Church and State

The Republican Party: Are Greed and Catering to Powerful Religions Its Primary Operating Principles?…

 

Donald Trump sat down with CBN Founder Pat Robertson for an exclusive interview at the White House, July 12, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

From Church and State, UK

I noticed that on Thursday evening, July 12th The Donald had a heart to heart with the televangelist Pat Robertson who despite his long history of Cold War cavils did not quibble in endorsing the Trump position on dealing with Russia and ignoring or dismissing Trump’s involvement in his alleged influencing of the last Presidential election.

The absurdity of Robertson’s positions and Trump’s evasions was captured perfectly in an Atlantic magazine piece which you can access here.

The Republican Party just keeps hitting political potholes on every important social and environmental issue. That interview with Robertson reminded me of what the late Senator Barry Goldwater counseled his party to do in numerous interviews which I subsequently chronicled on this web site.

The embrace in the 1970’s by the Republican Party of the Evangelists augmented Catholic power against women’s reproductive rights despite a warning from Mr. Conservative, Senator Barry Goldwater. That powerful religious alliance has been the primary basis for anti-women ever since. Goldwater and his wife Peggy helped start the Planned Parenthood affiliate in Phoenix.

In my 2/14/13 article on this web site, I quoted the late Senator’s warning in the late 1970’s onward to his colleagues about what has now come to pass.

Church and State: The Children of Dogma

 

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From Church and State, UK

In the 1500s the Vatican aligned itself with its favorite despots — and the Protestants cuddled up to their preferred tyrants. Each religion claiming divine sponsorship — each ruler laying claim to whatever land the ruler next door happened to occupy. After the Diet of Speyer, the principle of cuius region, eius religio (The religion of the ruler is the religion of the ruled) was established and this really clarified matters for all concerned — at least it did if you were a ruler. As battles raged, frontiers shifted backwards and forwards, countries were claimed and conquered depending on who was victorious. Armies advanced and retreated and a peasant could find himself being a Protestant at breakfast time and a Catholic by lunchtime (if you were a Jew you would be dead by teatime).

With the capture of land came the capture of souls. The religion of the victorious army was imposed on the conquered: it happened with almost all religions all over the world.

In Saudi Arabia during the 18th century a man called Ibn Al-Wahhab, an extreme Islamic fundamentalist who believed that music and reproductions of the human image should be banned and that all non-believers should be beheaded, cozied up to Mohamed Ibn Saud, founder of Saudi Arabia, promising him that the Wahabi movement would help him achieve “power and glory” and gain him conquest over “the lands of men.” And conquer, he did.

But let’s deconstruct such a scenario.

Any invading army with colonial aspirations first gains control of the resources and geography of their “enemy.” They then forcefully impose the religious and political ideology on the extant population of adults. But what about the children? If a religion is not to die with the first generation upon which it has been imposed, then that religion must be propagated through the generation which will succeed them. Children must therefore become indoctrinated, and such indoctrination comes at the hands of their parents and whatever teacher/priest/imam happens to have access to them.

Church and State: Top Ten School Violations and How To Report Them…

 

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From Freedom From Religion Foundation

1) PRAYER AT SCHOOL EVENTS

School events, including graduations, may not include prayer. For more than 50 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently struck down prayer in public schools.

School staff, including coaches, may not organize, endorse, promote, or participate in prayers with students. Teachers and coaches may not lead prayers or deputize students to lead prayer. Even a public school coach’s silent participation in student prayer circles has been ruled unconstitutional. Borden. Schools and athletic teams may not appoint or employ a chaplain or other spiritual leader.

2) COMPELLING PLEDGES OF ALLEGIANCE

Students have a constitutional right not to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance. Nor can students be required to stand or otherwise be penalized for exercising this right. Even before “under God” was belatedly added to the previously secular pledge in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court had already affirmed this right.

3) SCHOOL BIBLE DISTRIBUTIONS

The distribution of bibles to students on public school property is prohibited. Allowing bible distributions in public schools or on public school property is an “affront not only [to] non-religious people but [to] all those whose faiths, or lack of faith, does not encompass the New Testament.”

