Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Here Come The Christians!

Rate this topic


MisterSwig
 Share

Recommended Posts

The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy has published a report which shows how President Bush is sidestepping Congress and using his presidential powers to implement his Faith-Based Initiative, which removes barriers to government-funding of religious groups and their faith-based activities. Under Bush, funding for faith-based programs has increased sharply. Bush says he is attempting to create a "level playing field" for faith-based programs. Apparently, he believes that faith is very important and there isn't enough of it being funded by government.

I wonder why it is so important to Bush that people have faith. I mean, everything he does as President is so reasonable. Wouldn't he want people to have reason? Why doesn't he have a Reason-based Initiative and favor institutions like ARI? I can't imagine why on earth he'd prefer a country full of blind followers over observant individuals.

Here's an exerpt from the report:

"Critics have complained, and a Wisconsin association of agnostics and atheists

has filed a lawsuit contending that faith-based groups receive favorable treatment

in competing for dwindling social service funds. But the White House insists that

it is trying to ensure a level playing field. “We’re not trying to create a faithfavored

environment. We’re trying to create a faith-friendly environment,” said

Kuo.

"The full extent to which the White House has been successful in carrying out the

Initiative is still partly uncertain. But in May 2004, three years after launching the

Faith-Based Initiative, the White House released an incomplete yet revealing tally

of grants to faith-based and community organization grants at the departments of

Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Justice,

and Education. Of the total $14.4 billion awarded in 140 federal non-formula

competitive grants, 8 percent - or $1.17 billion - went to faith-based

organizations. HHS and HUD reported a combined increase of $144 million in

grants to faith-based groups in FY2003, with HHS raising its total by 41 percent

and HUD by 16 percent. Both agencies also showed an increase in both the

number and the dollar amounts of grants awarded to first-time faith-based

providers. The Department of Labor reported the smallest percentage of grant

funds awarded to faith-based groups (2 percent), while HUD reported the largest

(24 percent).

"Overall, the Administration’s use of executive power to direct such funding has

provoked both sharp criticism and strong support. In the view of vocal critic

Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church

and State, “The Administration seems to say, ‘We couldn’t get the votes in

Congress, so we’re going to hijack every dollar we can and move it into faithbased

ministries.’” But the White House’s Jim Towey casts the effort in a starkly

different light. “I’m very encouraged by how President Bush has approached this

with steadfast and dedicated resolve to see that this Initiative is advanced forward

against all odds,” Towey declared in a speech at the Heritage Foundation, a

Washington-based think tank. “Anyone else would have quit after what he’s run

into on this. But he hasn’t quit because it’s here, in his heart. This is an issue

that’s very near and dear to his heart and to his own statement of what it means

for him to be President and what he wants to accomplish. That excites all of us.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 173
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a watchdog group headed up by minister Barry Lynn. Way back in January 2001 Lynn called Bush's faith-based initiative plan "the single greatest assault on church-state separation in modern American history."

http://www.au.org/site/News2?abbr=pr&page=...ws_iv_ctrl=1375

And last June Lynn called the Bush camp's recent attempts to get churches to assist in his re-election campaign (by handing over their church directories and distributing literature to the congregation) "the most shocking example of politicizing churches I've ever seen."

http://www.au.org/site/News2?abbr=pr&page=...ws_iv_ctrl=1355

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What about the kooks who are trying to form an "objectivist/libertarian" Utopia by taking over the state of New Hampshire http://www.freestateproject.org/

Why exactly, Betsy, do the participants of the Free State Project deserve the title ‘kook’? I take the matter rather personally because I never would have been introduced to Objectivism at my university if it weren’t for one of those ‘kooks.’ I have been watching the forums over there and I am cognizant of the fact that it’s not an entirely intellectual (or rational) environment. Some are environmentalists, some are theists, some are quasi-anarchists, and some are opposed to intellectual property rights, just to name a few (the last segment infuriates me the most since I am an aspiring scientist). Some are joining because they have a profound desire for freedom and others just want a place to smoke their pot without being harassed. This is by no means a philosophically sound organization. And supposing they were successful, their government certainly would have some serious flaws. Nevertheless these individuals are working towards a society that is pro-Man’s Rights and opposed to statism, and I believe it would be better than that of any other state. Do not get the idea that I am crying you should be more ‘tolerant’ or ‘open-minded.’ I simply do not understand your antagonism towards them. Which leads me to my second (and last) question: Supposing you would not have to move, would you rather live under a government fashioned by this group, or under your present state government, which is probably succumbing to statism? If you choose the latter, then I accept your remarks (though I would be curious as to what sort of government you would expect this project to lead to). If you choose the former, then they do not deserve your derision, and you ought to apologize.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IAMNAPIV says, of the "Free State Project" alleged "kooks":

