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Posted: Nov. 17, 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
| Step Out Of The Shadows ||Jan 9th. at 1:16:20 am UTC|
|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.
| Absolutely Not! ||Jan 8th. at 9:10:59 pm UTC|
|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.
| On The Pipe ||Jan 8th. at 8:31:21 pm UTC|
|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.
| This Was How It Was Slowly Explained To Me.. ||Jan 8th. at 8:03:36 pm UTC|
|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~~
| If We Can ||Jan 8th. at 6:30:32 pm UTC|
|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.
| NO ||Jan 8th. at 5:45:59 pm UTC|
|Carla (Florida) ||Age: 27 - Email |
I don't think that it would be wise. People aren't anymore open to the idea than they used to be. They just hide their hatred for us better.
| Make Y'r Presence Shown! ||Jan 8th. at 2:45:17 pm UTC|
|Operanut (Austin Texas) ||Age: 70 - Email - Web|
Roust the "demons" of the past with a robust ethical presence. Pagan compassion recommends itself to good works. Take the money and use it for good with no "expenses" taken out.
| We Must Become Visable ||Jan 8th. at 9:22:51 am UTC|
|V. (Madison, WI) ||Age: 24 - Email |
I think it is very important that Wiccans, Pagans, etc., become more outspoken, and do so very soon. Each time you explain what we are to someone who does not know, you have removed the veil of ignorance from their eyes, and they are forever changed. We are good people. Let people know we are pagan that they may associate our goodness and our good deeds with our religions. Do not hide. Do not be ashamed. Just be calm and clear and non-offended, even when you are clearing up the same misconception for the millionth time. Just speak up. Be brave! Once we are recognized as a force for good, old conceptions of us will change. I am very open with my religious beliefs, and I have some strictly Christian friends. But they like me. Some of them love me! And they know I am Wiccan. I have told them. They know me, they know I am good, and so through me they are getting a picture of what Wicca is and what Wicca can be. As far as this faith-based initiative, once you, as a Pagan group, are running a shelter, soup kitchen, etc...once you are established and open and out there in the communities doing good work, go ahead and ask for money. If they deny you, find a lawyer who will help. This could all blow up in Bushie's face...imagine, Pagans come out of the woodwork, stand up for themselves and the other mistreated segments of society, change the world for the better, and then are denyed federal funds??? What news that will make! What publicity! What a chance for Paganism and Wicca to throw themselves in the faces of the majority and say, "Hey! We are doing everything you have asked of us as good American citizens...yet you discriminate against us. Who is the evil one now?"
| To See What We Shall See... ||Jan 8th. at 1:12:37 am UTC|
|Glass (Beloit, WI) ||Age: 19 - Email |
I agree with much of what has been said already in other's posts. I believe that, if any group needs these funds, then they should be encouraged to apply. I believe that all faiths, Witches and Pagans included, should be equally eligible and equally likely to receive these funds based solely on their need for them.
However, I also believe that Witches and Pagans would be at a disadvantage when applying for these funds because of the negative images, stereotypes, and ideas often associated with our diverse faith. This saddens me, but it also makes me bold. I say that someone with need and a legitimate cause should apply for them, if for no other reason than to see the reaction.
This may sound rather juvenile, but I still have some hope, even for our current administration, and I believe that the attempt should be made if the need exists. There is no reason not to try. Yes, records would have to be opened to inspections, if need be, but what have we to hide?
I think the availability of these funds could lead to great opportunities, depending on how open our minds are to the possibilities, how well informed we are of what we are doing, and how willing the world is to let us be who we are. A lot of "what if" type considerations, but I just can't shake of my darned hope for great things.
| Do We Need It??? ||Jan 7th. at 8:48:23 pm UTC|
|AthalaReika (Oregon USA) ||Age: 16 - Email |
My answer to this question is another question, do we need federal assitance?? How badly does your coven need money? And how many of you are solitaries? I think that if a coven is big enough to need Federal Assitance then they should apply for it, but only if its needed. I dont like the thought of mixing church and state!
| 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.
| 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.
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