Posts tagged Church and State
Ever wonder: What Would Jesus Drive?
Here’s a weird marketing plan: GM is marketing their cars to churches. They are partnering with select churches and setting up free test driving.
So I guess it’s praise, prayer, preaching, and then test driving to see if these souls will get saved and convert to GM?
I have two thoughts on this:
1. Should the church really be doing this? This seems a strange thing for a church to do. Plus, will they be hosting Ford and Toyota next? After all, the church is supposed to be accepting of all.
2. Is this a violation of the separation of church and state? The government owns GM. The government put in the CEO they wanted etc. So should GM really be marketing to churches? (HA!)
The Book of Acts says that the apostles all met in one Accord, but perhaps it’s time to move on…
The Air Force Academy in Colorado is about recognize its first Wiccan prayer circle. It is essentially a Stonehenge in the Rockies that will serve as an outdoor place of worship for the academy’s neo-pagans.
This is a battle that Wiccan cadets have been fighting for over a decade.
So what do I think?
Go for it. I don’t believe the same thing, but our Constitution protects the free exercise of religion. So long as the devotees are serious, I am supportive. So long as this isn’t another affront to faith, like (for example) the Flying Spaghetti Monster movement is meant to be, I think the Air Force is doing something just fine.
But I can’t help think of the awesome Spinal Tap song:
In ancient times…
Hundreds of years before the dawn of history
Lived a strange race of people… the Druids
No one knows who they were or what they were doing
But their legacy remains
Hewn into the living rock… Of Stonehenge
2nd Grader Given Psych Eval for Drawing Cross On Christmas Is Just Being Concerned & Politically Correct, Right?15
Students of a second-grade class at Maxham Elementary (in Massachusetts) were asked by their teacher to draw what Christmas meant to them. Pictures of Santa, reindeer, snowmen, presents, and Christmas trees ensued. But then one student turned in his drawing of something truly horrific….A PICTURE OF A CROSS WITH JESUS ON IT!!!!!! AAAHHHH!!!! (actual picture above)
Yesterday I had a review of my book from an old friend from High School. It was a great write-up. It also humbled me because of the kind things that were said. I wanted to take a moment to pass through memory lane, as a result of the review.
Yes, I think healthcare reform needs to happen. But it better do two things:
1) Actually improve and expand healthcare
2) Not break the back of the economy
This is the true moral imperative.
Upon a cursory read of certain portions of proposed legislation (HR 3200), I have made some simple observations. By the way, you can read the legislation here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:H.R.3200:. If you do, you will have one up on your Representatives. For some reason, they don’t think they have to read the Bills they vote on, even though they sign an affidavit stating they have. Here’s what I’ve noticed:
- Our Representatives will be exempt from this legislation. In other words, they won’t be subject to what they want to subject us to. How can this nation stand if our Representatives vote for things that they don’t have to abide by? (And by the way, they do it all the time.) This is like old-style monarchy, and we are the peasants.
- A public option will drive out the private market. Why? Because by law the government can pay up to 30% less than its private competitors. In fact, this is one of the reason healthcare is so expensive now. Because doctors and hospitals have to make up the cost for the low reimbursement rates of current Medicare and Medicaid patients. No one can compete with that. In any other context, these practices would be considered illegal or monopolistic. But because it is gov’t, it’s A-OKAY. This will actually decrease the standard of health care in the long run as competition unavoidably lessens. This will lead to the socialization of healthcare. Now there are rumors of the public option being removed from the legislation. I don’t believe. Provisions for it will be tucked away in there somehow hidden with fancy and confusing legal jargon. Besides, there are about five versions of this Bill floating around. And the final versions on Bills are never read anymore. So how would anyone really know?
- Federal funds will go to cover abortions. You may say it won’t, that abortion isn’t even in the Bill. But laws and legislation are based on precedent and the precedent has already been set. Since abortion is legal, it will be considered a simple medical procedure in the context of this Bill and will be covered.
- In the end, bureaucrats in Washington (not you, me, or our doctors) will oversee and decide on health care costs, coverage, and procedures.