"Some are environmentalists, some are theists, some are quasi-anarchists, and some are opposed to intellectual property rights, ... others just want a place to smoke their pot without being harassed. This is by no means a philosophically sound organization. And supposing they were successful, their government certainly would have some serious flaws..."

IAMNAPIV then asks:

"...would you rather live under a government fashioned by this group, or under your present state government?"

Doesn't the first point answer the second?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Limbaugh is good at his job--destroying the intellectual enemy. And we, as secularists, are his enemy, too. If he is able to finish off the liberals, you can bet he'll start on us.

I'm going to quote my favorite show of all time:

"Scorpious: John Crichton. Commander John Crichton. Generations will know that name, because of you very soon the Scarrens will destroy us.

John: One evil at a time. That's the best I can do."

John, the hero, was being criticized for defeating an evil power, when a rival evil power (the Scarrens) was looming.

My point? I have to deal with the more immediate threat to my life and freedoms: the Leftists. Will the religious fundies get more power by filling the vaccuum? Yes. Will I then have to turn my efforts to them? Yes.

The question of who to attack first is the question of who is more intent on open and total destruction. Right now, that is Kerry and the Leftists.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the First Century, pagan Romans tried to ignore Christians. Then they resorted to ridiculing Christians. Next the pagan Romans killed thousands, tortured thousands more, burned their books, and destroyed their "secret societies."

Then the minority Christians -- who did as much praying as the Romans did -- took over the Empire, from the top down. The Christians filled a pagan intellectual vacuum. Ominous parallels?

Nearly two millennia later, Christians -- leftist or conservative -- still are in control, in one form or another, to one degree or another.

I live in Oregon, USA, a state whose voters have twice approved physician-assisted suicide. George Bush's attorney general, John Ashcroft, has repeatedly tried to stop physician-assisted suicide by threatening to revoke the licenses of or even jail doctors who prescribe drugs which patients might use to end their own lives painlessly and peacefully. George Bush and John Ashcroft are Christian thugs who use the power of the U. S. government to advance "God's agenda" (as I have heard some conservatives call it).

Dare we dismiss any of them as insignificant?

Not only that, but now there is *this*:

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?t...storyID=6128807

Head for the hills! It's the return of the Dark Ages. :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IAMNAPIV says, of the "Free State Project" alleged "kooks":

"Some are environmentalists, some are theists, some are quasi-anarchists, and some are opposed to intellectual property rights, ... others just want a place to smoke their pot without being harassed. This is by no means a philosophically sound organization. And supposing they were successful, their government certainly would have some serious flaws..."

IAMNAPIV then asks:

"...would you rather live under a government fashioned by this group, or under your present state government?"

Doesn't the first point answer the second?

No, it certainly does not gnargtharst. I’ve highlighted the problems with the Free State Project. Should I go over the problems of our state legislators, or have you picked up a newspaper in the last ten years? MOST are theists, MOST are environmentalists, MOST are opposed to intellectual property rights. Some free-staters have awful philosophies. MOST state legislators do (including the republicans). Free State Project is the lesser of two evils, if you prefer to put it that way. Do explain clearly why the group that advocates limited government is worse than the one that violates more and more rights every day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IAMNAPIV said:

Free State Project is the lesser of two evils, if you prefer to put it that way.
I'd phrase it slightly differently: "Free State Project is the greater of two evils".

IAMNAPIV also said:

Do explain clearly why the group that advocates limited government is worse than the one that violates more and more rights every day

I would explain such a thing clearly, except that it would be a waste of my time in this case, insofar as the statement is innaplicable to "Free State Project". "Free State Project" does not advocate limited government. Qua Libertarian movement, what it advocates is not government at all.

