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: 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.
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| Hey, I Have Been Watching These Guys For About 12 Years Now... ||Jan 30th. at 3:05:55 pm UTC|
|Medusa (Seattle, Washington US) ||Age: 50 |
Hey, I have been watching these guys for about 12 years now and the main thing I have learned is that they will use ANY tactic to achieve what they want and that is a christian nation that is not cluttered with disbelievers. They have used daily propaganda and now will use tax dollars to convert, vouchers will be used to get as many people into faith based education as possible and if possible to destroy the hated secular schools. They do not believe in separation of church and state and do not believe you have the right to any other religion besides christianity. At least one of these religious right groups is advocating a theocracy. Some of them honestly believe that our founding fathers wanted it that way. Others believe it is the only way to have god shower the country with blessings, as in the bible. These guys scare me, deeply and completely.
| The Charitable Choice Initiative Was Passed In 1996. Bush Is Supposedly Implementing... ||Jan 30th. at 2:29:43 pm UTC|
|tserpsed (baltimore, Maryland US) ||Age: 40 |
The Charitable Choice initiative was passed in 1996. Bush is supposedly implementing what is already in place. I feel that many pagan groups around the country are helping others and they should take advantage of the funding should it become available. However, I really have to question this political decision, because most Christian religions want to impose their views on others.And how will the government control exactly how the monies are used? That creates the question of will government be funding religious activities? YES! And there goes your church and state wall. What perfect way to get more of "the word" out but to force it down your throat due to the fact that you need assistance which you only receive if you go to a certain faith-based charity? If this becomes a reality I would want to be able to choose a pagan faith based organization. So while I don't like the decision in general, if that's what we as pagans can do to further expand our abilities to help others, I think we should. No sense in cutting our noses off to spite our faces. I don't see this religious issue going away anytime while Bush is in office.
| In General, It Is A Good Idea. Many People Thrive And Rely... ||Jan 30th. at 1:17:16 pm UTC|
|Demeter (Charlotte, North Carolina US) ||Age: 23 - Email |
In general, it is a good idea. Many people thrive and rely on support from thier community leaders, and most times, people turn to clergy or some type of religious organization for help. If he sticks to a plan that will work for people and not just one religion, I think this could be a good thing. Becasue no matter how you look at it, religion will never be cast out of politics. So instead of casting out both evils, work with them both to make a positive. It can be done!
To be honest, I feel as a Pagan, Pagans in general need to take a closer look at why they are fighting this plan or any plan that involves positive based initiative. To be honest, we as people look too much at the negative implications first before looking at the positive, and this is what causes flame wars and more negativity than needed. Looking through only one tunnel, and one that is negative to begin with most times, only leads to a break down in communication. To be honest, if his plan does involved a exclusion of certain religions, I have a feeling it will not last long. This country is too diverse as it is, and I have a feeling 6 billion people will not be fleeing elsewhere anytime soon. He is going to have to work with and for the people, and I am giving him a shot. Let's see what he does, let's listen to what he has to say, not read too much into things, and we shall all go from there. Prevention is not always the best solution to problems.
| There May Not Be Anything In The Constitution That Says The Seperation... ||Jan 30th. at 11:23:27 am UTC|
|Jayson Tegeder aka Garic (Omaha, Nebraska US) ||Age: 26 - Email |
There may not be anything in the constitution that says the seperation of Church and state but it does say that the government will not make any laws favoring one religion over another. In my oppinion the rule that will be made that give the money to the faith based religions will most likely favor one religion over another unless done very carefully. Personally I think the money should be out there for social organizations to request for and have a set of guide lines that don't involve religion of any sort to obtain this money.
I think that everone that cares should get their house representative and senators office address and write letters with their concerns against this bill that is being posed. This is the oldest way that we have been know to get our feelings expressed. Supposedly we put them there though not always but they need to make us happy to make sure that they keep their jobs for next term.
