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Letters to the Editor

Nation of faith

March 31, 2007

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To the editor:

Because we are a nation of people accountable to one another, when conscience seems to have gone awry, it is the duty of others to point it out. Throughout our history, people have freely shared their faith in the political arena, whether Christian or those with a lack of belief. At one time, this led to posting words from the Bible in courthouses, schools and other public places. We used to say "The Pledge" in the '70s and sing songs of faith in Lawrence public school choirs (mid-1980s, not 1940s).

Now that these kind acts of sharing are either admonished or abolished, where have we gone? Well, now we confiscate guns instead of knives and carry out bodies instead of punitive punishment for pranks. So I ask, are we better off without prayer and the Ten Commandments?

Separation, which started with a letter from Thomas Jefferson to The Danbury Baptist Association, intended noninterference, not exclusion. When the commandments were removed, the U.S. Supreme Court explained something like "children might learn them, meditate upon them and follow them and that would be unconstitutional."

People are still imprisoned and murdered for their devotion in this world, and I am thankful to God I was born in a country that still contains a judicial and political system that protects self-expression, even though I am offended by much of it myself. Of, by and for the people includes people of all faiths, and yes, even a lack of faith. Offended perhaps? Explore the reasons behind your offense. Is it a guilty conscience placed in your heart by God, the Savior?

Kevin Stewart, Lawrence

Comments

Newell_Post 7 years, 3 months ago

Huh? That is the most incoherent letter to the editor I have ever read. What is your point?

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paladin 7 years, 3 months ago

In Amereeka, one can have his faith cake, or wafer, and gobble it down, too. Ain't it great!? Smile God, you're on my little camera phone! Act happy!

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Cait McKnelly 7 years, 3 months ago

"Religion would be much more inspiring if extremists spent more time living it, and less time preaching it."

This is brilliant. Is this original to you Agnostick? May I use it as a quote? I want to paste this all over my and my friends blogs.

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paladin 7 years, 3 months ago

Why do I always feel guilty? Does that mean I'm a bad person? I'm sorry.

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sourpuss 7 years, 3 months ago

If you need religion to do right, then you aren't a good person, you just need a chaperone. However, I do admire people who stand by what they believe and I do admire tradition in human activity.

Religion, like everything else in the world, is a double-edged blade. I just can't understand why people get so worked up about it. Be religious or not, but why do you care what other people do? And if you think monocultural belief in YOUR religion will fix everything, then you may as well be a communist. Humans will never all believe the same thing, so get over it already and focus your life of that which will help, both yourself and others.

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mick 7 years, 3 months ago

The fool has said in his heart, "there is no God."

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paladin 7 years, 3 months ago

Shrub is my God. OH, GOD, why hast thou forsaken me? Well, maybe just a little demigod. But, that's enough for now.

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temperance 7 years, 3 months ago

". . . . whether Christian or those with a lack of belief."

I'm glad this letter writer has such an expansive view of religious belief. He needs to take a World Relgions course.

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paladin 7 years, 3 months ago

I don't believe I believe in believing. But, then I believe I do. Does that make me a Communist? Or, just a cornfused, far-lefty blogophant?

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Ragingbear 7 years, 3 months ago

I am tired of idiotic moronic zombie religionists running around and claiming that if you don't "have god in your heart" then there is no way that you could be any sort of good or moral person. This is something that religionists have been perpetuating, and is an outright lie.

I have known people that are Lucifer worshipers (Pre-fallen Satan). As well as people that worship the ancient Aztec god of destruction. These were actually some of the nicest people I knew. I have seen these guys go out of their way to help other people, and for no other reason than they decided that a world where people helped each other is a better place than one where people are motivated by either fear of eternal torment or motivated by a dangling carrot of eternal paradise.

If you need a reason to be a good person, then guess what? Your not a good person. Your just somebody that is scared of hell or want to go to heaven.

Hmm.. Let me put it in terms that religionists could understand...

Blah blah blah god blah blah blah Jesus blah blah blah blah BLAH BLAH blaH BLah Blah blah heaven.

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paladin 7 years, 3 months ago

Ragingbear, that was so cool, what you said. Did you used to be a Dancingbear, but then you got mad? I'm not a bear, but I've always thought I was a good person. And I guess I've believed various things, off and on. Maybe not. After enough therapy and medication, I believe I believe in myself now, and that is pretty cool.