- This will be the biggest social program in history because of the size of the US. We are given promises that this will be revenue neutral, but there is actually no plan in place to back that statement up. We are told that funding will be figured out after the fact. This is obviously a gross misstatement. It will break the bank. In fact, the health system will eventually become the biggest employer in the world by some projections. Nothing that size that doesn’t answer to anyone (accountability), have to perform well (competition), or be sustainable (pay for itself) can be effective or efficient. Is there anything you can think of that the government has taken over that has become cheaper or better?
- The government will have access to all your tax records to assess what your cost for care should be. And if you don’t like it, they will have access to your bank account so they can deduct it directly. Yes, that is in the legislation too. Want to do rock-climbing on the weekends? Well, you’ll pay a little more for your healthcare. Are you a roofer by trade? That will cost you more. Drink Coke and eat chips? Pay up. Drive an SUV o
r have a house that is too big? That will cost you since you’re ‘hurting the planet.’ It can happen.
- This will NOT be FREE. That may be the biggest distortion of all.
I don’t believe this legislation will or can accomplish the goals it purports too. It is a logistical impossibility. That’s what makes me so suspicious. It’s more like radicalization of the healthcare. If you think about it, under the auspices of health reform the gov’t will have access and control of every aspect of your life (in one fell swoop). This is politics as usual and I think citizens are waking up to it. The President’s approval numbers consistently trending down might be evidence of this.
The argument is often made that no one should die because they don’t have coverage. Not sure I get that one. Anyone is able to get care in the ER by law already. The argument is also made that no one should go broke because of medical expenses. Some simple changes in the system could be made to alleviate that (more on that in a moment). But let’s be clear, HR 3200 will not increase coverage or access. And it sure won’t cover experimental procedures.
As a result of the debate here in America, some recent information has come to light about healthcare in other countries with gov’t run programs. There’s a ton more information that could be uncovered too, if the media wasn’t so biased.
Did you know?
- 4,000 babies were born in toilets, elevators, and halls in the UK because there weren’t enough beds.
- Also in the UK, a recent investigation has revealed more than 1,000,000 cases of cruel and regretful care. Keep in mind the population is 60 million.
- In addition, the UK is telling doctors to help their suspected terminally ill patients to die sooner to save costs.
- In France health care is being rationed because the price is crippling.
But enough with the problems. Let’s talk about some ideas that would bring true reform. These ideas would bring down healthcare costs, increase the quality of it, and not strain the economy beyond the point of no return:
- Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits.
- Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs).
- Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines.
- Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover.
- Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
- Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost.
- Revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
You can read these ideas in more detail here. They aren’t mine, but I believe they would work immediately. Of course, they’ll probably never happen because these ideas put the power in the hands of the individual citizens, rather than the large vacuous unaccountable government.
Everything, in regard to my political leanings, stems from my belief in limited government. It’s strange to me. We as Americans know that the early settlers battled circumstances and hardships to come to this land to flee the heavy hand of large and oppressive government. They wanted to live free and pursue opportunity—to create their own destiny, you might say.
For some reason, today we are willing to vote in (and for) leaders with philosophies (both Democrats and Republicans) that openly and proudly tout large and authoritarian views of government, all the while professing a sense of morality and principle. Unfortunately, these two ideas are mutually exclusive historically. People are never truly free while living under big government. The current world community also proves this. Big, strong, centralized government is hardly ever principled or moral because it is unaccountable and greedy by nature.
Big government ideas are always framed in the context of being ‘helpful’. This is dangerous. Historically, people always let liberty die, all the while applauding and cheering the very things that bring its demise. Too many times citizens have been willful, or at least ignorant, accomplices to liberty fading.
I mean, think of going to the DMV, Post Office, or to the city to pull a permit. Not a pleasant experience. Now imagine this in respect to your medical needs. No thanks!
Do I believe in unity and building bridges with people who aren’t like me or believe what I believe?
I really want to see healthcare reform in this country, but not at the expense of quality, reasonable costs, and the economy. Everyone will suffer in this context. Take it from the son of a Swede, socializing healthcare will fundamentally change this country. And it won’t be for the better.
That’s my moral imperative.
*UPDATE: The President is scheduled to give a speech on healthcare this Wednesday to clarify his plan. Still, I suspect it will mostly be anecdotal, if not entirely. Either way, I look forward to hearing it.
