Archive for the Government Category

Rise of Holy Agitators (in USA)

Posted in belief, Bible, corporate style faiths, faith, Fundamentalism, Government on March 2, 2017 by chouck017894

In the early 1950’s, television was a new craze.  Quick to note the craze some enterprising guys, still clutching their freshly printed Bible-mill studies diplomas, sought to serve the Lord by preaching their revealed wisdom using that promising medium.  The Lord seems to have been well pleased.  Later, for example, by May of 1985 the evangelical marketer Pat Robertson was even featured in a cable magazine called On Cable.  Filled with boundless self-righteousness and spiritual vanity Robertson declared that he sought to remake America into a “biblical based nation.”  His fiery right-wing politics was characterized by him as “conservative, religious, and a biblical point of view.”  He didn’t  mention the authors of those biblical views had written their point of view in the Bronze Age.  Blissfully unconcerned,  Robertson latched onto that view and it was so slickly packaged that by 1985 his organization efforts was siphoning in more than $70 million a year from bedazzled followers.

The long-standing Constitutional ideals and values the nation’s founders placed upon diversity, variety and plurality for the American people were regarded by Robertson as being “extreme dangers” to a secular state.  Respecting the rights of minorities was being threatened in his lofty opinion of how a “biblical based nation” was to be run.  Robertson pontificated that children in  public schools were being taught “a collective philosophy that would lead citizens away from God toward Marxism, socialism or a communistic type of ideology.”   Oh he was good at scaring the be-Jesus out of the gullible.  In his humble opinion, therefore, he found it logical to denounce the Department of Education as being “unconstitutional”!

Not shy about telling the nation what God wanted for it, Robertson asserted that the United States Supreme Court had departed from history and the Constitution.  He reasoned and worried publicly about the “encroachment” of the judiciary.  They just didn’t seem favorable to his idea of a theocracy.  Thus Robertson charted course to “engage” in what he termed “advocacy journalism,” and his Christian Broadcast Network news teams began spewing out reams of propagandist mini-documentaries with heavy “conservative” (read theocratic) messages.  Later, he must have been delighted when the Supreme Court became composed with five of the nine Justices being Republican and staunch Roman Catholics. And it was a later Republican dominated Supreme Court that would step in and tell the nation that our redeeming leader was to be the Born Again George W. Bush.  Hallelujah!

Robertson’s Christian Broadcast Network news teams were headed by a man who was once editor of The Washington Times, which just happened at that time to be owned by the “Reverend” Sun Myung.  This strange bedfellow happened to be loaded down with questionable North Korean connections.  Not to fear, for the “born again” population, Robertson averred, was seriously under-represented in our national government.  Posing as a caring messenger, he declared, “The basic thing people do not understand is that evangelicals in America are not plotting to take away the rights of everyone else.”  (Trying to eliminate the Department of Education would therefore simply be a money saving move.)

Robertson worked hard at presenting himself as the modern age version of a biblical prophet.  For sure the biblical prophets had dared to mix it up with politics–which just happened to always be in regard to a very select bunch of people.  True to form, Robertson declared, “God is going to thrust his people (the fundamentalists) into positions they never dreamed they were capable of taking on.”  (George W. Bush & Company certainly did seem to fill that prediction.)  If the heavy tilt of religiously obsessed persons in governmental positions today is any indication, and if their corruption of true democratic principles is an example of a “biblical based nation,” can we truthfully say that their sly take over of the
Republican Party in 1996 was “fairly benign”?

Well, today, several decades later, Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network and Regent University pulls in over $400 million a year peddling the same old far-right political propaganda and implications of heaven’s special favoritism.  But his empire is today upstaged by an old rival from the same earlier era which is now marketed as the Jerry Falwell Ministries/Liberty Counsel/Liberty University.  That deceptive use of the word “liberty” in their promotional marketing disguises the fact that the aim of their “liberty” is to sabotage the U.S. Constitutional safeguard of church-state separation–the nation’s father’s guarantee of religious freedom (liberty) for everyone.  Peddling this anti-democratic baloney the family Falwell empire today rakes in over $600 million a year.

Amazingly there are other claimers of God’s especial favoritism who wage war on every person’s freedom  to worship only as they choose.–all of which rake in multi-millions a year for being staunchly un-American and pro-theocratic.  Take the so-called Focus on the Family that has the gall to endorse Right Wing political candidates; it is lucrative and nets the Dobson family over $92 million a year.  And there’s their Family research Council (an off-shoot of Focus on the Family) that holds an annual “Value Voter Summit” which draws in over $14 million against anti-Constitutional protections.

Still another self-declared biblical representative is the American Family Association that is against about everything that grants American’s civil freedoms. The Reverend Donald Wildman who heads this “Association” boldly proclaims that separation of church and state was invented by Hitler!  Duh!  For that type of heavenly enlightenment his anti-Constitutional bias nets over $17 a year.

