Unrepentant Progressive,You said: "if a given religiously oriented
organization receives funds from the government, that group ought to be willing
to serve all populations, not just a favored few."Government
often subsidizes groups that benefit society even when they serve only a small
population of their choice. For example, government offers grants to
organizations that promote the arts or even things as specific as community
gardens in urban areas or sports for handicapped seniors. Some organizations
offer services specifically to minorities, women, and low-income people.
Government offers tax breaks to married couples when it benefits only them and
their children because the family unit benefits society by contributing to the
well-being of children. Government is able to serve the whole
population because they tax the whole population. Others are not in the
position to do things on that kind of scale and the effectiveness of local
connections is why government encourages these groups.
Interestingly, Utah's Constitution expressly mentions the separation of
Church and State. It: "The State shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ... There
shall be no union of Church and State, nor shall any church dominate the State
or interfere with its functions. No public money or property shall be
appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise or instruction,
or for the support of any ecclesiastical establishment."
"Religious communities are about more than being persecuted or persecuting
others," -- Perhaps; but they do spend an inordinate amount of
time engaged in the persecution of others."...partnerships
between religion and government. "-- Only when the "faith
groups" agree to abide by the laws and are not allowed to discriminate
against anyone.@David;Religious leaders often care most
about ... maintaining their power and control. "Faith leaders
want to alleviate human suffering. "-- Partially true; Faith
leaders are also responsible for much of the human suffering in the world;
especially where they have political power."...these
Constitutional rights should be embraced as Divine rights, and not be
controversial."-- There is no "divine right" to
discriminate against others. And, no, they *should* be controversial when they
promote bigotry and discrimination.@GRob;Yes, if
they're using government money.@PtP;Religions have
been known (frequently) to lack love and empathy. They've been known to
waste huge amts of money on private jets, sports cars, mcMansions, etc.
"Those who've spoken against religion here are not likely members of
any religion, therefore their idea's have little bearing."By that logic, then, members of religion should be banned from speaking on
secular things, including politics (lose their vote), economics, sports,
culture, fashion, literature, etc.
For the information of the person saying this is in the Bible, not really.
There are religions in this world the advocate violence to unbelievers, born
both by Christian religions and otherwise. The Constitutional Amendment dealt
chiefly with Christian religions, though it definitely doesn't make that
distinction, and is lacking in court statements. Generally most religions make
an effort to accomplish good with donations made to them, for both their
congregations and nonmembers. Generally, Christianity requires that members
care for non members as well as members, though most often members are the first
recipients. Donators generally have a good indication of how donations will be
used, and contrary to government taxes which are used willy, nilly, members have
some definite idea of how their donations will be spent! Those who've
spoken against religion here are not likely members of any religion, therefore
their idea's have little bearing.
Separation of Church and State is a fantasy. In the US, we have Utah with its
LDS dominance being felt in numerous laws. Catholic power in Massachusetts
blocked investigation of pederasts in the clergy. In Alabama, we see
a law outlawing abortion regardless of rape, incest, and mother's health.
Any physician involved in an abortion will be sentenced to 99 years of
prison.This law eliminates any treatment of a medical condition that
might "harm" the fetus. This leaves no treatment path for pregnant women
with a health condition that jeopardizes her life that could harm or abort the
fetus. So, we let the mother die? Do we then jail the physician for letting the
fetus die?This is clearly bad law. Imposed by a religious majority
Given the historical nature of religion's tendency to radicalize, oppress,
and incite conflict (sometimes even through violent means) among citizens of
different nations, I'd say it's understandable how government leaders
are apprehensive about partnering with specific religious organizations. We forget how lucky we are in the US to have avoided many of the
religious conflicts we read about in world history books.
