Archive for tax dollars

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.