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: 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.
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| We Pay The Taxes, So We Should Not Be Excluded... ||Jan 7th. at 12:48:23 am EST|
|J. Christopher (Portland, Oregon) ||Age: 28 - Email |
As a pagan business and as a pagan person, my tax dollars--both personal and business--are going into this fund. Therefore, by logic, I am entitled to a portion in return, should I be eligible. Although I personally may not be eligible, the logic remains the same for every pagan and pagan organization I know, and as such, many of us do qualify. As long as we are a part of the system, the system may not disqualify pagans or pagan groups from the programs we as free citizens pay for on many levels, including tax dollars, contributing to the national economy, voting, etc.
| Comment ||Jan 6th. at 11:59:09 pm EST|
|James (Tx) ||Age: 18 - Email |
I'm not sure... Think of what Danielle said... Though, it may be hard, considering paganism isn't a religion, and there are MANY pagan faiths and practices..
| I Can See Both Arguments ||Jan 6th. at 11:19:52 pm EST|
|Stella (Pasadena, CA) ||Age: 24 - Email |
While I am against this program in principle because of my belief in separation of church and state, I certainly believe that pagans should be treated equally under the law and allowed to apply for funds.
As to the question of whether or not to accept these funds, my gut instinct says "no." It seems to me that accepting the money gives validation to the program that you may not intend to give. It is hard to say "I think this is wrong" when you readily participate in it.
another poster brought up a point, which I wouldn't have thought of. Politicians will use this information to figure out who to pander to in the next election. Also, this would be a good opportunity to again enforce legal recognition of paganism as a religion.
Overall I still think that accepting money from this program is probably not a good idea.
| No, It's A Bad Idea To Cross That Line. ||Jan 6th. at 8:14:04 pm EST|
|M. Macha NightMare (San Rafael, CA) ||Age: 59 - Email - Web|
No. We must continue to keep church and state separate and independent, as the founders of this country so wisely intended. The minute we take their money, we become beholden to them. I offer the example of this worthy website's independence from taking ads. Now I do not think that politics and spirituality can be separated within an individual, but that's a different matter. Further, how many Pagan organizations do you know that are mature enough, grounded enough and developed enough to offer any of the services (education, childcare, elder care, health care, food services, hospice, etc.) that are supposed to be provided with these funds? We are known for our individuality and independent thinking. Let's not sacrifice it for government funding. Let's keep our independence.
Link to More info related to this post -- HERE
| Okay! ||Jan 6th. at 7:41:03 pm EST|
|lilith (lost angeles) ||Age: 33 - Email |
back in the bad old days of my evil past i attended an over the top right wing fundamentalist christian college [insert chorus of voices groaning "we KNOW, lilith! you only repeat this EVERY TIME YOU POST!"]. the debate over federal/government funding was loud and nasty and frequent-- there were the people who would jump up and down shouting about how their tax money was going to fund abortions, for example, and yet did not understand that the street runs in two directions and that they were permitted to discriminate against women and gays in hiring practices, which of course they had no problem doing despite the fact they were receiving funds from the rest of the tax payers in the country, including a good percentage of women and gays. personally i found the entire argument distasteful-- i felt then, and i feel now, that if you do not want government interference you should not accept government funds.
having said that, though, i do admit that the idea of a fully organized and accredited pagan organization in a position to act as a faith-based charity applying for those funds does somewhat intrigue me. and as most christian groups have proven, their paranoid delusions to the contrary, the government has very little ability to actually screw up the tenents of any religious organization whether it is accepting funds from them or not. so while i have this old view malingering on, the one acquired while living life within the protection of a religious majority, i think perhaps in this instance it would be worth a shot. i dont imagine anything really horrific could happen, and maybe something really great would. and at the very least it might piss off some of the geniuses who came up with the dumb idea of funding faith-based charities with government funds in the first place.