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paladin 7 years, 3 months ago

I caught a dumb bass one time, while fishing, which I promptly tossed down my huge gullet. Bears love fish, and at this point in time, I believe I am a bear. A good bear, though.

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paladin 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm outta here. I got to go get a few cases of ammo, in case them Iranians don't tow the line. Bye, bye.

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Ragingbear 7 years, 3 months ago

The interesting thing about the Bible, especially focused around the words of Jesus himself were about faith. Not in some invisible, intangible being, but in yourself.

If YOU have the faith of a mustard seed... Arise and go forth, YOUR faith has made you clean...

Before you could ever have true faith in anyone or anything, you need to first have faith in yourself. If you wish to have a grand crop of corn, you do not put all your faith in God. No, you first have to have the faith in yourself that you can plant the seed, set up the watering system, fertilize the soil, treat for insects and all the other things that are needed to grow a crop of anything. It is then, and only then that you have ANY business appealing to anyone to help you.

The problem though, is that if everyone actually had faith in themselves, then we wouldn't need any gods. And guess what? We don't.

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Jamesaust 7 years, 3 months ago

Just send us back to that good ole world - that never existed. Then, everything will be swell.

"At one time, this led to posting words from the Bible in courthouses, schools and other public places."

Really? There have been (by my count) five "Ten Commandments" cases in the appellate system in the last decade. In 2 there was a displayed T.C. prior to 1950, in 2 prior to 2000, and one from something like 2001. Much like the 'one nation under God' phenomena, the reference is of recent origin.

Like most, I find modern attempts to set religious standards to everything as offensive to Christianity. (James Dobson questioned this week if ex-GOP Sen., rumored Pres. candidate Fred Thompson even was a Christian, which he later clarified as asking if he was a particular stripe of Christianist.) I also find modern attempt to stamp out any and all religious references and signs as offensive. Is there anyone listening to the moral and sane 80% in the middle?

Interestingly, this mixing of religion and politics that has become the modern GOP has led to sharp declines in both persons who identify with organized religion and the GOP!

I find it laughable how much of this letter could be written by some Wahhabist Sunni al-Qaeda sympathizer with only the change of a few words. Fundamentalists all over the world always have the same obsessions. The only difference is that this letter's author swims in a sea of liberalism that restrains him from trying to cut off people's heads.

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Newell_Post 7 years, 3 months ago

I wonder which version of the 10 commandments Judge Moore carved on that monument? (There is more than one version. Furthermore, some people believe that the second set of stone tablets carved by Moses may have contained some changes to the first set he smashed.)

Since Moore was in Alabama, it was probably the Protestant version of the first tablets, all of which is one more reason to leave it out of the public sphere to avoid coercing those of other beliefs.

http://www.positiveatheism.org/crt/whichcom.pdf

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MyName 7 years, 3 months ago

Setting aside the body of the letter, which is very incoherant, I'd like to focus on this one part:

Now that these kind acts of sharing are either admonished or abolished, where have we gone? Well, now we confiscate guns instead of knives and carry out bodies instead of punitive punishment for pranks. So I ask, are we better off without prayer and the Ten Commandments?

What I can't understand is how any rational person thinks the two are connected at all! There have been 100s of changes since the "good old days" and now, and yet somehow the focus is on a poster on a wall with a list of "Thou Shalt Nots".

How about the magical power of Coca-Cola in glass bottles to stop people from wanting to knife each other? How about the healing power of cafeteria food made with real lard to stop teenage pregnancy? And what about Donna Reed?? If everybody asked "What Would Donna Do?" I bet the world would be a much nicer place.

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Ragingbear 7 years, 3 months ago

Here are my 10 Commandments:

  1. Shut the hell up.

  2. Thou Shalt not watch American Idol.

  3. Love of money is the root of all evil.

  4. Give it to me.

  5. Thou shalt not drive like an idiot.

  6. Be good to those below you. Today's underling could be tomorrow's boss.

  7. If you need religion to be spiritual, then your religion is a false religion.

  8. Love one another as you love yourself. No, not that type of love.

  9. What people do behind closed doors is their business as long as nobody is hurt.

  10. Thou shalt not act like your better than anyone. Because you aren't.

  11. Thou shalt not do that which is stupid. This comprises all that is within the other 10.

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bearded_gnome 7 years, 3 months ago

Righty, I am not sure what could've gotten your previous post nulled-out.

pleasantly surprised to not see a lot of overt anti-christian prejudice expressed as happens on other comment threads.

there isn't really that much difference between the various forms of the ten commandments. what happened primarily had to do with translations and the manuscripts used for that. so it is always important to ask what translation is being used, and did they access the best historical writings of the Bible? the theory that there were changes between the first set of the ten commandments and the second set, after Moses broke the first, is just that, a theory without evidence to support it.

now, Righty, you play nice, you hear? nice to see Grandmesa bounced.