Church and State: Supernatural Beliefs, The Trillion-Dollar Fraud

 

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From James A. Haught
Church and State, UK

Think of the amazing number of supernatural beliefs held by people:

Gods, goddesses, devils, demons, angels, heavens, hells, purgatories, limbos, miracles, prophecies, visions, auras, saviors, virgin births, immaculate conceptions, resurrections, bodily ascensions, faith-healings, exorcisms, salvation, redemption, messages from the dead, voices from Atlantis, omens, magic, clairvoyance, spirit-signals, divine visitations, incarnations, reincarnations, second comings, judgment days, astrology horoscopes, psychic phenomena, extra-sensory perception, telekinesis, voodoo, fairies, leprechauns, werewolves, vampires, zombies, witches, warlocks, ghosts, wraiths, poltergeists, dopplegangers, incubi, succubi, palmistry, tarot cards, ouija boards, levitation, out-of-body travel, magical transport to UFOs, Elvis on a flying saucer, invisible Lemurians in Mount Shasta, Thetans from a dying planet, etc., etc.

That’s about 60 varieties — and you can probably think of others I overlooked.

All these magical beliefs are basically alike. There’s no tangible evidence for any of them. You can’t test supernatural claims; you’re expected to swallow them by blind faith. The only “proof” for them is that they were “revealed” by some prophet, guru, astrologer, shaman, mullah, mystic, swami, psychic, soothsayer or “channeler.”

Well, considering the human brain’s vaunted power of logic, you’d think that people everywhere would reject magical assertions that can’t be verified. But the opposite is true. Billions of people embrace them. Almost all of humanity prays to invisible spirits and envisions a mystical realm. Virtually every leader invokes the deities. Supernaturalism pervades our whole species, in one form or another.

Around the planet, varying from culture to culture, the phenomenon is nearly universal. It consumes billions of person-hours and trillions of dollars. Millions of prayers to unseen beings are uttered every day, and millions of rituals performed. This extravaganza requires a vast array of priests and personnel, and a vast array of buildings and facilities. The cost is astronomical. Americans alone give $70 billion a year to churches — more than the national budgets of many countries. Other supernatural investment is enormous. For example, Americans spend $300 million a year on psychic hot-lines.

Church and State: Hitler Was a Faithful Christian, and His Germany a Christian Nation…

 

Adolf Hitler chancellor of Germany is welcomed by supporters at Nuremberg.


From John Patrick Michael Murphy
Council for Secular Humanism

In George Orwell’s 1984, it was stated, “Who controls the past controls the future, who controls the present controls the past.” Who is going to control the present-fundamentalism or freedom?

History is being distorted by many preachers and politicians. They are heard on the airwaves condemning atheists and routinely claim Adolph Hitler was one. Hitler was a Roman Catholic, baptized into that religio-political institution as an infant in Austria. He became a communicant and an altar boy in his youth and was confirmed as a “soldier of Christ” in that church. Its worst doctrines never left him. He was steeped in its liturgy, which contained the words “perfidious jew.” This hateful statement was not removed until 1961. “Perfidy” means treachery.

In his day, hatred of Jews was the norm. In great measure it was sponsored by two major religions of Germany, Catholicism, and Lutheranism. He greatly admired Martin Luther, who openly hated the Jews. Luther condemned the Catholic Church for its pretensions and corruption, but he supported the centuries of papal pogroms against the Jews. Luther said, “The Jews deserve to be hanged on gallows, seven times higher than ordinary thieves,” and “We ought to take revenge on the Jews and kill them.” “Ungodly wretches” he called the Jews in his book Table Talk.

Hitler seeking power, wrote in Mein Kampf, “… I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews. I am doing the Lord’s work.” Years later, when in power, he quoted those same words in a Reichstag speech in 1938.

Three years later he informed General Gerhart Engel: “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.” He never left the church, and the church never left him. Great literature was banned by his church, but his miserable Mein Kampf never appeared on the index of Forbidden Books. He was not excommunicated or even condemned by his church. Popes, in fact, contracted with Hitler and his fascist friends Franco and Mussolini, giving them veto power over whom the pope could appoint as a bishop in Germany, Spain, and Italy. The three thugs agreed to surtax the Catholics of these countries and send the money to Rome in exchange for making sure the state could control the church.

Church and State: Church atrocities receded in Europe because of the Enlightenment…

 

From Church and State, UK

Excerpted from Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness by James A. Haught. Copyright © James A. Haught, 2002. All rights reserved.

Chapter 15: Enlightenment

During the 1700s, religion’s throttlehold upon Europe slowly loosened. Religious killing still occurred, but with decreasing frequency. Sporadic examples:

In 1723, the bishop of Gdansk, Poland, demanded the expulsion of Jews. The city council declined, but the bishop’s exhortations roused a mob that invaded the ghetto and beat the residents to death.

Women still were burned occasionally as witches-in Scotland in 1722, in Germany in 1749, in Switzerland in 1782.