Any further comment on my part would certainly very closely resemble other statements already in existence on this forum, found in topics on "Libertarianism".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No. I'd say it is who is more inclined toward censorship. And right now that is Bush and the religious Right.

Who is backing the "Hush Rush" laws to re-institute regulation of TV and radio intellectual content by the FCC (which Ayn Rand regarded as the #1 threat to freedom? [Objectivist Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 1, January 1962])?

Liberal Democrats.

Who is trying to make "hate speech" a crime?

Liberal Democrats.

Who is enforcing "political correctness" in public schools and tax-funded colleges and universities?

Liberal Democrats.

About the only thing I can hold against Bush is that he went along with campaign finance "reform" when it was proposed and promoted by ...

Liberal Democrats.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not only that, but now there is *this*:

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?t...storyID=6128807

Head for the hills! It's the return of the Dark Ages. :D

Head for the hills! The return of the DEMOCRATS!

The guy who complained is a Democrat Party operative and I heard him on Michael Medved's radio show today. Medved, who is Jewish, said this Democrat complaint was ridiculous.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So did you all see the sales figures for The Passion of the Christ on its first day on DVD? Over four million copies in one day...

So much for the theory that most of the people who saw that film in the theaters were just curious non- (or non-fundamentalist) Christians who were unsympathetic or didn't take it seriously. Just wait for the special edition that will be out just in time for Christmas or Easter!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So did you all see the sales figures for The Passion of the Christ on its first day on DVD?  Over four million copies in one day...

So much for the theory that most of the people who saw that film in the theaters were just curious non- (or non-fundamentalist) Christians who were unsympathetic or didn't take it seriously.  Just wait for the special edition that will be out just in time for Christmas or Easter!

How many rational people do you think that movie will turn into Christians? <_<

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How many rational people do you think that movie will turn into Christians? :)

True, but how many compartmentalized, semi-rational Christians will have their worst views reinforced and strengthened by that movie? Believe me, I was a practicing Christian not so long ago myself, and these kinds of things are incredibly powerful to them. As art, it concretizes their view of the world and of life, makes it vividly real to them. It's like reading The Fountainhead for us. Don't underestimate how dangerous powerful Christian art like this can be.

(That's another manifestation of Dr. Peikoff's point about the Ms being a more seroius long-term threat than the Ds--the latter have only their "modern art," which doesn't do anything for anybody except for maybe the most anti-integration mentalities, who by their nature are no threat to us.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

True, but how many compartmentalized, semi-rational Christians will have their worst views reinforced and strengthened by that movie? 

Maybe a little and maybe for a while.

But how many compartmentalized, semi-rational Christians will have their best, most rational views reinforced and strengthened by the fact that they live in the real world 24 hours a day and that rational ideas and actions achieve their goals and get and keep their values?

Believe me, I was a practicing Christian not so long ago myself, and these kinds of things are incredibly powerful to them.  As art, it concretizes their view of the world and of life, makes it vividly real to them.  It's like reading The Fountainhead for us.  Don't underestimate how dangerous powerful Christian art like this can be.

Dangerous TO WHOM? Certainly not to ME.

To the degree that someone has irrational ideas, it is bad for HIM. As long as I don't sanction or help him be irrational, what is it to me?

(That's another manifestation of Dr. Peikoff's point about the Ms being a more seroius long-term threat than the Ds--the latter have only their "modern art," which doesn't do anything for anybody except for maybe the most anti-integration mentalities, who by their nature are no threat to us.)

I don't see how. Both are unworthy opponents who are unable to affect us (unless they they initiate force).

What I do know, as someone who has "converted" and "recruited" many for Objectivism, is that a religious person who is essentially rational but clings to religion because he VALUES and wants to do the right thing, is a prime target for me. A New Leftie, nihilist, or modern intellectual, on the other hand, is totally hopeless.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dangerous TO WHOM?  Certainly not to ME.

To the degree that someone has irrational ideas, it is bad for HIM. As long as I don't sanction or help him be irrational, what is it to me?