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VoijaRisa 7 years, 3 months ago

If there was any support to the claim that upholding the secular laws of this country were the magical cause of degridation of society, I might buy into this argument, but until then, I find more honesty in blaming the media.

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paladin 7 years, 3 months ago

I tried to love my neighbor as myself, and she was willing, but her husband objected and whooped the tar out a me. It was a learning experience and a beneficial moral lesson. Be real careful when you're tryin to love your neighbor and make sure her husband's not home.

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prioress 7 years, 3 months ago

God (or at least the concept of a loving god) is cool; religion sucks. Keep it out of politics.

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paladin 7 years, 3 months ago

Lets just step back a minute and reflect of a thing I just saw on CNN (Cannonical News Network?). It was a thing about how there's this place back East where there's this sign that says honk for Jesus and somebody else put up a sign that says honk twiced for the Devil. I guess they're a gettin more folks a honkin twiced for Satan. Don't that beat all? Then they went on to tell about how they were tryin to make the dead Pope a Saint. I don't know about you, but with all the mess hereabouts on the Earth and all them folks a honkin for the Devil, would somebody please explain to me how in the World the Old Pope qualifies as a Saint, departing and leaving all that mess behind. And, anyway, the Popehood is pretty high up there, I guess. Ain't that job good enough for any mortal man, without him a hankerin to be a Saint in the bargain? Just askin.

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gr 7 years, 3 months ago

Does anyone qualify to be a saint?

Does anyone not qualify to be a saint?

What is a saint?

Romans 1:7 (NIV) To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:1 (NIV) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:

Revelation 14:12 (NIV) This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.

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paladin 7 years, 3 months ago

I here tell a guy has to have performed some bonafide miracles in order to be a real Saint. Is it three? Just what miracles did the Pope pull off, get wrote down as genuine, and get verified to put him in the runnin? Don't know, just askin. Seems like, maybe, a setup deal, to me.

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prioress 7 years, 3 months ago

Newell_Post: I wonder which version of the 10 commandments Judge Moore carved on that monument? (There is more than one version.

Good point, Newell. The original 1st 'commandment' noted the Jews could worship all the gods they wanted, they just had to start with Jehovah. Sadly, there is blood on the floor where people have debated which version of "thou shalt not kill" to use. The golden rule is a good idea. Religion as a vehicle to run public policy beyond that simple statement is a BIG mistake.

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Crispian Paul 7 years, 3 months ago

Posted by Poshloster (anonymous) on April 2, 2007 at 12:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why do you progressives force your anti-Christianity down everyones throat?

On the same note, I suppose I could say "Why do you religious conservatives have to force your religious views down everyone's throats?

I have never really seen vehement Christian hating going on here. What I do see is well thought out defenses of the separation of church and state.

Personally, I do not attend church, although I do have a habit of reading religious texts. I don't think that extremism in relgion is helpful, nor does it really make anyone want to join up with your faith.

I say, to each his own. But that means that I should be able to choose to not say "under God", Jesus loves you, or any other flagship of the current fundamentalist movements that are trying to edge into politics.

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paladin 7 years, 3 months ago

Jesus is my friend, He helps me every day to get up and get going, to work, to school, to play. OK?

Not sure the Pope's a friend or not, he takes from the poor to get what he's got. He looks kinda creepy, a little bit weepy, like he's already started to rot.

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Tychoman 7 years, 3 months ago

Where does this LTE author get the idea that those who have committed atrocious crimes in public schools AREN'T Christian? What a bigoted generalization.

I've seen a bumper sticker around that says "They took God out of our schools and now they're full of DRUGS!" and it makes me smile every time I walk by.

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jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

Gay pride weeks? I can see how you'd see the other ones, but I'm not sure I've ever heard about this happening before. For the other two, is the problem that sex ed happens, or is it the problem when some specific teacher gets over-exuberent in their teachings?

