Democrats & Liberals Archives

Freedom of Religion: America's Gift to the World

I believe that of all the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, freedom of religion stands out as the most important. Freedom of religion is why our Founders fought the Revolutionary War, and why so many of our ancestors fled Europe, Africa and Asia to come to our shores. Some, like Hispanics, came for economic reasons.

However, they knew that economic opportunitities would be available to them regardless of their religious leanings. And yet, today prominent Americans are poisoning this freedom-of-religion gift.

The first amendment states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof....
Freedom of religion means that people of all religions and of no religion are free to express their beliefs in their own way, as long as they do not interfere with the rights of others. Whether you are a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist or an Atheist - or anything else - you have the same rights as everyone else. People of all backgrounds may run for office and become American leaders.

Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with this. Democrat Keith Ellison, a Muslim from Minnesota, who was recently elected to the House, stated that he would use the Koran in a private squaring-in ceremony that would take place after the formal squaring-in ceremony. Republican Representative Virgil Goode Jr. of Virginia objected and this is what he wrote in a letter to his constituents:

When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran.

Goode's biggest worry is that "many more Muslims [will be] elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran." Freedom of religion? Tossed aside. Even though no Bible is used in swearing in new representatives, he, Goode, will use a Bible. OK, use it. But why deprive a Muslim of expressing his religion in his own way?

As if Goode's outburst is not enough, Rabbi Dennis Praeger, a man who claims to be a religious Jew, blasts Ellison as well. Here are his words:

Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.

He should not be allowed to do so -- not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.

"Undermines American civilization"? American civilization calls, first and foremost, for freedom of religion. Praeger is making a mockery of the Bill of Rights. Praeger, a Jew, is agreeing with the Theocrats, who are proclaiming America to be a "Christian nation." It's hard to believe that he would do such a thing.

I'm Jewish too. I disagree with Ellison and other Muslims on many issues, especially related to Israel. But here, in the U.S., he has a right to exercise his religion. He should have the same freedom of religion as I do and as others do. I applaud Ellison for his reply:

They [American Muslims] are our nurses, doctors, husbands, wives, kids, who just want to live and prosper in the American way. All of us are steadfastly opposed to the same people he's opposed to, which is terrorists, and so there's nothing for him to be afraid of.

It's exasperating to hear Representative Goode tearing down a fellow American because of his religion. This is wrong. But what upsets me most is that the Whitehouse says nothing:

White House officials said they were aware that some Democrats and Muslims were urging President Bush to admonish Representative Virgil H. Goode Jr., Republican of Virginia, and Dennis Prager, the conservative commentator, for suggesting that the first Muslim elected to the House had no place in Congress. “We’re aware of the situation,” said Dana Perino, a spokeswoman for Mr. Bush, “but no judgments have been made.”

"No judgments have been made"? This is outrageous. The greatest ideal of America, freedom of religion, has been trampled upon, and the president can't be bothered. America is conveying to the world that it no longer is the beacon of hope for all those fleeing religious persecution. The message to potential refugees is: the gift of Freedom of Religion may not be available to all.

Can we let this stand?

Posted by Paul Siegel at December 29, 2006 6:19 PM
Comments
Comment #200796

Paul
I agree with you. The man from Minn. should be allowed to use the Koran to be sworn in. As a minister of the Gospel I do believe that everyone has the right to worship the way they choose. I also think the President should admonish the people who spoke out against the use of the Koran. This is the first time in a long long time I agreed with a Dem.

Posted by: KAP at December 29, 2006 6:43 PM
Comment #200799

Paul, do you know if this is the first time something other than the bible has been used as part of the swearing in ceremony?

Posted by: j2t2 at December 29, 2006 6:52 PM
Comment #200800

“Freedom of religion means that people of all religions and of no religion are free to express their beliefs in their own way, as long as they do not interfere with the rights of others.”

I agree. Shouldn’t this same concept apply to the rest of our lives too?

Posted by: tomd at December 29, 2006 7:07 PM
Comment #200801

j2t2:

No bible is used in the House swearing in ceremony. Ellison will use the Koran in a PRIVATE swearing-in ceremony afterward.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at December 29, 2006 7:07 PM
Comment #200811

You have GOT to read this: http://marktalk.com/id14.html
NOTHING I have seen so far comes even close to describing how important this is!