Although most of my conversations here are usually regarding faith, current events come up from time to time (but just so you know, I don’t go into them in my book). I am frequently fixated on the idea of whether my worldview is affecting my faith or if my faith is affecting my worldview.
This all comes together as I consider the world that my children live in and will inherit.
I am a person that gets tired of pretense and hidden agendas. As I read the news, there is a cautioning in my heart. It seems to detect things below the surface of what’s being reported. Sometimes it’s just plain obvious, though. I don’t need to detect anything.
That’s what happened about a week ago and it’s been chewing at me ever since. I couldn’t just keep quiet.
Recently, President Obama spoke with more than 1,000 religious leaders in two conference calls regarding his healthcare agenda. He was hoping to promote said agenda to their congregations, by default. In the conversation the President called his agenda a “moral imperative.”
Furthermore, he also said expanding healthcare fulfills a “core moral and ethical obligation that we look out for one another …that I am my brother’s keeper, my sister’s keeper,” and “We are partners with God in matters of life and death.” Al Gore and former President Bill Clinton (who didn’t want to endorse my book for some reason) just came out with similar sentiments. This is what I like to call invoking “the popular Jesus”:
“We all know the popular Jesus—the one who said so many generous, patient, tolerant, and graceful things. Everyone loves the popular Jesus. Everyone likes to quote him in speeches to support personal causes. At Easter and Christmas, the popular Jesus helps sell merchandise and fill churches. Many forward-thinking people quote the popular Jesus to resolve problems. World leaders tackle current events relying on the words of the popular Jesus.” (see chapter 8 of my book)
What the President said really made me angry for three reasons.
First, the tactic implies that if I don’t wholeheartedly subscribe to the President’s agenda, I am, by default, immoral—or at least not moral enough in my thinking on this issue.
That’s what I like to call a cheap shot. To vilify the opposition is what people do when they are on the ropes and/or can’t deal with the content of opposing ideas presented in the overall discussion. Strong-arm tactics also make me suspicious, like there is some type of hidden agenda they are trying to distract people from. Plus, it also smacks of pretense. As if I shouldn’t question him or his ideas because of who he is, how smart he is, or how moral he presents himself to be.
Is this the type of open and civil debate this self-proclaimed unifier promised during the campaign? Where is the openness? Where are the C-SPAN discussions for us to voice our concerns? Where are the informational websites to post our comments and questions? Or is this just guilt, fear, and manipulation repackaged as reform as politicians are so fond of doing? Wasn’t this supposed to be the most transparent administration in history?
Secondly, why is it that Democrats can interject God into their political conversations and no one says word one? The TV news, papers, and bloggers are all silent. Do you know what happens when anyone else does this? Say, a more conservative candidate that is not a Democrat and is white? They get pounced on for weeks in the news cycles for trying to shatter the “wall between church and state” or trying to create a theocracy.
So where are my media peeps on this?
Thirdly, and most importantly, what about abortion!
I am unapologetically pro-life. That’s right. I said it. It doesn’t mean I hate people who aren’t. But don’t lecture me about morality or that I am my brother’s keeper, Mr. President (or Clinton or Gore, to a lesser degree), when you’ve voted on several occasions to protect late-term abortions, partial-birth abortions, and, even worse, not protecting born-alive failed abortions (when the abortion goes wrong and the baby actually survives, the doctor can kill the baby). I am physically sick even writing that last one.
Plus, what about the Hippocratic Oath? Is it, “Sorry fetus. You’re not legally a ‘person’ yet, so we’ll be just fine disposing of you. You are a ‘being.’ But that’s not good enough. And even though most physicians, biologists, and scientist agree that life begins at conception, apparently that’s not good enough either. You are a mistake.”
If it’s not a baby, then you’re not pregnant, right? Sounds absurd, doesn’t it?
A baby is truly helpless and innocent. This is shameful. It is also a violation of the Constitution (The principles laid out in the Declaration of Independence, specifically. You know, the whole life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness we are all endowed with?), if you ask me.
At the core of my being is that life is sacred. In fact, I believe that every society, nation, and culture is defined by how they view and treat life at its early stages and the twilight years.
Out of curiosity, how has this administration treated the elderly so far?