RedShirt_CollegeofHardknocks: “He is spot on. The exclusion clause
prohibits the government from favoring or lending state support to one religion
at the exclusion of others; the state cannot play favorites.”YOU are spot on, but he was not. Let’s review what Ultra Bob said:
‘Our Constitution demands that "government makes no law regarding
religion". In order to accomplish that and be a government of and for the
people, religion must stat [sic] out of government.’This
represents a gross misunderstanding of the 1st amendment. Religion must NOT stay
out of government, but as you correctly stated, the state should not favor one
church over the others. Not playing favorites is entirely different than
religion having no place in government. It’s important for people to
understand that difference because religion is vital to the proper function and
survival of our republic.
A little more treatise on the concept of separation of church and state:First, the phrase "separation of church and state" does not
actually appear anywhere in the Constitution of the United States.Similarly, courts have found that the principle of a "religious
liberty" exists in the First Amendment, even if those words are not actually
there.Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...The point of
such an amendment is twofold. First, it ensures that religious beliefs - private
or organized - are removed from attempted government control. This is the reason
why the government cannot tell either you or your church what to believe or to
teach.Second, it ensures that the government does not get involved
with enforcing, mandating, or promoting particular religious doctrines, even
including belief in any gods. This is what happens when the government
"establishes" a church. Doing so created many problems in Europe and
because of this, the authors of the Constitution wanted to try and prevent the
same from happening here.This separating of church and state is what
allows religious liberty to exist.
How poorly the masses in the US understand the concept of separation of church
and state, as manifest in the comments here. They claim America was not founded
as a Christian nation and that there should be no interaction between religion
and the state. This is a grievous misunderstanding of US history and
the laws as established by our founding fathers. America generally
referred to, i.e. the 13 colonies, were, in fact, founded largely by Christian
groups, often ones fleeing oppression for their religious beliefs. They came
here to practice their religion without oppression.The founding
father definitely did not want to keep religion out of the laws. In fact, our
legal system is largely founded on Christian-Judeo laws going back many
centuries. What the founding fathers intended when they set up the
constitution was to prevent a "state religion", a religion sponsored by
the state that was given dominance over other religions, something that
originally was happening in some of the early colonial states. Please do some reading and understand what is truly meant by separation of
state and religion. This response has used up the allowed space or I would share
"That characterization seemed laughable Saturday afternoon as religious
leaders took the stage at the G20 Interfaith Forum to describe what they're
up to around the world."For example, I was just reading an
article about religious leaders in Ethiopia who were threatening a tour group
with violence and death if they visit, because the tour group has a mostly LGBT
clientele.For example, the Catholic Church continues, after decades
of "working" on the problem, to have new child abuse scandals pop up all
around the world. All the while insisting that people with HIV/AIDS using
condoms is a sin.For example, in every country that still has sodomy
laws, they are strongly supported by religious leaders.For example,
inter-religious violence continues to dominate from Egypt up into the Middle
East and down into India.So if religious groups have a "bad
rap" and are "better known for causing trouble than helping out",
it's not because their hands are clean. They kind of have all of human
history counting against them here.
Whenever there is help from religious organizations, there's always a
catchYou have to listen the sermon or you won't get the help,
it's baked right inCouldn't churches just pay their taxes
I'm an actively religious person, but I don't think there should be a
strong relationship between faith groups and government leaders. Despite popular
beliefs to the contrary, America was not founded as a Christian nation.
Seperation of Church and state is the absolute requirement of true religious
freedom. If anything, some faith groups are too influential as it is.
Governments vary throughout the world. They are often secular and lack love and
empathy, failing to acknowledge accountability to a god as shown by their vary
actions. Constant contention, ill will, and out right attack against others in
government. A lack of understanding of humanity principles, the talk-the-talk,
but don't walk it.Religions vary throughout the world, but
generally strive to have love and empathy and are willing to make sacrifices to
help others. Although there are some who are greedier, and seek to like many
politicians, hope for the praise of the world. Most though appear to
be generous with donations of time and money given freely, for the benefit of
the recipient. Governments waste huge amounts of money on employee
salaries rather than in granting meaningful and long-term aid to those who
really need it, and fail to encourage self-reliance. As I see it
they lack a common standard, or belief system to meaningfully interact, and thus
The US Government contracts will all kinds of entities to provide goods and
services to fill a need. I don't have a problem with the Government
issuing a contract to a religious entity. But the contract must be Specific,
Measurable, Timely, Realistic and meet the additional requirements of the
Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) dictated by Congress. It
makes sense to "partner" via contract with a religious group, as an
example, to expand a homeless shelter but in general it doesn't make sense
for major undertakings. Faith groups generally lack the manpower and experience
to deal with major projects. Accountability is essential.
