28th January 2008

“We have found that the overwhelming majority of claims that Christians are being discriminated against, or that the Christian faith is being deliberately marginalised, are unfounded. But sadly, all too often, the climate of fear is being fuelled by religious pressure and cause groups, whose agendas are served by making others anxious.”

Jonathan Bartley, Ekklesia

26 Responses to “28th January 2008”

  1. epi406 Says:

    Christians in the USA have a unique ability to simultaneously discriminate while at the same time declare they are being discriminated against. As unique as Christianity itself.

  2. Nefari Says:

    Though I agree it happens, I do not find it so unique. The Jews and Palestinians in Israel and the Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq immediately come to mind. At least in the USA it’s discrimination and not straight out repression.

    Or am I being too optimistic with that last sentence?

  3. Thunder Says:

    * At least in the USA it’s discrimination and not straight out repression. *

    Yeah right! As proof of the danger of Bushs subsidies to religious humanitarian initiatives one need only look at the threat of the recinding of tax exempt status to expunge all political messages from a pulpit as if the federal governement was suppose to have such power over religion. No such tax is levied against those availing themselves of the right of assembly. That`s a blatant misuse of power.

  4. GJK Says:

    “one need only look at the threat of the recinding of tax exempt status to expunge all political messages from a pulpit”

    A classical example of the scaremongering!

  5. Thunder Says:

    * A classical example of the scaremongering! *

    ME? I`m NOT the one who plastered it all over the fricken news!

  6. Nefari Says:

    Suicide bomber on the bus.
    Chemical warfare against your citizens.
    Cutting power to hospitals.
    Hostage taking.
    Threatening to revoke tax exemption status.

    It’s all the same. The horrors of humanity. The horrors.

  7. Chris Says:

    I agree with Thunder. There should be no tax subsidies for religious organizations. Government ought have no power over religion and religion ought have no power over government. The fact that they recieve preferential treatment is an example of that power. So, treat them like any other business. That would be a good thing in many ways. The first that comes to mind is that, like all other businesses, the claims they make for their products would be subject to scrutiny.

  8. Chris Says:

    The author of the quote got it right but should not have limited his remark to christianity. Fear is one of the primary tools employed by all religions for the simple fact that it works. Politicians too. It gets ’em in the church or temple or mosque as well as it gets people to take off their shoes at airports. So, if you can convince your congregants that there’s a secular conspiracy, waiting just outside the doors of the sanctuary, waiting to turn you gay and prey on your childrens minds then you’ll find it much easier to fill seats and fill coffers.

    I’ve used this before but so what – it’s a favorite.

    “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” ~Seneca the Younger

  9. Ctitic Says:

    Chris wrote:

    “the claims they make for their products would be subject to scrutiny.”

    Now that would be a true improvement! If the claims of their religion were found to be untrue, the religious leaders (from the Pope to the local Sunday school teacher) would be fined for false advertising. I’m all for consumer protection in the religious arena.

    As for the religious persecution whining one hears from the religious right, it is a load of crap. The religious leaders know that the best way to get publicity and sympathy is to complain of persecution (e.g., the stupid “war on xmas” news stories during Nov and Dec every year).

    Of course, their ultimate goal is to have enough power so that they can persecute the non-religious. That’s what makes a religious person REALLY happy – the promise of inflicting their will (under the guise of “god’s” will) on the rest of society.

  10. Ctitic Says:

    That`s a blatant misuse of power.

    Bullshit. Tax exempt status for religious organizations is dependant on the correct behavoir of those organizations. That is the way it was designed and the way it should be enforced.

    Personally, I would not mind a special tax on religion. The money could be used to fund educational programs demonstrating the stupidity and idiocy of their claims. Kind of like the tobacco companies funding anti-smoking campaigns.

  11. Nefari Says:

    It’s an industry that produces a (at best) culturally valuable product. We tax music, art, literature, and movies. No reason to exclude religion.

    Which brings to mind: How did they gain tax exempt status? Is there a reasonable purpose behind this? Was this through political pressure? Was our congress infiltrated by religious tax dodgers?

  12. Ctitic Says:

    Which brings to mind: How did they gain tax exempt status?

    State and federal legislatures were infiltrated by religious fanatics who proceeded to enact laws giving their subversive organizations tax exempt status.

    It is not a Constitutional right.

    It is special interest legislation.

    The exact kind of legislation that the religious right wails against – except when it is their special interests that are being taken into consideration.

  13. critic Says:

    Losing tax-exempt status would result in the churches having to pay income taxes – but, most importantly, the donations made to the church would not be tax deductible by the donors.

    While the first consequence would be financially troubling to the subversive organizations (churches), the second would almost surely decimate their collection boxes. For all their posturing, I’m sure the religious would not be so free with their money if they could not write if off of their taxes. This is a tax loophole that should be closed.

  14. Thunder Says:

    * It’s all the same. The horrors of humanity. The horrors. *

    The beginning of troubles always seems so benign. It is easy for you to dismiss the injustice it is happening to the people you hate. The people you stick your nose up to.