Finally if this bill does go through then every Pagan social plan that is out there and I can't think of any at the moment but they are out there should be putting their two cents if not more in on getting some of this money. We all have voices and we should make them heard on issues like this.
| Bad, Bad, Bad!!!!!!! I Worked For A Ministry Once. Big Ministry, Tv... ||Jan 30th. at 11:14:59 am UTC|
|John No-Name (Heartland) ||Age: 44 |
Bad, Bad, BAD!!!!!!! I worked for a ministry once. Big ministry, TV stations, printing company, corporate jets, a big C-130 Hercules....Oops, I just told who, didn't I? and I know...These large ministries care about nothing but conversions and "love gifts"....Now comes George the Pretender, and he's going to make the biggest "love gift" ever to these folks, and it's all on YOU and ME!
Why doesn't he just be honest with us and call his plan "Souls For Sandwiches"? You need a place to stay? we need you to repent of the "sins" that put in this situation in the first place....You're hungry? Yes, we see that, but isn't the hunger in your soul bigger than the hunger in your belly? Come, let me pray with you, then we'll get you a plate of over-cooked potatos....Your husband beats you? well, have you prayed to be "cleansed" of that uppity pride that's making him angry? After all, your place is be submissive to your husband....
Write your elected officials (that lets Dubya out, doesn't it?) The Republican ones will dismiss you as a crank, but maybe the Democrats and Independants will listen. If we don't stop this now, how long before our freedoms to worship as we wish are endangered? I'm already making preparations. They'll not leave me with nothing but "The 700 Klub" for news!
| Of Course This Violates The Separation Of Church And State. I'm Sure... ||Jan 30th. at 10:56:35 am UTC|
|Kaicielia BlueDragon (Madison, Wisconsin US) ||Age: 24 - Email |
Of course this violates the separation of church and state. I'm sure pagans could try to get this money, and if it passes, I hope they do, but do you think they'll get it? As was said on TV this very morning, Your tax dollars will go to these groups, but if you ever try to use the services you can be denied because of your religious views.
| I Have To Say That, As Of Right Now, I'm Very Glad... ||Jan 30th. at 5:10:20 am UTC|
|Sian Bunnage (Cambridge, England UK) ||Age: 35 - Email |
I have to say that, as of right now, I'm very glad I'm not American! The proposals that Bush is putting forward make me extremely uneasy, not to say downright worried! When a country's leader starts pushing a particular faith path it opens the door to legitimizing religious bigotry and the denial of the right of every individual to choose the faith path that is most appropriate to them.
Now is the time for all concerned Americans, whatever their beliefs, to stand up to these proposals and try to prevent them from happening.
I wish you luck and invoke the blessings of the Lady on your endeavours.
| I Know That I Am Breaking A Rule By Posting Twice On... ||Jan 30th. at 2:45:07 am UTC|
|JOhn Bilecki (effort, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 44 - Email |
I know that I am breaking a rule by posting twice on this one question. but the issue is too important not to be taken seriusly.
I, too, support the separation of church and state. I, too, believe that this agenda should be opposed, BUT... IF it goes through, and I believe it will, WHAT THEN? What is the 'backup plan'?
As a businessman (and fairly good chess player), I have learned that you cannot always play by rules of your own choosing. Are you willing to fight as hard for funding as you are in opposing the agenda? If not, we have already lost.
If Bush's initiative goes through, are YOU willing to stand by and let YOUR tax dollars be used by groups opposed to your very existence? RIGHT NOW we are winning every court case (or appeal) which deals with the legitimacy of our beliefs. The question is not "whether or not', the question should be 'What if?'.
It is easy to post an opinion on a web page (particularly when you are using an 'alias'). As a solitary, 'still in the broom closet because of my job' wiccan/pagan, I risk much. Nevertheless, I still post under my real name. What do you risk?
