Archive for separation of church and state

Beware of Faith-Based Fraud

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Christianity, faith, freethought, Government, history, logic, politics, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , on July 25, 2011 by chouck017894

Special-interest handouts by political office holders in the United States have become big-time privileges over the last few decades—increasing dramatically after the Religious Right gained control over the Grand Old Party in 1996.  The fast changing legal status of churches and faith system institutions, underhandedly implemented, served to elevate religious organizations into more lenient rules than permitted to their secular counterparts.

Such deliberate disregard for the democratic principles by religious extremists regarding 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.  It is unclear as to why an “omnipotent, omniscient” God should have to rely on using such devious means to achieve “his” wishes.  But the raucous, self-serving religious extremists have effectively contaminated a clueless Congress, the US Supreme Court, the White House, and federal and state courts, all of which have carelessly conceded to the demands that “faith” groups (Christian only) should be protected from any government intrusion.

This has been pushed upon the widely diverse populace of the US and injected with a false eminence that reflects neither the principles of true democracy nor higher spiritual values.  These predatory religious wolves have accomplished this betrayal of democratic principles by camouflaging themselves with sheep’s clothing.  Thus disguised they have methodically selected single regulations one by one and thereby disfigured numerous longstanding laws of equality.  This has left so many democratic principles mauled to an extent that the “faith” pretenders, their buildings and programs which are only slightly related to any faith system may virtually thumb their noses at requirements leveled upon everyone else.  That bears the foul odor of theocratic ideology.

The intended aim of their faith-based scheme of crippling true democratic principles is very nearly completed, the aim of which is the establishment of an enormous subsidy for religion—meaning the misuse of tax-payer money to promote the Christian version of faith posturing.  This happens to be contrary to the establishment clause of the First Amendment, but what the hell!

Under these special-interest allowances, unethically obtained, even the day-care centers that have religious affiliations are 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 with privileged status the abuse and disregard for patients in these facilities proved to be greater than in nonreligious facilities.  Another example; the health care system operated by the Seventh Day Adventists is actually allowed to bar nurses from joining unions.  Many states permit tax-free churches to build and expand in ways that clearly violate zoning ordinances with which everyone else must comply.  Religious-front operations routinely discriminate in choosing employees.  Even persons working for them, if suddenly stricken with some physical malady, can be unceremoniously dumped by religious-front organizations, which would never be tolerated in nonreligious organizations.

Special privileges that are extended by dogmatic politicians to certain (Christian only) religious organizations is neither fair nor just in a nation that was built upon dedication to the freedom of choice and the pursuit of happiness.  And practicing bigotry and narrow-mindedness as religious observance is neither righteous nor spiritual in a creation that brims with lavish diversity.  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-made faith system into politics of a nation dedicated to freedom for its diverse people can only accomplish catastrophe for all.

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Questioning the U.S. Supreme Court

Posted in Atheist, culture, Government, politics, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on February 1, 2010 by chouck017894

The oath of office taken by each U. S. Supreme Court Justice has them solemnly swear to “…faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me under the Constitution and laws of the United States, so help me God.”  (Italics added.)  Citizens who care about civil rights, civil liberties, and separation of church and state are beginning to get a bit nervous about the U. S. Supreme Court since John G. Roberts was made Chief Justice in 2005.  The extent to which this Court has actually changed national laws—laws with precedence going back seventy to one hundred years—and turning them steadily and covertly to the right is disquieting.  In the present Supreme Court, in the dispensing of “equal justice,” Roberts is more often than not aided and abetted by Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Anthony Alito, with Anthony Kennedy very often inclined to the right.  All were Republican nominated, and all are Catholic.

 Even persons who are only superficially acquainted with the democratic principles expressed in the U.S. Constitution are aware that religion and government are meant to be kept separate for the sake of both.  So it is reason for alarm when a Supreme Court Justice promotes himself as “an avenger of the Christian faith,” and in one of his speeches declare himself to be “a fool for Christ.”  Perhaps Supreme Court Justice Antonio Scalia meant it in jest: for the sake of true equal justice let us hope so.  On the other hand, he has openly shown his favoritism toward his taught beliefs when considering his version of “equal justice” in regard to a religious symbol, the cross, that had been placed on government land in the Mohave Desert in California.

The eight foot tall cross was allegedly erected as a war memorial, so Scalia declared that it did not meet with the definition of a Christian symbol!  The court’s judgment, written by Scalia: the cross is “…the most common symbol of the resting place of the dead.”  Really?  Perhaps the dead Christians slumber peacefully because of it, but what of the Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, native Americans, atheists or others of lesser known faiths who died for the nation?  Does the long shadow cast by that stark unnatural form really grant all those killed in war the respect that they deserve and earned from the nation?  Despite what Christian extremists claim, the United States was NOT founded as a Christian nation.  Article 11 in the U. S. Treaty with Tripoli, 1796-1797, which also officially ended the War of Independence with Great Britain, says, “As the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion….”

