Posts Tagged: belief system

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helvetebrann:

Today, more than 1,000 religious leaders all across the country are acting in defiance of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and endorsing political candidates from the pulpit.  In 1954 the tax code was amended to say that tax-exempt organizations– like churches– are prohibited from making political endorsements, but many are apparently done being silent.

The issue has people torn for several reasons.  Even if they don’t appreciate the IRS controlling religious speech, many are grateful for the break from politics that church provides.  Some say, depending on their political views, that they’re simply uninterested in hearing a politically-charged sermon on universal healthcare, or that they don’t want their religious leaders telling them how to vote.  Others say it’s a violation of our religious liberties for pastors not to be able to speak on the pressing matters of the day.

So what do the participating religious leaders hope to accomplish?

According to reports, they plan on recording their sermons and sending them to the IRS with the hope the IRS will actually take the matter to court.  In the past, the IRS has apparently issued threats and notices, but typically stops short of legal action. 

But some of the movement’s strongest detractors, like gay rights activist Rev. Susan Russell, claim it is all an excuse to “jam theocracy down throats.”  Others call this particular fight for religious freedom “bogus.”

Thoughts?

Tax churches and let them say whatever the hell they want. Problem solved.

Source: theblaze.com
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Recent campaign rhetoric and social issues have brought about a resurgence of extreme religious groups advocating for harsh implementation of laws that blatantly violate the separation of church and state. For anyone who thinks that the First Amendment is exercised properly throughout the United States, it’s simply not true. Several cases have stirred controversy and called this separation into question, including discounting evolution from some school curriculums, advocating taxpayer funding for religious institutions and ignoring individual basic First Amendment rights.

For example, Amendment 8, a measure on the ballot in Florida in November, would allow churches and religious schools to receive taxpayer funding. Moreover, the amendment would allow any organization that any religious group puts together to be eligible for taxpayer funding.

Richard Yoakley, a Lenoir City High School teacher, was asked to resign from his position as the yearbook and newspaper supervisor after granting his students the ability to publish “controversial” articles that touched on atheism and being gay. Shortly after the articles ran, the high school’s principal asked Yoakley to resign.

Not only are these topics protected under the First Amendment with regard to freedom of the press, but furthermore, Lenoir City is a public high school. The administration refused to run student Krystal Myers’ article about atheism because, as Myers pointed out, the administration was biased. “Why does atheism have such a bad reputation? Why do we not have the same rights as Christians?” she wrote.

Another San Antonio man, Jordan Clipston, was forced to wage a custody battle with his daughter’s mother because of his lack of religious beliefs. Clipston created a Facebook page to help offset court costs. He was pitted against his ex-girlfriend’s family, her father a strict military man and evangelical Christian who was convinced his granddaughter would grow up in a house with “no morals” because of Clipston’s atheism. Many court cases have mimicked this result, such as agnostic Craig Scarberry, who initially lost custody of his children due to a court ruling that explicitly stated his religious doubts were a factor. This precedent is ludicrous. Someone’s lack of religion has absolutely no bearing on his or her ability to be a successful parent.

Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion. Anyone who truly thinks that the establishment clause and the free exercise clause of the First Amendment are truly being implemented is sadly mistaken. Furthermore, that idea is naive. Although still oppressed, there are four openly gay members of Congress in the United States, compared to just one openly atheist representative. Both are pathetic misrepresentations of these populations that the U.S. comprises. Furthermore, the argument that our nation is a Christian nation that was founded on these principles is simply incorrect. Very few of the founding fathers could explicitly be labeled as Christian, yet it plagues our currency, our court houses are littered with plaques boasting the Ten Commandments and children in our public schools are forced to pledge allegiance “under God.” One God: the Christian one. This is not what the framers had in mind when they drafted the First Amendment.

(via helvetebrann)

Source: centralfloridafuture.com
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This convention season has not been good for atheists.