Last week they also revealed Social Security recipients will not receive the automatic cost of living increases for the next two years.
Really? We can’t cut the bike paths or sidewalk projects from the ‘Stimulus Plan’ tucked away in there to make up the $8 billion? Besides, bike paths and sidewalks don’t stimulate anything (except heart-rates). I think we can make the sacrifice and redirect some pork in the Stimulus Plan toward the elderly, can’t we? Especially considering only 10% of it has been spent so far.
As a follower of Jesus, I am all for healthcare reform. So tomorrow I will talk more about that. But for today, how dare the President talk moral imperatives when he won’t protect the truly innocent.
With all due respect, I am outraged. And it makes me very suspicious of this legislation.
Here is an interesting case. Two school officials are being brought up on criminal charges in Florida.
For changing grades for money? No.
For selling drugs? No.
For fooling around with students? No.
So why are they facing six months in jail?
The article linked states that the criminal charges, which carry up to a $5,000 fine and a six-month
jail term, originated with a Jan. 28 incident in which Mr. Lay, a
deacon at a local Baptist church, asked Mr. Freeman to offer mealtime
prayers at a lunch for school employees and booster-club members who
had helped with a school field-house project. (note: the article is mysteriously unclear whether or not this meal was held on school property or not)
As a result, the wonderful ACLU has brought up charges against these officials citing a violation of the First Amendment which states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to
assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Furthermore, the district also agreed to forbid senior class President Mary Allen
from speaking at the school’s May 30 graduation ceremony on the chance
that the young woman, a known Christian, might say something religious. To me, this is shocking. This student was punished for something she hadn’t even done. It’s amazing that this blatant violation of the student’s rights is seen as okay. I haven’t heard any outrage. Have you? It’s like I’m watching Minority Report.
In addition, also named in the charges is a school clerical assistant who was attending a school district event in February with other school
employees at a local naval base. There, she asked her husband to offer
a blessing for a meal, says the ACLU, adding that students were present
and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Back to the original charges…
So is praying in these settings that may be school sponsored functions a violation of the First Amendment or is this simply a witch hunt indicative of the religious bigotry that seems to be building in our country?
It’s interesting that the First Amendment says, “…respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Is this respecting or prohibiting? Is praying ‘establishing’ religion? Or is banning prayer prohibiting the ‘free exercise’ of it?
Which one is this?
Today is the National Day of Prayer. Normally it’s not something I would even talk about. Not because I don’t think marking the concept isn’t important or universally beneficial. But because it’s something I do everyday naturally and don’t even give a second thought to. I have had this day pass me by many times without even realizing it.
This National Day of Prayer is different.
This year President Obama has chosen not to outwardly honor the National Day of Prayer with an interfaith public ceremony.
Admittedly, I don’t know the inner workings of such a decision and the statements from the White House have been evasive. So I can only speculate. I am left to conclude the pivotal sentiment being that having a public ceremony is somehow an endorsement of a specific religion. That’s what Ron Millar, acting director for the Secular Coalition of America, says.
Millar said, “It’s a nice first step,” he said. “Generally, we don’t want the federal government to endorse prayer because it’s endorsing a specific religion. We’d rather them not be in that business. It would be difficult to be all-inclusive on this.”
Call me stupid, but I still can’t connect how an interfaith ceremony endorses a specific religion?
This reminds me of the modern trend to remove things like the Crucifix and Star of David from federal and public cemeteries or things like the Ten Commandments from our federal and state buildings (courtrooms, for example). In my view, this is a dangerous trend. This is not actually the appropriate application of separation of church and state.
Let me make it clear like I always do when talking on these things: I DO NOT want to create a theocracy. (To say nothing of the fact that what most people consider a theocracy when throwing this word around to bludgeon their opposition, is actually a wrong definition of theocracy.)
It seems that, although we are a diverse people, we cannot memorialize or honor the religious side of that diversity, whether historically relevant or not. This goes beyond separation of church and state. It’s as if we are trying to create a society of free people who are not free to be religious in the public square in any form or acknowledge the historical importance religious diversity has played in the foundation of our nation. I believe this is a simmering trend towards religious bigotry.
For me, it all comes down to one premise: Do our unalienable rights (the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) as citizens come from God or do they come from government, the state, or other people?
