out Of Our Spiritual Lives ||Jan 9th. at 7:19:02 pm EST|
|Laura LaRochelle (Plymouth MA) ||Age: 41 - Email |
As much as I would like to see more ligitimization of pagan groups, i think getting financially dependant on the federal government is not the way to go. No large business, and the government is basically a business, ever gives anything for nothing. Not to sound paranoid, but i forsee all sorts of concessions being made once pagan organizations become dependant upon the government's money. It is very difficult to not be able to help people when that is one's life's work, and to put principle before moneys to help others is a very difficult and often heartbreaking thing. Better to not become dependant at all. Fewer people may be helped initially, but more resourcefulness may eventually be the result. What we pagans need is to be strong and to stick to our principles and to always help others. We are so much greater than the sum of our parts.
| Why Not? ||Jan 10th. at 12:09:00 am EST|
|MajikThunder (Glendale, AZ) ||Age: 34 - Email |
If it is there for the asking, and your group/organization can meet the requirements for getting the funding; why not apply? Everyone who pays taxes, Christian and Pagan alike are creating this fund, why shouldn't Pagan and Christian alike be elligible to get the funds? Why overlook the possibility that the Goddess has made this opportunity available? I say go for it. There is not a community in this country that could not benefit from another homeless shelter, battered women's shleter, reasonably priced day care center, or crisis nursery. It should not matter who is running/sponsoring/organizing the operation. What should matter is that a group/organization cares enough about the community they live in to try and make a difference in the lives of the people they share it with. So, get your group together; find out what you want to do, and make it a reality. This can be a win/win situatiuon.
| To Be Or Not To Be ||Jan 10th. at 2:00:11 am EST|
|Rowan (Deep South) ||Age: 37 - Email |
I don't think the question is can we but should we. Putting ourselves "in the mix" so to speak may not be a great idea after all. Like someone else has already said, we would be subject to Federal or whatever regulations, there is always a catch 22. Putting ourselves out there with other "religions", in my opinion, cheapens us. We are so much more. I don't know what I would do if this belief/way of life were not available to me. Visions of Orwell's "1984" come to mind almost immediately. Can we trust the government? In my mind, the less we have to do with them, the less attention they pay to us. More attention isn't necessarily a good thing when it comes to the Feds. I don't mean to sound conspiracy minded but I think we can look at history and take a lesson. We have a wonderful network of caring people who aren't in it for the money, there is no money to be had! If there were money to be had, insincere people would take over and ruin a good thing. Pagans would have an even worse reputation in the eyes of the general populace than we do now because of the people who would take advantage. I think the secret to success is staying low key. The people that want this, that need this, will find it without the government's help. I think that is how we are meant to find it, by searching it out for ourselves. I certainly wouldn't think much of the message if a TV preacher were belting it out and let's face it, the only reason they do it is for the money they can get from the government.
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