The Lds church helps everyone. Generally churches and private groups are better
at assistance than the Federal government. Local govt better than National.
Both government and religion should foster and encourage self-reliance. Both can
be safety-nets in case of emergencies or the extreme disability of their
constituents. Religious resources are dependent upon voluntary contributions
and therefore are finite, unlike government resources garnered through taxation
and expanding fiat currency growth. It would follow that religious authorities
have to be more selective in how resources are used because the resources are
finite (the widow's mite). One favorable factor for religious support is
that it can delivered more cost effectively than government support through the
efforts of volunteer labor. Also by having multiple sources of support, the
putting of all the eggs in one basket can be avoided.
When you look at the way many Evangelicals like Franklin Graham support the
current President and the Republican Party this relationship doesn't seem
all that broken. It's toxic, but not broken.
I would never give my charitable dollars to any government (unless under duress
as in taxes). But I love to give to my church, I know they wisely use my money
to help those in need. I also know that a lot of the time their charity is
given to those outside the bounds of membership.
Conservatives are fond of quoting Reagan's depiction of the "scary"
scene where a man knocks on the farmer's door and says, "I'm from
the government and I've come to help you".But is that
really so different from the religious person who knocks on your door and says,
in essence, "I'm from the ___________church, and I'm here to
tell you why my beliefs are true and yours are not"? Both involve someone
telling you that what you are doing now should be changed--and you should do it
*their* way. And therein lies the problem with government and
religious partnerships. Religious organizations never send help
anonymously--they want to make sure that the recipients know full well which
church sent this help--and, by the way, also want them to know where the nearest
branch of said church is located.
@ RiDal"Wasn't this all prophesied in the Bible
somewhere?"I'm sure someone could find it if they wanted
My previous should have read “establishment clause” and not
“exclusion”. Walking the dog while typing with word suggestion does
not work well.
There are areas in which religion and government can work together. For example
many churches strive to help when there are natural disasters but they must
coordinate with government organizations or things would just get chaotic. If
the church has manpower, supplies or money that can help, then the government
would be foolish to turn it down. Churches drill wells, build roads, sponsor
schools, etc. that help the community but there has to be government input also.
If people are mature, things can work out. But if egos get in the road, then
there can be problems.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” Our founding fathers feared
government infringement on the rights of religious organizations. Not the other
way around. They saw the effects of state sponsored religions and they did not
want that as a part of a free American society.In our country where
there are many religions with very active participants, those people can be a
huge help in humanitarian efforts. Government officials who think they have all
the power and all the answers are unrealistic not helpful. They should welcome
all sincere religious and humanitarian efforts to help the less fortunate among
Harrison Bergeron“You have grossly misunderstood the First
Amendment”He is spot on. The exclusion clause prohibits the
government from favoring or lending state support to one religion at the
exclusion of others; the state cannot play favorites.“Every
new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between
ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that
every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that
religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed
together” - James Madison.
@Harrison Bergeron - Salt Lake City, UTAmendment ICongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; In my english the words
"an establishment" is a noun and not a verb. Further the
words "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" do not make sense if
the "an establishment" is taken to be an action.However, I
do admit that English was not one of my favorite classes.
GRobA qualified, Yup. I am saying that if a given
religiously oriented organization receives funds from the government, that group
ought to be willing to serve all populations, not just a favored few.