The Declaration of Independence says that they come from God. But is that no longer the case? Do we need to ‘evolve’ beyond that primitive ideal? I emphatically say NO!
That is a step toward devolution and tyranny, not enlightenment.
Read this and remember it well: if your rights come from other people (i.e. government or the state), then those people can take them away as they see fit or beneficial for the ‘common good’ (because that’s how it’s always framed). That’s what Communism has done. That’s what Hitler did. And I believe it all starts with a subtle assault on belief and faith. If you can get people to accept the premise that they are not created by God with purpose, value, and unalienable rights, then you can easily control them. They will give their liberties away under the guise of the common good as not to bring attention to themselves as individuals, when in reality they are simply playing into the hands of their controllers establishing empire and perpetual power.
Many will say I sound like a nut-job here, but I think the civil rights issue of the next generation could be for those of faith⎯those who actually believe in God, those who actually believe in an intelligent design, those who actually believe that a God created it all, those who actually believe in miracles, those who actually believe Jesus rose from the dead. The argument will be, since these ideas are allegedly not scientific, objective, or rational, should people be able to believe them and perpetuate them? Is it actually damaging if they do? That is secularism at it’s best.
I know this may sound strange and antithetical, but the only way to make a truly free and neutral society, is to base the rights of the people in certain minimal and universal faith-based absolutes. That’s what the Founders knew and did. And it worked better than anything ever has.
That is why I don’t think having an interfaith ceremony based on the idea of prayer undermines the principle of separation of church and state.
What’s next? No Christmas at the White House since it’s about Jesus? I don’t think Malia and Sasha will be too happy about that.
This week president Obama has been overseas for the G-20 summit. I’ve been trying to find details on what’s actually happening or what’s he’s saying. There hasn’t been much analysis in the media about this. Reports have been general at best. Finally, I heard a report about something he said that really bothered me.
While giving a press conference in Turkey he said in regard to America:
“We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation.”
Why would he say this–especially during Easter week? Something about this really rubbed me wrong and it’s not because I am a Christian, or that the Declaration of Independence (what our whole Constitution is based on) has blatant references to God based on the Judaeo-Christian values of the Founders, or that I don’t understand what he was trying to say with the intent of his words. In light of the context of many other things that he has said while on this trip, I find it a little unnerving.
It’s as if he’s been living the lyrics if Nirvana’s All Apologies song:
I’ll take all the blame
I’ll proceed from shame
Sunburn with freezer burn
Choking on the ashes of her enemy
That seems to be the sentiment of his words on this world tour. I just don’t think it’s stately or smart in the context of a trip like this to be communicating the idea like America is evil, weak, and guilty, especially coming from its preeminent leader. Is that the message we want to send? It does not engender trust, respect, or honor for the future going forward.
I’m all for diplomacy. I’m all for building bridges. But not at the expense of our security or future. Instead of emphasizing the negative, how about a focus on the positive? Instead of saying what we are not, how about saying what we are? Something like this:
“We are a nation of diverse people: Jews, Muslims, Christians, and more. Those with faith, and those without. But we are all committed to building bridges and creating solutions…”
Maybe this is a better sentiment to come from. I think that would accomplish his intentions even better. It’s nice, neutral, and inclusive.
Let me say, I don’t believe America was, is, or should be a theocracy. Although we may not officially be a Christian nation, we are still proportionately a nation of Christians (regardless of what Newsweek’s recent article The End of Christian America hopes for). I think this was just a poor choice of words from our President. Although I believe it was meant to be inclusionary, it was in fact exclusionary. After watching the press conference, I just don’t think it worked.
Am I being picky? Maybe. But he is the President, after all.
With my approach, I think everyone can be happy.
[you can watch the clip for yourself below]
So President Obama spoke last night. There are a few points of differences I have with him philosophically. I’m not trying be a jerk. I’m just trying to exercise my right to speak as a concerned citizen.
I want to bring up one of his changes in particular.
He is changing the tax law regarding charitable giving which will likely reduce giving to schools, hospitals, medical research projects, arts organizations, churches, and any other nonprofit by an estimated $7 billion+. Who cares, right?