I think the danger comes when they enact laws restricting our freedoms.

Republicans in Congress, on the whole, have little passion for tax cuts and reducing regulations, but when it comes to issues like abortion, and prayer in school, they suddenly have all sorts of passion. They also have the desire to distort the founding ideals of America, putting forth the notion that this is a Christian nation.

Rick Santorum is what I'd call the quintessential religious senator.

Bush goes after things like stem cell research, and free speech on the air waves.

Those are concrete examples of the dangers caused by religious ideas in the culture.

Having said that, I'm not convinced that religion is any more powerful today than it has been in the past in this country. I gather that in the 1800s religion was a more dominate force. Though religion was not so strong around 1776, when logic was highly valued.

I also acknowledge that there are better counter ideas in the culture today. I refer to none other than Objectivism.

For instance, Rush Limbaugh, while he promotes the bad ideas of conservatism, also promotes the good ideas of capitalism, and frequently recommend's Ayn Rand's novels!

I find the culture very hard to assess. In my day to day life, I like to focus on my career, and my dreams, always working to advance myself, and I'm fundamentally optimist from this point of view. However, I have one vigilant eye on the political scene at all times as well. That's where pessimism arises. :)

...John Alway

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe a little and maybe for a while.

But how many compartmentalized, semi-rational Christians will have their best, most rational views reinforced and strengthened by the fact that they live in the real world 24 hours a day and that rational ideas and actions achieve their goals and get and keep their values?

Right...until they see a movie like that. That is the art that speaks to them. That is what is right and real to them.

Dangerous TO WHOM?  Certainly not to ME.

To the degree that someone has irrational ideas, it is bad for HIM. As long as I don't sanction or help him be irrational, what is it to me?

Well, Thales already answered this, but I can't believe you even had to ask. It's dangerous to everyone insofar as they use political power to force their irrational ideas on everyone else.

I understand that you're trying to make the point that the evil is fundamentally impotent, but the key there is fundamentally. Just because that principle is true, doesn't mean that the evil is never under any circumstances any danger to the good. But since man has free will and men can attempt to initiate force against others, obviously the evil can be a threat to the good. All I am saying is that for the good to eradicate this threat, it must recognize and fight the evil (and that fight must be primarily a battle of ideas). If you disagree with that, please tell me why. If you agree, then I do not see what your point is.

I don't see how.  Both are unworthy opponents who are unable to affect us (unless they they initiate force).

That's the whole point! The religious right, by offering a (mis-) integrated view of the world, potentially offers much more motivation for people to initiate force against others. The left is also dangerous and must be fought insofar as it has misintegrated ideologies, such as environmentalism--but since the fall of communism, the left is not nearly as much of a threat. Insofar as they are a disintegrated movement, they are that much more impotent.

What I do know, as someone who has "converted" and "recruited" many for Objectivism, is that a religious person who is essentially rational but clings to religion because he VALUES and wants to do the right thing, is a prime target for me.  A New Leftie, nihilist, or modern intellectual, on the other hand, is totally hopeless.

Fine. But that's not my point, nor is the opposite implied by my point. Why do you always act like I disagree with you on these sorts of things? :):P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The left is also dangerous and must be fought insofar as it has misintegrated ideologies, such as environmentalism--but since the fall of communism, the left is not nearly as much of a threat.

Don't underestimate the environmentalists. Their tactics--appeal to emotions and appeal to fear--are very powerful and virtually no one outside Objectivism knows how to counter them effectively. In Europe, environmentalists have an enormous amount of influence in the media and politics and, unlike in America, they hardly face any resistance at all. Many European countries have a "Ministry of Environment" and in Germany, there is even a Green Party, which is the minor partner in the current governing coalition!

The Soviet Union and its communism are gone, but I'm afraid that the European Union and its environmentalism might become the successor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[ Religiously motivated people ] are dangerous to everyone insofar as they use political power to force their irrational ideas on everyone else.

Certainly!

But ask yourself, what chance do those with a religious agenda actually have of implementing it through government? Everywhere I look I see them losing ground to the ACLU, the Liberals, and the "liberal on social issues, conservative on economic issues" Republicans.

