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Author Topic: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics  (Read 3429 times)

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Offline National AcrobatTopic starter

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Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« on: July 04, 2006, 04:20:46 PM »
Based off of the comments about 'Freedom Of Religion v. Freedom From Religion' and this quote from Moondazed:

Quote
Religion in american life is one thing... but it does NOT belong in american government.

It brings up a good point. I don't believe any religion in America deserves any special treatment, and none should be placed above any other as far as the Government's Official Position, and per the Bill of Rights, the State should and shall not endorse a Religion.

However, I do feel that politicians who are devout and deeply religious should be able to voice that, and should not be ashamed and forced to cower and hide because of it. Let's face it, Religion is important to many people whether you are Wiccan, Buddhist or Christian, and I guarantee you that any politician who is elected and has a deep belief system and faith guiding their life, is going to govern according to that, whether it is acknowledged or not.

Am I wrong?

Offline Sugarman (hal)

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Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2006, 04:33:38 PM »
Based off of the comments about 'Freedom Of Religion v. Freedom From Religion' and this quote from Moondazed:

It brings up a good point. I don't believe any religion in America deserves any special treatment, and none should be placed above any other as far as the Government's Official Position, and per the Bill of Rights, the State should and shall not endorse a Religion.

However, I do feel that politicians who are devout and deeply religious should be able to voice that, and should not be ashamed and forced to cower and hide because of it. Let's face it, Religion is important to many people whether you are Wiccan, Buddhist or Christian, and I guarantee you that any politician who is elected and has a deep belief system and faith guiding their life, is going to govern according to that, whether it is acknowledged or not.

Am I wrong

Will you grant that the religious right in American are spending enormous amounts of money to influences politicians and the American public? A whole lot more then any Wiccan, Buddhist or atheist.

Offline National AcrobatTopic starter

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Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2006, 04:39:46 PM »
No I don't dispute that at all, and it's their right to do so.

All sorts of groups spend money to influence politicians, not just those who are religious.

You will find that with at least 67% of American's claiming to be Christian (and the majority of that being overhwlemingly Protestant) that likewise the majority of Politician's who are religious will be Christian as well.

I don't think the average American cares. I have many very conservative Christian friends who could care less what Lobbyists and the Far Right are trying to promote.

But politicians are different. They want to get elected. Hell, the Far Right Christian groups are not thrilled, for instance with the idea of McCain or Giuliani being on the ticket in 2008 given their stances on their core beliefs.


Offline Purple

Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2006, 04:40:00 PM »
NA, you're right. †It's not fair to tell a Christian they can't worship or talk about their faith no matter what they're job is. †We can't stop other religians from doing that so why do people think that Christians shouldn't be afforded the same right?

And Hal...sure they are. †They're a bigger group and people are willing to donate money for their cause. †Why shouldn't they spend their money to 'influence' the American public. †So does every other group with money to spend. †Again, why can't Christians if other groups can? †And they don't try to influence politicians any more than other other lobby or pac. †It's incredibly un-American to say that Christians don't or shouldn't have the same rights everybody else does so why is this even an issue?

Offline National AcrobatTopic starter

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Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2006, 04:43:55 PM »
I'll give you a great example of how Freedom From Religion works at times.

Four of my closest and dearest friends are very conservative christians. They agree with me and a few of our athiest friends that there should be no Prayer in Public School.

Why we all have this viewpoint is different however. Their point of view is that they know, given the Constitution, that if you put Prayer in Public Schools, you can' t limit it to one particular religion or belief, and they are very adamant that their kids will not hear prayer from a different religion.

I also agree with that viewpoint, because I don't believe that you can limit it. Our other friends just don't want religion in the schools period. At all.

One couple we are friends with wouldn't allow their son to attend the prayer service last summer at the Boy Scout Jamboree on Sunday because it was being led by a Buddhist, and that's in line with their thinking on prayer in Public School.

Everyone should have a right to worship and talk about it as they please. There just shouldn't be any Governmental Endorsement.

Offline Purple

Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2006, 04:50:31 PM »
I'm a conservative Christian who believes that prayer should be allowed in schools if it is student led.  If a Buddhist wants to pray then he should have that right, if a Christian wants to pray then he should have that right.  It doesn't matter to me what a person's religion is, we have Freedom of Religion.  You can worship who you want, how you want, when you want.  It's that simple to me.  I know that there's probably christians who disagree with me, but you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Offline National AcrobatTopic starter

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Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2006, 04:56:21 PM »
You're right Purple, and several of my friends know you 'can't have your cake and eat it too' so they'd rather not see it.