The word “God” was reinserted in the Democratic platform after it had been removed. A plan to raise atheist billboards in the convention cities was stymied by opponents. And though there were preachers and rabbis and other religious leaders opening and closing each day of each convention, there wasn’t an avowed atheist talking up unbelief on either convention’s speaking list.

The political lockout has left many nonbelievers asking, “What political party represents me?”

“We are deeply saddened by the exclusion of a large number of Americans by both parties,” said Teresa MacBain, a spokeswoman for the group American Atheists, in an interview on Thursday. “It amazes me that in modern-day America, so much prejudice still exists.”

In an awkward session that required three voice votes on the convention floor, the Democrats opted to add “God” back to the platform. For atheists, the Democrats were seen to be taking away a hard-fought victory. “We had 24 hours of joy as we felt (that) finally our government values all people,” said MacBain. “But that was short-lived. The vote last night angered many atheists and left them feeling excluded once again.”

“I guess a tiny step was too much to ask for,” David Silverman, president of the American Atheists, told CNN. “This was a clear message to the 16% of the voting population we don’t count. Well, guess what, Dems we do. And we vote.”

Perhaps because of the Republican Party’s ties to conservative Christianity, atheists tend to be Democrats. According to a 2012 Pew study, 71% of Americans who identified as atheist were Democrats.

“The Republicans who spoke at the RNC seemed more like televangelists than politicians,” MacBain said. “The message was clear from the RNC: Get God, or get out.”

People who think Christians are hated more than Atheists in America do not live in reality.

(via helvetebrann)

Source: CNN
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The former archbishop of Milan and papal candidate Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini said the Catholic Church was “200 years out of date” in his final interview before his death, published on Saturday.

Martini, once favoured by Vatican progressives to succeed Pope John Paul II and a prominent voice in the church until his death at the age of 85 on Friday, gave a scathing portrayal of a pompous and bureaucratic church failing to move with the times.

“Our culture has aged, our churches are big and empty and the church bureaucracy rises up, our rituals and our cassocks are pompous,” Martini said in the interview published in Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

“The Church must admit its mistakes and begin a radical change, starting from the pope and the bishops. The paedophilia scandals oblige us to take a journey of transformation,” he said in the interview.

Martini, famous for comments that the use of condoms could be acceptable in some cases, told interviewers the Church should open up to new kinds of families or risk losing its flock.

“A woman is abandoned by her husband and finds a new companion to look after her and her children. A second love succeeds. If this family is discriminated against, not just the mother will be cut off but also her children.”

“The church is 200 years out of date. Why don’t we rouse ourselves? Are we afraid?”

RESURRECT THIS MAN FROM THE DEAD AND MAKE HIM POPE

(via helvetebrann)

Source: Yahoo!
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helvetebrann:

Parents who trust in divine intervention, even after doctors say there is no hope of survival, are putting their children through aggressive but futile treatments, they said.

In an article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics they warned that families with deeply held hopes for a “miraculous” recovery were increasingly being allowed to “stonewall” medical opinion.

The doctors, from Great Ormond Street Hospital, called for an overhaul of the legal system to reduce the weight given to parents’ religious beliefs in such cases.

“While it is vital to support families in such difficult times, we are increasingly concerned that deeply held belief in religion can lead to children being potentially subjected to burdensome care in expectation of ‘miraculous’ intervention,” the authors warned. “In many cases, the children about whom the decisions are being made are too young to subscribe to the religious beliefs held by their parents, yet we continue to respect the parents’ beliefs.”

Instead they want the process of doctors seeking court permission to withdraw treatment to be sped up and for the law to make clear that parents’ beliefs should not be a “determining factor” in such decisions.

The fact that there is even others arguing that it is ok to intentionally cause children pain instead of allowing them to pass peacefully is rather disgusting.  Where are the rights of the children?

