Saturday, October 08, 2005

Church and State

I was listening on the radio about how the Bush administration wants to reimburse faith groups for expenses incurred during Hurricane Katrina. While this may be good in the short term, I think the Faith-Based Initiative at the federal government with spell the deathknell of faith-based initiatives. No, I'm not just concerned about the influence of church on state. I am much more concerned about the influence of state on church.

Look at it. Right now, the top states for personal giving are the Red states (incidentally, why on earth are conservative states called Red, which is elsewhere synonymous with Communism?) Why? Because people in these states believe in a moral and religious obligation to help humanity. In the blue states, people think their obligation is to pay taxes so that the government can take care of the needy. (OK, these are simplifications, but you get the idea!) Knowing a church gets federal support means less individuals will contribute, churches will swell with "entitlement money" and soon churches will be indistinguishable from the inefficient bureacracies we are bestowed with!

Also, while the present government may not seek to have strings attached, what prevents a future government from dictating moral and social terms to future dependent faith groups? If a church believes, for example, that homosexuality is a sin, is it for government to dictate that they must hire gay priests? I think not. Heck, I say if a faith group believes white people are superior, I as a man of color would disagree with them, I would sue a company which tried to impose such views, but believe the religious groups are within their rights to pick only white people in their clergy, as long as they do not get federal money.

That's why I think Salvation Army is on a slippery slope. It cannot long-term depend on state money and yet chose to hire only those who conform with their article of faith. But rather than demand the Salvation Army hire non-Christians like me, I would suggest they get out of the government money handling business, and ask Him to assist in His mission.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

For those of you who believe in the power of prayer, I sure hope you were praying for Katrina's victims long before the formally sanctioned "day of prayer" granted by President Bush. This officious day of remembrance smells a lot like a Marxian opiate to me. Otherwise, how could I explain the oddity of our leader violating our First Amendment right to the separation of church and state? Because, as Shaunti is wont to point out: Secularism is also a religious belief, one that isn't included in official calls of prayer, or the persistent,
annoying sound of evangelical proselytizing.

Conversion is a Part of Christian Mission, Too

Anonymous said...

The Fundamentalist Shadow of George W. Bush

A mouth that prays, a hand that kills. — Arabian proverb

“How do you find a lion that has swallowed you?” asked Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, commenting on the moral dilemma posed by the “shadow,” his insightful term for the dark, hidden side of the human psyche. The answer to Jung’s questions is
“you can’t find or see that lion”—not as long as you are inside the beast. And therein resides the essential dilemma of a group’s dark side or shadow: it is nearly impossible for those caught inside a group’s belief system to see their own dark side with any clarity or objectivity. This hidden side grows over time,
regressing, becoming more and more aggressive. It’s the “long bag we drag behind us,” says poet Robert Bly—where, as individuals, we dispose of all those things
that are too uncomfortable to look at. “The long-repressed shadow of Dr. Jekyll rises up in the shape of Mr. Hyde, deformed, an ape-like figure glimpsed against the alley wall.”[1] Now imagine millions of Mr. Hydes and you have a sense of
the group shadow of fundamenta!
list, right wing extremists dressed up as “compassionate conservatives,” led by George W. Bush. It’s like shifting from a hand gun to a nuclear bomb. And it
began long ago in both the Moslem and Christian worlds.

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