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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 20,002,596  

Vox Q Stats

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Reponses: 87

Lurker/Post Ratio: 376 to 1

Question of the Week: 26 - 1/29/2001

What Do You Think About Bush's 'Faith-Based' Initiative Plan?

Pres. George Bush says that he will push a 'faith-based' social program this coming week that he hopes will grant federal money (taxpayer dollars) to fund religious groups doing social work. Does this plan violate the separation of church and state? If those federal bucks become available should Pagan religious groups make a grab for them, too? Or is this proposed religious feeding frenzy for secular federal money really a subtle plot to further bolster the Christian Radical Right's power to proselytize to the masses and, as Americans United believes, further erode the church-state wall?

 Reponses:   There are 87 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

This Is The Thin Edge Of The Wedge, The Trojan Horse For... Jan 31st. at 4:00:51 pm EST

Raindancer (Christchurch, New Zealand) Age: 52 - Email

This is the thin edge of the wedge, the Trojan Horse for the Religious Right. Nobody is going to oppose helping people, and then we will have state subsidized churches. How much will go to people and how much to the churches coffers for propaganda purposes? How much to pay fat salaries to church leaders? More importantly, where do they go after they win this battle?

Political pressure should be applied to those who vote on this to vote no when it comes up, or at the very least, build in airtight safeguards to ensure that the money only be used fairly to assist those in need. The last thing we should do, is give them a blank check and trust them to act responsibly. We know, or should know what their track record is on that.

It would be unreasonable to expect that they won't throw a little bible in the soup, but it seems reasonable to me that it be stipulated that joining the church not be a prerequisite to receive help. The United States is still a democracy, every effort needs to be made to ensure that it remains so. Hit those politicians where it hurts, in their campaigns for re-election.
Blessings and Good Luck Raindancer

I Think The Religious Reich Will Do Anything It Can To Gain... Jan 31st. at 7:44:44 pm EST

Valerian (Seattle, Washington US) Age: 32

I think the Religious Reich will do anything it can to gain a firm foothold in the U.S. Government. Give them an inch...and it's back to religious persecution.

Bush's Agenda Is To Outlaw All Religions Other Than Christianity And To... Jan 31st. at 8:11:39 pm EST

Freaky Ferret (southern Louisiana, Louisiana US) Age: 28

Bush's agenda is to outlaw all religions other than Christianity and to actively enforce the laws against homosexuality. Keep in mind there are several laws in almost all states which outlaw the act of homosexuality (sex). Many states have laws which outright forbid the existence of homosexual establishments (bars). People who go to the bars can be arrested (and used to be, that's what Stonewall was all about!). All Bush has to do is (public) state he wants all law enforcement agencies to focus more on enforcing these laws. He doesn't even need to pass new legislation.

All the famous dictators started out with great popular support due to promises of decreased taxes and increased employment. The silver coin blinded so many it was so shiny. Immediately the tyrants put a few, small, subtle social programs into effect. Some people rejoiced, some cried at their dinner tables. Then the next not so subtle phase began -- the outlawing of "unfavorable" activities. Finally the illegalization and exportation (or worse) of certain "undesirable" people. They all started with a small step.

You all fear Bush won't outlaw our way(s) of life. You all hope nothing will really happen. Most of you don't believe there is anything to be afraid of cause nothing will happen. "Paranoia" is what you screamed at those of us who spoke of this last year. This "Faith Based" Initiative is Bush's first small step.

Merry Meet Re: The Presidents Recently Proposed "faith Based" Social Programs: I... Jan 31st. at 10:03:11 pm EST

Stardanceres (Burlington, North Carolina US) Age: 0 - Email

Merry Meet
Re: The Presidents Recently proposed "Faith Based" social programs:
I must say that I am greatly concerned about the prospect of this erosion of the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state This issue should be of great concern to all those that will not be embraced by the religious "Reicht". We need only look back in history, (and because we have all been around many times, THINK back in history)to understand the danger of mixing church and state. Anyone that lives in the "bible belt" has full knowlege of the power and reach of the christian fundamentalist movement. The intollerance is stagering to behold. You must believe exactly as they do, or you are at best looked down upon, and that goes for Catholics and people who believe in Judaism, Islam and so forth. We are (at best)looked on as not a true religion, and at worst, monsters, who worship their universal bad guy satan, and commit unspeakable acts. The gains made by the Pagan community will erode, and faith based programs, which erode the wall between church and state, is the first step. Next, our Pagan sisters and brothers in the military will lose their right to worship. I for one, DO NOT wish my tax money to be given to the religious "Reicht" to proseltyze, and convert. Can you imagine that Wiccans would receive a warm welcome or even tollerance if requesting federal funds? Never Again the Burning Times? Back in the broom closet gang.
Blessed Be Well,
Stardanceres, Hps.