This is where the christian coalition has us licked... They are committed: We just talk.
| If It's True That New Government Moneys Are To Be Made Available... ||Jan 30th. at 1:12:46 am UTC|
|Grey Stereambank (Alpine (San Diego), California US) ||Age: 23 - Email |
If it's true that new government moneys are to be made available only to faith-based groups (rather than simply making them eligible for funds already available to non-religious groups), then this is clearly a violation of the Constitution (and yes, I have read it - though apparently W. hasn't). Don't get me wrong, faith-based groups aren't all bad, but this is a question of constitutional law, NOT religion or charity alone.
Here in San Diego, there's a place called St. Vincent's. Perhaps you've seen "Father Joe" on TV; he runs it. It's a Catholic-owned homeless shelter with a huge restaurant-type kitchen. They feed anyone who shows up, no questions asked, and there is no religious element at all, other than the name of the place and who's running it. There is no preaching during mealtimes. The only rules are no weapons, drugs, or alcohol. In my opinion, if they truly aren't eligible for funding for this service, THAT is a crime. (and I've heard conflicting reports on this).
On the other hand, another religious group (which I shall not name) also has a shelter. They hold a church service at dinnertime for the homeless, then serve only those who attended. Any federal funding to support this would be unconsititutional as support of religion.
W. needs to be reminded that the seperation of church and state is part of the Constitution which he took an oath to "preserve, protect, and defend" just ten days ago.
Oh, and while we're at it, that same First Amendment also protects paganism, whether or not it's officially a "religion" in the eyes of the law - because if it isn't, it's an issue of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly.
- Blessed be
| I Have Been Reading The Opinions Of Many. Both Make Good Points... ||Jan 29th. at 11:24:48 pm UTC|
|Irebera (Fresno, California US) ||Age: 46 - Email |
I have been reading the opinions of many. Both make good points on this issue of Bush.
My problem is no matter how it comes out. The only ones who will be hurt and left out will be the ones who need it the most.
They will have to chose weither, to go to a shelter and have to pray for their supper and bed (having to do this against their own beliefs) or stay on the street, go hungry and no where to sleep (where no one will make them put their beliefs last).
The churches that do help those in need are small and their voices are not always heard because they choose to help all who come to them. I doult that they will get very much of this money.
The larger churches with well known names and followers who donated to them will the ones, who will profit from the Bush plan.
While their in their nice warm churches thanking Bush for what he has given them. Outside on the steps, in the cold, will be the ones who needed the most and got nothing. They will wonder what to them again.
| I Believe That Bush Is Going To Bring Troubles Upon Himself. I... ||Jan 29th. at 9:55:28 pm UTC|
|Andrew (Adelanto, California US) ||Age: 15 - Email |
I believe that Bush is going to bring troubles upon himself. I even wrote him a letter asking him to apologize to those of a different faith. The thickness between Church & State appears to be deminishing and I blame it all on President Bush's actions. I believe his ignorance is to be blamed for making such moves, even making a National Prayer Day. Bush has a once track mind in which can only see the Christian denomination in action, any other religions not just Pagans should take a stand and tell Bush "we do exist".
| When I First Heard About The Plan (on A Late-night Radio Talk... ||Jan 29th. at 7:45:57 pm UTC|
|Emerald EastWind (Lincoln Park, Michigan US) ||Age: 17 |
When I first heard about the plan (on a late-night radio talk show), warning bells went off in my head. This could have the potential to erode that church-state wall, I think. As for Pagan groups getting a piece of the pie, I have very ambivalent feelings. It would obviously be beneficial, but I'm sure that's not what Bush had in mind when he constructed the plan, so there may be a backlash if Pagans make a claim. What we must remind ourselves and the rest of the nation is that freedom of religion is just that--freedom of religion, no matter what the societal norm or status quo may be. So, I suppose if some courageous, stable, secure Pagan groups want to stand up and be included in this, I say more power to them and the best of luck.
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