Posted by: Listener at December 29, 2006 8:13 PM
Comment #200819

Wow Listener
What a link. I would not call it important,just impressive as to how far some will go to gather a few sheckles by spreading hate. What a wacko. Trouble is some simpletons will take him seriously.

Posted by: BillS at December 29, 2006 8:56 PM
Comment #200820

I’m not sure what Goode’s positions are on immigration, but it sounds to me like he was merely excerising his own freedom of religion in complaining about Ellison.

He didn’t suggest establishing Christianity as the state religion, which is all the first amendment forbids.

Freedom of religion does not mean immunity from criticism—no more for Muslims than anybody else.

We routinely hear complaints about the use of Christian emblems in public life, so why an uproar when a Muslim is subjected to the same thing?

Ellison can swear on the Bible, the Koran, or a Batman comic book for all I care, but he doesn’t get any special protection from the free speech of those who would criticize him for his choice.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at December 29, 2006 9:39 PM
Comment #200822

Loyal opposition
No one suggested that Goode does not have the right to be a pompous,bigoted ass****,just that he is.Denigrating anothers faith is de facto evidence of it.

Posted by: BillS at December 29, 2006 10:42 PM
Comment #200828

I think Goode’s fear of Muslims integrating into our government is the same as the Democrats’ fear of Muslims controlling our ports. This fear can certainly be considered justified after 9/11, but it is not necessarily expedient. What bothers me is the fact that anytime anyone now says anything critical against a Muslim they are attacked as racists, or religious bigots. It is now a political football. If only the right could use such when liberal Dems attack Christian conservatives nearly continually!!

JD

Posted by: JD at December 29, 2006 11:40 PM
Comment #200837

Paul

Talk about not knowing what the hell you’re talking about.

I can tell you do not know anything about Dennis Prager or what he stands for, nor did you read the whole article or his follow up.
A response to my many critics - and a solution

You believe that when his says that Ellison should not be allowed to use the Koran for his swearing in that he means it should be illegal. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Not everyone in this country believes that just because something may be wrong, that doesn’t mean government should pass a law. He also states that he wouldn’t care if was using the Koran or dianetics.

The fact that you used the term Rabbi, when he has never used the title nor does he claim to be one, just show how little you know about this. Maybe you should do your homework before you spout off.

Posted by: Keith at December 30, 2006 12:46 AM
Comment #200842

Hi all: Just please remmber one thing that LIBERALS in this country will never get it right they can’t because their on the LEFT, and never on the RIGHT! I am from New Jersey Big LIBERAL state with a Tax & Spend LIBERAL Govner. I was at work the other day and talking with my LIBERAL friends,(by the way no one in the room voted for that tax & spend LIBERAL GOV. yah OK rigth) about Iraq. When the talk about Iraq starts Libs go right to how these dump stupid military men and women that have been injured in battle want to go back to Iraq after they heel. About 5 or 6 libs in the room and little old me. I said that these Heros Magnificent Unselfish men and women just want to go and keep their friends safe, and keep this country safe and secure from attacks on this country. Patroitism, Honor, Love of Country, All OF THEM MAGNIFICENT HEROS. Each Lib in the room when this was said started saying we don’t understand what your talking about, we can’t understand what it is that you mean. And I said, no you don’t and You Never will understand you have never had to make a sacrifice for FREEDOM. They have and you never will understand what “FREEDOM ISN’T FREE” MEANS. One BY One they left that room they left me alone smiling. Don’t ever think that a LIBERAL will ever get it right their on the LEFT and they do not LIKE the country that they live IN. The Hate America Croud. - Bill

Posted by: Bill Schmidt at December 30, 2006 2:16 AM
Comment #200846

Bill, your comments leave no guesswork as to why you were left alone in the room. Many of those magnificent heroes you speak of are LIBERALS.

DUH! I have yet to meet a liberal or conservative that doesn’t have the greatest respect for our soldiers in the fight. I know many who have valid criticisms of those in power to direct where, when, and how our troops will die and become maimed in the service of their own ends and our nation.

Your simplistic, grossly over generalized comments leave little room for doubt that there are many Americans you dislike and hate. And hating Americans puts your comments in good company with our terrorist enemies - they say they hate Americans too.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 30, 2006 3:41 AM
Comment #200851

All the world’s great religious texts function as excellent guides to civilized and nobler lives. Churches and their leaders however, are simply congregations of persons with personal agendas and paid staff whose job it is to grow the enterprise, enhance the reach of power, and keep the money coming in to sustain those who like leaches live off the church, not the religion.

