Archive for "faith-based"

Pretense of Piety

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, enlightenment, faith, history, life, politics, random, religion, secularism, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2010 by chouck017894

Religious proselytizing is a special type of propaganda.  From at least the early 1960s in the United States there has been a virtual epidemic of this type of pseudo holiness.  The spread of this affliction has been a carefully plotted pattern of contamination by those who recognized the material profits and worldly power that was to be had by injecting people’s psyches with holy fears of being rejected by the Source and sustainer of all diverse life.

Through the last couple of decades of the twentieth century each person’s personal beliefs about how they are to respect the creative life force has been artfully deformed into a political cause that dares assert that their selected belief systems should have free access to tax money collected from all diverse people to practice their religious brand of discrimination.  “Faith-based” is a deceptive moniker chosen to proclaim their delusions of exclusive access to an indifferent creative force, and is nothing more than propaganda rhetoric.  Even today, a decade into the 21st century, sectarian lobbies shamelessly seek the political clout to force all U. S. citizens to live under their narrow, man-invented theological regulations.  How militaristic maneuvering for earthly power is a soul-saving operation for a loving omnipotent Creator fails to compute as spiritual integrity.

Think this claim of religious politicizing is farfetched?  In November 2009 a coalition of extremist evangelicals and Roman Catholic bishops met to pound out a 4,700 page document they called “Manhattan Declaration,” with the pretentious subtitle, “A Call of Christian Conscience.”  Of course it is implied that the arrogant political demands framed in the document were God-directed, with God supposedly recommending public policies that covered such things as marriage rights, reproductive rights, what is to be accepted as proper sexual magnetism, and other niceties.  These representatives of a proclaimed loving God backed up their holiness by declaring they would ignore any democratic-flavored laws that they did not like.  They, and no one else, had heard God’s shrill trumpet—or “clarion call”—for strict regimentation in conduct of life’s diversity that would please him. 

So extreme and devious are these types of hierarchical “faith” systems that they dare to self-promote their spiritual selfishness as “a promotion of human dignity.”  And, by God,  they will seek to wipe out anyone who disagrees with them!

The Preamble of this bloated Declaration begins with the statement that…”Christians are heirs of a 2,000 year tradition of proclaiming God’s word, seeking justice in our societies, resisting tyranny, and reaching out with compassion to the poor, the oppressed and suffering.”  The interpretation of Christian history that follows this whitewash then lingers only on the sparse times when Christian practitioners happened to actually rise above the very offenses they say that they denounce.  True history shows that justice was not exactly a Christian concern in the formative years of the movement: they were more rebels, criminals and agitators than law-abiders.  The tyranny of the Roman Catholic Church indulged in justice by “reaching out with the compassion” that is known as the Inquisition when millions of defenseless souls were tortured and killed for not measuring up to church demands. 

The document sidesteps all the many gory pages of their religious practices by saying, “While fully acknowledging the imperfections and shortcomings of Christian institutions and communities in all ages…” they then quickly claim Christianity to have been the only source that “defended innocent  life”!  If this document is taken as truth, only Christians have been responsible for any advances in human welfare and care in the world. 

To borrow words from the Manhattan Document, “…consider carefully and reflect critically on the issues…” that you pompously trumpet.  You have no right whatsoever to make demands on the diverse expressions of life that you dare to judge.  What you pretend is spiritual enlightenment amounts to little more than masturbation of your ego.

Embezzling for Faith

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, faith, Government, history, humanity, life, politics, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , on September 26, 2009 by chouck017894

There is a deception being widely practiced among too many members of the U.S. Congress who have underhandedly inserted last-minute special interest “earmarks” into bills just before consideration of the bill is taken up by all members of Congress.  Using federal monies for special interests for a senator’s home state is the traditional type of senatorial embezzlement.  But the most flagrant disregard for the principles of democracy set forth by the Founding Fathers are those sneaky little “earmarks” inserted into bills to actually subsidize religious groups!  That is a clear violation of the principle of church and state separation.

Faith that requires such deceptions and contempt for democracy is clearly anything but holy.  But past records show that our tax dollars—money meant for national welfare—have been repeatedly high jacked in earmarks for such religious fronts as:

  • A fundamentalist Christian group that claimed to offer extended Bible study as a means of helping young persons overcome drug and alcohol addiction.  Sounds good—but the group bragged openly of their true objective: converting Jews and other non-Christians with their Bible activities.  Earmarks provided this Christian proselytizing group with a half million of our tax dollars.
  • Then there was a “ranch” in Florence, Kansas, which claimed that it was “made available to all followers of Christ,” and concentrated on leadership training programs that included selected Bible studies and prescribed forms of devotion.  Earmarks enriched the “ranch” with $595,000.
  • Then there was the Christian Missions organization that advertised their mission was “to present Christ to the unchurched.”  Earmark trickery brought the “missions” the blessing of $282,000 from tax money to further their proselytizing.
  • In Chicago a church sponsored community center profited to the tune of $250,000 in earmark funds.
  • In Michigan a “rescue mission” that  promoted itself as “A Christian summer camping experience,” hiked off with $490,000 from the senator’s earmark sting.
  • In the “Show Me” state of Missouri, a “camp” where volunteers were counseled to “be ready to help spread the good news of Jesus Christ” received the very good news of $375,000 from earmark duplicity.

 These are but a small number out of thousands of how some members of Congress skirt the principle of separation of church and state.  Most all such faith-based organizations that get earmark booty screen prospective staff members for “doctrinal purity,” but have absolutely no qualms about using money collected (embezzled) from tax money that was gathered from people of differing faiths.  And the members of Congress who covertly channel that tax money into these religious groups certainly do not comprehend or respect the Founding Fathers’ resolve to keep church and state separate in order that all citizens are insured the rights of true democracy and freedom from religious persecution.