We had a delegate here in Virginia, yet again this past session of our legislature, try to introduce a Prayer in Public School Bill. It failed to get out of Committee again because most of his own Republican Colleagues, as they have for the past few years, have tried to remind him that he can't delegate what Religion or specific branch of a religion, gets to lead or have the prayer. He of course, wants only Baptists or Conservative Protestants to be allowed to lead the prayer. His colleagues, again, told him it didn't work that way in America.

I think it is a double standard that I think is alive and well, and while I love my christian friends dearly, and they love me the crazy pagan dearly, they simply do not want any form of worship in the publics schools that isn't Conservative Protestantism.

Offline Purple

Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2006, 05:02:28 PM »
There are certainly people like that, that is true.  My in-laws and uptight husband are among them.  Heck, I'm not even appropriate even though they all say that of all the people they've ever met I'm the one person who most emulates the heart and compassion of Jesus...which is what I thought all Christians were supposed to do.  *shakes head in confusion*  Nope, I'm far too holy-roller and "I'll like my life the way I know I should and that will be enough for God to speak to others when they're ready," for them.

Oh...and I understand what you mean totally.  One of my best friends is Wiccan.  :)  We adore each other but she's liberal and I'm conservative so some topics are just off-limits for the two of us.  :)  Just like with my boyfriend who's an aethiest and socialist...I'm so not a good Christian, am I?

And I can't believe I forgot and actually read and posted in a religious thread...oops...

Offline Sugarman (hal)

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Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2006, 05:02:43 PM »
can you not worship also?. .. I think the pressures on a kid are hard enough these days to put prayer in publicly school is asking for trouble. "Tommy is a atheist!, Tommy is going to hell!" don't tell me it wont happen.

Lets teach tolerance in school and God in church and home.

Offline National AcrobatTopic starter

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Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2006, 05:06:25 PM »
I don't think you'll ever see it in the Public Schools.

However, I don't thing politicians and civic leaders should have to abandon their religious principles once taking public office. I know I wouldn't disengage myself from my beliefs and how to treat people and lead in a society if I were ever elected to an office. It's far too much to ask of someone I think.

Offline Sugarman (hal)

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Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2006, 05:09:13 PM »
I don't think you'll ever see it in the Public Schools.

However, I don't thing politicians and civic leaders should have to abandon their religious principles once taking public office. I know I wouldn't disengage myself from my beliefs and how to treat people and lead in a society if I were ever elected to an office. It's far too much to ask of someone I think.

agreed! We should be free to stand up for what we feel strongly about.

Offline Swedish Steel

Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2006, 05:13:31 PM »
can you not worship also?. .. I think the pressures on a kid are hard enough these days to put prayer in publicly school is asking for trouble. "Tommy is a atheist!, Tommy is going to hell!" don't tell me it wont happen.

Lets teach tolerance in school and God in church and home.

Huh, really? If there ever are any teasing about religion in Sweden these days the cries would probably rather sound like "Tommy is a christian! Haha, Tommy is a sucker!" We are a pretty secular people, and I'm really glad they keep religion out of the school, except when we learn about the different world religions of course, and then Cristianity holds no special place in the curiculum. That's what it was supposed to be like anyway, but my teacher from age 10-12 were a pretty devout christian, she snuck in christianity were she could, the sneaky old bat. But just watching her trying to teach us about sex almost made it worth it, I've never seen a more uncomfortable teacher in my whole life. :)

Offline Purple

Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2006, 05:19:54 PM »
can you not worship also?. .. I think the pressures on a kid are hard enough these days to put prayer in publicly school is asking for trouble. "Tommy is a atheist!, Tommy is going to hell!" don't tell me it wont happen.

Lets teach tolerance in school and God in church and home.

I got picked on for being a Christian, but none of the Christians were allowed to say anything to kids that weren't because we would be wrong. †How fair is that? †And you can say all you want that taking religion or prayer out of public schools will keep that from happening, but that's so not true. †Kids are cruel. †That's a fact. †They will find some reason to pick on anybody. †If Tommy says he's an aethiest, then sure some kids will pick on him. †But other kids will pick on him because he's not wearing the right shoes or jacket. †Or because he has blonde hair. †Or because his eyes are blue. †That's not a good reason to not allow people their Constitution-granted right to Freedom of Religion.