No religion requires churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, or the incredibly wealthy enterprise organizations that sustain such enterprises of congregation. Religion requires only willing students seeking to know their true selves and a spiritual path of education and awareness.

Christ and Muhammed only required a hill top and willing listeners. Buddha only required a shade tree and apprentices. Taoism only requires a student and nature. These were all that were required of religion by their founders and prophets.

It is the priests, nuns, and preachers who desired more worldly sustenance who created churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples, both for protection, affluence, and power. And thus it came to pass that religious organizations have become some of the wealthiest single entity corporations on earth. A far cry from what was envisioned by the founding prophets of the various religions.

Is it then any wonder, that though Christ teaches turn the other cheek, Christians of the church to support troops, war, and aggression against unbelievers and other populations which stand as obstacles to the acquisition of worldly goods like OIL!

Is it then any wonder, that though Muhammed taught that Christians our the brothers of Muslims sharing a same prophet, that followers in so many Mosques and Madrassas create armies of terrorists who kill and maim innocents as means of attacking those who stand in the way of their fight for world domination and conversion, or extinction of the infidels.

The prophets of the great religions offer hope and growth for mankind. But, far too many of the ‘priests’ seek only personal gain and gratification, drunk on the power of leadership which their ignorant and unenlightened congregations provide.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 30, 2006 7:15 AM
Comment #200878

Whoa, there David Remer!

Though Christians are a peace loving people, they are equally as angered as a non-Christian when 3,000 innocent Americans are mowed down like blades of grass. Though Christians are instructed to turn the other cheek, even God gets angry at reprobates like the Muslim terrorists. As I have said before, the extremist terrorists of Islam are not members of a religion, but rather members of a hate group! Supporting the defense of other people against these butchers that others find it hard to defend themselves against is a noble cause; one that I’m sure Jesus would understand. He also taught that his teachings would turn people against each other, and that others would hate his followers for their beliefs just as they hated Him. Self-preservation sometimes means that one must fight. Jesus did not fight because His purpose was to die to pay the price for many who would follow. That price has been paid, and it is no longer our purpose to die but to live, and live more abundantly as Christ taught.

Also, if you read back to the construction of Solomon’s temple, actually David’s temple which was brought to reality by Solomon, it was not fashioned to be a den of thieves, but a House of worship. It was consecrated to God by one of the greatest dedication prayers of all time by one of the most intelligent and wise rulers the world has ever known. It was written that this pleased God to the point that a cloud of Holiness descended upon the place in so much that the ministers were brought to silence out of reverence. Those who have witnessed such an outpouring of the Holy Spirit know the experience of which I speak. It is very difficult for one to not be “of the world” and yet, be a part in the world. It requires that we have to judge all things, whether they be right or wrong. It also requires an enormous leaning upon spiritual discernment, as we at times even have to judge the spirits, whether they be good or evil. That is why Christians are often so steadfast in their beliefs. This is not a bad thing. It is simply a part of being Christian.

JD

Posted by: JD at December 30, 2006 12:16 PM
Comment #200888

David Remer
Well put. To paraphrase Gandhi when ask his opinion of Christianity,”It is a great religion. If I ever met a Christian I would probably convert.”

Posted by: BillS at December 30, 2006 2:03 PM
Comment #200890

It’s great that just about everyone here agrees that one’s religion is sacrosanct.

It’s great that someone would want to be sworn in in a private ceremony holding the Koran or Bible or whatever they choose.

One thing that we’ve forgotten, though.

Each and every session of Congress starts with a prayer.

Christian? Muslim? Jewish? Non-denominational?

Oops.

Looks like Congress…just like the airports (if the 6 imams get their way) will have to make a private praying area available for each and every religion (including those who do not have a religion).

Posted by: Jim T at December 30, 2006 2:07 PM
Comment #200897

Keith:

You are right. Praeger does not call himself a Rabbi. However, he acts like one, giving advice and speaking in interfaith groups.

Whatever else Praeger said does not excuse his remarks that Ellison should not be sworn in with the Koran.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at December 30, 2006 2:40 PM
Comment #200904

JD, what a typical Christian in name only response.

Disciples of Christ follow Christ’s teachings. Christians in name only, devise all manner of rationalizations for to allow themselves to call themselves Christians without having to live by the teachings of Christ and the edicts of the 10 Commandments.