Other grandiose named outfits include American Center for law and Justice/Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism.  That imposing mouthful defined the purpose, which is to force–force–fundamentalist beliefs into all public schools.  Allied with the Pat Robertson empire in spirit and money-love, it pulls in over $57 million a year.  Justice is again implied with the so-called Alliance Defending Freedom, but the only Council for National Policy aimed for by them is to allow them to ax the federal law which guards tax-exempt churches from actively intervening in partisan elections.  God, it seems, favors that antidemocratic stance to the tune of over $47 million a year.

Ahh, but there are even more would-be religious oppressors out there.  It’s all strictly spiritual guidance, of  course.  Take the bewildering Concerned Women for America (affiliated with the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee) which indulges in heavy prejudices against the Creator’s intentional wide-ranged diversities and variety of life.  This anti-feminist lobby was founded by Beverly and Tim LaHaye, who (in 2015) raked in over $14 million for their discriminatory activities.  Not content with that, Tim LaHaye also headed up the Council for National Policy which presumed to evaluate prospective GOP presidential candidates.  This membership-only outfit drew only a little more than $2 million.

Still another agitator operation is Ralph Reed’s Foundation and Freedom Coalition whose primary purpose for existence is to attract more fundamentalists to vote.  Their holy reward–over $3 million per year.

Oddly, these material obsessed, self-appointed faith merchants seem to have little appreciation  for what Jesus is alleged to have preached about such conduct.  For example, in Matthew 6:5 (King James version–among the many other translations): “And when you pray do not be like the hypocrites for they pray standing–so that they may be seen of men. They (in that manner) have their reward.”  And in Matthew 7:1-3 “Judge not, that ye be judged.  For with what judgment ye judged and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you.”

Perhaps those faith merchants of fundamentalism should get their greedy noses out of their elaborately constructed feeding troughs and actually follow the teaching they claim to epitomize.

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Faith Based Fraud in US Government

Posted in Agnostic, Atheist, belief, biblical "values", Christianity, culture, Government, politics, random, religion, Social, thoughts on November 1, 2016 by chouck017894

Special interest handouts by political office holders in the United States have become big-time  “faith” privileges over the last few decades, increasing dramatically after the Religious Right gained control of the Grand Old Party in 1996.  The fast changing legal status for churches and faith system institutions have not been shy in underhandedly trying to “liberate” religious organizations by granting them more lenient rules than is permitted to their secular counterparts.

Such deliberate disregard for the democratic principles by religious extremists holding congressional positions, such a separation of church and state, is hardly due to any spiritual morals.  This dangerous and frightening chipping away at long standing principles of democracy has occurred under pressure from extremist religious groups that have muscled their way into the political arena.  The deviously devoted never make it comprehensible as to why an “omniscient/omnipotent” God should or would have to rely upon the use of deceitful persons to achieve “his” intentions.  But the raucous, self-serving religious extremists have effectively infiltrated our Congress, the US Supreme Court , and federal and state courts, all of which have too often casually conceded to the demands that “faith” groups (Christian only) should be protected from any government impositions!  (Related blogs: Rise of Holy Agitators, September 1, 2016; Spiritual Vanity, The Sin of Fundamentalism, October 1, 2016)

This has been pushed upon the nations’s widely diverse citizenry by devious religious fanatics who paint themselves with false eminence that reflects neither the principles of true democracy nor any higher spiritual values.  These predatory religious wolves have accomplished this betrayal of democratic principles by camouflaging themselves with traditional sheep’s clothing.  Thus disguised they have methodically selected, one by one, various supporting regulations of democratic comportment by inserting into those regulations their faith system’s claims of exclusivity with the Creator.  This has purposefully disfigured and betrayed the numerous longstanding laws of equality and spiritual freedom that the “fathers” of the nation intended.  As a consequence so many democratic principles have been mauled to such an extent that the “faith” pretenders may often thumb their noses at requirements leveled upon everyone else.  As an example, their “public” buildings and organizational programs may be only slightly related to their faith system.  That bears the foul odor of theocratic ideology.

Under these contrived special-interest allowances, unethically obtained, even the day care centers that have religious affiliations were once actually exempted from licensing requirements in a number of states.  In Texas, for example, the religious day-care facilities and drug-treatment programs were once exempt from state licensing.  However, protected by their privileged status by the “faithful” serving in state government positions the abuse and disregard for patients in those facilities proved to be greater than in nonreligious facilities.  Another example: The health care system operated by the Seventh Day Adventists was actually allowed to bar nurses from joining unions.  And many states permit tax-free churches build or expand their facilities in ways that clearly violate zoning ordinances with which everyone else must comply.  Religious-front operations have routinely discriminated in choice of employees, or have expressed their piety in heartless neglect of employee misfortune.  In these faith system front operations even persons that may suddenly be stricken with some physical malady have been unceremoniously dumped, which would never be tolerated in non-religious organizations.  How these self-serving practices follow the teachings attributed to Jesus, such as “love one another“, or “do unto others as you would have done unto you” is never explained by them.  