Government is all of us, religion is a subset of all of us. Bankrolling a
subset that further dissects the population it is willing to serve is inherently
discriminatory. IMHO, we have fought civil and political wars to
rid the country of the stench of discrimination. Let's not subsidize it
now. I have a question to you. Many religious sects are immensely
wealthy. The Catholic church, most of the tel-evangelists, the dominant faith
of Utah, and most mainstream Christian religions have untold assets, and their
wealth is tax free. Why don't these groups do more to alleviate suffering
for those they deem worthy of their care with their own money. Why lobby
government to underwrite their discrimination? Answer that question, money or
@GRobI think if an religious organization that will not serve everyone
wants to make a donation to a government relief program and allow the government
to determine were those resources go (without strings) the government should not
turn them away. Sadly beyond that the government has to act independent of such
organizations to ensure that those in need are being served.
Faith groups and their leaders have only themselves to blame.
@DavidThe difference is governments work to alleviate the suffering of
everyone not just those that fit neatly into narrow biased belief systems.
Religions shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to the claims of this
article when they started pushing to restrictions on who they service.
Ultra Bob: ‘Our Constitution demands that "government makes no law
regarding religion".’You have grossly misunderstood the
First Amendment which states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”This is meant to keep government from establishing an official religion
to the exclusion of others (like Islamic countries) and to keep government from
infringing on religious freedom. Before the constitution there were
state-sponsored churches with tax-payer funded ministries. Those were slowly
disestablished after the constitution was ratified. But that never meant that
government would be free or devoid of religion. In fact, the first congress
authorized the use of its halls for religious services.
@unrepentant progressiveAre you saying that an organization who is
willing and able to help some people in some situation should not be allowed to
unless they are willing to help all people in every situation? Or can
government take genuine offers of help from anyone willing to lend a hand, even
if that help has limits?
Here in the US, religions have historically caused more mental distress than
they’ve solved. However, in the developing world I can see how they can
play a humanitarian role. Those countries just need to make sure that the
religions they partner with don’t have an ulterior motive.
Our Constitution demands that "government makes no law regarding
religion". In order to accomplish that and be a government of and for the
people, religion must stat out of government.
This article reveals the strengths of religion to respond to global crisis, and
the weakness of government:Government leaders often care most about
getting re-elected and maintaining their power and control. Faith leaders want
to alleviate human suffering. That is quite a contrast. Voters should demand
governments respect religious groups and the right to worship. Governments
should extend the right to assemble, and the right of free speech--these
Constitutional rights should be embraced as Divine rights, and not be
It is not the job of government, which represent us all, to understand religion.
It is up to organized religious groups to understand what government expects
from religion.Religious groups, especially in theocracies and
mono-religious countries, expect that their dogma will dictate what, when, where
and why a given charitable service can be given. This mentality has invaded our
country with the call by religious fundamentalists for the right to discriminate
against disfavored populations through a profession of faith.If we
live in a country that seeks equal opportunity for all, then we can not leave it
up to religiously oriented organizations to become funded by government (for
this is surely what they seek) to minister and not mend. Denying care and
service, or giving it with strings attached is nothing more than proselytizing
by another name.
Religious groups and governments often have the same goals - to help those in
need. That doesn't necessarily mean they should work together to work
toward that. They can work separately to help others without creating
partnerships that would require government or religious leaders to alter each
other's decisions. Many of the reasons this article listed that these
type of partnerships are avoided are valid and reasonable. These groups can
support each other in their efforts by encouraging and giving permissions, but
the separation between government and religion is an important one.
Here's the problem that those of us skeptical of the premise of this
article, that faith groups should be more involved in community solutions.Faith groups wish to bend policy towards dogma. In the US, faith groups
seek to serve only those clients they deem "appropriate", and deny
services to disfavored populations. We also have a rather unpleasant history
with faith intertwined with legitimate government tasks. This is especially so
in theocratic or mono-religious countries. The priests, ministers, mullahs, etc
just can help themselves when engaged in politics.If faith groups
would serve all who suffer, denying no one services no matter what doctrine
might say, then all would be okay. However, this is not what happens, and
proposing so violates experience and common sense.
Wasn't this all prophesied in the Bible somewhere?
Government has to serve everyone. It has to deal in reality.