But, the same can be said of the self-professed followers of all the world’s great religions. Which is why human behavior has progressed ethically and morally hardly at all since the rise of homo-sapien communities.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 30, 2006 3:40 PM
Comment #200905

Paul

“Whatever else Praeger said does not excuse his remarks that Ellison should not be sworn in with the Koran. “

I’ll assume then that you still haven’t read the 2 articles, since you are still missing the poin of the article.

Again, before you condemn somone for something they said, you should do your homework. There is nobody on the radio in this country who has done more to promote harmony and communication between the different religions in this country. He started in radio with a show called religion on the line, he was one of the first to include Muslims in his panel along with Priests ministers and Rabbis.

I don’t know what your credentials are, but I’ll take Dennis Prager’s bonefides to talk on this subject way before yours.

Posted by: Keith at December 30, 2006 3:45 PM
Comment #200911

David Remer,

What was it that I said that is against Christ’s teachings? Be more specific and then I will answer. Are you offended that I support the right for people to defend themselves and others against tyranny and oppression? What is unChristian about that? Being a Christian is unfortunately viewed by the left as one who should let others trample upon them due to their love. Sorry, I do not buy into that notion. Though Christ taught forgiveness and sacrifice, if one came at me with a sword, I would have to defend myself and my family and any others in the near vicinity, even if all I had to use was the jawbone of an ass. Self defense is not aggression, and is not considered wrongful murder. Do not characterize it that way.

JD

Posted by: JD at December 30, 2006 4:24 PM
Comment #200913

Huge numbers of Christians supported and still support the war in Iraq, JD. Iraq did not attack the U.S. If Christ is at the Pearly Gates when GW Bush and company arrive, they won’t gain entrance I suspect.

I, like you, would kill to defend myself or family from aggression, but, I could hardly call myself a devotee of the teachings of Christ if I did. In fact, that is why I call myself a very poor Buddhist.

I make exceptions to what my religion teaches - and that makes me not a very good Buddhist. I can see the path to enlightenment, I just cannot travel its full length because I was raised in America, instead of the Himalayas, and won’t relinquish all that I was taught in America that conflicts with my religion.

What I don’t do is try to rationalize and interpret away the teachings of Buddha to suit my need to call myself a good Buddhist.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 30, 2006 5:11 PM
Comment #200916

Virgil Goode, obviously got it wrong and is easily dismissed for his comments. His comments are obviously bigoted and thereby should make most American’s uncomfortable. Prager’s comments are far more sinister, they still find acceptance because the bigotry is masked.

His are the comments that state, if you are different, perhaps you aren’t quite “American” enough. His comments are fueled by nationalistic fervor that says that in times of trouble, we must conform in lockstep with American ideals and traditions. His is the bigotry of nationalism, which rears its ugly head whenever we feel threatened.

Prager easily dismisses the purpose of taking an oath symbolic or real, by the help of one’s God. Why should we believe a politician who swears to uphold the Constitution and allegiance to our Nation, while holding a symbol of God that he does not religiously recognizes? When he says, “So help me God,” would not substance have more meaning than form? Would not holding a copy of the Koran demonstrate his seriousness in a more meaningful way than holding a Bible? Isn’t that more American, than holding a Bible in which he does not believe in?

Ellison was obviously making a point when he made the announcement that he wasn’t going to use a bible in his private ceremony. Goode and Prager obviously took the bait, and tried to make an issue out nothing. Nationalism is important, but not when it is used to divide, especially as something as trivial as this.

Posted by: Cube at December 30, 2006 5:27 PM
Comment #200917

Sorry David,

They were attacking us almost daily by targeting British and American planes in the no fly zone. To act as if Saddam was not aggressive or provocative is to truly have your head buried on the sand.

Posted by: Keith at December 30, 2006 5:43 PM
Comment #200931

What the hell is a “private squaring-in ceremony”?

Posted by: Daniel Taylor at December 30, 2006 9:35 PM
Comment #200932

David Remer,

I agree with Keith regarding Saddam’s aggression. We all knew we were not done with Saddam after the first Gulf War, even Clinton and Co. said so.

But my real issue with what you wrote above is the implication that churches, mosques, and synagogues, were built solely for collecting funds by those who run them. This is absolutely false. It has a ring of near animosity to the temples around the world. Though I agree that many have perverted the message of Christ and others, even today is is well to hold in reverence places of worship and the leadership within them. Christians do this within their own hearts because of who they are. This is one reason the church is considered a sanctuary and mosques are not fired upon by our boys in uniform. Unfortunately, there are some radicals that would just as easily burst into a mosque, synagogue, or church and kill people even while they worship. America tries to refrain from doing this out of reverence. I wish I could instill in people some semblance of reverence for the church that there once was only a few decades ago.