Special privileges which have been extended by faith aggressive politicians into government to certain (Christians only) faith system organizations is not fair or just or moral in a nation that has been built upon dedication to the freedom of choice and the pursuit of happiness.  And practicing bigotry and narrow mindedness as some religiously obsessed do is neither righteous nor spiritual in a Creation which is rampant with lavish diversity of life and variety of expression.  A true democratic society can function only within conditions of equality and respect for each individual within the nation.  Attempting to inject one particular man-concocted faith system into the politics of a nation which has been dedicated to freedom and liberty for its diverse people can only accomplish catastrophe for all.  Enlightenment will never be attained in an indulgence in spiritual avarice.

Abuse of Democracy Within US Congress

Posted in culture, Government, history, life, logic, politics, random, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , on February 4, 2015 by chouck017894

Remembering that religious right factions took over the US Republican Party in 1996, and that Republican dogmatists now (2015) control both houses of Congress, perhaps we should review their method of “progress.” The nation had thrust upon it in 2000–through dubious means which happened to be decided by five Republican-Catholic leaning Justices of the Supreme Court–confirming presidency upon a self-admitted born again believer who then quickly lied the nation into a needless and costly war, and who relished torturing captives taken in that drummed up war. After his devious eight year term in office was over the Republicans in Congress spent the next six years deliberately obstructing the bulk of law making which could have advanced the bulk of US citizens. Indeed, the 2014 Congress turned in the worst record of representation of the citizens in the nation’s history. With over half of Congress also being long-stocked by millionaires, perhaps we should look into past member’s track records.

There are 535 members of the United States Congress, members who are responsible for establishing the nation’s laws which are supposed to guarantee equal justice for all citizens, and which should also apply equally to the citizens’ representatives. There have always been freeloaders among the “membership,” and experts at double talk, addicts of pretentiousness, and those who do business under the table and/or behind closed doors. There have been untold episodes of conflicts of interest, endless self-promotions through a feeding trough called “ear marks,” childish tantrums of spite called “filibusters,” and even outright indifference for the nation’s Constitution. All of this can be and has been indulged in while taking a healthy salary (paid by taxpayers), self-granted government paid medical coverage, generous expense accounts, and even a self-granted pension plan (paid from tax payers’ wallets) after they exit their stint of “service”—even if only after one term. Speak of entitlements!

In other words, politics, like religion, attracts people with huge ego problems and who are divinely untroubled with any heavy personal scruples. Perhaps we should not be surprised, therefore, at these disquieting statistics of Congressional members (a sample is from 2011).

* Three members were incarcerated for assault
* Seven members were arrested for fraud
* Eight were arrested for shoplifting
* Fourteen were arrested on drug-related charges
* Twenty-one were defendants in lawsuits
* Seventy-one could not get a credit card because of bad credit
* Eighty-four had been arrested for drunk driving
* One hundred and seventeen were involved, either directly or indirectly, in bankrupting at least two businesses
* It is unclear how many were/are adulterers and/or brothel clients
* Too many in office continue to pretend that they have superior religious guidance for their material double dealings

The Founding Fathers of the United States well-knew that human nature is easily tempted. For this reason they sought to devise safeguards so every citizen of the new nation might have a better chance in the pursuit of happiness and freedom of spirit. Governing power, therefore, was not to rest in one person’s hands as in kingdoms, dictatorships or theocracies. Therefore three branches of government were specified to act as the hallowed trinity of democracy; the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary. For the most part, that system has well-served a broader spectrum of people for the bulk of the nation’s 239 year history.

As religious faction have pushed more and more into the inner circles of government since 1996 (when religionists took over the Republican Party), emphasis has shifted from loyalty to a golden democracy into a furious pursuit of democratic gold for power seekers. In the process neither genuine democracy nor spiritual integrity have been enhanced. The founders of the US were altruistic, and they believed that serving in any of the three branches of government was to be taken on as an honor, not as a self-serving career move.

But from at least the late 1990s the thrust of those who have wormed their way into government positions from the Right have vigorously chopped at the very roots of democracy. And the carnival which this brand of politicians have made of politics is shown in the fact that they proved incapable of any real solutions to national problems. Instead they kept public attention muddied with faith system obsessions such as a woman’s right to choose, people’s’ lifestyles, and even who they should love. When their grab for power and materiality has been successful they shackled democratic principles in attempts to do such things as take away workers’ rights, deny senior the protection which the seniors had paid into for years, have sought to downgrade education standards, actually gave personhood rights to corporations, stolen from the poor and siphoned it to the rich, reduced environmental standards, and just sat on their hands and did nothing about gun shows where anyone could and can buy quantities of guns without any background checks.

The point of this mini review is that there is a desperate need for Congressional Reform, and that has been summed up in the proposed 28th Amendment to the US Constitution which covers the following eight considerations:

1) Term limits for Congress members consisting of twelve years only should be established, which would, however, include one of three possible options; A) two six-year Senate terms; B) six two-year House terms; C) one six-year Senate term and three two-year House terms.

