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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
| NO ||Jan 8th. at 5:45:59 pm EST|
|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 EST|
|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 EST|
|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 EST|
|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 EST|
|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 EST|
|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 EST|
|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.
| Would You Want The Government To Dictate Us? ||Jan 7th. at 3:59:17 pm EST|
|foreverknightfan (Dardanelle, Arkansas) ||Age: 39 - Email |
While it seems like a good idea to have federal funds so some of our Pagan groups can actually DO the good work that we wish we can do, I see a few problems.
Assuming that we COULD get federal funds, anyone want the Government ( a really bureaucratic, mire filled process) to DICTATE what we do and do not do or risk losing the funds?
Then there's the matter of privacy. You accept federal funds your records could be open for public scrutinty. Let's say, for example, that you run a battered women's shelter. An abuser with a lawyer and a judge in his pocket could legally force you to give up the location of his spouse.
I do wish that more Neopagan groups did have open charitable organizations, but like restrictiong our freedoms in the name of "home security", the idea sounds good on the surface but is one tar baby of you get sucked into the whole mess.
| Do We Want It! ||Jan 7th. at 3:22:46 pm EST|
|Jade (canada) ||Age: 16 - Email |
I am Canadian, but I feel that this is a very important question. Wicca has recently been recognized as a religion in the US, but I don't believe that the gouvern,emt is ready for such a request. Most people view Wicca as a satanic (according to stereotypes) based religion, and they would laugh in your face. They would think it was a joke. By law, you should have the right to ask for the money, but do we want it? Right now, Wicca is still in the Broom Closet, and nobody really knows what it's about unless you follow the Wiccan path. In my city, you would be thought to be a threatening person if you openly admitted to being a witch. But...if other religions are allowed this money, then we should ask for it to. what do we have to loose?
| As Most Others... ||Jan 7th. at 1:59:47 pm EST|
|Lunae (rural St. Louis, MO) ||Age: 31 - Email |
I'm against the faith-based, government-funding scheme. I believe 100% in separation of church and state.
There IS a correlation in this separation and the greater freedoms enjoyed by members of a society. It's not just for individuals, it aids groups too whether that's political, religious, or other.
Since this is going to be the way of it, I see nothing wrong with a Pagan based charitable organization applying. Mr. Bush has already commented (when he was running for office) that he doesn't see Wicca as a religion. I'm not Wiccan, I'm Pagan but I see organized, chartered groups of people who form a "church" as Religious Groups. He doesn't. This is enough to tell me the government will not allow Pagan based organizations matching funds.
I think it's sad that we aren't recognized as the honorable people we are. I think intolerance can never be "okay." This is where we live. We must continue to strive to let others know WE DO GOOD WORKS and especially COLLECTIVELY. This of it as a Pagan "Love" P.A.C.
| Confusion ||Jan 7th. at 3:15:24 am EST|
|Stella (Pasadena, CA) ||Age: 24 - Email |
OK, I know I already posted, but I am a little confused. I am totally against this program, for previously stated reaons, but it seems like my understanding of what it is differs from is being talked about here. The focus of this program is religious based charity organizations, not religious groups, isn't it? For example I used to volunteer at a restaurant that was run by a Lutheran church. It gave the profits and tips from the restaurant to hunger related charities. While the restaurant itself gave no signs of any religous affiliation, it was technically a faith-based organization. The church itself, without the charitable program, would not be eligble, would it?
That said, it seems like a program which could be easily abused and unfairly applied.
| Political Payback ||Jan 7th. at 1:17:01 am EST|
|Silver (Ft Worth, Texas) ||Age: 41 - Email |
This bit about taking out tax money to subsidise certain cults is political payback for the
fundies and ilk those who support the Republican party.
Rest assured that amy Pagan group, no matter how established and "qualified" by guidelines will NOT receive one cent. There will be controversies, and this court-appointed administration tends to go by their own rules. Note the coming war on Iraq. John Ashcroft first made a name for himself by helping the state of Missouri get around civil rights legislation.
We must resist this "faith-based" program for the cynical political pay back scam that it is.
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