JD

Posted by: JD at December 30, 2006 9:59 PM
Comment #200999

JD, please quote where I said: “were built solely for collecting funds by those who run them”

Don’t put your misinterpretations of what you read into other’s mouths. Quote me if you wish to take issue what I actually said. Otherwise, debate is pointless.

Keith, you apparently have a reading problem too. I don’t and never disagreed with the fact that Hussein’s forces were attacking our forces enforcing the no go zones. What I said was, Iraq had nothing to do with attacking our United States, meaning our homeland as al-Queda did. My head is quite well above the sand. I suggest you bring your reading skills up to an equal level.

Any country that sticks its armed forces out into the international community to dictate to other nations should expect counter military action. It is after all, what we would do if another country did the same to ours. That is not even close to the same as attacking the United States.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 31, 2006 3:28 PM
Comment #201003

David Remer,

The belief that attacking our boys protecting the no-fly zones is not the same as attacking us is pretty petty. It would be like saying that the 2,900 soldiers killed in Iraq was just a part of their jobs and has nothing to do with the insurgents’ hatred for America.

Also, if you want specifics, you said, “priests, nuns, and preachers who desired more worldly sustenance created churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples, both for protection, affluence, and power. Thus, it came to pass that religious organizations have become some of the wealthiest single entity corporations on earth.”

Besides the purpose listed as protection, how can one interpret what you said as anything but building a church is tantamount to creating affluence and power.
The church has never had to depend on a building for affluence and power. This comes solely from God. I will give you that a church certainly provides protection. However, the premise of your argument is still quite false. A church is to house believers within a place to worship. Do you really drive past a church in your neighborhood and think “there’s a place that only wants you to give them your money so they will be more powerful?” What a perverted way to view the church. I am not saying this is your attitude, just asking. But if you do, I am sure you are not alone. Anyway, the church is a house of worship; as Christians would call it, “God’s House.” Yes, some take fundraising to the extreme, for which Jesus, Himself bacame furious, and booted them out of the temple in His day. But, the fundamental purpose of the church is worship!

Also, church giving is still completely voluntary, unlike government giving in which the purpose is mostly affluence and power.

JD

Posted by: JD at December 31, 2006 4:01 PM
Comment #201009

David

“Huge numbers of Christians supported and still support the war in Iraq, JD. Iraq did not attack the U.S. If Christ is at the Pearly Gates when GW Bush and company arrive, they won’t gain entrance I suspect.”

When people make blanket statements like Iraq did not attack the US, I assume they mean our armed forces as well as the land mass known as the US. I beg to differ regarding the President and the pearly gates but that’s probably abother argument. This administration has never said that Saddam had anything to do with 9/11. However after 9/11 the administration said that we would go after any regimes who openly support terror. Not just Al Qaeda. If you believe that Saddam was not supporting terrorists, there really is no talking to you.

I understand that the sand is cooler a little bit under the surface.

Posted by: Keith at December 31, 2006 4:31 PM
Comment #201051

Gees, folks!!!
Seems to me you are getting apples mixed up with oranges. Are you guys talking about religion,(organized & affiliations), Spiritual beliefs, the US Constitution, or Liberals and Conservatives?

If Ellison wants to use His Koran in a private ceremony he should. Dennis Prager obviously thinks that tradition is more important than truth - much better to carry a Bible regardless of whether one believes it or not. (something that sounds rather hypocritical as well as almost suborning a lie). (BTW - Rabbi means teacher - not minister, or pastor, or whatever similar word one might dream up).

As for the assertion our Constitution is based on the Holy Bible, seems to me everyone is forgetting some rather important details. The Magna Carta of 1215 is actually the beginning of our current legal beliefs. Everyone here also seems to be forgetting that in virtually all religions there is some form of the the Ten Commandants- the main the basis of our law. No where does the Bible say anything about:

a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,…
As a matter of fact, it doesn’t seems to encourage a civil government - “Give unto Caesar’s what is Caesar’s…” but it is God’s Kingdom we should strive to enter. That the writers of the Constitution were religious remains in question. Spiritual-Yes, religious maybe. Christian - I honestly don’t know. I have read differently, particularly regarding Jefferson and Franklin.

