Category "Religion and The State"

The Christian Right? Their Christ Is No Christian

April 18th, 2006 by Andy in Religion and The State

Tony Hendra hits the nail with this essay published on The Huffington Post. Good points about even after getting rid of the criminal cabal currently in power in our government, our nation will still have to deal with the bigger, more widespread problem of this psuedo-Christian death cult attempting to overthrow the republic and establish a Dominionist theocratic state. Some of the comments posted by readers makes for interesting reading as well.

Check it out here

And there is also this follow up post from The Daily Kos on the absurd disconnect amongst the pseudo-Christians with their proclaimed savior, appropriately entitled “Hating Jesus”.

Group Trains Air Force Cadets To Proselytize

March 24th, 2006 by Andy in Religion and The State

Group Trains Air Force Cadets To Proselytize
By Alan Cooperman
The Washington Post

    A private missionary group has assigned a pair of full-time Christian ministers to the U.S. Air Force Academy, where they are training cadets to evangelize among their peers, according to a confidential letter to supporters.

    The letter makes clear that the organized evangelization effort has continued this year despite an outcry over alleged proselytizing at the academy that has prompted a Pentagon investigation, congressional hearings, a civil lawsuit and new Air Force guidelines on religion.

    ”Praise God that we have been allowed access by the Academy into the cadet areas to minister among the cadets. We have recently been given an unused classroom to meet with cadets at any time during the day,” the husband-and-wife team of Darren and Gina Lindblom said in the Oct. 11 letter to their donors.

    Following allegations of religious intolerance at the academy, the Air Force issued interim guidelines in late August that caution senior officers against discussing their faith with subordinates. But the guidelines do not limit “voluntary, peer to peer discussions,” and they do not say whether Air Force officials can provide office space or other assistance to professional missionaries who train cadets to evangelize among their peers.

Read The Full Article

Ten Commandments E-Mail Spam

March 22nd, 2006 by Andy in Religion and The State

From an email that is going around on the role of religion and the Ten Commandments in public life which just cannot be allowed to continue to propagate around the internet without reply. The “Did You Know” stuff is all part of the email being passed around, with my replies in bold in response to the promoters of this rather shallow missive.

DID YOU KNOW?
James Madison, the fourth president, known as “The Father of Our Constitution” made the following statement:
“We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

AND DID YOU KNOW?
James Madison believed that “religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprize.” He spoke of the “almost fifteen centuries” during which Christianity had been on trial: “What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.”

ALSO….
In the eighty-five essays that make up The Federalist Papers, God is mentioned only twice (both times by Madison, who uses the word, as Gore Vidal has remarked, in the “only Heaven knows” sense). In the Declaration of Independence, He gets two brief nods: a reference to “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” and the famous line about men being “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.” More blatant official references to a deity date from long after the founding period: “In God We Trust” did not appear on our coinage until the Civil War, and “under God” was introduced into the Pledge of Allegiance during the McCarthy hysteria in 1954 [see Elisabeth Sifton, “The Battle Over the Pledge,” April 5, 2004].

DID YOU KNOW ALL THIS?
As you walk up the steps to the building which houses the U.S. Supreme Court you can see near the top of the building a row of the world’s law givers and each one is facing one in the middle who is facing forward with a full frontal view … it is Moses and he is holding the Ten Commandments!

AND DID YOU KNOW THIS?
The Supreme Court Building was designed after the Parthenon, a religious Greek temple dedicated to the Goddess Athena

DID YOU KNOW?
As you enter the Supreme Court courtroom, the two huge oak doors have the Ten Commandments engraved on each lower portion of each door.

AND DID YOU KNOW?
That the Ten Commandments do not form the basis of our laws, but that English common law provides the foundation of our legal system, and - as Thomas Jefferson pointed out to a friend in 1814 - the common law began in England well before Christianity took hold. In Jefferson’s word, “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”

DID YOU KNOW?
As you sit inside the courtroom, you can see the wall, right above where the Supreme Court judges sit, a display of the Ten Commandments!