The irony here is that the people that are affected by this change will likely simply cut their charitable giving by as much as the increase in
their tax bills, which would, ironically, leave their remaining income
and personal consumption unchanged.
So what’s the point of such a change if there is no measurable benefit? I’m not sure. I can only think of one thing:
Control and stronger centralization.
Let me be honest, there is in fact increased money allocated to go to nonprofits in the current budget. But it is fractional in comparison to the deficit to charities it creates. To say nothing of the fact that if you want to qualify for such moneys, you’ll have to “play ball” with gov’t ideals and philosophies. So?
It’s about our rights, freedoms, and right to choose.
The thing is, most people who are into bigger gov’t won’t really care about this change, because they are not the ones who actually give to charities. Not trying to be mean here, but there are dozens of studies that prove this as a statistical fact. I’m just saying let people give to what they want to give to with the money they worked for and earned. Gov’t is neither meant to be benevolent or moral. It is simply a necessary evil. I think it exists to protect the citizens and stay out of their lives so they can live their own. How can it be charitable in place of the individual? Gov’t is never the solution. 99% of the time it is at the very root of problems. And then the solution is more gov’t and less freedom to fix said self-induced problems? Really?! I say, since gov’t is a necessary evil, let’s keep that evil as small as possible. That is the best way to support and help the citizens.
And why else do I hate it?
I am no futurist, but I certainly think this could evolve. There could be time when you can only deduct donations to certain nonprofits and charities–ones the gov’t deems deserving and in line with “modern thought” and “progressive ideologies.” You may not agree philosophically with the mission of some organizations. I don’t. I can’t stand the ACLU these days. But I still believe free people should be able to support the causes they see fit. The point is civil liberties, personal freedom, and individual choice. To me, this change in tax law is subtle shift and assault on these.
“Power always thinks…that it is doing God’s service when it is violating all his laws.”
I heard some whispers that there is some anti-faith jargon in the “stimulus” bill (HR 1). Of course, the media hasn’t really covered this much, so I had to really dig to find it. It couldn’t be true. Could it?
The idea is that if a school (that accepts federal money) let’s a church meet in its auditorium on the weekend, it will not be entitled to “stimulus” dollars to update and renovate said auditorium. Or if a college let’s a religious campus club meet in their dorms, it can not get “stimulus” money to renovate or update said dorms. These are just some of the ways that the new bill and wording could be applied, some say.
To me that sounded unconstitutional and discriminatory. But then again, what politicians these days care about actually following the law? So I went to the source and found the section in the bill. Sure enough, there it was. The wording appears in a way that could be sliced either way. And that’s the problem. That’s how bad precedents get set.
Lawmakers with hidden agendas often purposefully word laws in ways that could go either way. That way, when the dust settles and everyone forgets about it, they can enforce the law according to their own agenda. Before you know it, religious groups can’t even peacefully assemble in public because they are: 1) religious and 2) on public property which must be maintained for the sake of the safety of all the other citizens and if the group meets on public property public dollars can’t go to maintaining and improving it. Sound crazy? It could happen.
Anyway, you decide for yourself. Am I crazy? Here is the section with said subsection:
- SEC. 9302. HIGHER EDUCATION MODERNIZATION, RENOVATION, AND REPAIR.
- (3) PROHIBITED USES OF FUNDS- No funds awarded under this section may be used for–
- A. the maintenance of systems, equipment, or
facilities, including maintenance associated with any permissible uses
of funds described in paragraph (1);
- B. modernization, renovation, or repair of
stadiums or other facilities primarily used for athletic contests or
exhibitions or other events for which admission is charged to the
- C. modernization, renovation, or repair of facilities–
- (i) used for sectarian instruction, religious worship, or a school or department of divinity; or
- (ii) in which a substantial portion of the functions of the facilities are subsumed in a religious mission; or
- D. construction of new facilities.
Last week a judge declared the moment of silence many public schools observe as unconstitutional:
Judge Robert W. Gettleman released a document Wednesday (Jan. 21) with
his final decision on a lawsuit regarding the Silent Reflection and
Student Prayer Act. He found the statute unconstitutional and entered a
permanent injunction banning school districts across the state from
enforcement of the law.