Rather than religion, I suspect our Founding Fathers used a great deal of intelligence and good old fashion Common Sense.(no pun intending re:Thomas Paine)

I do not belive we should be in Iraq, but I totally support the soldiers that are there. I simply believe they would be safer here at home than there. If we had to attack someone as a result of 9/11, we should have attacked the country that bred the terrorists - Saudi Arabia. Obviously we weren’t about to do that (oil makes strange bedfellows, don’t you think?), so dishonestly our President attacked Iraq, using false information as his justification and exploiting the fears of the American People after 9/11. He never said we were attacking Iraq because of the the now -fly zones, only that Saddam had WMD =- which were never found, and even if they had been , the entire situation should have been handled by the UN. I realize that most feel that the UN is ineffective but perhaps that is because major countries, (such as our own) won’t give the UN an opportunity to do what it was set up to do.

As for Liberals and Conservatives - I am wholly sick of the two terms. I am an American. I believe that individual rights are most important, I hate governmental interference in my life, basically do not trust elected officials, (they almost have to have something mental wrong if they are arrogant enough believe they can run this country - LOL?), refuse to give up any of my rights - especially the ones that gives me the right to vote, or express myself, either through my Higher Power, speech, protect myself and my family, and the understood right of privacy, as well as all the other rights granted me that make me free.

I believe that I do not have the right to hit my neighbor in the nose, and that my rights end where his nose begins, but I totally support his right to disagree with me. I even support Dennis Prager’s right to express himself, as well as Virgil Goode’s right to be a jackass.

Posted by: Linda H. at December 31, 2006 11:24 PM
Comment #201072

I hate to quibble Linda, but our rights aren’t granted to us. They belong to us until we give them away or they are taken from us. A little point but a BIG difference.

Posted by: tomd at January 1, 2007 10:10 AM
Comment #201091

JD said: “The church has never had to depend on a building for affluence and power. This comes solely from God.”

You mean we need to indict God for counterfeiting money and giving it to churches, mosques, madrassas, synagogues, and temples? I’m shocked!!

No, JD, the wealth of the church did not come from God. It came from the printing presses of Ceasar’s government via the followers in need of an insurance policy. Insurance is what Churches sell, and as we all know, insurance is by far the longest lasting and most profitable industry over the last 3000 years.

You know the ancient Greeks invented the concept to handle losses of shipping in the Aegean, caused by none other, than the gods! They insured against the wrath of god. Most religious followers continue that practice today. That is where the wealth and affluence comes from for religious orders - NOT GOD, unless you consider God the force to buy an insurance policy against.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 1, 2007 1:37 PM
Comment #201096

tomd,
I meant granted under the US Constitution… but I see your point….

In that case I still refuse to give them away, and will fight to keep them - (you should see the letters I’ve written or heard the phonee calls I’ve made re: the wire-tapping rulings, and the so-called Patriotic Act)

Posted by: Linda H. at January 1, 2007 2:08 PM
Comment #201122

David Remer,

I am sorry, but your concept of God and the church is very much incorrect. You may have your views and I have mine, but I would that you became more informed about the Christian and Jewish concept of God. It could be very much enlightening. I can not say much in light of the Muslim concept of Allah simply because I am not well-versed in their religion. Yet, I still contend that it is far from insurance that is being sold in churches, synagogues and mosques. In fact, nothing is being sold in churches, but rather life is being freely given with no strings attached. No strings that is, except to take up one’s own cross and follow after Him in whom you believe. And yes, all good and perfect gifts come from above. Also, the Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. Therefore, wealth, affluence and power within the church, (and without when one considers God’s omnipotence), is from God, and he can just as surely take it away.

JD

Posted by: JD at January 1, 2007 6:01 PM
Comment #201142
It is very difficult for one to not be “of the world” and yet, be a part in the world. It requires that we have to judge all things, whether they be right or wrong. It also requires an enormous leaning upon spiritual discernment, as we at times even have to judge the spirits, whether they be good or evil. That is why Christians are often so steadfast in their beliefs. This is not a bad thing. It is simply a part of being Christian.

JD,
I don’t believe that God wants US to JUDGE anyone, or anything. Somewhere I read something about “… judge not lest thou be judged…” or “.. do not throw stones at glass houses…” and please don’t forget the Golden Rule.