2) There should be neither Tenure nor Pension provisions to Congress members for having held the honor of their office. Every Congressman receives a salary, usually with an expense account; and they continue to get paid for that past honor even after leaving office, which certainly dishonors the concept of true democracy. Indeed, a member of Congress can retire with the same yearly pay after only one term! Is that self-granted entitlement available anywhere else in the workplace?

3) Equally dishonoring of true democratic principles is the special favor Congress members bestowed upon themselves which frees “members” from participating in Social Security which is relied upon by the very people the “members” are supposed to serve. Democratic principles as conceived by the Founding Fathers require that Congress participates with the American people; that means that properly all funds which have been amassed for Congressional retirement payouts (from taxes) should always have been placed in the Social Security system just as it is for the private citizens whom they serve. That Congressional graft scheme must be corrected.

4) If Congress members want a retirement plan they may and should do as the rest of the American citizens are obliged to do and purchase that security cushion on their own. That self-granted Congressional retirement plan is but another graft scheme.

5) What average citizen has the ability to give themselves a pay raise? Why does Congress have the undemocratic clout to vote themselves a pay raise? Rightfully, Congressional pay should rise only by the lower of CPI–or by three percent. That’s what they impose on the elderly–but they have reneged even on that raise for those depending on Social Security.

6) Person elected as representatives of the people do not represent the people when they grant themselves special privileges. Another case in point, Congress enjoys a special health care system, and have excluded themselves from the Healthcare Reform which everyday citizens have to rely on. Properly the Congressional “members” should participate in the very same health care system as all other American citizens. Elected representatives are neither moral nor true to the democratic principles upon which the nation was founded by implying that they are a privileged class; they are servants of the people.

7) The legislative branch of government determines the laws of the land: that office does not mean that those in-office are above the law. Congressional members must comply equally by each and every law which Congress has imposed upon the American people. (As one little example which members slipped into law, did you know that Congressional members are exempt from being prosecuted for sexual harassment?)

8) All of these listed points considered here make it clear that the proper thing to do for true democratic governing is to void all past and present self-serving contracts of Congressmen for Congressmen, and this should be made effective immediately. The above mentioned seven points of undemocratic indulgences were self-contracted by Congress “members”–certainly their self-granted entitlements are not for the betterment of private citizens. It is crucial that American citizens stand up and confront their elected “officials” about these self-granted privileges the lawmakers enacted for themselves. These self-serving entitlements are in direct opposition to the laws they have imposed upon the rest of the nation’s citizens.

Chopping At The Roots of Democracy

Posted in Atheist, culture, Government, history, politics, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , on July 9, 2014 by chouck017894

…or Remembering Recent Religious Attacks on Democracy
…or How America Was Led To Where We Are Today
…or Not Yesteryear’s GOP

In the United States the Republican Party fell completely under the control of the Religious Right in 1995 (as noted in the blog Diseased Politics, January 2011). With “biblical values” as their sham standard, there arose rather rapidly an increasing odor of corruption. But there had been warnings for years from concerned Republicans that the integrity of their party was in increasing peril.

As early as 1981 Republican Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona had noted publicly, “…I can say with conviction that the religious issues of these groups have little or nothing to do with conservative or liberal politics. The uncompromising position of these groups is a divisive element that could tear apart the very spirit of our representative system, if they gain sufficient strength.” Thirteen years later, in 1994, Goldwater warned, “If they (the unscrupulous Religious Right) succeed in establishing religion as a basic Republican Party tenet, they could do us in.” (From an interview in the 1994 US News & World Report.) Senator Goldwater was deeply troubled over the Religious Right’s persistent attacks on the US Constitution and feared for the basic freedoms of the American people. And in a 1994 interview from the Washington Post, Goldwater mused, “When you say ‘radical right’ today, I think of those moneymaking ventures like Pat Robertson who are trying to take the Republican Party and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss [democratic] politics goodbye.” Well, the religious right now owns the Grand Old Party and Goldwater’s warnings were proven prophetic.

Ominously, by 1995 Tom DeLay, who had become a born-again Christian in 1985, was convinced that he had been blessedly “returned to Christ,” and apparently with Christ’s influence DeLay was installed as majority whip of the House, against the wishes of House Speaker, Newt Gingrich. DeLay, so righteous and divinely principled, judged Gingrich (and the next House Speaker, Dick Amery) to be “uncommitted to Christian values.” DeLay was so divinely dogmatic in party discipline that he earned the nickname “The Hammer.” He took the nickname to his bosom, declaring that the hammer was one of the carpenter’s most valuable tools–a not-so-subtle inference that he reflected Jesus’ alleged occupation as a carpenter.

