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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: 19,730,475  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

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 

Mm & Bb, The Thought Of The Federal Government Giing Tax-payer Funds To... Feb 2nd. at 10:46:14 am EST

Lew Stamper (Estill, South Carolina US) Age: 54 - Email

MM & BB,
The thought of the Federal Government giing tax-payer funds to any religious based organization is not a good one. It will promote a government sponsered religion. By its own standards it has already stated that it will fund "mainstream" Christian charitable organizations. While this has not been stated openly, it is being heavily hinted at. When George W. is, and has been, asked about his feelings towards the Pagan/Witch movements, he has been somewhat critical. Since he and his staffers are fundamentally of Christian traditions, we in the Pagan/Witch traditions will be pushed aside. We will be told that what we believe and practice does not count since we are not "recognized" charitable organizations.
No, this must not happen. If it does go through, then we must apply for some of those funds. Then if refused, we will have to file a class action suit in federal court to become "recognized".
Thanks for listening, Lew.

We Should Join Together And Let President Bush Know Who We Are... Feb 2nd. at 12:13:40 pm EST

Eodain (Denton, Texas US) Age: 37 - Email

We should join together and let President Bush know who we are and of the charity that ALL non-Christians are accomplishing.

It doesn't matter if this initiative is a "subtle plot" or if Bush really does
intend to promote Christianity at the expense of all other faiths. It doesn't matter if Pagans don't actually get any money from the Bush administration. This is our opportunity as Pagans to be recognized on a national level as people and organizations doing good for others rather than serving only ourselves.

Let it be known to the networked global village that Pagans ARE here to help, WITHOUT proselytizing, and it will test whether Bush can maintain his bipartisan and conciliatory image. How can he refuse us (pardon the pun) good faith?
Contact the media and make the world watch him!

As Both An Atheist And A Pagan (we'll Save The Explanation Of... Feb 2nd. at 12:14:14 pm EST

Secular Pagan (Minneapolis, Minnesota US) Age: 37 - Email

As both an Atheist and a Pagan (we'll save the explanation of THAT for another day!) I am doubly concerned about this hammer-blow to the wall of separation between church and state. If the Supreme Court Appointee to the Presidency wants to channel government funds into "more efficient" private charities, there are plenty of NON-SECTARIAN, SECULAR charities to choose from! And people of faith -- all faiths -- as well as people of no "faith" support these non-sectarian charities. I am deeply suspicious, as are many, that this is a not-so-veiled attempt to bring about the Religious Reich's vision of a Christian Nation. Be afraid, be angry, and take that energy and use it to resist this hostile takeover of what *was* a free and pluralistic nation.

I'm Not A Constitutional Lawyer, But I Don't Think It Goes To... Feb 2nd. at 12:28:02 pm EST

Columba (West Winfield, New York US) Age: 44 - Email

I'm not a constitutional lawyer, but I don't think it goes to "establish" a state religion if religious organizations social outreach programs are funded partially by the state--but a solid argument could be that it's the "thin edge of the wedge, " as my granpa would say.
However, if the office survives constitutional challenges (and there are some already in the works, I think pagan organizations MUST fight for some of those dollars, if we see our community work as valid. Pagan AA groups, education groups, etc., must be counted in the pool. The charges of a "takeover" by the regligious extremists on the conservative end of the idealogical platform will only be possible if we allow them the power, and money, to be the only voice in the chorus. If we claim our fair share, they will not be the defacto beneficiaries. And if we don't claim our share, we will have given them victory without their ever having to do a thing. That cannot be allowed. Better to lose a fight than to just roll over and let them stomp us.