Equal justice means taking into consideration all evidence to be considered in a case.  As an example of how the Supreme Court has significantly changed national laws, consider the case of Herring v. United States.  The nine Justices passed the decision, which cannot be reviewed, of when evidence must be excluded when police, through good faith or negligent conduct, violate the Fourth Amendment.  Limitations on this were presented with this decision, but it fractured old precedence.  Other precedents have suffered as well.  Plaintiffs relying on the Age Discrimination in Employment Act were thrown a curve in the 14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett case when the Justices declared that individual employees cannot bring claims to court under federal age-discrimination law when they are part of collective bargaining agreement that required arbitration.  The Age Discrimination in Employment Act suffered more fracturing in Gross v. FBL Financial Services by making it more difficult for the plaintiffs in this case to meet burden of proof than did plaintiffs in other forms of employment discrimination suits.

And are true democratic principles being exercised when the possible innocence of a person convicted of a crime is denied a means of presenting scientific support of his/her innocence?  In the District Attorney of the Third Judicial District v. Osborne, the Supreme Court passed a 5-4 decision that those convicted of a crime had no Constitutional right to DNA testing, even though it would not cost the government one cent.  Were the Justices at all concerned about assuring that someone might prove their innocence even though they were convicted?  Is a mistake in identity such a rarity in the legal system?   Yeah, sure.

  • see also Supreme Court NOT for the Citizens, January 22, 2010.

Sinning Against Democratic Principles

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, Government, history, humanity, Inspiration, naturalism, politics, random, religion, secularism, thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2009 by chouck017894

Genuine freedom for everyone, as the US Constitution proclaims, certainly is not being served by persons who seek to bring down the Founding Fathers’ ideals of governing, which wisely stressed separation of church and state.  Nor should the right of free speech be twisted into a perverse interpretation that it is a license to proselytize to captive audiences of school students as the overly vocal bloc of Christian radicals, such as the noble-sounding Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), have chosen to interpret it.  This Christian rightwing legal affiliation has trained more than nine hundred lawyers in the art of sidestepping tolerance and compassion for any who may live or believe differently than they.

 If the idea that religious fanatics can influence the US Supreme Court sounds impossible, think again.  Since 1995 the Supreme Court has been leaning more and more toward passing judgments that threaten to undermine the safeguard of separation of church and state as championed by our nations’ Founding Fathers.

It all began with the landmark case Rosenberger vs. the Regents of the University of Virginia.  The charge brought forth by the so-called Alliance Defense Fund was that secular clubs were funded through student activity fees, but the fees were not available to fund religious student groups.  This shameless jargon used by the ADF to cause the Supreme Court to deviate from the Establishment Clause* was due to the fact that the university could not by law appear to endorse any particular religion—thus the ADF howled “viewpoint discrimination”!  (*Establishment Clause: one of two “religion clauses” of the First Amendment.)

 Since the religious radicals got their foot through the door, the Catholic dominated Supreme Court has bowed to the mythology of those claiming to be “victimized Christians,” and the  court has continued to deviate from earlier and wiser precedence and has leaned toward the “reasoning” that if secular clubs were funded but not religious proselytizing groups, then discrimination was present!

The irony of the very ones who so actively and loudly promoted discrimination against diverse lifestyles standing up and claiming to be victims of discrimination would be amusing if it wasn’t such a dangerous act of hatred and psychic terrorism.  They hide behind the trumped up claim that they are “biblically compelled” to condemn various groups; homosexuals, for example.  They like to use the Bible as their permission from god to indulge themselves in orgiastic hatred and intolerance.  In regard to same-sex appeal, discrimination is stirred up by using a half sentence verse of Romans (1:27); “…And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”

 First, let us note that, as it is stated, woman was regarded as nothing more than an outlet to be used for man’s sexual release.  The line in question was not a religious directive and not reallly spiritual condemnation so much as simply reflecting the social etiquette of Rome c.100 CE, the time of the book of Romans‘ composing, the authorship of which has never been satisfactorily determined.  In addition, endless translations of “holy word” have not insured accuracy of what the verse-twisters like to allege.

Diversity is highly respected in the energy-mechanism of Creation, for it is only through an unlimited spectrum of life expression that the Source is made absolute and omniscient.  To pretend otherwise, as radical religionists do, is true irreverence, for such hostile opposition to the natural diversity expressed in life in the guise of religious superiority is not reflected anywhere else in Nature or the universe.  That odious pretense of favoritism radiates chiefly around the endless parade of self-appointed mouthpieces of god.  They may build their earthly power structures and influence by fanning indulgence in bigotry, but it remains highly unlikely that the ladder to Heaven is outfitted with rungs of hatred.