I’ll admit my knowledge of the Bible is somewhat limited, but I then I attempt to practice it rather than to simply read it, so I’ll admit I may get a direct quote wrong. That’s when I go to MY minister and talk. Your statements certainly do not define who and why I am a Christian. And yes I consider myself steadfast.

As for a church - a building does not make me a better or worse Christian. It is convenient to meet other -like minded persons as myself, but I would be a Christian even if I had no building to go to. (That, I believe is David’s point)

BTW, I hope you know that David is having some fun with you. He is not so easily penned downed unless one ties to take a statement slightly out of context, as I’m afraid you apparently did, and then the games begin.

Am I right, David or am I right? ;-D

Posted by: Linda H. at January 1, 2007 11:15 PM
Comment #201182

“The next time a little girl is sent home from school for wearing a cross around her neck”

Link?

Posted by: kctim at January 2, 2007 1:53 PM
Comment #201201

Saying
“I think you folks would feel more at home in Iraq or Iran than you do in America”

Dude, ask any body who’s been at WatchBlog for awhile if they think I am a “liberal,” and you will see just how silly your last post was.

Also, in asking for a link, I was refering to some proof of what you said was done. I was not asking for an opinionated link of what you think is happening.

Posted by: kctim at January 2, 2007 5:02 PM
Comment #201205

kctim,

“Also, in asking for a link, I was refering to some proof of what you said was done. I was not asking for an opinionated link of what you think is happening.”

I just hope your not holding your breath.

Posted by: Rocky at January 2, 2007 5:33 PM
Comment #201215

Once again - freedom of speech is attempted to be denied…or should I say thinking?

Posted by: Linda H. at January 2, 2007 7:46 PM
Comment #201221

Linda H,

“Once again - freedom of speech is attempted to be denied…or should I say thinking?”

How exactly did kctim deny saying the freedom to think?

Posted by: Rocky at January 2, 2007 9:24 PM
Comment #201246

Student’s Free Speech is Upheld
Ann Arbor, Michigan / The Detroit News

A student was barred access to presenting an opinion against homosexuality at a 2700-student “diversity Week Discussion” in March 2002. She was to give a speech but was not allowed to do so because it did not contain what the planners wanted to hear. She sued and won based upon religious discrimination.


Mother of Student Files Suit
CNN / AP / National School Board Association

In Liverpool, NY, a mother filed suit because Liverpool Central School District refused to allow her daughter to give a flier to other students based upon its religious content. However, they allow non-religious fliers to be passed out by other students. This violated her Constitutional right to be free from religious discrimination and her rights to free speech.


Student not Allowed to Give Religious Gifts at Class Christmas Party
Mobile Register / National School Board Association

Mobile AL A student was prevented from passing out gifts containing religious messages at the School Christmas Party. His parents sued. He attended Robert E. Lee Elementary School.


District Repeals Policy Banning Bible Reading
Agapepress / National School Board Association

Zachary Comm. School District was threatened with a lawsuit for confiscating a student’s Bible as he read it during “quiet reading time”.


Holiday Display Policy Sparks Lawsuit
Worldnetdaily / National School Board Association

New York City Public Schools were sued for allowing Jewish and Islamic symbols to be displayed, while disallowing Christian symbols such as the Nativity scene.


Teacher’s Aid Suspended for Refusing to Stop Wearing Necklace with a Cross
Worldnetdaily / National School Board Association

Arin Intermediate Unit 28, PA suspended a teacher’s aid for wearing a necklace with a cross.


A student is not a paid representative of the school, and therefore has certain rights that can not be infringed upon by any entity. Those rights are guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America in the Bill of Rights. Anyone trying to say that a student saying a prayer at school, reading a Bible at school, or wearing a religious symbol at school is representing the school’s adoption of a particular religion, thus also representing the U.S. government’s adoption of a particular religion, is just plain delusional! Individuals still have rights which they should be free to express anywhere.

As for teachers. They do represent the school for which they work. However, as an employer, the school is obligated, just as any other employer which receives government funding is obligated, to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. Thus, a school can not legally discriminate against its employees based upon age, gender, race, creed, or religion. How a school can do the things listed above and get away with it is completely beyond any logical understanding!!

JD

Posted by: JD at January 3, 2007 1:31 AM
Comment #201272

JD,

This is your responsibility. You and other parents are the final arbiters of your school boards.
You should be attending the PTA and school board meetings in your school districts.

It is up to you how your children are taught.

