Archive for radical religion

Truth in Chains

Posted in Atheist, belief, culture, Government, history, humanity, life, politics, random, thoughts with tags , , , , , , on January 4, 2010 by chouck017894

Radical politics and organized hard-line (fundamental) religions seem to be pretty much constructed on scaffolds of lies.  This has, of course, contributed heavily to the great puzzles of the modern world.  That hallowed tradition of crucifying truth has insured the growth of indifference to truth, the very principle which was once understood to be the cement that bound differing elements of society in a shared edifice of moral strength.

Once truth is crucified it loses its salvation powers, and attempts to use relics from its corpse to fire-up the devotion of would-be devotees only mocks the living.  The consequence of building on a scaffold of lies, even those little white lies, is that those miniscule cracks in truth allows the sewage of prejudice and intolerance to seep in.  Indications of wobbly scaffolding and cracked truth then show up in social situations where citizens are made hesitant to demand the truth and denounce what is detectably false.  Concessions to those using fabrication in their approach to social problems only makes it impossible to defend the moral  distinction between right and wrong. 

In the United States today, citizens have witnessed that quandary being increasingly played out over the last few decades in the pursuit of temporal advantages in both the control exercises of politics and religion.  Of course each contender claims exclusive access to truth.  Unfortunately, people who are led to wonder over who, what or which to believe generally do not stop believing—they simply will themselves to believe anything.  That, in turn, weakens social order.  There can be no practicable and durable social order without trust, and trust is anchored only in respect for truth—or at least in an agreement on some truth-finding procedures.

The religious-political tyranny practiced in an exercise of half-truths serves only as the expressway into doubt—not only doubt of the subject or issues inspiring the half-truths, but it also motivates reasonable doubts of the ones who persistently mangle the truth.  Such is the case today in the United States with what is left of the Republican Party—the radical fringe—that is now lost in an orgy of  fabrications and a stubborn refusal to reach beyond their self-serving “party” policies of citizen repression, war mongering and profit gouging.

History has shown—more than a few times—that when fundamentalism (political or religious) attains power, that power is used to persecute everyone not of their narrow mindset—i.e., their conviction which openly rejects the truth of the Creator’s partiality to a wide diversity of life expressions.

Any moral and  just governing of the masses can function only where there is practiced mutual respect, compliance to just laws, fidelity to contracts made, compassion in judgment, and the tolerance of non-threatening life styles.  All these are really characteristics of a devotion to truth.

“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.