Source: telegraph.co.uk
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helvetebrann:

Next week, North Dakota voters will decide whether to add an amendment to the state’s constitution that supporters say will guarantee religious freedom. But the ballot measure has prompted debate over precisely what it safeguards; opponents argue that it’s a solution in search of a problem and worry about its consequences.

Measure 3 is worded this way: “Government may not burden a person’s or religious organization’s religious liberty.” Its supporters call it the Religious Liberty Restoration amendment; they say it’s needed because of a 22-year-old U.S. Supreme Court decision they believe has put limits on religious freedom.

But the measure’s opponents worry about unintended consequences. They say it could allow parents who abuse children to hide behind the curtain of religious liberty. One opponent is Tim Hathaway, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota.

“We are urging a ‘no’ vote on Measure 3,” he says, “because it will seriously undercut protection for children in our state by opening the door for people to claim religious freedom as a justification for maltreatment.”

Renee Stromme of the North Dakota Women’s Network agrees, saying if it passes, Measure 3 could also lead to discrimination.

“An employer could use religious beliefs to fire a pregnant woman because she is unmarried,” Stromme says. “So let’s think that through: We now have a single mother, unemployed, struggling to make ends meet, to care for the welfare of her family — and her employer would have a protected defense for his action. And a judge would have to determine otherwise.”

Opponents argue the measure is both unnecessary and potentially dangerous — and could raise new ways for people to define their own extreme religious views.

Not to mention the contention that could be raised if the State had to intervene to decide whose religious rights are more important than a separate religion, when the liberty of one religion interferes with the liberty of another religion.

In no way is this country suffering from a lack of religious liberty.  This measure is absurd and extremely dangerous.

North Carolina all over again. So very glad politicians are committed to focusing on such bullshit issues.

Source: NPR
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helvetebrann:

The Roman Catholic Church announced a major campaign Thursday aimed at bringing attention to what it said were growing threats to religious liberty in the United States, including the pending White House rule requiring health insurance companies to provide free contraceptive coverage to employees of Catholic organizations.

An official with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the initiative would stretch out over the course of a few years and that it would include everything from encouraging priests to address religious liberty concerns in church to sending inserts for church bulletins.

“Religious liberty is under attack, both at home and abroad,” the American bishops said in a new document titled “Our first, most cherished freedom.”

Good fucking luck.  Even your own members don’t believe that their religious liberties are under attack.

Six in ten Catholics do not feel that their religious freedoms are being targeted.

Six in ten Catholics need to convince the other four to get with the program. Don’t worry, six in ten Catholics, the numbers are on your side.

Source: CNN
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helvetebrann:

Personally, I always say that I accept evolution.  Semantics do matter.

helvetebrann:

Personally, I always say that I accept evolution.  Semantics do matter.

Source: helvetebrann
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For the first time, the U.S. military hosted an event expressly for soldiers and others who don’t believe in God, with a county fair-type gathering Saturday on the main parade ground at one of the world’s largest Army posts.

The Rock Beyond Belief event at Fort Bragg, organized by soldiers here two years after an evangelical Christian event at the eastern North Carolina post, is the most visible sign so far of a growing desire by military personnel with atheist or other secular beliefs to get the same recognition as their religious counterparts.

The atmosphere was festive, with carnival treats including ribbon fries and ice cream, games for children and a demonstration jump by the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team. Speakers and bands performed on the main stage. In many ways it was indistinguishable from a county fair except for the information booths ringing the parade ground and the content of the performances.

The event marked a coming-out of sorts for atheist and secularist soldiers at Fort Bragg, who have been trying for more than a year to be recognized as a “distinctive faith group,” a designation that would allow them to hold their meetings at Bragg facilities. Curious soldiers in uniform mixed with people in civilian clothes as bands played and children race around the huge field after the rain let up.

Reed also said he hoped Christians at Bragg and other believers would attend, to dispel some misconceptions about atheists.

I WAS AT THISS :D

(via helvetebrann)

Source: suntimes.com