AND DID YOU KNOW?
Justitia, a Roman goddess of justice symbolizes the fair and equal administration of the law, without corruption, avarice, prejudice, or favor; goddess of divine justice. She is often portrayed as evenly balancing both scales and a sword and wearing a blindfold (but often times without one). She sometimes holds the fasces (a bundle of rods around an ax symbolizing judicial authority and a flame in the other (symbolizing truth). The ancient Egyptians also had a goddess of Justice referred to as Ma’at and often depicted as carrying a sword with an ostrich feather in her hair (but no scales) to symbolize truth and justice. The term magistrate derived from Ma’at because she assisted Osiris in the judgment of the dead by weighing their hearts.

DID YOU KNOW?
There are Bible verses etched in stone all over the Federal Buildings and Monuments in Washington, DC.

AND DID YOU KNOW?
The large majority of United States government buildings, such as the United States Capitol building, state capitol buildings, court buildings, libraries, and national banks throughout America are modeled after Pagan Greek and Roman architecture? In fact the word “Capitol” comes from the name of an ancient temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill in Rome.

AND….
Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to his nephew Peter Carr on August 10th, 1787…
“Fix reason firmly to her seat and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfold fear. You will naturally examine first, the religion of your own country. Read the Bible, then, as you would read Livy or Tacitus… Your own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven, and you ar answerable, not for the rightness, but the uprightness of the decision.”

DID YOU KNOW?
Fifty-two of the 55 founders of the Constitution were members of the established orthodox churches in the colonies.

AND DID YOU KNOW?
There is no mention of the word “God” anywhere in the United States Constitution?

DID YOU KNOW?
Patrick Henry, that patriot and Founding Father of our country said: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

AND DID YOU KNOW?
That our nation was not founded on Christian principles, but Enlightenment ones?

AND…….
These assertions that America was founded as a ‘Christian nation’ is directly contradicted by the Treaty of Tripoli of 1797, whose Article 11 contained these words:…

“As the Government of the United States…is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion–as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity of Musselmen - and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

This document was endorsed by Secretary of State Timothy Pickering and President John Adams (who was a professed liberal Unitarian, but in his private correspondence seems more deist than Christian). It was then sent to the Senate for ratification; the vote was unanimous. It is worth pointing out that although this was the 339th time a recorded vote had been required by the Senate, it was only the third unanimous vote in the Senate’s history. There is no record of debate or dissent. The text of the treaty was printed in full in the Philadelphia Gazette and in two New York papers, but there were no screams of outrage, as one might expect today.

DID YOU KNOW?
Every session of Congress begins with a prayer by a paid preacher, whose salary has been paid by the taxpayer since 1777.

AND DID YOU KNOW?
Article VI of the United States Constitution states “that no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

DID YOU KNOW?
Thomas Jefferson worried that the Courts would overstep their authority and instead of interpreting the law would begin making law the rule of few over many.

AND DID YOU KNOW?
Thomas Jefferson believed that it was proper for the state to concern itself with injuries that one person caused to another, but an affront to God was a matter between the offender and the deity. Quote “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God” he remarked. He believed, as did many of the founders, that each individual should have the right of “free inquiry” in matters of religion, and he introduced in 1779 Bill No.82 in the legal code which provided that “no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry”, and that no person could be made to “suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief”.

One of the things Jefferson was most proud of was his authoring the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. The latter was a truly radical document that would eventually influence the separation of church and state in the US Constitution; when it was passed by the Virginia legislature in 1786, Jefferson rejoiced that there was finally “freedom for the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohammeden, the Hindu and infidel of every denomination”

DID YOU KNOW?
The very first Supreme Court Justice, John Jay, said: “Americans should select and prefer Christians as their rulers.”

AND DID YOU KNOW?
Benjamin Franklin spoke on the dangers of religion in politics by pointing out that “A man compounded of law and gospel is able to cheat a whole country with his religion and then destroy them under color of law”

AND…
Jefferson lamented the corruptions the teachings of Jesus had undergone. “The metaphysical abstractions of Athanasius, and the maniacal ravings of Calvin, tinctured plentifully with the foggy dreams of Plato, have so loaded [Christianity] with absurdities and incomprehensibilities” that it was almost impossible to recapture “its native simplicity and purity.”

How, then, have we gotten to the point that everything we have done for 220 years in this country is now suddenly wrong and unconstitutional? Please forward this to everyone you can. Lets put it around the world and let the world see and remember what this great country was built on.
Thank you!!