This article says:
Dawn Sherman, along with her father, Rob Sherman, sued Township High
School District 214 and the Illinois Superintendent of Education,
Christopher Koch, last fall.
Rob Sherman, an atheist activist, felt the law was unconstitutional
because of its religious undertones. He said schools should remain
secular in all aspects.
I heard Rob on a radio interview and he said that this time is a waste and is better spent learning. Plus, saying the word “prayer” is a direct reference to the idea of God. By using this word, the state (through the public school) is forcing the idea of religion on the kids. This is illegal.
Some say this is the continued hyper-secularization of our country. That school should be a place to learn all ideas, even religious ones. That the constitution promises separation “of” church and state (btw-this phrase is not even in the Constitution), but not necessarily “from” religious ideas at all times. They wonder if a moment of silence (at worst) might be a good educational experience. At best, it might be a time to focus for the day ahead.
Others are like Rob Sherman. There is no place for any religious inferences in anything linked to gov’t.
Just thought you should know…
The participants have been announced for this and my pastor, Andy Stanley, will be one of them.
That’s pretty cool if you ask me. I just hope he doesn’t go with his hand out for some bail out money, especially since he’s been teaching a series on being responsible with money right now called Balanced. JOKE!
Now I may have a reason to watch it, at least this part of it.
And I wonder if anyone will get mad at this like they have at Rick Warren for being part of the ceremonies. It’s not as high profile as Warren’s part so I’m guessing no.
Go Andy! Pray it up…
Time to loosen things up a little.
Here is funny one. Pedestrians who have been crossing the street in Sweden using this box and pressing this button are very upset.
Because of the obvious religious implications. People say the finger is pointing to God.
Believe it or not, some people have filed formal complaints with the government.
I love how Europeans try to promote themselves as so open-minded, enlightened, and progressive. My cousins always make me feel like this. They think Americans are so puritanical and uptight. I even remember when some family was visiting back in the 90’s. They thought it was so stupid for so many Americans to be so upset about former president Bill Clinton having sex in the Oval Office.
And we’re the prudes?
Just cross the freakin’ street and shut up!
Woops! I just said ‘cross’…
The founder of Relevant Magazine, Cameron Strang, was scheduled to open up the Democratic National Convention in prayer but backed out this week. What is Relevant Magazine you aks? It describes itself as “Covering God, Life, and Progressive Culture” and is at the top of its game in this arena.
The Obama campaign has been courting Strang for a while. This week he backed out saying, “It wouldn’t be wise for me to be seen as picking a political side when
I’ve consistently said both sides are right in some areas and wrong in
some areas.” Don’t worry the DNC isn’t out a blessing. Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, stepped up to the plate and will do the prayer.
Curious that the act of praying could be so controversial. This leaves me to once again wonder:
What it’s for?
Does it work?
What’s the purpose?
The idea of prayer sure did something in this instance. And I have to say if I was put in a similar circumstance I would be challenged personally. I mean, imagine what kind of publicity I could get for my book!
But I would have to ask myself if praying is really for promotion and personal agenda? Mostly, I think praying should be a private act, or at least personal. After all, that’s what Jesus said to the ‘religious’ people. He blasted them because they would pray in public for show and to display how spiritual they were.
This is not to say that public prayer is out of place, but maybe context, both physically and personally, is important. I think the context can reveal the motivation and purpose. Like at church, a Christian-type conference, etc. prayer fits well and is less emotionally charged.
And not that praying before a convention like this is wrong. If anyone needs prayer, it’s our politicians. But again what is the purpose for the individual here? That’s the question I would have to ask myself personally. That’s what Strang asked himself. And answered it.
Of course, I am nobody special but I have one last question for Cameron Strang and Donald Miller:
Would you have answered the call if the Republicans asked you to pray for their convention?
I wonder…It just seems quite fashionable to reach out to Democratic-leaning leaders and voters, but stick a thumb in the eye of Republican-leaning ones.
Just something to think about as you ‘reach out.’
Earlier this week I posted some lyrics I wrote in a song called Supplication while I was in Strongarm:
There can be no justice
Where there is no truth
Those words speak very well to the issue that the Supreme Court ruled on this week. If you have been out of the loop, they ruled that a child molester cannot be sentenced to the Death Penalty.
