Archive for the church and state Category

Sarah Palin Nobody To Pray With

Posted in church and state, video with tags , , on March 27, 2009 by scatheist

Sarah Palin speaking at a an Alaska GOP dinner last week said the following:  “So I’m looking around for somebody to pray with, I just need maybe a little help, maybe a little extra, and the McCain campaign, love ‘em, you know , they’re a lot of people around me, but nobody I could find that I wanted to hold hands with and pray.”

I knew their was a reason that they lost, I just couldn’t put my finger on it.  Watch from the four minute mark.

Jesus and the Stimulus

Posted in church and state, video with tags , , , , on February 20, 2009 by scatheist

 

The American Issues Project, a right wing PAC, just purchased a one-million dollar ad buy using Jesus to put the stimulus bill into perspective. Check out this article, from a writer on another blog that I’m a part of, for some good context and analysis on this kind of garbage.  

The Office of Faith Based Initiatives

Posted in church and state, Radio Show with tags , , , , , on February 8, 2009 by scatheist

Was2155965President Obama signed an Executive Order this week establishing the Office of Faith Based Initiatives.  This is a continuation of a Bush Administration policy that gives public dollars to faith based organizations that do charitable work in their communities.  It works like a grant program.  The church applies for the funds and tells the government how they plan to spend the money and then they get a check in the mail.  The main problem with the program (besides the obvious egregious church-state violation) under the Bush Administration was that organizations that accepted public funds were still allowed to discriminate during hiring practices.  For instance, the “Church of God” could refuse to hire a homosexual, or someone of a different faith, or an atheist.  Even if that person was the most qualified for the position.  Just to be clear, this kind of discrimination is not tolerated in any other program that gets government dollars.  On the campaign trail last year, Obama vowed to reverse the Bush hiring policy. “As someone who used to teach constitutional law, I believe deeply in the separation of church and state,” Obama said last July in a speech that pledged to expand Bush’s office of faith-based initiatives. “If you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help, and you can’t discriminate against them—or against the people you hire—on the basis of their religion.”  Advocates and opponents of this program have been watching closely to see if he was going to live up to the promises.  Well, he didn’t.  He punted.  He said he’s going wait on a legal review before making a decision on hiring practices. In the mean time, the hiring policy still stands.  I’ve been following Obama since 2004 (ardently since 06) and I am a strong supporter.  With that being said, I am not surprised that he is expanding Bush’s office of Faith Based Initiatives.  Anyone who has read Audacity of Hope knows that he has a strong conviction for church outreach and charity.  Does that bother me?  Somewhat, but I’ve learned to live with it.  Does it bother me that he is not aggressively addressing discriminatory hiring practices by organizations accepting tax dollars?  HELL YES!!!  I know I’m about to upset some people, but I don’t give a shit:  How can the first black President of the United States tolerate any kind of discrimination?  This policy needs to be reversed now.  Fuck a legal review.  It’s discrimination at its core.  If your church wants to discriminate against qualified candidates because of their beliefs or sexual orientation, fund your projects from your coffers.  

Phil and I will be discussing this issue live Sunday night 2/8/09 at 11pmET on the Atheist and Theist Radio Hour.  Join us in the chat room or call in with your take on this issue.

***Update*** Road Rage?

Posted in church and state, religion with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2009 by scatheist

I Believe PlateWell I thought that the “I Believe” license plate fiasco was a dead story, at least for a while, but Tuesday night approximately 200 supporters of the proposed license plates gathered in Greer to hold a rally in an attempt to bolster support for it.  South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster spoke at the rally and has been outwardly supportive of the believers cause.  Last month a federal judge issued an injunction ordering that the state stop production, advertisement, and sales of the plate stating that a federal court would most likely rule the plate unconstitutional.  

If you think that its unusual for a state Attorney General to get involved in a cause like this, Mr. McMaster would beg to differ.   “The Attorney General of the state is supposed to take a strong position on the side of the Constitution,“ he says.  “A large percentage of cases are reversed. That means that the lower court was wrong. We think this lower court is wrong in this case.”   He says that the plate dos not establish a religion and adds, “if someone wanted a Hindu plate or a Buddhist plate or any other kind, or a Muslim plate, they could get that. Just get somebody to introduce it, pass it. They have to have enough people to have ‘em printed. But I don’t consider that establishing a religion,“  

Huh, really?  How is the Attorney General of the state paying to defend the “I Believe” plates?  How did the Attorney General pay to get to the “I Believe” rally to speak Tuesday night?  If you guessed at the taxpayers expense, you would be correct. 