And the 1995 challenger for the minority whip position, Republican John Shadegg of Arizona, lamented, “We ceded our reform-minded principles in exchange for a …tighter grip on power.” (Shadegg went on, however, to oppose the Healthcare Reform Package, calling it a “Soviet-style health care,” and it would be tabled in October 2009.) It was in 1999 when DeLay was the House Republican Whip, that DeLay made Roy Blunt his chief deputy. Blunt, a stanch Baptist, is noted for voting in favor of mandatory school prayer, school vouchers, and for allowing the anti-democratic use of federal money (gathered from citizen taxes of every faith or no faith) to issue vouchers for private or religious schools. With DeLay and Blunt in lockstep maneuvering, the religious dominated GOP was whipped into a frenzy of wild spenders who chopped away at long-standing regulations, instigated tax cuts for their cohorts, and doled out lavish earmarks and appropriations. They were so obviously blessed.

In this same general timeframe, DeLay initiated his so-called K Street Project, a not-so-righteous endeavor to get trade associations and lobbying firms to employ Republican supporters and to be more active in raising money for the party. And DeLay’s chief deputy, Roy Blunt, faithfully acted as DeLay’s envoy to the lobbying community–all in an effort to ram a strong religious-flavored Republican agenda through Congress. Dreams of establishing a theocratic government burned fiercely in their hearts. All this web of religious wheeler-dealers helped push biblical values into Republican legislative agenda, but those sacred ties were destined to become entangled and knotted around the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal.

Abramoff, an orthodox Jew, had been a highly influential lobbyist and activist for the born again George W. Bush administration, but then Roy Blunt’s name came up in connection with the Abramoff investigation. While Blunt was dutifully opposing a woman’s right to choose and opposing gay marriages, he saw nothing un-spiritual in trying to insert language into the bill creating the Homeland Security Department which would aid the Philip Morris tobacco company. He was inspired to make it more difficult for cigarettes to be offered for sale on the internet, apparently having suddenly had it divinely revealed to him that if cigarettes were to be offered on the internet it would be a serious security threat for the nation. Of course this deep spiritual inspiration had nothing to do with the $202,909 that Philip Morris had donated to his campaign.

Unfortunately that deceitful web of pretended righteousness is still being spun over the workings of the US government today (2014). And with the self-serving Tea Party having been added to the spin of biblical values, genuine democratic principles of equal opportunity for all the nation’s diverse citizens are not likely to improve. Somehow these religionists’ tactics reminds one of the line from the children’s story–“Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly.”

With this parasitic image we will close with another prophetic quote from former Republican Senator Barry Goldwater: “Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on Earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies.” (Italics added by this writer.) He concluded that interview with a thought on equality: “Equality, rightly understood, as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to emancipation of creative differences. Wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to [forced] conformity, and then to despotism.”

WAKE UP AMERICA! GENUINE DEMOCRACY IS UNDER ATTACK not only from foreign terrorists but more frighteningly also from within by divine deceivers.

Ministry Abuses

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, Government, politics, random, religion, Social with tags , , , , on July 1, 2013 by chouck017894

Religious pretense can be very profitable. If in doubt, just ask the many televangelists that each year chalk up multimillions in tax free cash and which they freely dip into for their personal expenditures.

Religious activists and televalgelist promoters are permitted to live outside the purview of federal tax authorities, and that pretty much guarantees the shafting of all tax payers in the name of some self-serving faith system. From that sheltered position the holy schemers are free to intervene in partisan political campaigns while freely living lavish lifestyles. This applies in a large measure to the television “ministries” that cater to the stay-at-home armchair worshippers and for those seeking faith in the fast lane. For anyone who is personally familiar with the New Testament texts, however, that approach to “ministry” work does not exactly reflect what Jesus is alleged to have taught.

Among the goodies that the tax exempt loophole allows the self-serving faith systems is that the televangelical executives may freely take “housing allowances.” That these “housing allowances” too often pay for palatial homes, multi-million dollar condos, beach houses, etc., is indulged in while the “ministers” laugh up their vestment sleeves at the gullible “sheep.” It is common for the TV ministry setup to include family members and friends as “staffers,” so that all of them may also luxuriate under the big non-profit umbrella.

All faith systems should be required to file the same detailed annual information return that any other nonprofit organizations must file (Form 990). Simply saying that they “work for the Lord” is not enough to sidestep their legal and moral obligations to the democratic government which permits them to operate. Even Jesus, whom they mockingly claim to represent, was clear about that: “…Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s…” (Mark 11:17). In other words, the counsel which Jesus openly declared was that his representatives were to understand that proper spiritual conduct depends upon church and state being honored separately: for although both concern man’s conduct, the foundational forms of man’s earthly self-governments do not prevail in heaven’s diversity and liberty.

The antidemocratic criminality which is being indulged in in the U.S. in the name of the many self-serving ministries has evolved into the corruption of government which we have witnessed in the United States since the scheming and treachery of the Religious Right gained control over the Republican party in 1996. By November 2007 we had Republican Congressmen such as Charles Grassley of Iowa actually advocating that an independent commission, to be led by an evangelical agency, should study church tax issues! That “unbiased” commission that the congressman suggested to investigate tax issues was the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, a Winchester, Virginia based agency. Grassley himself just happened to be a member of that “Fellowship”, also known as “The Family,” a controversial tax-exempt quasi-religious organization. Included in Grassley’s recommendation was the proposal to repeal the constitutional ban on churches from being actively involved in political campaigns! Church based politicking which would be anchored in tax-exempt security is in no manner a democratic pursuit, and it also runs counter to the teachings of the man whom the self-serving religionists pretend to represent.