Posted by: Rocky at January 3, 2007 10:52 AM
Comment #201278

Rocky,

So, let me get your point right!

It is my fault that kids and teachers are being harassed at school solely because of their Christian or other religious beliefs? Is that really what you said????

I beg to differ. It is when organizations pass off a bunch of legality bunk, like the ACLU and the Freedom from Religion Foundation, trying to coerce and intimidate schools and other institutions into treating Christians and other religious believers as second class citizens that these atrocities happen within our school systems. Don’t you dare try to pin these problems on me and other Christians. That is like blaming the Holocaust on the Jews. If they didn’t like it they should have worked with the Nazis to prevent it, right?

JD

Posted by: JD at January 3, 2007 11:27 AM
Comment #201283

JD,

Your hyperbole aside;

YOU elect your school board members.
YOU, by attending the PTA and school board meetings need to speak YOUR opinion on how YOUR schools should be run.
YOUR children and how they are taught are YOUR responsibility.

“That is like blaming the Holocaust on the Jews. If they didn’t like it they should have worked with the Nazis to prevent it, right?”


“First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.”

Pastor Martin Niemöller

Think about it.

Posted by: Rocky at January 3, 2007 11:42 AM
Comment #201286

Rocky,

Aye!

But now that I have informed you and the left of this blog on what is really happening in our schools, (actually only a handful of the actual atrocities), will you speak out right along side of me? Or, will you look the other way and pretend it does not happen?

JD

Posted by: JD at January 3, 2007 12:02 PM
Comment #201300

JD,

Atrocities?

Miscommunication probably.

School boards are local issues, not national. I can only address the issues in my district, not yours.

Posted by: Rocky at January 3, 2007 1:25 PM
Comment #201302

Rocky,
I was not responding to kctim - I was responding to Saying and JD.

Thanks for the poem - I’ve been trying to find the author. It truly speaks to my heart.

JD, would you give the results of the above lawsuits you mentioned?


Posted by: Linda H. at January 3, 2007 1:29 PM
Comment #201310

Linda H.,

I will do better than that. Go to the website of the National School Board Association and scroll to the religious section under law issues. It will give you many more examples of such atrocities, the cases pending, and the details of those cases I have listed. It will also give the NSBA reccomendations regarding what a School Board can, and should not do when trying to enforce the so-called establishment clause. There is a pretty fine line between enforcing the establishment clause and outright religious discrimination that is abused continuously in this nation’s schools.
Not surprisingly, it is not as big a problem toward school students as it is the way that they treat their employees. If any other employer treated their religious believing employees the way our school systems do, their butts would be hauled into Court on a regular basis, and they would probably be fined huge amounts under EOE guidelines.

JD

Posted by: JD at January 3, 2007 2:10 PM
Comment #201322

Linda H.,

I also suggest that you go to the website of Freedom from Religion Foundation and discover the atheists that make up this group that so vehemently oppose Christians and other religious believers displaying their symbols while at the same time fighting to set up atheist symbols of their own in Federal-owned places. After reading some of the comments of the leadership of this organization you should pretty well understand that it is not the establishment clause that they are interested in, but rather the elimination of religion from all public discourse. That is my opinion of their group!!
This is the same group that has filed Federal lawsuits against the President and the Administration for his faith-based initiatives to fight poverty and provide faith-based social service agencies with Federal funds.

JD

Posted by: JD at January 3, 2007 2:31 PM
Comment #201474

JD,
It took some looking but I finally found the religious issues portion on the NSBA. It looks to me like no one honestly knows what to do as one state rules one way and another state rules the opposite. It did make for boring reading - don’t people have better things to do than fuss about this type of stuff?

As for the second site - how on earth did you find it? It even states it has “…just over 8,000 members…”. I don’t feel particualrly threatened by them - at least not at this point.

Sorry, I just don’t see a lot of hot air holding up your balloon. You might need to try to come in for an easy landing.

Posted by: Linda H. at January 4, 2007 1:55 PM
Comment #201767

Linda H.,

As for the size of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, yes, it is a relatively small group. But strong enough to tie the President’s hands when it comes to helping the poor and others by funding faith-based social programs.

Only about eight thousand strong, you say. But strong enough to keep, as you left wingers say, “that tyrant in Washington”, from doing what he wants to do.

Funny, they seem to be able to do what the Democrats couldn’t for the last six years, or so say you and yours!!

JD

Posted by: JD at January 6, 2007 4:59 PM
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