Here is the kicker…  If supporters cannot get the courts ruling overturned, they have a Plan B.  They are going to rename a non-profit organization “I Believe” so that they can legally produce the plate in support of the non-profit.  This is incredible. These asshats already have a legal option to produce these plates, but that’s not good enough.  It’s become about proving, to anyone stuck in traffic I guess,  that this is a Christian state and the state will produce these Christian license plates.

platesSome good news, however, is that Secular Humanists of the Low Country, a South Carolina Non-Profit organization has dealt with previous religiosity on our license plates.  They responded to the “In God We Trust” slogan that appears on some state license plates with an “In Reason We Trust” Free Thought plate.   This is a great option for secularists, atheists, free thinkers, and just reasonable people.  These are available to anyone in the state.You do not have to be a member of the organization.   Oh yeah, they were also produced legally using their non-profit status and didn’t cost taxpayers a dime.  

To contact SC State Attorney General Henry McMaster to express your discontent (or support), you can contact him here:

The Honorable Henry McMaster
P.O. Box 11549
Columbia, S.C. 29211

info@scattorneygeneral.com

Enforcing God’s Law in Anderson County

Posted in church and state with tags , , , , , , , on January 6, 2009 by scatheist

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John Skipper was sworn in as Anderson County’s new Sheriff this past Saturday January 3rd, 2009. Skipper took his oath of office during a ceremony in front of 500 people at the Concord Baptist Church.  Don Cox, the pastor of the church administered the oath to the new Sheriff and had this to say to the Sheriff and the other law enforcement officials in attendance:

“Remember, you are regulated by God to do good work on behalf of the people. Do not exceed the boundary lines of your authority. Do not enrich yourselves at the expense of the people. Ultimately, what matters isn’t popular opinion, but (rather) what God thinks of the job you are doing.”

What if the public thinks he is doing a great job, but God thinks he is doing a shitty job?  Does the Skipper then have to reverse course to erode his popularity among the citizens/voters in his county?  Who will tell the Skipper that God thinks he is doing a bad job?  Will it be God himself ?  Will it be Pastor Cox?  Can an Atheist or Jew tell him?

It’s hard to call this some isolated backwoods South Carolina non-sense, when in 14 days the President-Elect is going to be sworn in on a Christian bible in a ceremony that is going to include an invocation and a benediction.  Obama’s ceremony is going to be held in a public setting, not in a church, but I’m having a hard time deciding which one is worse.  

http://www.independentmail.com/news/2009/jan/03/john-skipper-sworn-new-anderson-county-sheriff/

Thanks for the link Shawn.

Medicare vs. Religion

Posted in church and state with tags , , , , , , , on December 21, 2008 by scatheist

img_0050My father is a chronic pain sufferer.  He is 69 years old and has undergone a heart attack, triple bypass surgery, high blood pressure and cholesterol, a detached retina, and now he can’t walk for more than a few minutes without being in severe pain.  He has a complete pharmacy in his medicine cabinet. He is on Medicare and Medicaid and recently I took him to Pain Management Associates at 15 Park Creek Dr.  Near Greenville Memorial Hospital.  This is one of the only Pain Management places in

Greenville and this is where his personal physician referred him.  This place really wanted every one who came their to realize that these doctors put their faith in the lord and if you want to be pain free, you better do it too.

I don’t have a img_0051problem with a private business displaying whatever they want to on their own property, but when they are graciously excepting our tax dollars to treat patients, does this violate the the separation of church and state?  I don’t know?  I have to think on it more and maybe read some case law but it seems to me that if my father is on government assistance and their is not a secular choice for his pain management, then the religious imagery should be taken down.  On top of that, what the fuck are these doctors trying to say?  That medicine doesn’t matter?  Faith will cure your pain?  If that’s the case, my father’s personal physician should have referred him to church.

I Believe in the Establishment Clause

Posted in church and state with tags , , , , on December 18, 2008 by scatheist

Last week a federal judge ordered that South Carolina temporarily stop making the “I Believe” license plate. This obviously was the correct decision.  The state does not and cannot sponsor Christianity as this plate so boldly suggests, as it would be a government establishment of religion. I take it a step further and propose that absolutely no advertising belongs on any license plates for any state. No sports logos or political statements like “I Choose Life” or “Support Public Education.”  A license plate is designed to be a clear way for law enforcement officials to check the registration and legality of a vehicle.  It should not be obstructed or used as a billboard.  By the way, state Attorney General Henry McMaster believes the plate is completely constitutional and wants the DMV to appeal the decision.

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