There is a constant push by radical Religious Right leaders in the U.S. today to scrap or at least destabilize the wise Constitutional restriction set down by the nation’s founders which prohibited religionists from indulging in politicking. The undemocratic aim of these religious right conspirators is to establish a voting bloc for fundamentalists (themselves) whose idea of heaven on Earth is a theocracy. (Look to Iran for a glowing example of personal liberty under that type of governing.) But as late as the close of 2012, the Internal Revenue Service still avoided any serious investigation of these aggressive and deceitful religious conspirators.

The extreme Religious Right fraudulently claims that they are “renewed in Christ” but, as noted, they seem either strangely unfamiliar with, or just coldly indifferent to their Savior’s teachings. In the earliest books of Christianity (Mark and Matthew), followers are counseled to “…seek the welfare of one’s neighbor,” and to share compassionately. That is precisely the ideal of true democracy. Trying to covertly take over a government, therefore, clearly is not a “Christian value.” But today the self-interest of the radical religious right is displayed in their dishonorable overreach for political power, and they are doing this by using tax money which is gathered from citizens of every faith system and those with no connection to organized religion! The democratic structure of the U.S. is being placed in jeopardy today by this dishonest and dishonorable movement that disguises itself under the pretense of piety and spiritual values.

Fortunately the founding fathers of our democratic form of government in the United States clearly understood that genuine faith is not driven by a predatory fixation to dominate everyone. And history keeps trying to remind us that manipulative politicians, religious radicals and soiled baby diapers should be discarded quickly—–and for the same reason.

Colonial Activist for Church-State Separation

Posted in Atheist, belief, faith, Government, random, religion with tags , , , , , , on February 1, 2013 by chouck017894

For decades in the United States groups of ego-centered religionists have been demanding that their brand of religion be jammed into the mechanism of national government. None of those holy howlers seem to be aware that the call for church/state separation was originally championed by a truth-seeking religionist. That man was Roger Williams who fled England in 1631 to put down roots in the “new world” where he hoped to worship God in his chosen way (Calvinist-Puritan). Earlier, in 1630, one thousand persons under the leadership of John Winthrop had established the Massachusetts Bay Colony in an effort to distance themselves from the tyranny of the crown, which they regarded as practicing corruption through supervision of the Church of England. Williams, with his family in tow, arrived in Boston in February of 1631.

The form of faith which Williams hoped to find available in the Massachusetts Bay Colony did not measure up to his idea of proper spiritual conduct. He was appalled that the people of the Boston congregation had never publicly declared their repentance for their former communion with the Church of England. He therefore took his spiritual opinions to Salem where he had obtained a pastorate position. But there, too, Williams soon alienated the civil authorities by daring to accuse them of exceeding their proper jurisdiction in their inflicting of punishment on those who broke the rules for observing the Sabbath. Such conduct, Williams declared, was a violation of ecclesiastical authority. The civil authorities were not amused, and promptly expelled Williams, and he sought refuge in Plymouth. Christian charity and forgiveness struggled to assert itself in Salem, however, and Williams was grudgingly permitted to return to Salem in 1633.

Ah, but Williams’ spiritual conviction (or maybe it was ego) had not softened. To his credit Williams acknowledged the equality of spirit before God which is within everyone, and that democratic perspective of fairness toward others led to serious conflict with the Massachusetts Bay government. William dared to question the validity of the Massachusetts Bay charter under which the colonial authorities had taken possession of the land of the Indians without giving any form of compensation. Williams also noted that the colonists had an authoritarian practice of faith imposed upon them that was much like the tyrannical imposition from which the colonists had fled England. This assessment caused the government piety to hit the fan in 1635 and Williams was banished from Massachusetts by the order of the General Court and warned that he would be deported to England if he continued his disruptive behavior.

Williams apparently said to himself the Puritan equivalent of WTF, and with a few devoted friends took off in midwinter for Narragansett Bay where, in 1636, he purchased land from the local Indian chiefs, and founded Providence, Rhode Island. The government that he then established was founded on complete religious toleration. Along this spiritual journey, Williams had embraced the belief in submersion baptism, and in 1639 was himself baptized and then baptized others. Thus was founded the first Baptist church in the colonies. But Williams continued to be spiritually frustrated, and doubt crept upon him over the validity of his own baptism, which agitated him to the point that he withdrew from the church that he had founded! He did not, however, waver in his basic Christian principles.

