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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.
|| Reverse Sort
| 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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