I'll leave the xmas thing alone, except to add that a school banning xmas imagery would have little effect on childrens morals, as there is little left in the xmas tradition about moral teachings, and that part isn't the stuff that most kids care about.

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badger 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm not sure where this LTE-writer's coming from. I'm still bugged by the thought that in his head we're all either Christians or those with a lack of faith.

I have, in fact, a surfeit of faith. Just...not Christian faith.

I'm pretty sure that the problems in public schools have a lot less to do with a lack of Jesus than they do with a lack of involved parenting. It's not your kid's second grade teacher's job to teach your kid morals or right from wrong. It's your kid's teacher's job to teach your kid long division and what a noun is for.

Moral teachings need to happen at home. Parents need to teach their kids manners, respect for others, courtesy, and ethics. This garbage of insisting that it's the state's job to maintain a standard of moral teaching that meets your personal approval is just plain stupid.

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jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

"Now that these kind acts of sharing are either admonished or abolished, where have we gone? Well, now we confiscate guns instead of knives and carry out bodies instead of punitive punishment for pranks. So I ask, are we better off without prayer and the Ten Commandments?"

Ummm. . . since these factors don't have anything to do with each other, who could tell?

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jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

"True, but likewise, it's not the state's job to actively undermine moral teachings that are modeled and taught in the home."

This happens? When? Have schools changed that much in the 10 years since I graduated?

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EvaTrujillo 7 years, 3 months ago

Interesting letter - lack of faith like its a defiency or something. Truth is our schools have more violence since we put god in the Pledge and put god on the legal tender.

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Linda Endicott 7 years, 3 months ago

I really haven't decided if religion itself is the problem, or just organized religion...i.e., churches...

While the original intent in the Bible was to spread the word of God, it didn't involve bashing people over the head with it. It didn't involve ridiculing those who don't believe. It didn't involve harming those who don't believe, or don't believe in the same way.

Throughout history, it seems that the religiously devout have felt it was their duty to either ostracize or torture and kill everyone who didn't believe as they did.

And this is still going on today, unfortunately.

While church members may feel that it is their duty to spread the word of God, this is one of the most annoying things in the world to somebody who isn't a regular church goer or who doesn't belong to a particular religion at all. It's kind of like all those calls I get from the local newspaper, wanting me to subscribe. If I wanted to do that, I know where to find THEM, for heaven's sake. They don't have to constantly harass me about it.

Probably the one group who does this to the extreme are Jehovah's Witnesses. They have been legendary for decades for getting their foot in the door and you practically have to chop it off to get them to leave again.

If the original intent of spreading God's word was followed, that might be a different matter. Because if someone didn't want to listen, they would just move on.

But it seems to me anymore like the churches are having quota drives...the more people they draw in, the more money they'll get in the collection plate. It seems to me anymore that making more money is really the reason churches want more members.

It's not really about "saving" people anymore, or trying to improve their lives...it's just about money.

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opinion 7 years, 3 months ago

crazyks,

I wish some of what you said was true. In nearly 50 years on this earth, I can't think of a single time that a Christian was aggressive in sharing the Gospel with me. I think that is too bad. Oh every now and then, someone might ask me to go to some church function but I have never encountered those reeeally mean bible thumpers everyone else fears. Where are all of these people that are "bashing people over the head"? I sure wish someone would have shared Christ with me along time ago.

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shockchalk 7 years, 3 months ago

Agno.............I think you are completely missing the point of Opinions post. I have lived here all of my life and like the previous poster wrote, I have never been "bashed over the head" with christianity. A knock at my door every few years from a well-meaning and polite Jehova's witness is not TOO much to stomach. The Word of God is something Christians are supposed to share by word of mouth and witnessing to others. Sadly, many Christians aren't bold enough to share their faith, in a loving way, because they want to be accepted more than they want to reach others. Lawrence is a good example of this. If you share your faith with many in this down, they get agitated and rude or start telling you how the church is just out for money and full of hypocrites. The tolerance only seems to flow one direction in Lawrence.

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opinion 7 years, 3 months ago

Agnostick,

I am not wondering about Christianity's PR problem. What I am wondering is if Christians are out there in everyone's face harassing them, why haven't I ever had it done to me? Have you honestly ever had some Christian pressure you about your faith? I am talking about on a personal level. Your links don't address what I was talking about.