And schools teach tolerance better than anyone already. †IDEA, inclusion, IEPs for students that need assistance or special education or services allow these 'special needs' children to be in the classroom with the 'regular' children as much as possible. †Teachers will not stand for students to call others names no matter what the reasons. †Our schools, while not perfect, are still one of the best places that children can learn tolerance.


Offline kylie

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Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2006, 06:12:21 PM »
I figure if you want to say, well this particular concept or example from such and such religious source _suggests_ (not mandates) some potential solutions in a particular situation, why not.  It's no different from saying, they do it this way in X country or under Y theory or Z piece of law or literature was so inspiring -- on some particular, maybe useful point.

However, we have seen way too many efforts that run more to the tune of, so and so says this is the One True Way.  The implication is often an outright condemnation of any dissent.  No other religions in the land (or in the Holy Land), beards for all the men, 10% of income goes to the church, no meat on Fridays or no sodomy on any day.  (One of these days they'll find the Biblical passage that illuminates who shall have nukes and who shalt not.)  Doubters will/should presumably go to Hell, or suffer your other retribution of choice.

In these cases, whatever the issue is, more emphasis is placed on harping the speaker's self-asserted holiness.  When it becomes an intimidating but simplistic cover for complex policy, or a claim that no one else counts, I think it needs to go.

Perhaps this leads back to the thread about evangelism (err.. it was titled monotheism, but I'm guessing the methods of evangelism are central)?
« Last Edit: July 04, 2006, 06:22:27 PM by kylie »

Offline National AcrobatTopic starter

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Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2006, 06:20:10 PM »
No, I'm guessing that the poster meant Monotheism. I mean, there are plenty of examples of the sorts of behavior that you are mentioning that come as a result of a monotheistic society that isn't evangelical. The Middle East comes to mind almost immediately actually. IN many cases there, it's a Monotheistic culture where religion and government are one and the same.

Offline kylie

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Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2006, 06:24:46 PM »
I think you have a point about Islam not being evangelical (so far as I know -- I'm not schooled in Islam, but just based on certain political claims Islamic groups have made). 

However, there are also plenty of Christians that do not use faith as a basis to claim that their political claims must be just by default.  Even in a society where enough Christians have money and prestige such that it might be to their benefit to play that game.

So, I think there is something else going on and it has to do with process or methods.  I should probably run through that other thread, one of these days ;) 
« Last Edit: July 04, 2006, 06:26:40 PM by kylie »

Offline Moondazed

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Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2006, 08:21:41 PM »
There's a big difference between making decisions based on your religious convictions and using your position to endorse a particular religion.  I don't expect anyone to hide their religious convictions, but I do expect them to keep church and state separate.

About prayer in school, I don't agree with it.  Religion is a personal choice that should be taught at home, if at all.  I absolutely refuse to allow anyone to indoctrinate my children in ANY religion, including my own.  In my humble opinion, no child should graduate high school without a comparative religion class that equally analyzes the major religions, it's incredibly arrogant of Americans to shelter their children from the knowledge of other religions.

I took my teenager to the Unitarian Universalist Church for Sunday School the year he was in eighth grade because they did comparative religion.  They didn't endorse or condemn any religion they discussed, but they did open my son's eyes to what and why others believe.

I'm happy for anyone who finds a path that works for them, but church and state should stay completely separate, in my humble opinion.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2006, 09:14:29 PM »
What's wrong with a strict seperation of Church and State? My view is it protects relgions the second a faith group takes public money then the civil authority can dictate to the faith group. Take school vouchers I have ZERO problems if its 100% private funds I do have a huge problem taking tax dollars for such a program and letting children go to private faith based schools.

Offline Nothing

Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2006, 09:32:22 PM »
I used to have a bumper stick that said

The last time we mixed politics with religion, people got burned at the stake.

I always loved that sticker..

Offline Moondazed

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Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2006, 09:39:07 PM »
*grin*

My favorite bumper sticker of mine says, "Against abortion?  Then don't have one."

Offline RogueJedi

Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2006, 09:48:10 PM »
One of my problems with "freedom" of religion in schools is this.  In two of the schools I went to, the state MANDATED that all students study the Koran.  They also mandated that students study buddhism and even paganism (supposedly for history, though I do doubt that).  However, they expressly forbid teaching anything about Christianity (other than the Crusades were led by the Christians and that is why Christians are at fault for terrorism).  Now, I do not personally have anything against any of those religions, but what is a kid in high school supposed to think when everyone just tries to disparage his religion and he is not even allowed to defend himself?  Believe me, one of my friends got suspended for trying to speak out against the intolerance of anti-Christians.  The ACLU didn't touch this.