It is said that 86% of Americans believe in God. Therefore I have a very hard time understanding why there is such a mess about having the 10 commandments on display or “In God We Trust” on our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance.

(Correction: “In God We Trust” and God in the Pledge have not been there for 220 years, but were added in the 1950s during the Red Scare years and the slogan was from the Civil War)

Why don’t we just tell the 14% to Sit Down and SHUT UP!!! or go back to their country to live.

(Or perhaps we should ask those that wish to live in theocracies to go elsewhere to live in them. There are plenty to choose from).

If you agree, pass this on, if not simply delete

Or respond to this silliness as I shall do here. You aren’t off the hook that easily for spreading this kind of ignorance.

I’m all for having the Ten Commandments posted in public buildings.

How about “Thou Shalt Not Kill” in the halls of the Pentagon?
How about “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness” on the walls of the White House?
How about “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery” in the offices of all those ‘family values’ representatives and senators who parade around espousing ‘morality’ while on their third wives, countless mistresses and aborted children (hello Henry Hyde, Bob Barr, Newt Gingrich and on and on and on…)

In the 2000 election campaign, George W. Bush proposed that a “standard version” of the Ten Commandments be posted in schools and other public places. “I have no problem with the Ten Commandments posted on the wall of every public place,” he said.

So if you want to post them, which version are you going to post?

The Old Testament itself includes three different versions of the Decalogue - two in the book of Exodus at Chapters 20 and 34, another in Deuteronomy. All together, they offer many more commandments than the ten we see in most representations.

Different religious groups use different combinations. Most Protestant denominations include “Thou Shalt Not Make Graven Images.” Catholics and Lutherans never mention graven images, which has fueled a long history of bitter anti-Catholic attacks from many Christian evangelicals.

Jews have a different set, with an entirely different first commandment, which is more an affirmation of belief: “I am the Lord thy God, Who brought thee out of the land of Egypt and out of the house of bondage.”

In his monument, Judge Moore attempted to produce a Judeo-Protestant version, which has given him eleven commandments rather than just ten.

Depending on the version, several of the commandments are undeniably religious:

I Am the Lord Thy God . (an affirmation of a deity)
Thou Shalt Not Have Any Gods Before Me (a step toward monotheism)
Thou Shalt Not Make Graven Images
Thou Shalt Not Take the Name of the Lord in Vain
Remember the Sabbath, Keep It Holy

Even the ban on adultery, which might include homosexual relations, has different meanings to different religious groups. Some, on the fringe, have called for making adultery and other transgressions capital offenses.

In their wisdom, the Founding Fathers foresaw the conflicts that government involvement in such questions would bring. Which is why, despite their personal religious convictions, they set out to keep God and government out of each other’s way.

America was founded as a secular constitutional republic. Not as a theocracy.

Lets keep it that way, folks.

Kevin Phillips on American Theocracy

March 21st, 2006 by Andy in Religion and The State

From one of the really good political writers in America these days. No left wing wacko, Kevin Phillips was a stalwart movement conservative from the 60s and 70s (and key architect in Nixon’s rise to power). He drifted out of the GOP in the 80s with the ascendency of the Bush family syndicate, whom he very accurately saw as a threat to traditional GOP principles, and to American democracy itself. His cautionary concerns have been more than borne out. Highly recommend are his works such as “An American Dynasty” about the Bush family, and “Wealth and Democracy”.

Here, Kevin Phillips posts on Talking Points Memo about his latest book “American Theocracy”.

Read The Post

Tsunami Was God’s Revenge For Wicked Ways

March 9th, 2006 by Andy in Religion and The State

If there is anything we are certain of, its that every culture has more than its unfair share of religious zealots.

Marluddin Jalil, a Sharia judge who has ordered the punishment of women for not wearing headscarves, was uncompromising: “The tsunami was because of the sins of the people of Aceh.” Thundering into a microphone at a gathering of wives, he made clear where he felt the fault lay: “The Holy Koran says that if women are good, then a country is good.”

Read The Asia Times Report

God Says “Follow The Leaders”

February 28th, 2006 by Andy in Religion and The State

Silja J.A. Talvi writes on how the “secular” Character Training Institute is working to build evangelist Bill Gothard’s vision of a First-Century Kingdom of God - one city, one state, one school board, one police force and one mind at a time.