When Christians state their opinion, we are "shoving". I guess you want us seen but not heard.

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badger 7 years, 3 months ago

opinion:

Heritage Baptists. They came to my door some years ago, and when I declined their flyer, they asked me what church I attend. I explained that I'm pagan, and for an hour I stood on my doorstep arguing theology with them (I invited them in, but they wouldn't enter). Admittedly, I could have been rude and shut the door in their faces when one of them told me that my 'ignorance of Christ' and my hellbound state made him personally sad; I opted to try and explain to him why I've chosen this path. About the time his friend started to look thoughtful about what I was saying, he decided my hellbound state didn't pain him quite so much and left.

On campus, there were street preachers exhorting me to give up my sinful ways or burn forever. Beaming co-eds handing out New Testaments and following those who refused, to explain why no, really, you should keep The Word in your backpack at all times. Finally I took one, like a crucifix against a vampire, to ward off the others.

Friends, family, co-workers, and random strangers have evangelized to me. They use guilt, telling me that the fact that I won't get into heaven hurts them personally, or they say, "I don't see what you're so scared of learning that you won't just read the Scriptures," (I'm not scared; I've read them and I understand them) and they have threatened me with all manner of celestial punishments.

If I do attend their church, it's even worse. I've been introduced as a 'lost lamb come to Jesus at last,' or as a 'soul who needs to be opened to Jesus.' One attendance and a polite refusal to join earns me repeat invitations and having my home address and unlisted phone number given to particularly aggressive congregation members so they can 'drop in' Sunday mornings to see if I'd like a ride to church. Asking them to come to ritual earns a horrified recoil and an "I can't believe you'd expect me to go to something like that."

Why don't I want the Ten Commandments in schools or courthouses? Because putting the First Commandment on any public building with public funding is highly problematic for some of us. I can't walk into a building past a marker reading "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me," and retain the illusion that I'll be treated fairly. Yet when I object, I get asked what I have against prohibitions on murder or theft.

Why haven't you seen this in your 'nearly 50 years'? I don't know. Perhaps you've encountered different Christians. Perhaps you've been in workplaces where you were protected from being evangelized by your boss.

If you're Christian, that would have something to do with it. They rarely evangelize to the already saved. Try walking around for a couple of weeks wearing a visible pentacle, and see if your treatment changes any.

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badger 7 years, 3 months ago

Because I ran out of space on my last post, let me add one thing:

I don't resent Christianity itself as a result of this. I don't resent Christians themselves. I resent the treatment I receive sometimes, and the assumption, put forth by people like this letter-writer, that those who are not Christian cannot therefore be moral, ethical, decent, or spiritual. I resent having to explain, and explain, and explain my faith and my decisions to hold it, and then being characterized as 'intolerant' for objecting to the assumption that Christianity, because it's the majority opinion, is the only opinion that merits expression or respect.

I object to being characterized as immoral or indecent, having my community of faith referred to as 'devil worshipers' or 'satanists', and then being chided for my own closed-mindedness when I ask that people simply stop trying to convert me.

It's the demotion to second-class citizen and the expectation of my silent acceptance of the US as a 'Christian Nation' that I find objectionable, not Christianity itself, the tenets contained therein, or the vast majority of Christians living peaceful happy lives.

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opinion 7 years, 3 months ago

Badger,

I appreciate your response. Your comment about taking the New Testament to ward of the others made me laugh. I certainly can see that happening and thats not to bad of a way to get them off your back!

I will say that the examples you gave, while annoying, are really no different than just about every group of people you can think of. You have Dems and Repubs engaging in the same thing. You have vegans and meat eaters engaging in the same thing. You have Eastside and Westside engaging in the same thing. Any thing that a group of people feel passionate about, they will want to share. What I assert is that when it comes to Christians sharing, people want to draw the line. When I say that I object to foul language on a bumper sticker, I am told to deal with it - its free speach. But when I want to share what the Gospel says about Jesus, I am told to keep it to myself.

No, I am not going to say that I as a Christian am oppressed. We in the US have it easy. We can worship freely. But, just as you say you receive different treatment when you wear a pentacle, see what happens if you happen to proclaim Jesus Christ is Lord in mixed company! Talk about clearing a room! Considering what Jesus did for me about 1975 years ago this week, I am willing to put up with the snide remarks and lost friendships.

