Archive for religious freedom

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.

Religious Right Strategy for Taking Political Control

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, Government, history, humanity, life, politics, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , on November 27, 2010 by chouck017894

Back in the recent timeframe 1992 in the USA, there were money-grubbing televangelists who promoted the idea that grabbing political power was the god-approved way to reap heavenly rewards.  It was October 26, 1992 that one of God’s closest confidants, Pat Robertson, announced, “We want…as soon as possible to see a majority of the Republican Party in the hands of pro-family Christians by 1996.”  Borrowing angel Gabriel’s trumpet, Robertson tooted that there would be “physically bloody” confrontations as loving Christians battled for political power.  Robertson longed fervently for a religious war.  To make this into a self-fulfilling prophecy, the Christian Right then pumped out reams and reams of fear-inducing brochures and pamphlets in a shameful campaign of divisiveness.  It is said that history repeats itself, and in their fanaticism the Religious Right was (and still is) every bit as paranoid and emotionally selfish as the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th century Christians had been.  (No, they were not the innocent little darlings as commonly portrayed.)  Shamelessly, the Religious Right pretended  to be promoting a democratic view of the world, and as they cultivated this mockery of spirit into a political force they deftly sidestepped medial scrutiny behind the nation’s shield of religious freedom. 

By 1996 the Christian Right, which had been an active participant in US politics (often illegally) for a hundred years or more, did indeed manage to wrest control of the GOP at the Republican Convention.  The takeover was accomplished not by godly favoritism but through devilish strategy that enabled a minority to win significantly in local regions and then in national elections.  Like so many of the Bible’s stars, they used deceit and posturing to accomplish their worldly desire, but this was not even commented upon by the major news networks in fear that exposing the Christian Right’s dirty tactics would be construed as an attack upon religion.  Instead, the media gushed about how well-behaved the deceitful delegates had been! 

Carefully kept out of sight by the Christian Right was their ideology and vision of “Biblical law,” which embraced such plans as:  The systematic disruption and eventual destruction of such fundamental democratic institutions as public schooling, jury trials, and the right of free speech—a right being used in this post right now, but which would be violently punished under their divine guidance.  Being spiritually guided, they advocated the lowering of taxes that supported all citizens entitlements such as public schools and public services.  Instead, they advocated that welfare had to be administered solely by private agencies (meaning their religious agencies), not by a fair-play government.  Indeed, the protective democratic government, they insisted, should be abolished and a mandatory religious belief system imposed upon all citizens!

In this recent timeframe there increased the despicable propaganda tactics of demonizing any opponents, which allowed the Right false justification for pursuing their alleged god-directed actions.  Religious fanatics of any stripe are never supporters of democratic principles, and true to form, the harmless-appearing political proposals that the right-wingers submitted always served in some manner to advance their self-serving religious agenda. 

In 1998 the Christian Right’s push for temporal power in the US was nudged in a new direction with the incorporation of a new private school to be known as Patrick Henry College.  Perhaps it was Henry’s retort to conservatives of his day that encouraged the scheming Right to name the college after a genuine patriot of democratic  principles.  Henry had introduced resolutions against the Stamp Act imposed upon the American colonies by the British Parliament in 1765, saying to those conservatives who favored English rule, “If this is treason, make the most of it.”  So it is not likely that Henry would be much flattered to have his name used in conjunction with the school’s anti-democratic motivations.  The college would not open officially until 20 September 2000.

For a student to ever be accepted in Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia they had to confirm, among other stringent demands, that they held literal belief in the teaching of the Bible.  (Never explained was which translation of the biblical myths.)  In the Admission documents that they had to sign was the reminder why student loyalty to PHC was vital: “Satan exists as a personal, malevolent being who acts as tempter and accuser.”  But the blissful students-to-be were not the only ones required to sign a statement of belief: each faculty member had to sign agreements affirming that they would adhere to and would teach in favor of creationist’s beliefs.  The pledge of literal belief in the Bible was held to be most binding upon those teaching biology and theology—specifically belief in the six-day Creation.  All of these cult-like restraints, it was insisted, was to provide a very good liberal arts education.

By April 2004, with the US being led into moral corruption by born-again George W. Bush, PHC was getting its students into strategic areas that dealt with how the US was governed.  Of approximately one hundred interns working in the White House, seven were from Patrick  Henry College; another was working  for Karl Rove, the senior adviser to GWB; and another was active for the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign.  Since PHC had opened its doors in 2000, twenty-two Republican conservative members of Congress had employed one or more PHC students who had been programmed with evangelical fanaticism.  As People for the American Way dared to point out, these students “…are not exposed to the kind of diversity the country has. They (the faculty at PHC) are training people with a very limited ideological view.”

But today, a decade into the 21st century, the US is still reeling from that thrust into “biblical values,” and those “values” are still being attempted to replace the noble democratic principles of equality, liberty, justice, fair trade, and tolerance for each other.  In “biblical values” the Omnipotent being that is fantasized by them is allegedly a highly prejudicial being—a concept that runs from Genesis through Revelation.  Genuine history that surrounds similar attempts at imposing harsh religious “values” upon the masses has shown that they have never brought mankind any semblance of peace, harmony or love to the interrelated but diverse people of the world.