It Is Against The Constitution To Give Federal Tax Dollars To Religious... Feb 1st. at 1:59:46 am EST

Zoe (Santa Cruz, California US) Age: 19

It is against the Constitution to give federal tax dollars to religious groups. Bush has said that he doesn't consider Wicca to be a real religion, and he wants the military to revoke its recognition of Wicca. There is no way that a committee he appoints will even consider giving money to Wiccans. I'll be surprised if they give it to Muslims or Hindus. Along with his reinstatement of the gag rule, this looks like the beginning of an effort to impose the religious right's agenda on the US and everyone it affects.

I Think This Is A "party" Idea, Not A Bush Idea. From... Feb 1st. at 3:59:23 am EST

Gaia Tepse (Columbus, Ohio US) Age: 21 - Email

I think this is a "Party" Idea, not a Bush Idea. From what I've seen, it seems that Republicans milk Christians for campaign money, or the Christitans just give it to the Republicans who seem to want to make the Christian Bible into law, but slowly as to not get caught under church and state seperation. I think its just a way to try to get more campaign contributions for their party. On the larger issue, I agree with George Washington who was opposed to Party Politics. There has not yet been one party that has ever represented anywhere near most of what I believe in.

Well To Be Honest, Many Religous Charities Do Very Good Work, Good... Feb 1st. at 5:10:27 am EST

Michael (Dublin, European Union, Ireland) Age: 23 - Email

Well to be honest, many religous charities do very good work, good works are a basic foundation of the Christian faith. And I do believe that they should be supported in their work as long as they themselves do not discriminate as to who they help.
It is indeed understandable that they might wish to convert others by the "lead by example" method.
Sadly, some aspects of Christianity use these good deeds as a vehicle of increasing their influence via the "hard sell" tactics of the fundamentalist.
I would not be against the "support"of genuine religous social aid groups, but if it becomes enshrined in legislation it lies open to abuse.

Mr Bush is mearly fishing for support, I'm not even sure if he is serious about the legislation being passed. I think this is his little "thank you" to the Christian pressure groups who supported him.

Another important issue is that this would be unconstitutional under US law, so the chances of this law being passed are at best meagre.
There should be no reason why the Churches should be putting such pressue on the US government for more power, in the United Kingdom the Queen is officially also the head of the Anglican Church, and the House of Lords (comparable to your senate) contains many Spiritual Lords as well as Temporal Lords, yet Britain remains a very tolerant society with regard to spirituality, in fact it is the birthplace of modern paganism/ witchcraft.

I somehow think that were the US to adopt a similar form of government these powers would be recklessly abused by the unscrupulous, so in conclusion, it is far wiser not to pass this legislation.

Bush's Plans Are Not Only Frightening, They Are Illeagal. Too Many People... Feb 1st. at 9:35:19 am EST

Ivyvigne (Old Town, Maine US) Age: 19 - Email

Bush's plans are not only frightening, they are illeagal. Too many people from pagans to gays to ethnic groups have faught too hard for too long to have all their efforts destroyed by the our newly elected president. It has only been within the last ten years that those of us of the minority have started leaving our closets behind and working towards acceptance or even tolerance, by mainstream America. This country was founded on a hope of religious freedom and the rights of the people. Now it seams we may become the very thing many of our ancestors fled europe to escape. The new president who was elected, not by the vote of the people, but by the vote of the politicians, appears to be nothing more than monarchy or or dictaor. The further we as a country progress into the future the more we find ourselves in the past. Once again it is the wealthy white male of political inclunce who get to make the rules and gets away with igoring what would be the voice of the people. In Bush's less than an week in office he is already testing his power over the constitution of the United States. Does it really surpise anyone that his enoguration has the most protesters since Nixon?

My Sense In All Of This Is That While I Cringe At... Feb 1st. at 12:57:01 pm EST

Mary Yankee (Deep River, Connecticut US) Age: 40 - Email

My sense in all of this is that while I cringe at the thought of my taxes being used to push religion on the vulnerable, it feels like a great opportunity for the "outsider religions" (such as Wicca) to gain more ground in being accepted by society. Since it appears the fundamental christianity is going to be making great gains in controling policy in our government, we need every tool at our disposal to bring that extremism into balance. I fear however, that most Pagan proposals will be passed over in favor of more mainstream religions, and if the attitude of the christians who regularly visit my pagan chatroom to proselytize is any indication, there is alot of fear and misconception (one hesitates to call it outright ignorance) that will take a great deal of education to overcome! We of Pagan/Wiccan traditions need to resolve our own in-fighting and stand unified for our basic right to exist, or I fear we may face a backlash that while may not include witch-burning (yet), may certainly make it more difficult for us to practice our traditions openly! And who among us has NOT experienced the fear that we might lose our livlihoods, housing, friends and family, even our CHILDREN if our religious leanings came to light? I think perhaps instead of fighting AGAINST the flow of energy that has taken over our government, our covens and solitaries should be invoking the Light of the One into it...with such power, love and magick that we command, who's to say that we won't be able to put that river back on a course that will help the planet, humanity AND ourselves? I've seen what a SMALL group of people can do when the highest thought and greatest good is their aim. The vision of what ALL Pagans/Wiccans banded together could takes my breath away!