Again, thanks for the thoughtful response.

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Porter 7 years, 3 months ago

badger, Thanks for the great post. I really hope everyone who reads this forum takes the time to read it thoughtfully.

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Linda Endicott 7 years, 3 months ago

Unfortunately, Opinion, I HAVE been subject to the badgering I described. So it is true, for me.

My mother had a friend who was a Jehovah's Witness. Though she made it clear that she wasn't interested in attending their church nor joining their religion, this didn't stop the constant calls and visits to our house when I was a child, by scores of members of the church.

I have been subjected to members from various churches coming to my door with Bibles and/or whatever religious text they use, and even after telling them I wasn't interested, they didn't want to take no for an answer and leave.

When my daughter was little, I was constantly harassed by church people wanting her to go to Bible school in the summer.

When I was married, my husband was a Mormon. Not a practicing Mormon, mind you, but he was still considered a member, raised in the religion. He had no interest in continuing with the church, but he was mercenary as hell and had no qualms about asking them for money when he needed it, and they gave it to him. For this privilege, both of us (and no, I wasn't a member, never had been) were subject to constant visits and phone calls. When someone would come to our house, they would refuse to leave.

Once they found out my ex hubby cheated on me and left me for another woman, they excommunicated him. But I never heard from anyone in the church again.

I have even had to fend off dozens of people who come to my place of work.

If you have never had these experiences, consider yourself fortunate. I know many, many people who have had similar ones, though.

I have nothing against religion. I do consider myself a Christian, and choose to worship in my own way. Most church people don't understand how you can be religious and yet not attend church.

But I have never been to a church (and I've visited several of them on Sun. through the years) where they didn't expect you to dress a certain way, and looked down their noses at you if you weren't all decked out to the nines. In one church, a man showed up one day wearing overalls. They were neat and clean, if worn, and through the whole service everyone took turns staring at him.

If Jesus walked in some Sun. with his long hair, robes, and sandals, they would probably escort him to the door.

I knew a man once who was a deacon at his church, and he used his position to hit on every single woman he could. No, he didn't remain a deacon for long...but they evidently thought he was pious enough to put him in the position to begin with. Guess they were wrong.

I have no problem with religion, or Christianity itself. I DO sometimes have a problem with organized religion, and the manner in which churches and their members conduct themselves.

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paladin 7 years, 3 months ago

I always had the impression that Jesus wasn't very religious. If'n he weren't, why was that, anyhow?

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badger 7 years, 3 months ago

75x55:

I think that what jonas is saying is that it's unnecessary to push the trappings of Christianity in schools, because those moral messages most Christians insist they're truly concerned about are being taught, just not taught with the clear designation provided by their Christian trappings.

Frankly, as the number of openly pagan parents sending their kids to public schools increases, the end result of insisting Chrismas be kept in schools is a lot of kids coming home and asking their parents why Jesus stole Mithras' birthday.

I'm also going to say this next bit as delicately as I can. I mean no offense by it:

They weren't 'christians'. They were and are Christians. They proclaim themselves as such, and I sure don't see other Christians standing up and saying, "No, you're not," and defending a pagan mother whose children are taken from her, or standing up for a pagan co-worker, or speaking out on the rights of pagan soldiers killed in wartime to have a simple star put on their graves (there are some nineteen options if you want a cross). Until I see mainstream Christians actively working to cast that fringe out of their midst, actively working to discredit and gainsay them, I'm afraid there is no Get Out of Jail Free Card in the form of "Those weren't 'real' Christians." They were, as far as I can tell from the actions of other Christians, as real as any others.

The current President, in the late 1990s when he was governor of Texas, opined that Wiccan soldiers stationed at Fort Hood should be barred from using the nondenominational worship space because Wicca's 'not a real religion.' Carole Keeton Strayhorn, 2006 gubernatorial candidate, explained in 2004 that Unitarians, because 'they don't believe in God', shouldn't have tax-exempt status as a church; only 'real religions' should get that status. I imagine that the Buddhists would be very surprised to find they're not a real religion, as would the Taoists. Strayhorn was the Comptroller of the State of Texas when she said that, and used her office to strip a UU church in Denison of its tax-exempt status.