Regardless of what you may feel about the ruling or the use of the Death Penalty, the details of the ruling are what really bother me. You really have to mine for these details, because the media doesn’t report on them too much. But the details reveal the premises behind the decision. That is more important than anything, if you ask me. It is a forecaster of things that may come.
Here are the phrases that bother me in the details that I was able to find. They are the reasons of the final votes against:
This really bothers me. I don’t want leadership or law based on an evolving sense of decency. I want it based on the rule of law, Bill of Rights, and the Constitution. I want it predictable. This shows that they are ruling based on precedent (other rulings) rather than a set standard.
What? Who cares! I don’t care about consensus when it comes to justice. Where does this end? What if one day the evolving consensus of society eventually views pedophilia as OK? Does this mean child rape will be even less severely punished?
He also cited arguments made by social workers and others that children and their families might not cooperate with authorities if a death sentence could result against the rapist. In many cases, including the one before the court, the victim and rapist are related.
So what if they are related? A crime is a crime. Being related has nothing to do with the laws obligation to protecting the innocent. This is the biggest load of circular reasoning I’ve ever heard. I have to wonder if these judges and lawyers even have kids?
I know this, as a person and a citizen, I get disillusioned with government when I feel that there is no sense of justice to protect me and my family. This, in addition to increasing taxes, brings a sense of taxation without proper representation or justice.
Historically speaking, taxation without representation and no true justice are seminal to most revolutions.
Anyway, Jesus regarded offenses against the innocent, especially children, as the most vile of actions. I wonder what he would think?
I know we have it pretty good here in the US. In Algeria two Christian converts were sentenced to two years in jail and a 5,000-euro (7,700-dollar) fine for illegally practicing a non-Muslim religion.
Algeria is mostly Muslim. It’s not that you can’t share about any other faith. It’s just that you have to obtain a permit to do so. And these two people didn’t.
There are many countries that limit speech. This is, of course, the extreme of doing that. But in other cases in France, Britain, and Sweden I have read about over the last few years have limited what they call ‘hate speech.’
Now I’m not for hate speech. But I am for free speech. The fact is, if you can control the message you can control the people and take away their freedoms.
Free Speech is one of the founding principles of America, but it will be the beginning of the fall of freedom here if speech starts to becomes limited.
What will this mean? In a very practical sense, I think it will eventually mean the limiting of certain beliefs. For example, churches won’t be able to teach certain things because they will be classified ‘offensive’ or ‘hateful’ or ‘intolerant.’
It could be as simple as saying that children do best when they grow up with a married mother and father under the same roof. Even though every study ever done supports this fact, it could be taken out of context because some think it implies:
*marriage should be between a man and woman only
*single parents should be looked down upon
*divorce is wrong
Of course, this is not what someone may be saying. I think the fact stated simply celebrates the family unit, which is a good thing. But it could very easily be slanted in order not to ‘offend’ anyone and limit speech.
The open expression of thought and ideas, no matter what they may be, is the founding of any free environment. The Algerians don’t have it, but we still have it here in the US. And it should continue to be protected.
I’m sorry but I have to get (sort of) political one more time this week. I apologize.
Last night while my wife and I were watching American Idol, I watched some video from the speech that Reverend Jeremiah Wright gave at the National Press Club. In it he dealt with something he said in another speech (read that transcript here) and I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
He implied that white children and black children have different brains. They are wired differently and, therefore, learn differently.
HELLO! Is that racists or what?
Here he is talking about the atrocities of racism (and there are many) while purporting something that will promote racism. Aren’t those the kinds of things racists say in order to justify their dominance? Am I stupid in thinking that we are essentially all the same inside as humans: white, black, yellow, pink, purple, brown?
And is he implying that the different races should be taught differently? It sure seems like it. Isn’t that segregation all over again?
I highly regard and honor the position of pastor (I used to be one). And I think he is using (and abusing) it, and his subsequent representation of God, as a means for personal, political, and social agenda.
I know I have my issues (and they are many). Sometimes I have hate in my heart. But I think it’s wrong and I want to change. He seems to have hate in his heart, thinks he’s right, and wants everyone else to change to accommodate his hate.
Am I crazy or is that just my white-brained self thinking wrong?