From 1702 to 1710, Louis XIV’s efforts to stamp out Protestantism caused Camisards of southern France to burn Catholic churches and kill priests. Catholic troops were sent in, slaughtering whole villages. Camisard leaders were executed.

The Inquisition was still alive, chiefly in Spain, but its horrors were few (perhaps because Spain had hardly any secret Jews, Muslims, or Protestants left to kill).

In 1715, Protestants were violently persecuted in the Rhineland Palatinate, and in 1732, Archbishop Firmian forcibly expelled 20,000 Protestants from Salzburg province.

Christians still accused Jews of stealing holy wafers and stabbing them to crucify Jesus again. An execution for host-nailing happened in Nancy, France, in 1761. Christians still accused Jews of sacrificing Gentile children, but massacres were rare. A late exception was the killing of 128 Jews at Bucharest in 1801 after Orthodox priests raised the blood libel.

Why did church atrocities recede in the West? Because a new social climate was spreading—the Age of Reason, the Enlightenment. Philosopher Hegel called it “the Age of Intelligence.” The growth of scientific thinking and open discourse brought an awakening of human rights: a sense that people should be allowed to hold differing beliefs without risking death.

Church and State: A Secular State is best for religious and atheist citizens…

 

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From Irish Times Opinion

Most atheists believe gods exist only as ideas in the minds of humans. Most atheists are open to new evidence that we might be mistaken.

Many people misunderstand the difference between atheism and secularism. Both are forces for good, but for different reasons. Atheism can mean actively believing gods do not exist, or passively not believing gods exist.

Most atheists believe gods exist only as ideas in the minds of humans. Most atheists are open to new evidence that we might be mistaken.

Secularism can mean philosophically focusing on the natural world, or politically separating Church and State. Many religious people support political secularism.

Indeed, Atheist Ireland has a working alliance with Evangelical Alliance Ireland and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Ireland to promote a secular education system.

Atheist Ireland believes that reason and science are more reliable ways of understanding reality than are faith and religion, and that morality is a natural process based on evolved attributes such as empathy, compassion, co-operation, reciprocity, fairness, justice and reason.

Respecting rights

Church and State: This Is How They Broke Our Grandmothers…

 

From Church and State

Once, there were witches. No. There were never witches. Not in the way men said, anyway.

Once, there were many Indigenous polytheist and animist faith traditions in what is now Western Europe. Their customs supported varying levels of respect and authority for women. They had holy women, woman healers, and woman leaders.

Once, there was a church that was a kingdom, built on the body of the Roman Empire, which itself was built on the abduction and rape of the Sabine women. This church was a principality in truth, ruled by princes who had a lust for land and gold that was almost as insatiable as their burning hatred for women.

They converted heads of state and demanded tithes of members, while leaving most local governance alone. They created a very early, very ephemeral transnational empire that required little in the way of personnel or men under arms, and was mainly concerned with governing what’s often classed as the private sphere.

Eventually, the church’s client states had a problem keeping their peasants in line, because the church and the aristocracy wanted to steal all the land and privatize it for themselves through enclosure of the commons.

As Sylvia Federici explains in her book, Caliban and the Witch, secular authorities eventually hit on the popular strategy of giving everything that women had to men, including the women themselves. Civil servants didn’t forget to account for the economic value of women’s work; rather, it was explicitly written out of economic accounting — declared to have no value during the enclosure era. Male tradesmen coordinated boycotts of female competitors and of men who worked with them. Women who persisted in trying to engage in public trades were harassed, called “whores” or “witches,” or were even assaulted without repercussion.

Eventually, to be a woman in public alone was very nearly synonymous with being presumed a witch or prostituted woman. Violence against women was both normalized and sexualized. Women were increasingly driven into prostitution if no man supported them or if they were pushed outside of polite society through accusations of misbehavior, unsanctioned relationships, or sexual abuse. In the sex trade, upstanding men in their communities could torture these women at will, their victims the only party subject to legal sanction.

In order to do their part in solving the problem of the revolting peasantry and acquire their own share of the former commons, the church stepped up to bless this destruction of women’s rights and independence with the seal of divine approval. Their priests invented witches. That is, they invented women who worshipped and had sex with the Devil, who then gave them ludicrous powers — what feminist historian Max Dashu calls “diabolism.” The church further asserted that everything that wasn’t approved as Christian was diabolism.

Again, there weren’t any witches as the church defined them. The pornographic, diabolist image described in the Malleus Maleficarum didn’t refer to any existing persons. For the most part, it didn’t even refer to things that are possible, in spite of the fact that some Indigenous spiritual and women’s health practices were included as evidence of witchcraft.

“Witches” were just women. That’s what men meant, in their own words.