| GO FOR IT!! ||Jan 6th. at 7:34:14 pm EST|
|ShadowSong, a.k.a. Nick Pearson (Stuart, FL) ||Age: 0 - Email |
i feel that pagans should definitely go for the funding. however, as a student of history and politics, i don't feel that this is anything more than a way to sway the views if constituents in a given area. this will, in effect, amount to an unfair representation of pagan citizens. nonetheless, funding is funding, and i know that a lot of pagan groups would be in need of and would appreciate the extra money. such money should be used responsibly, and should be supplemented; it is doubtful that it will amount to enough to sustain such an organization. despite much of this, i do not feel that this will yet violate the separation of church and state. instead, what it would probably do is to create a sense of harmony where there is now distrust. religious groups can begin to feel more at ease when dealing with the government. in the long run, the larger religious groups will most likely end up with a bias; this is not necessarily to be an intentional one. population alone will create a natural and acceptable bias, but it will be the action of politicians and religious leaders that will create an unfair "favouring" of the main religions in the US, namely sects of christianity. all in all, pagan groups that qualify should apply for financial aid, but should't anticipate too much finacially or politically in return.
ShadowSong, a.k.a. Nick Pearson
| Screw With Them... ||Jan 6th. at 3:36:27 pm EST|
|Neko (Texas) ||Age: 19 - Email |
Goverment funding to religious organizations seems like one of the stupidist moves from the current admin., it completely goes against seperation of church and state. But I say Pagans go for it, but as some one said earlier, don't become dependant on it...because as soon as the people in charge of passing out the money hear that Pagans want their share I have a feeling it will hit the fan. But that's a good thing in my opinion. Maybe they'll stop passing out money. The whole point of doing it in the first place was to get in good with the Christian community, I think.
| Recognition Through Funding? ||Jan 6th. at 1:24:56 pm EST|
|The Sweeper (OK) ||Age: 48 - Email |
My first thought was yes.
However, then I began to consider the price.
There are of course the strings attached to every dollar.
There is the concern of eventual dependency on these funds.
There is the reality that many will eventually jump through smaller and smaller hoops to keep these funds.
Money is addictive, government money is extremely so.
Its addictive powers may very well pull some from there chosen path.
Today, when I help someone, I help them in a way I choose.
With government funding, will I one day only be able to help in the way the government chooses?
That doesn’t mean Pagans shouldn’t apply for these funds, they should, however once the government is forced through the court to recognize Pagan legitimacy, the money should be pushed away using a very long pole.
| Hmm... ||Jan 6th. at 10:19:22 am EST|
|Allison (USA) ||Age: 41 - Email |
"Should Pagans Apply For Federal Funds?"
I don't see why not, we are no different to any other religious organisation regarding that.
"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?"
Surely they should, long as it's not some coven that's run like a pay-to-pray church with the same greedy intentions. But in truth, I disagre with ANY government programmes to aid religious organisations. I favour heavy taxes be imposed on them instead. That'll weed out all the greed mongers.
What I think is a joke is that ANYONE can become a so-called "reverend" just by visiting the Universal Life Church site and filling out an online form. And then these same people really believe they are "reverends" and even have a cheek to use the title for a bigger ego boost. Just to see how much a joke it really is, my cat applied for "ordination as a reverend" and guess what, he is now REV.Lucky the Tonkinese. How about that? He can perform cat weddings now and also apply for free government money. LOL!!! I do not recognise these people as anything but gullible. And the problem is that the government does not bother to check into these things when dishing out the money. So what you have basically is too many bogus ULC "reverends" corrupting the system. What a joke.
"Do you think that an openly Pagan organization, all qualifications being met, would have a real chance at obtaining funding from the current administration?"
Of course they would - they'd have as good a chance as a Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim or Christian organisation. If it is a programme meant to fund christians only then it should say so clearly and if that WERE the case then the programme should not exist at all because it would be discriminatory.
"What about the separation of church and state issue?"
Only answer to this is to remove Bush by whatever means necessary because he is doing more to throw the two together than anyone in history. And in his arrogance has no regard for the non-Christians he offends by doing this. he assumes the whole nation is Christian, but then again, when the average 6th grader has an IQ higher than the president these things can be expected.
"Federal funds and tax money going to religious organizations in order to provide social programs: A good idea or not?"