We All Saw This Coming, Right? So We're Not Surprised That In... Feb 2nd. at 1:42:20 pm EST

Nelli (Carmel Valley, California US) Age: 24 - Email

We all saw this coming, right? So we're not surprised that in his first two weeks of office dubya has done his level best to knock back environmental progress by about 15 years, has hired (with the help of congress, of course) an alledged bigot and right wing fundamentalist to be the Secretary of State, and has designed a program that seems to be a very thinly veiled monetary homage to the religious elements that helped him into office. Still, there are a lot of things about this little initiative (or whatever it's called) that are unclear to me. Does it state unequivocally which groups are considered to be faith based? Would AA, for instance, count? And, of course, would various buddhist, hindu, pagan, etc. charity organizations count? Who, exactly, decides who gets money, and how much money does each group get? Would a little-known mormon or Jehovah's Witness homeless shelter get the same funding as an eminent Protestant program to help the homeless? Who decides what the term "faith-based" means? I have a deep faith in the principles and current theories of science, like quantum physics and whatnot; if I got a group of like-minded individuals together and started a substance abuse program, would I get funding from this program? (I know, yeah right!) And if not, why not? These are all questions we should be asking those people who are in the know about this initiative.
Of course, aside from all that, I think it's a blatant and apalling violation of the separation of church and state, and I'm opposed to it. I would not object to an office which granted government money to private charities upon request, REGARDLESS OF "FAITH" OR LACK THEREOF, so long as those charities had certain goals - substance abuse recovery, help for the homeless, literacy programs, etc.
On a personal note, I am distressed by the inference that to have "faith", one must have religion. I have faith in a great many things, including gravity, infinity, evolution, love and beauty. But I don't have a "religion". I am in the same camp with the 'secular pagan' who wrote in earlier. I have faith that people can help and heal each other; I have faith in the law of cause and effect; I have faith that people can help themselves without needing to believe in god or gods. Does that qualify me as "faith-based"? I don't know.
I don't think this is a conspiracy per se. I don't think dubya's smart enough to operate a consiracy. This is just what he does, how he lives, he does what he wants, and he gets what he wants. He wanted the presidency, and he got it. He wants to pander to mainstream religions, and he's not going to let something insignificant like the US constitution get in his way.
I hope we're all prepared for at least four more years of this, and for the decades of clean-up that we'll have to do afterwards.
Blessed be, and good luck to us all!! !

While I Agree That This Is A Horrible Step Towards Putting Christianity... Feb 2nd. at 2:51:03 pm EST

Caliana Moonstone (Castle Rock, Colorado US) Age: 22 - Email

While I agree that this is a horrible step towards putting Christianity at the head of our society, I do believe that we as a community need to unite behind our own charities to attempt to get this funding. Frankly, if we want to save this country from apathy we need to show the masses that the administration plans on placing it's own religion on top, to do that we need to prove a bias exists, simple. In addition we do suffer from a lack of organization and internal fights, ie. witch wars. We need to support each other regardless of ideological differences, that should be our true goal right now, because as a united but diverse front we will have the strengths of both traits. We need to fight for our rights and the education of the public, and not bicker over differences in belief or practice.

United we can overcome.

Love and Light

In The Past We Have Witnessed The Horror Of Theocracy. We See... Feb 2nd. at 3:53:29 pm EST

Quentin Bounds (St. Thomas, Pennsylvania US) Age: 23 - Email

In the past we have witnessed the horror of theocracy. We see it even today in the "Fundamentalist" nations of the world. The radical scale of genocide for fundamentalists range from the modern exploits of Hitler (a fundamentalist of state) all the way back to the genocidal wars of the biblical Middle-East (involving theocratic fundamentalists). Remember the Crusades? All these things should stir in the mind when we enter in to thought on Gods and government.
It also seems that limitations have a way of changing over time, sliding down the fallicious "slippery slope" to one side of the issue or the other, as is demonstarted by the firearms problems our nation is embroiled in as we speak. The problem derives from the question of where we draw the line and how it is that we can hold that line at that point? In the history of the United States, the only "bans" or limitations that have been effective even in part have been those that are total and only involve those things which have never been a formative part of the culture. Once we have begun to deregulate certain activities, we find that the Pandora's box we open cannot be closed again, for the spirits we unleashed grow in number and strength. Like the prohibitionists discovered in the early twentieth century, good intentions can not erase culturally integrated concepts and practices. The price for that mistake was paid in blood as well as dollars. Savatsyana I believe said that those whose history is forgotten to them will relive it. Can we afford the price of a failed experiment at this critical time in our national history? Haven't we sullied the prestige of our Nation enough with scandal that we should feel the need to violate even the charter on which our nation was founded?
This indirect endorsement, then, of religion by government is likely to be one that we can not revert from once the course has been set. The emotion with which the issue is charged by is a thousand times greater than that of the firearms issue. It is a conundrum which enjoins all of the people, be they Jew, Pagan, Christian, or even Atheist. It is likely that once we step down this road, we can not go back without suffering the same wars and trials that our Brothers and Sisters have endured for generations in Yugoslavia, Ireland, and the Middle-East.
This having been said, it is a matter of grave consideration that stands before us; Do we taint the already imperfect purity of our spirituality with the fruits of often misguided politicians? Can we bear the new and additional burdens of scrutiny of our private lives will undergo? And if the proposition proves to favour the stronger religious factions too heavily, can we disentangle the Church and the State. If so, at what cost?
I am for all peoples of positive Faith, but I can not belie the principles of my national heritage when so much is at stake.