Here’s a money shot line…

“God gives direction, protection, and provision through human authorities. If we rebel against them, we expose ourselves to the destruction of evil principalities…. This is why ‘rebellion is the sin of witchcraft.’ ”

Wow. Good thing Thomas Paine and the revolutionaries who founded our nation (on what were then and to these theocratic autobots apparently still are radical notions of a political embodiment of concepts of the Age of the Enlightenment and reason), weren’t paying much attention to these ‘Christians’.

Anyway, I thought the truly American principle was to have representatives, not leaders.

Read the full piece from In These Times

Religious Cultists Set Out To ‘Restore’ Ohio

February 16th, 2006 by Andy in Religion and The State

The so-called ‘Christian’ Right (or ‘Reich’?) Wing Sets Out To ‘Restore’ Ohio

This is really pretty messed up.

For so many, many reasons.

http://ohiorestorationproject.com/overview.php

This is loaded with blatantly bad history, too. Most telling is how they refer to the US being founded as a ‘Christian’ nation because of the Mayflower Compact. Of course, they neglect to mention that it was because of such laws that colonies such as Rhode Island were established expressly as a haven of religious freedom and tolerance to escape the theocracies of the early New England colonies.

Here is a little bit on Rhode Island history, just for one short example.

Maryland, of course, was established as a haven for Catholics, in large part because of the anti-catholic persecution of those whose descendents first drafted the aforementioned Mayflower Compact. Not to mention the fact that the Virginia colony (strictly intended as a source of income for English titled class investors) came before the Mayflower. Are we to take cues from its charter as well?

And then there is the ultimate absurdity of placing a cross on the orginal 13 star American flag, a flag created by the first non-theocratic, secular republic possibly ever, whose established Constitution in 1789 expressly forbid the use of religion as a vehicle for state power or a standard to measure one for any public office.

To conflate a religious sect (and these people are a cultish sect of Christianity, which becomes clear when you read their little manifesto), with America, the political embodiment of the principles of the enlightenment and the so-called Age of Reason, is almost too absurd for words.

But these loons have managed to do it.

Check out Theocracy Watch for more on these types of efforts, and the dangers they can pose.

Words of Wisdom From Barry Goldwater

February 15th, 2006 by Andy in Religion and The State

From the father of modern conservatism….

“Religious factions will go on imposing their will on others unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy. They must learn to make their views known without trying to make their views the only alternatives.”
- Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ)

“However, on religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and ‘D.’ Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism.’ ”
- Sen. Barry Goldwater (from the Congressional Record, 9/16/81(?)

“I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell’s ass.”
- Sen. Barry Goldwater

Letter to Pat Robertson

February 15th, 2006 by Andy in Religion and The State

Letter to Pat Robertson
August 25th, 2005
http://www.cbn.com/700club/

Dear Mr. Robertson,

Exactly what part of “Thou Shalt Not Kill” do you not understand?

Sincerely,
Andy Valeri
Dayton, Ohio

P.S. How are things going with Freedom Gold these days? Are your investments doing okay, or have you been seeing diminishing returns since your business partner Charles Taylor had to back out of his commitments to your financial plans, what with being on the run from those pesky international socialist types at the UN and International Criminal Court. Fully unwarranted accusations, I’m sure, that bit about his being involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity and all. Just curious if those diamond mines you were operating with Mr. Taylor in Sierra Leone were still reaping the same profits, particularly since Mr. Taylor hasn’t been on the scene to keep things in line by chopping off the arms of children who wouldn’t fight for him or do the mining work. But at least they’ve been given the generous opportunity of finding the Lord through your missionary efforts via your investments in Freedom Gold.

And that’s a pretty nifty title for your company, too. Freedom Gold. Was that supposed to be your way of honoring the words of James, half brother of Jesus, or was it meant more as an homage to George Orwell?

“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you!
Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten.
Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in last days.
Indeed, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord.
You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.
You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.”
- James; 5, 1-6

Good luck on your day of reckoning, Mr. Robertson. You’re going to need it.

Ralph Reed Goes To Church

February 14th, 2006 by Andy in Religion and The State

This is a good one. Ralph, poster boy for the Talibanker nexus, adds a whole new dimension to the idea of the ‘collection plate’.

Read The Report from The Carpetbagger

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