“Charitable Choice”

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, Government, history, politics, random, religion, secularism with tags , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2009 by chouck017894

During the drafting of the Welfare Reform Act in 1996, the then-senator from Missouri, John David Ashcroft (R-MO) advanced the innocent-sounding idea of “charitable choice.”  The reference label was something of a misnomer, for the covert intention of the program was to provide a wedge that would permit the government to fund religious groups and ministries.

Within weeks after George W. Bush swore upon two Bibles at his inauguration in 2001 to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution, he was leading the charge in support of the “Charitable Choice” policy.  And GWB installed John Ashcroft as his Attorney General.  Bush, a self-proclaimed “Born Again Christian,” quickly sought to distribute federal tax money to ministries, ostensibly to provide social services that happened to already be provided for through secular grantees and government agencies.  Bush pledged eight billion dollars in expanding “Charitable Choice” so churches and ministries received federal funds for “social services” which allowed them to proselytize!    The “charitable choice” policy really sought to alter the existing laws in a manner that could utilize the power of the federal government to support Christian conversions—a move that is in direct opposition to the religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Using tax dollars meant for public benefit works to fund churches and ministries to represent government social welfare is, in itself,  unconstitutional.  Add to this that Ashcroft’s so-called “Charitable Choice,” as attempted, intentionally avoided any protective safeguards that would prevent religious coercion and abuses.  Incorporating religion into publicly funded programs had always been avoided by the government, sometimes contracting separate entities of religious institutions and in that way established safeguards that protected the rights of the disadvantaged, the interests of all tax payers, and in this way insured the integrity of the representing groups.

Although “charitable choice” did become part of the welfare law of 1996, the constitutional concerns caused democracy’s representatives to hesitate in implementing the policy.  Many rightfully saw it as a disguised way of forcing taxpayers to subsidize religion whether they believed in its narrow spiritual worth or not–clearly a means of sabotaging the constitutional principle of separation of church and state.  It was telling that this knucklehead that pushed for “charitable choice” is the same guy who spent eight thousand dollars on blue curtains to hide the breasts of the statue Spirit of Justice and the male counterpart Majesty of Law

 But Bush at that time liked to think of himself as a god-chosen leader, and seemed hell-bent-for-leather on applying “charitable choice” to practically every aspect of government  funding.  The resultant unending “faith-based” hoopla made democracy tremble, alarmed civil liberties groups, and the educational and social service communities, and even the more rationally balanced religious communities.

Providing legitimate social service can be a noble endeavor for spiritually minded groups, but the “faith-based” initiative as attempted in the “charitable choice” ploy was a policy that was concerned with neither democratic nor genuine religious liberty.  But the radical religious right is still seeking to embezzle tax monies for their tyrannical beliefs.  American citizens must keep a watchful eye on these devilish anti-democratic insurgents.

Ashcroft took a teaching position at Pat Robertson’s Regent University after his stint as Attorney General.

Hijacking Christianity

Posted in Atheist, Christianity, culture, history, random, religion, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2009 by chouck017894

Back in the days before television, religion in the United States was pretty much regarded as strictly a personal thing—not a motive for national political grandstanding, not a reason for attempting mass brainwashing, not cause for exaggerated claims of godly interest in government, and not an excuse for trying to steal public money for some self-serving belief system.  Such reprehensible behavior was understood as associated with the low ethics of theocracy, not conduct worthy of the principles of democracy, personal integrity and religious freedom.

As noted  in an earlier blog (God’s Political Addiction, May 9, 2009), the appearance of the technological wonder of television upon the scene in the early 1950s was quickly embraced by pulpit profiteers who would soon  become known as televangelists.  As noted in another earlier blog (God’s Henchment, April 22, 2009), the profits could be enormous by hijacking Christianity and pretending to save souls by trimming down the seekers’ wallets while also skimming off money the government collected for public good under the dodge as tax free organization.

The religious insanity that had once dominated Europe for centuries, and which is referred to as the Dark Ages (c. 476 – c. 1453), was being resuscitated in the United States and the hybrid energized by electronic impulse was lustful and ravenous.  The gates of exploitation had been flung open and the hijackers of Christianity surged through like a tsunami.  Unheeded were the warnings in the New Testament that motivations and excesses and accumulation of riches create danger for personal and social salvation.  Ignored were the parables attributed to Jesus about pursuing power and a slavish accumulation of riches, property and worldly structures.

So where do the pulpit power brokers today stand in the Jesus method of judgment?  The parables of the rich farmer and the one of the rich young ruler being judged wanting should give pause for thought to such Bible thumpers as Pat Robertson and his $460 million a year religious-front operation, all tax free.  And there is the influential evangelical leader James Dobson and his operation Focus on the Family, easily siphoning in $140 million a year tax free, a system that would be more aptly designated as Focus on Himself.   After all, he did declare that he would bring down the GOP if it failed him: he lusted for theocracy.  Forget the has-beens Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed, Gary Bauer, Jeramiah White, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Leroy Kopp, Aubrey Lee, etc. etc. etc…

After George W. Bush, a GOP faith-distracted president, dutifully packed the federal courts with ultraconservative judges the Religious Right, dreaming that theocracy was near, surged forth in shameless attempts to bring down the wall  of separation of church and state with their self-serving cases in the federal courts.  What the Religious Right have their eyes set upon is not upon public good, however, but temporal power and the tempting profits to be had in “faith-based” scams, which are better described as embezzlement of public money.