NO, not a good idea. I really do not agree with religious organisations getting ANY free money or government assistance for ANY reason. I believe they should all be taxed heavily in fact because as it is now, there's far too much corruption and misappropriation of funds.
| Hmmmm.... ||Jan 6th. at 9:55:36 am EST|
|Tonayallicue (midwest usa) ||Age: 21 - Email |
as much as i agree that church and state should be completely separate, i think that if the current administration decides to fund religious/spiritually-based groups...which the decision itself is prolly totally out of our control as joe blow regular people...then they should have funds available for ALL sects and paths, not just christian and/or jewish. As much as we have the power to change the world, we don't have the ability to influence the partisan minds of those talking heads in congress. So essentially, we don't really have the power to change the world. But if there is one thing that we can change, it will be ourselves - we can grow stronger in our own paths without their money - we'll just leave the country and go somewhere where we can be appreciated i guess.
| The Joining Of Church And State... ||Jan 6th. at 9:40:27 am EST|
|Rowen Moonbath (PA) ||Age: 29 - Email |
is an extremely BAD idea. And this isn't just because I'm pagan. One of the main reasons we live in America today is the early settlers needed to escape the oppression of their many faiths. The first amendment gives us religious freedom. And even though, the Catholic Church has lost much of it's power, the new threat is the fundamental Christian organizations like the Christian Coalition which really backs Bush in the White House and close-minded idiots like Jerry Falwell and Billy Graham.
Basically, Federal Funding of Faith-based social service programs, I feel, could be the start of a chain of events that can lead to A LOT of problems. Do you really think a fundamental 'social service' program ran by someone with the beliefs like Jerry Falwall would help someone desperate in need if they were even suspected of being homosexual? Do you really want your tax dollars contributing to jerks like this? I sure don't. And I know that there are Faith-based organizations that do want to help all they can for the good of all as well as organizations that have no faith basis that also could use federal funding but are denied it. The gov't will give your tax dollars to whom they choose, they no longer represent the people for the good of all, but try to enforce what they think is good for the people.
So with this as my opinion, I really don't think pagans should take a piece of the gov't pie, it's a rotten piece with worms in it. (Pagans probably wouldn't even be offered a piece anyway.)
I still think we live in the best country in the world. But I also see a big threat to our personal freedoms and all in the name of 'Security'. Thanks for letting me get on my 'soapbox'. This is one issue that is really important to me and have tried writing my representatives regarding this issue, apparently I didn't badger them enough.
I hope you all have a great day. And Smile, I believe we'll get through this.
| This Raises A Few Questions. ||Jan 6th. at 7:08:06 am EST|
|amy wallen (southampton, england) ||Age: 22 - Email |
Somehow I find it difficult to believe that the US government is taking these measures for the benefit of all religions. The majority (I think) of religious charities are church based and the Bush administration's leanings toward christianity are well known.
Of course, there are schemes such as women's lands which would benefit from extra funding, but I suspect these would not require that you read the Book of Shadows and learn some spells in order to be given help. I don't think any pagan would pressure people to become part of their religion just because they are giving them charity.
What confuses me is whether the administration means to fund the churches that engage in these sorts of programmes (an obvious violation of the separation of church and state) or the charities themselves (in which case, where does religion come into it?). Either way I doubt the pagan community would benefit in the slightest from the plan.
Over here, Tony Blair has announced his plan for more 'faith based' schools. (As if we don't have enough already - we're still officially a christian country!) More schools are a good thing any way you look at it, but why 'faith based'? Will this affect the way we teach children in the same way as the churches may well affect how their charities are run?
I suggest you perform a little experiment by finding out whether or not two similar charities, one christian, one pagan, would get funding, by actually applying. That way, if there is religious discrimination, you immediately have a case against the measure.
It is impossible that Bush and his lot cannot have an ulterior motive for this type of funding, and it is inconceivable that they would not ask for something in return from a religion they do not endorse or recognise. This law is just a way of both funding the christian church and deferring responsibility for social help to another organisation.
Link to More info related to this post -- HERE
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