Through the following years Williams would journey twice to England; first in 1643 to obtain from the crown a charter for the Providence Plantations in Narragansett Bay. By this time the theocratic governing body in Massachusetts looked upon Rhode Island as infected with spiritual pestilence and proceeded to march through Providence and by force of arms seize what is now Warwick. Only the English Parliament, which supported Massachusetts, could stop the power play, and England itself was in a civil war because of the state-controlled Church of England. Religious freedom was not understood intellectually, and Christians in England slaughtered other Christians simply because they chose to worship differently. But somehow Williams managed to procure legal charter from Parliament, and it confirmed to him the wisdom of keeping church and state separate.

The second journey to England was in October 1652, again to seek renewal of colony charter. By that time King Charles II ruled over England, and the king confirmed Rhode Island’s charter. Notable in the king’s approval of the colony charter was the affirmation that no person was to be “molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any differences in opinion in matters of religion.” Wisdom was beginning to evolve. During both sojourns in England, Williams wrote a number of dissertations, notable among them was a treatise on the nature and jurisdiction of civil government entitled The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause Of Conscience Discussed (Old English spelling).

After Williams returned to Rhode Island in 1654, he was elected president of the colony, and served in that capacity until 1657. During his presidency, in 1656, heavy persecution of the Society of Friends, better known as Quakers, in Boston had resulted in Quakers seeking refuge in Rhode Island. Williams had always remained steadfast in his guiding principle of religious tolerance, and he refused to persecute the refugees. In Williams’ view, the state could not prevent error in religious interpretations of God’s laws, and by the same measure, religious dogmatists (with their tendency to err) could not be expected to reliably direct tolerant workings of government policies over the wide diversity of people which God had fashioned.

It is interesting to note that in the later part of his life Williams accepted that institutions which were formulated by faith systems did not really function as expressions of God’s will. It seemed to him that it was only within each individual’s personal essence that life’s higher potential could be achieved. During the remainder of his life Roger Williams, a former pastor, continued to advocate separation of church and state; but he was never again a member of any self-serving church.

Betraying Democracy For Theocracy

Posted in belief, culture, faith, Government, politics, religion with tags , , , , , on November 29, 2012 by chouck017894

Theocracy is an ugly form of government which is touted by some faith system merchants as being presided over by God, while in real time all temporal management is to be dominated by a priestly order which claims rule by “divine sanction.”  In other words, it is sham authority.  In this twenty-first century the prime example of this type of governing is Iran.

Theocracies are alway ruthless and quick to condemn and dispose of any perceived threat to whoever happens to oppose the self-proclaimed mouthpiece for the ultimate being. All allegiance to such a set up is compulsory and the multitude is to accept it on blind faith even though there is never any real supportive evidence for the claims of godly choice of leader or the practices that are demanded.  It is this horror of social interaction that the forefathers of the United States sought to avoid, and they thus established the wise declaration that church and state must be kept separate.

That protective provision for maintaining true democracy as featured in the US Constitution has been the glue which bound diverse people from many lands in respectful acceptance of spiritual equality, which consequently made the US one of the mightiest nations in history.  Unfortunately, that strength and influential power which resulted from tolerance of diversity is a lure that cannot be resisted by ego driven conspirators.  If such persons can imagine that they speak for God, it is also easy for them to imagine that they should command the world.

Since the last half of the twentieth century and into this twenty-first there have been a glut of false prophets and self-proclaimed mouthpieces of God seeking to chip at that tap-root of the Constitution and replace it with their interpretation of “biblical values.”  All these ego driven pretenders of sanctity have attracted whole regiments of followers who are encouraged to mistake their ego for their spirit or their soul, and contribute multimillions to the “ministries” that would systematically destroy liberty and freedom for all.  Here, listed alphabetically, is a record of ten major “faith” pretenders that seek destruction of the constitutional mandate of separation of church and state.

