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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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| I Think That President Bush Is On A Very Strong Hallucinogenic Drug... ||Jan 29th. at 10:32:55 am UTC|
|MoonRider (Chickasha, Oklahoma US) ||Age: 23 - Email |
I think that President Bush is on a very strong hallucinogenic drug to try and pull that out of his hat. This violates church and state to a great extent. For him to want to do this means that he alienates those who may not believe in God or if they do, subscribe to a specific religion. He feels that if faith-based social programs are promoted that all of societies ills will be cured, but it will take more than that to cure societies ills. This IS a move to bolster the Christian Radical Right.
| Greetings Pagans, We Feel That It Is To Break Down The Walls... ||Jan 29th. at 10:16:56 am UTC|
|Nightstar (Joplin, Missouri US) ||Age: 50 - Email |
We feel that it is to break down the walls of separation of church and state....that is the main idea, of course. Dubya is a Christian for his God's sake! What do we expect? However, there are areas of need and some religious charities have done some good work, so its a mixed bag.
A simple solution would be one where groups of religious entities work together for common good of their community. However, in our "let someone else do it' mentality that idea is lost. We are so accustomed to hand a dollar over to the government in order to get back a nickle and that is mostly lost in "administrative costs". Man is a very complicated lot!
| Well, I Have To Admit It _sounds_ Good. Then Again, So Did... ||Jan 29th. at 10:04:13 am UTC|
|Alexandra R. Bush (Hackensack, New Jersey US) ||Age: 21 - Email |
Well, I have to admit it _sounds_ good.
Then again, so did communism, and look how all the attempts to put that into action did.
I think this plan would open the door to a great deal of exclusionism. Since Bush's admittedly born-again Christian goverment would be deciding which groups would get the funds, there's quite a chance that followers of religions not supported or liked by these bigots (namely, any other than their own) would suffer... and what about atheists, agnostics, and solitares?
H'm. Wasn't there something in the Constitution about a separation of church & state?
| Freedom Of Religion Or Freedom From Religion? This Is A Very Hard... ||Jan 29th. at 8:11:38 am UTC|
|Trish Telesco (western, New York US) ||Age: 40 - Email |
Freedom of religion or freedom FROM religion?
This is a very hard call. My basic feeling is that Bush does not intend to make these monies easy to come by except for groups whose policies follow his own (yes, that's a judgemental statement but we've already seen an example of how non-inclusive he is by the terrible benediction at the inauguration). So unless this program is open to ALL faiths, and does not have hidden requirements that would allow certain religions more access than others, then I don't want it. The line of church and state is already being stomped all over - and if we're not very careful it could be erased alltogether.
| Although I Would Rather Optomisticaly Belive That This Program Could Be Benificial... ||Jan 29th. at 6:12:42 am UTC|
|KJ Burrier (fostoria, Ohio US) ||Age: 33 - Email |
Although I would rather optomisticaly belive that this program could be benificial to many people, I know our government has or would eventually have a political agenda behind such a program. As a pagan I have no quarells for the perpetuation of anyones beliefs', but in the same respect I have a huge argument for the enforcement of some other group's beliefs over mine. Which would be done by the taking and spending of my money on such, in the form of tax dollars. As a libertarian I have no quarells for the great work of a community to come together and provide social assistance to those in need, but in the same respect it is no place of the government to decide if your religion is worthy enough to be granted to do so. Its for these reasons the issue of seperation between church and state was put into the constitution. The founding fathers went through the trials and tribulations of a state organised/funded religion and saw how no good could come from it. So I belive it is best to nip it in the bud and refuse and reject the notion of this no matter how well meaning it may seem to start as. I do like John's suggestion of a central pagan organisation (CPO) to accept and distribute funds for social or pagan interest. I also believe how ever any group or groups wishing to do so does not need the governments money to do this. This just encourages the law makers to take more taxes.
| I Do Not Really Trust The Motives Of Anyone So Closely Associated... ||Jan 29th. at 1:16:08 am UTC|
|the ShadowDancer (Tucson, Arizona US) ||Age: 47 - Email |
I do not really trust the motives of anyone so closely associated with the Christian Right. However, since this situation is likely to come to pass, it would be nice if some of us Polytheists could get some advantage out of it.
Unfortunately that would call for a more solidified structure than is usual for most Neopagan groups. It would require accountability, boundries, a structure that could be put on paper to justify governmental RFPs (requests for proposals). Looking over last week's Question on boundries, most of the responses seemed to come from positions far too amorphous to receive Federal $$$$$$$$$$$$ for doing social work as a Faith-based program.
This is no longer the 70's, you know. You can't just apply and get Federal $$$$. You have to have programs in place, plans on how you propose to use the $$$$$$, qualified personnel. Face it, our Jewish/Moslem/Christian brothers and sisters have been doing these things for years at the organizational level.
We pagans are just barely forming out of the ether. It would be cool if we were at a place to be able to take on such an undertaking. Maybe in 5-10 years, I hope so!!!!!!!!!!!
| The President's Proposed Faith-based Social Initiative Would Be A Violation Of The... ||Jan 28th. at 10:31:46 pm UTC|
|Jeremy (San Antonio, Texas US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
The President's proposed faith-based social initiative would be a violation of the separation of church/state, but I don't believe that this is necessarily a bad thing. If this initiative would be all-inclusive giving ample opportunity for a myriad of faiths to become involved in the lives of others. Unfortunately, pagans as well as many other belief systems will be left out of the equation in favor of Christianity first and foremost. It's a shame we can't break through this wall, for it would benefit everyone.
| There Is The Question Of Whether These Groups Are Doing Social Work... ||Jan 28th. at 10:01:55 pm UTC|
|John Bilecki (effort, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 44 - Email |
There is the question of whether these groups are doing social work OR using this as a platform for proselytizing. The diversified (and fragmented) nature of our groups, coupled with the fact that we are not a 'missionary' religion, place pagan groups and individuals at a severe disadvantage when applying for federal funds. By default, the religous right will obtain most of these funds.
This will go through whether we like it or not. A vigorous and visible presence by us presents the greatest threat to the religous right. Receiving federal funds would 'legitimize' our beliefs in spite of them.
It is highly unlikely that we will ever come to an integrated set of beliefs. Nor should we, as our diversity is what makes our beliefs attractive. There is, nowever, one point that we should consider:
THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RELIGOUS BELIEFS AND POLITICAL AGENDAS!
We need to unite politically, not religously! This could provide us with a unique opportunity to fight the RR on their own grounds. Establish a coalition of pagan social services, and use this group as a liason between pagan groups/individuals and the government. This group would apply for funding and distribute it to pagan groups providing social services. There is a much greater chance of obtaining the funds (and visibility) by using a single group as 'spokesperson'.
I should stop, as the reply is getting lengthy. Would anyone be willing to seriously discuss this on one of the chat boards?
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