Politics Generates Personal Opinion: Here Is Mine! And I Find I... Feb 2nd. at 5:55:23 pm EST

Tree (Atlanga, Georgia US) Age: 55 - Email

Politics generates personal opinion: here is mine! And I find I am in agreement with a spokesperson for the Texas Southern Baptist Convention who, on NPR, stated that they did not want their tax dollars to go to religous groups with whom they did not agree. Since I don't agree with Southern Baptists (I find their fear-based religion nauseating and their denigration of women intolerable) I certainly don't want my tax dollars supporting their initiatives... no matter how benign. Money taken from government hand-outs just frees up money for religious activities.
But, herein lies the challenge: The Republican administration _IS_ going to remove federal money from social programs. They campaigned on this issue and I believe them when they say they will follow through. So all of us... Pagan, Jew, Muslim, Xtian, etc... need to see what we can do to plug the holes.
Bright blessings,
Tree in Atlanta

I Personaly Think He's An Idiot For Putting The Words "government Funding... Feb 2nd. at 11:49:51 pm EST

Elffire (Carrollton, Texas US) Age: 14 - Email

I personaly think he's an idiot for putting the words "government funding" and "religion" in the same phrase. All I've got to say is that I would have voted with the majority, for Gore. I think Bush should also keep in mind that more than 1/2 of America doesn't want him there. At least hes out of Texas now may be we can fix somthings up.

I Think That The Separation Of Church And State Is Fundamental To... Feb 3rd. at 3:53:11 am EST

Big John (Old Bridge, New Jersey US) Age: 40

I think that the separation of church and state is fundamental to preserving personal freedom in the United States. It's hard to believe that a man who has sworn to defend the constitution only a few days ago would make such a statement. If the issue is to fund religious groups to do social work why not give the American tax payers the choice in selecting which religious groups get their tax money? This could be accomplished by making a selection on the income tax forms just as we currently make a selection whether or not to contribute to a persidential campaign fund. Of course, this would give all recognized religions an equal share - something I doubt George Bush or the christian right would want to see. I believe George Bush made the statement to send a message that the current administration works hand in hand with the christian right. Furthering christian ideals using taxpayer dollars just proves that we all need to keep an eye on his spending policies in the future. Fortunately, I think enough Americans will take issue with this idea that the courts will put a stop to it - just as they did with internet censorship in years past.

Bright Blessings,

I'm Personally Disgusted With What Bush Has Been Doing As Of Late... Feb 3rd. at 1:03:43 pm EST

HappyLittleMoron (Wyoming, Minnesota US) Age: 21 - Email

I'm personally disgusted with what Bush has been doing as of late. If he's going to try to give to charities, why not give to all of them? Faith and non-faith based? And in faith, i don't mean just christian, but ALL faith, though I doubt that will happen. This is one time i'm following polotics as closely as I can, because it seems that all of our fundamental rights are being threatened by a bigot illegally put in office. I say, if you're going to give taxdollars to charities, give an equal amount to all charaties. After all, isn't everyone "created equal" in this country?

What I Find Really Scary, Is That It Seems Like Alot Of... Feb 3rd. at 5:03:41 pm EST

Kathy (Ann Arbor, Michigan US) Age: 22

What I find really scary, is that it seems like alot of americans think its a good idea.

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