Are We Frogs? Sitting In The Pot Of Water While The Fire... Feb 1st. at 4:25:26 pm EST

Kari C. Tauring (Minneapolis, Minnesota US) Age: 36 - Email

Are we frogs? Sitting in the pot of water while the fire goes up, so slowly. 80 degrees in the 80's, 90's, hotter and hotter...Bush turned up the heat on our little melting pot and we're almost at the boil. Are you going to jump out? Or has complacency set in and you haven't noticed you are about to melt into the form of other's choosing?

Thanks for the heat, Bush et al, I'm jumping...

Let's put our money where OUR faith is. Donate your money to Planned Parenthood, Public Schools, Rape and Assault Centers, Environmental Groups, anywhere YOU believe your money should go. Pre-tax dollars can be spent and donations can be tax deductible. Let's all jump together and see how the Earth shakes when we do.

Blessings All - I Have Read All Of Your Posted Opinions And For... Feb 1st. at 5:17:02 pm EST

Alexandria (Midlothian, Virginia US) Age: 26 - Email

Blessings all - I have read all of your posted opinions and for a religion who is sometimes divided in our own differences much as the same way a Baptist differs from a Catholic, we are united in one cause. That the wall of the Constitutional separation of church and state is beginning to crumble before our eyes. United in this cause will help to bring us much power. How should we deal with this problem?

I propose that all of us, for the sake of ourselves, our family, and our children, unite to support our local initiatives. Build support centers. Community centers for all with such programs as child care, drug rehabilitation, family counseling, and family planning. There are several already begun by some of our brave and noble brothers and sisters. These centers are the key. If we are going to survive, we have to work together. These centers will prove what we already know and bring it to light in the public eye. That is the power we can harness. We can't change the government, but we can change how we react. I just moved to Virginia from Alabama. The prospect of being able to boldly wear my pentacle outside my clothing was a joyous one. Please help me to keep that freedom.

The Separation Of Church And State Refers Simply To The Fact That... Feb 1st. at 7:15:29 pm EST

Beige Allen (Phoenix, Arizona US) Age: 32 - Email

The separation of church and state refers simply to the fact that the government cannot favor one religion over another, but this does not prevent the government from assisting religious organizations that do social work that benefits not only their members but non members as well. The fact that many organizations are trying to convert those they assist to their "brand" of faith is not a secret, it only shows good sense on their part, and as long as such conversion is not a requirement for receiving assistance, there is really no harm in it.

Why then are pagans inflamed over this issue? Could it be because there is a far greater number of Christian sponsored charities in the United States than Pagan sponsored charities? Possibly. Is this the result of some grand persecution scheme on the part of the Christians? No. Should Pagan groups "make a grab" for these offered monies? That implies they do not deserve them and if they do not, then they should not. However, if a Pagan group runs a social service organization, and they really need some of those federal monies to continue their work, then they should by all means apply for them and be granted them.

Howevr, this issue is bound to be clouded with the endless sea of Christian vs Pagan propaganda that many people on both sides feel justified in passing along as fact. Though many would think that the greater number of Christian sponsored charities signifies some great Anti-Pagan conspiracy, I have a different opinion.

I have been building two companion groups for Pagan assistance, one is an online information center that attempts to present an wealth of information about the myriad of "pagan" paths, the other is a Pagan sponsored charity. In the creation of that charity I have encountered great resistance, not from the Christian community, but from the Pagan community. I find it sad that had I been offering free spellbooks I would have gotten a better response but it seems that the same people who will pay overinflated prices for books, ritual supplies and garments often are very resistant to the idea of spending a little of their time assisting a fellow pagan. There are far too many in our Pagan community that see disorganization as our greatest strength when in fact, it is our greatest weakness. What is worse is that it is a weakness we choose, not one that is thrust upon us. The Christians are not our enemy anymore, we have become our own worst enemy. Many of us have fogotten that walking the path and talking about the path are not the same thing and to effect the changes we hope for (no matter what those changes may be) takes more than just discussions and protests. To effect those changes takes hard work and a devotion to more than our own personal interests; two things that are in very short supply no matter what path you walk.

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