That was in the midwest.  Besides that, because I was white and from the South, I was singled out as a member of the KKK.  No proof, but who cared.  The South was full of "those religious wackos who tried to overturn the government".

The key here is this.  Tolerance, whether for racial, spiritual, gender, sexuality reasons, is clamored for by certain groups.  But, do they give tolerance to others?

Offline Moondazed

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Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2006, 09:56:07 PM »
An example of what happens when the topic is introduced as anything but a study in what the different belief systems are, equally.  I think it's a good thing to discuss matriarchal societies historically, but the only way that would be studying Paganism is in the observation that they followed it.

Balance in all things, that's my motto :)  I'm very tolerant of those who believe differently than I do, right up to the point that they start trying to force their beliefs on me and mine.

Offline Hunter

Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2006, 10:16:05 PM »
What's wrong with a strict seperation of Church and State? My view is it protects relgions the second a faith group takes public money then the civil authority can dictate to the faith group. Take school vouchers I have ZERO problems if its 100% private funds I do have a huge problem taking tax dollars for such a program and letting children go to private faith based schools.

The problem is that someone's religion will dominate their politics.  People can claim to be neutral but their outlook (whether you call it religion or not) has already been shaped.  Do you really think that people are going to support a position that they don't already believe in?  From my own experiences, they're probably not going to.  Just consider how you would feel if someone said that adult gaming was wrong and were going to take steps to eliminate it from the internet (I'm using a real life example on purpose).

Whether we admit it or not, our "religion" shapes what we think and how we interact with others.  Philosophy and religion are very intertwined and one invariably shapes the other.  (I expect to be disagreed with on this point, btw.)  To say that we will not have "religion" in the public sector; whether government, education, or law is like saying that we will not have math in algebra class.  It doesn't make sense.

Offline kylie

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Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #23 on: July 05, 2006, 01:13:09 AM »
The movement to discuss religions _other_ than Christianity, is like the movement to have coursework in non-Western cultures required in the universities.  The initial concern is that one is completely untouched and another is already predominant locally.  People are being led to live and breathe one, but few of them would ever dream that the other was possible or logical.  But for some others in the World (don't ask me about Heaven) it is entirely logical and practical.  So if you say you want peace on Earth...  So to speak. 

I suspect that individual teachers are being pressured by some Christians to turn these courses into contrastive or judgmental formats.  However, teaching what someone else is "not" doing may not serve to explain what _is_ going on.  With an end result that instructors may tend to focus discussion by excluding repeated emphases on Christianity. 

I think it should be possible to note similarities between many religions, and between religions generally and other matters.  I've met a few professors that are very good at saying, this is the answer you get if you look at a particular question with regard to this/these religions (or sexualities) in practice.  That is what people have found, regardless of whether the question is equally important to everyone, or what each of you would do with that information. 

Often, these are aging professors that have seen the same questions come and go for decades under different social contexts.  At the least, many people still seem interested in things _related_ to those questions.  (Often academic questions do not seem "interesting" in themselves, but become bodies of evidence that surprise people on all sides of an issue.) 

Someone can always say, well what if we had different questions or methods (as inspired by whatever religious concept, etc.).  Much as someone can usually say, I'll vote for this board member if they support two weeks of teaching _about_ religion X.  Although if they say "about" and really mean "on behalf of my interpretation of" -- then that's another matter.  (Major religions are so busy that they're probably asking for a fight with another sect/denomination that case, never mind foreign doctrines.)
« Last Edit: July 05, 2006, 01:28:18 AM by kylie »

Offline National AcrobatTopic starter

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Re: Forked Thread: Challenge. Religion and Politics
« Reply #24 on: July 05, 2006, 06:10:00 AM »
I think teaching about religions and their similarties/differences is a lot easier at the college/univerisity level. Especially with regards to open mindedness and academic pursuits. At the college/university level, you choose your course of studies, and you know generally what you are getting into. Public schools are still that, public schools where your middle and high school students are in institutions that are affected by the environenment and cultural make up of the region. I highly doubt that here in central virginia that my kids would honestly get an unbiased, serious education in high school about all the world's religions.

You certainly won't get that at a private secondary school either.

As for faith based initiatives, as long as there are no discriminations as to what faiths can recieve the funds to do the charitible work, I see no problem with it.