It's not just some lunatic fringe of 'christians'. It's politicians, school board members, the President, the woman who was Rick Perry's strongest challenger until she dropped out to run as an independent. It's teachers, principals, judges, and employers. It's far too many Christians for people in uncomfortable conversations with people like me to simply dismiss as 'loons' or 'christians'. Until you start casting the hateful, intolerant, judgmental, and unkind people out of your churches on their ears, and denying them the right to wrap their hatred in Christ's teachings, which I seem to recall being mostly about love, kindness, and getting your ownself right with God before you started smacking around your neighbors, you're stuck with them as your Christian representatives.

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badger 7 years, 3 months ago

Opinion:

Vegans and evangelical Christians, are the only people who demand that I change my ethical system and my personal morals to accomodate their beliefs of appropriate conduct.

Even vegans don't try to make meat-eating illegal. But certain groups of Christians seem to feel it's their right to legislate their own moralities on the rest of the nation. My faith has no prohibition on abortion, or on sex outside the bonds of marriage. It has no requirement for public prayer, and no prohibitions on homosexuality. Yet those things are all matters that certain groups of Christians wish to legislate according to the dictates of their faith, and when I object by saying that not all faiths proscribe those things, I am shouted down as immoral and indecent. That's not right.

I think you don't understand what it's like to be not-Christian in America today. Most of you wouldn't recognize me on the street if you saw me, and I'm 700 miles away now. That's why I can be open about my paganism in this community, because no one in Lawrence can fire me, evict me, or threaten me.

Less than two months after my landlord found out I was pagan, there started to be trouble with rent checks getting 'lost'. I was evicted, despite having the cash in hand at the court trial (he told the judge I was a bad tenant and he was tired of dealing with me).

While working on a temporary contract (at which I'd received glowingly positive reviews), I was asked casually, "So what church do you go to?" I gave my stock answer of, "I don't attend church; I haven't found one that suits me here in town." That was Wednesday. No one spoke to me Thursday or Friday, and on Sunday I received a call telling me they were terminating my contract and would send me my things - I was not to go back.

Friends have lost custody of their children because a former spouse 'found Jesus'. I've known people denied the right to adopt, drummed out of academia, fired from jobs, and politicked out of the PTA for it.

Last year the State of Nevada had to step in to designate the marker for a fallen soldier's grave, because despite years of receiving the request, the US Department of Veterans Affairs still has yet to approve the simple design requested for the graves of Wiccan soldiers. Pagans who fall in this nation's defense lie under unmarked graves, by dictate of the US Government.

For that, I'd take in trade, quite happily, clearing a room every time I chose to proselytize.

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jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

"What part of authority figures clearly demonstrating to children that these things are not acceptable are you missing? (It helps understanding of the connections if 'xmas' is spelled 'Christmas')."

The spelling was intentional. It seems like you latched on to why as well. At any rate, it's only the specific colorings of Christianity that get left out at school. The basic moral message that underlies the Christian teaching still, ostensibly, gets taught and reinforced in schools, even when the specific Christian imagery gets left behind. Still, that's the non-essential part of the message, so I would say that the only real thing getting taught is that there is a time and a place for everything, and there are places where exhortations and declarations of Faith (as opposed to faith) are simply inappropriate and irrelevant to the tasks at hand.

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jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

"Especially considering that the 'basic moral message' inherent in Christianity is the recognition of the sinful nature of man - which would play havoc with all that 'esteem-building' theory ;-)"

Yes, that's why I said "underlying" Christianity and not "inherent" to it. My point was merely that Christians do not have a monopoly, much as many would like to believe, on moral behavior.

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gr 7 years, 3 months ago

"Until you start casting the hateful, intolerant, judgmental, and unkind people out of your churches on their ears,"

Perhaps they could post a sign on their doors:

"No sinners allowed"

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aveteran 7 years, 3 months ago

Newell_Post: I'm not sure which version Roy Moore used, but one thing's for certain: 11 doesn't equal 10.

http://www.rationalrevolution.net/images/tencmoore.jpg

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aveteran 7 years, 3 months ago

Kevin Stewart and the rest of the crowd who cry about the "decline of morality" in schools or some such garbage, due to the removal of sectarian proselytizing, should try to get in touch with reality. Since when is it a bad thing to make schools a safe haven for children of ALL faiths, or of no faith at all, instead of a religiously coercive environment? Perhaps schools are a dangerous place because too many parents, including Christian parents (who are supposedly the "majority"), are NOT instilling values, ethics, consideration for others, or respect for the law into their children.

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