  15. Thunder Says:

    * I agree with Thunder. *

    No.

    * There should be no tax subsidies for religious organizations. *

    Correct. It puts religious institutions in danger of governmental control.

    * Government ought have no power over religion *

    That is constitutional.

    * religion ought have no power over government. *

    I have to contest that as being too general. That is a seed of what you (someone on this board) termed thought control.

    * The fact that they recieve preferential treatment is an example of that power. *

    That`s crap. They don`t receive preferrential treatment. Government subsidies were available to all but christian charities in so much so that it became an issue of the government using taxes from christians to pay for abortions in contravention of their religious convictions (another repression).

    * So, treat them like any other business. *

    Who treat them????? Its contradictory blathery. It is inferring government action!

    * That would be a good thing in many ways. *

    It would be unconstitutional.

    * The first that comes to mind is that, like all other businesses, the claims they make for their products would be subject to scrutiny. *

    You are well within your rights to scrutinize but you only pretend to be able to address religious issues all the while being willfully ignorant of them.

  16. Thunder Says:

    * The author of the quote got it right *

    No. He didn`t. Like it or not you are a target not because you are atheist. You are a target because in the broadest sense imaginable you are christian (not meant to be pejorative and certainly I would not qualify you as christian). The only reason this is a holy war we are in is because our adversary started this crap for religious reasons! I don`t care how much you contest it. Won`t change the facts.

    * Fear is one of the primary tools employed by all religions for the simple fact that it works. *

    But fear isn`t one of the tools I`ve seen utilized on this forum?

    * So, if you can convince your congregants that there’s a secular conspiracy *

    Atheism is not secular. Secular simply means not religious. Atheism by virtue of unfounded disbelief (counter-belief) IS a religion.

  17. Thunder Says:

    * Of course, their ultimate goal is to have enough power so that they can persecute the non-religious. *

    Paranoia. But this isn`t the tool of fear!

  18. Thunder Says:

    * That’s what makes a religious person REALLY happy – the promise of inflicting their will (under the guise of “god’s” will) on the rest of society. *

    Self-reflect.

  19. Thunder Says:

    * Bullshit. Tax exempt status for religious organizations is dependant on the correct behavoir of those organizations. *

    You make it sound like the feds are doing religions a favor. They lack the authority by constitutional inhibition to tax religions. You can bet your eye tooth if they had that authority they wouldn`t hesitate to do it. In so doing they would be spelling the end of the first amendment. The behavior which would nullify tax exemption is to function in a capacity congruous with a taxable organization (financial organizations: gambling etc…..). That`s how they got tony alamo in the mid 70s. He had sought tax exempt status for a clothing store he owned and I do believe it was here in Nashville.

  20. Hypatia Says:

    “Atheism by virtue of unfounded disbelief (counter-belief) IS a religion.”

    There is a enormous difference between a belief without evidence and an absence of belief.

    I’m sure there are hundreds of things that you don’t believe in Thunder but you wouldn’t describe any of these non-beliefs as a religion would you?

  21. Thunder Says:

    * There is a enormous difference between a belief without evidence and an absence of belief. *

    I know a religion when I encounter one. A few minor changes in venacular and it would be hard to tell this wasn`t a baptist board.

  22. Hypatia Says:

    “I know a religion when I encounter one. A few minor changes in venacular and it would be hard to tell this wasn`t a baptist board.”

    Meaningless rhetoric.

  23. Critic Says:

    Atheism is not secular. Secular simply means not religious. Atheism by virtue of unfounded disbelief (counter-belief) IS a religion.

    And unfounded belief is just silly (Admin: please note that I said the action was silly, not the person).

    This is one of those false concepts that the religious love to sput off when they are losing the debate. It is completely incorrect and it’s adherents are behaving in a desparate manner.

    You need a basis for belief. It is the duty of the believer to prove that his/her beliefs are founded on anything other than wishful thinking. And, the religious cannot prove that their religion is anything other than a primitive campfire story.

    I do not have to prove that every crazy concept that someone comes to me with is untrue. THEY have to prove to me that it is true using evidence that is irrefutable. No religion can do this. No religious person can do this. Therefore, there is nothing to believe.

    So, not believing in god is not a religion, it is a logical and sane position based on the fact that the religious cannot provide any evidence that their beliefs are true.

  24. Thunder Says:

    * This is one of those false concepts that the religious love to sput off when they are losing the debate. *

    There is nothing false about the reverences that I have witnessed on this board. I point them out all along the way. And there is no way I`m losing this argument. The fact is your prejudice lost you this before it even started.

  25. Critic Says:

    There is nothing false about the reverences that I have witnessed on this board. I point them out all along the way. And there is no way I`m losing this argument. The fact is your prejudice lost you this before it even started.

    Still evading the topic at hand. Here is my request: Prove that god exists or stop wasting our time. Surely this is not so hard for an ardent believer. Or is it?

  26. Thunder Says:

    * Still evading the topic at hand. *

    You are lying and being intentionally obtuse.