  • “Alliance Defending Freedom” = (FDF) “Freedom” in this designation is deliberately misleading; the only freedom sought is to promote the prejudices of an Arizona based organization of TV and radio far right preachers as a tax-free religious group.  It is money and prejudice, not spirit, that guides them.  Gullible believers have shelled out nearly thirty-six million dollars to this group that seeks to overturn the federal law which bars tax-exempt churches (or other non-profit organizations) from intervening in partisan elections.
  • “American Family Association” = (AFA) “American Family” makes it all sound so reputable and patriotic, but this Mississippi based “association,” founded by Reverend Donald Wildmon, functions largely by abhorrent artificiality.  For instance, the AFA staffer Bryan Fischer alleges that Adolf Hitler invented church/state separation.  Apparently Fischer thinks that Hitler was present in the 1700s when the US Constitution was written.  Of course the AFA likes to portray abortion as sin, that gay persons do not deserve equal rights, that the AFA should be free to promote their faith system interpretations in public schools, etc., etc.  These bigoted hate mongers boast that they operate nearly 200 radio stations nationwide, and by stimulating their extremism the AFA has raked in nearly eighteen million dollars in 2012 in the name of God.
  • “Concerned Women for America” – (CWA) The “concern” is allegedly to “bring biblical principles into all levels of public policy.”  (Related blog: A Short Example of Biblical Values, Oct. 2012.)  The CWA was organized in 1979 by Tim and Beverly LaHaye (yeah, that Tim LaHaye, author of religious horror books), and it was started at that time as an opposition group to the Equal Rights Amendment.  Tolerance and trying to understand each other apparently is not a sacred obligation for them, and the CWA therefore opposes equal right for gays, promotes the teaching of creationism in science classes, and similar absurdities.  This is claimed to be “the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization,” and it garnered over ten million dollars in 2012.
  • “Council for National Policy” =(CNP) This “council” is small potatoes, drawing in not quite two million dollars in 2012, but it typifies the shadowy operations of the radical right.  The CNP is another Tim LaHaye scheme, and its purpose is coordinating meetings of “invitation only” religious right front men to develop strategy for political control (GOP).
  • “Faith and Freedom Coalition” (FFC) Founded by Ralph Reed, former executive director of the Christian Coalition.  Again the “freedom” striven for by this group is not to benefit all of god’s diverse people, but to entice conservative religious voters to certain (GOP) candidates which the FFC desired.  With revenues of nearly five and a half million dollars in 2012, the FFC hosted a forum of GOP presidential contenders in four states.
  • “Family Research Council” = (FRC) Here again a word in their title is deceiving; the word “research.”  This “council,” headed by Tony Perkins, is the principal religious right organization in Washington DC.  The Southern Poverty Law Center has actually designated this outfit as a hate group.  This “council” sponsors a program annually, the “Values Voter Summit,” to promote far-right politicians who favor bans on reproductive freedom and on gay equality, and who favor amending the Constitutional church/state safeguard, and who favor injecting creationism into public school science classes, and similar attacks on God-approved diversity.  But hate is profitable: nearly fifteen million dollars was collected by the FRC in 2012.
  • “Focus on the Family” (earlier known as Alliance Defense Fund) = (FOF) This outfit was founded by James Dobson.   The “family” that this outfit is concerned about is the right-wing political family, not the every-man family which embraces all diversities of human nature.  This Colorado based organization is really focused on pressuring state and national law makers in such things as abortion rights, denying equal rights for gays, and the rest of the typical hate obsessions.  Fanning such obsessions is lucrative, and the FOF revenue for 2012 was around one hundred and five million dollars.
  • Jerry Falwell Ministries/Liberty University/Liberty Counsel = Here is a multimillion dollar empire built on stilts of bigotry and hypocrisy.  With revenues of over five hundred twenty-two million dollars (principally from Liberty University), there is churned out a constant irritation of partisan politics.  Liberty Counsel, based at Liberty University, serves as a religious-right legal unity that specializes in lawsuits aimed at undermining church/state separation.
  • The Pat Robertson religious business empire = One of God’s most long-winded busybodies, Pat Robertson built a worldly empire for himself by selling ego-titillation as spiritual magnification.  The anchor for this fixation was the purchase of a broadcasting license that became the Christian Broadcasting Network, which allowed him to preach to stay-at-home seekers his bias take on what God allegedly wanted.  Mining the airways proved extremely lucrative, and in pursuit of shaping even more minds he established the Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA.  Featured in the private University are two legal groups; the Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, and the American Center for Law and Justice.  Ungrateful for his democratic springboard, Robertson has unendingly expounded in far-right and political invective, even stating that the church/state separation clause in the Constitution was a “myth.”  His ego-motivating “700 Club” is nothing more than a forum for promoting extreme right-wing ideology; it is imagined godly favoritism that brought in revenue for 2012 of over four hundred million dollars.
  • And lastly, we have the “United States Conference of Catholic Bishops” = Considering how the Catholic Church governed over most of Europe through the centuries which history records as the “Dark Ages,” we have every right to question the spiritual motivation for the bishops fueling the “cultural war” in the United States.  Catholicism has not exactly proven itself to be an infallible faith system through its two millennia of spiritual posturing.  When bishops indulge themselves in lobbying Congress in Washington DC, it is not for the benefit of all the diverse people that make up the citizenry of the nation; it is an attempt to force principles of the Catholic faith system upon everyone—just as they did in the Dark Ages.  The creative power that is personified as God has decreed that life is to be expressed in broadly diverse modes, and it is not up to any faith system to sit in judgment of that diversity.  The bishops’ formation of the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty is pure hypocrisy when its purpose is an ultra-conservative stand on such things as reproductive rights, on who is allowed to love who, marriage equality rights, birth control, school vouchers, and seeking federal funding for their highly prejudicial church-affiliated social services.  With revenue in 2012 of over twenty-six million dollars, we can pretty much judge just where their true spirituality rests.

This short list of religious right groups certainly is not complete, but it does exemplify the most threatening pressure groups plotting against true democratic governing.  There is nothing of any genuine spiritual worth in attempting to force others into some man-formulated performance of honoring the creative Source: that is greed and pretense at its worst.  Under almost any other form of government such attempts at sabotaging the government’s founding principles would rightfully be construed as traitorous.