When I was a child the public school day always began with a Bible reading and sometimes a prayer, abortion was illegal in every state in the union, a radio station had to broadcast a minimum amount of religious programming every week to keep its FCC license, etc. We've come a long way, baby!

Yes, there have been proposed constitutional amendments against gay marriage and laws to ban abortion as "noble" -- but totally futile -- gestures. They don't have a prayer of getting passed or enforced. The President has cut federal funding for stem cell research and, while I am FOR the research, I think that it is just as wrong to force people to support research they think is immoral as it is to force people to support art they think is immoral.

All I am saying is that for the good to eradicate this threat, it must recognize and fight the evil (and that fight must be primarily a battle of ideas).

I definitely agree, but let's pick the right targets and the right ideas to oppose.

That's the whole point!  The religious right, by offering a (mis-) integrated view of the world, potentially offers much more motivation for people to initiate force against others.  The left is also dangerous and must be fought insofar as it has misintegrated ideologies, such as environmentalism--but since the fall of communism, the left is not nearly as much of a threat.  Insofar as they are a disintegrated movement, they are that much more impotent.

Then why is it that just about all the initiations of force have been instituted and maintained by secular Leftists?

The fact is that ANYONE who initiates force is wrong and dangerous, but that someone who accepts nonsense and doesn't try to force it on others isn't a threat. The religionists tend to keep their nonsense to themselves and the Leftists usually try to force it on others. When the religionists try to force their morality on others, the Left and even a lot of average and even religious people scream bloody murder and they don't get away with it.

The fundamental error of the Left and the religious Right is the same: the acceptance of altruism. If you are going to stage a moral battle, the enemy is altruism and not just religion. If you are going to stage a political battle, the enemy is anyone who initiates force and not just religious people who want to use force.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have heard a lot on this board about Christianity not being that prevailent or influencial in America. I don't know about where you live, but in Arkansas, it dictates nearly every piece of legislation and every piece of personal opinion. To give you an idea of the pervasivness: in a quarter mile stretch of my home town (Van Buren, pop 20,000) there are 4 christian churches, catholic baptist pentacostal, and methodist (incidentally that is the same stretch the high school and junior high are on. On a road into town there is a huge billboard with christ hanging from the cross and some scripture. In the paper the "religion section" is totally dominated by christian philosophy. You can't buy alcohol in the county. And in the next county over, you can't buy it on sunday. Most stores are closed on sunday as it is. There is no law that says it has to be that way, thats just the way the people want it. In the paper there are listings for over 500 churchs in the area with a population of around 100,000. On campus there are 2 different christian clubs as well as "future christian athletes"...

These are just a few examples. Iknow that in the bigger cities, Chrisitianity isn't that much of a concern, but everywhere I've been around here (i'm a traveling salesperson, I cover about a quarter of the state) It seems like you can't get away from the christian influence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have heard a lot on this board about Christianity not being that prevailent or influencial in America. I don't know about where you live, but in Arkansas, it dictates nearly every piece of legislation and every piece of personal opinion. To give you an idea of the pervasivness: in a quarter mile stretch of my home town (Van Buren, pop 20,000) there are 4 christian churches, catholic baptist pentacostal, and methodist (incidentally that is the same stretch the high school and junior high are on. On a road into town there is a huge billboard with christ hanging from the cross and some scripture. In the paper the "religion section" is totally dominated by christian philosophy.

People have the right to be stupid. Whats it to you?

You can't buy alcohol in the county. And in the next county over, you can't buy it on sunday. Most stores are closed on sunday as it is. There is no law that says it has to be that way, thats just the way the people want it. In the paper there are listings for over 500 churchs in the area with a population of around 100,000. On campus there are 2 different christian clubs as well as "future christian athletes"..

These are just a few examples.

As long as they dont impose their views by force, whats the problem?

I know that in the bigger cities, Chrisitianity isn't that much of a concern, but everywhere I've been around here (i'm a traveling salesperson, I cover about a quarter of the state) It seems like you can't get away from the christian influence.

Christianity is part of the ambiance and lifestyle in certain parts of the country just like cold weather is unavoidable in Northen cities. If you dont like it, move to the city.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...