Dubya wishes to end "discrimination" against churches.
February 1, 2001 10:31 PM   Subscribe

Dubya wishes to end "discrimination" against churches. In regards to his recent faith-based services funding thing, Dubya speaks to the religous folks he's targeting. Apparently, he feels the separation of church and state is "discrimination." Is there any vacancy left in Canada for about four years?
posted by Spirit_VW (27 comments total)
I looked into it (link via memepool), but not having $10,000 squirreled away, or any close relatives who are Canadian, or any marketable skills (who needs web designers anymore!), it looks like I'm stuck in The One True White Christian God's Holy Unitified States of America™ for the forseeable future.
posted by smeat at 11:13 PM on February 1, 2001

"The days of discriminating against religious institutions simply because they are religious must come to an end." -- George W. Bush today

"I don't think witchcraft is a religion." -- George W. Bush in June 1999, opposing a decision by Army officials at Fort Hood to allow soldiers to practice Wiccan ceremonies (source: Good Morning America)

posted by rcade at 11:41 PM on February 1, 2001

Hmm. You know, I regularly see conservatives claiming that secularism and "Darwinism" are themselves "religions."

[Cue semi-sarcasm] Why not call them on it? After all, we don't want discrimination against religions, do we? [End semi-sarcasm]

Actually, this seems to me to be a wonderful recipe for religious identity politics, to go along with the racial/gender/whatever identity politics that both the right and the old left claim to dislike.
posted by thomas j wise at 4:09 AM on February 2, 2001

I just want to take this opportunity to apologize to members of any and all religeons I have discriminated against by not joining. I'll try to do better now that Lord Bush hath shown me the way.
posted by Outlawyr at 7:26 AM on February 2, 2001

Uh. This doesn't sound to me any different than any of the other "religious" stuph in our gov't ("one nation under god", "in god we trust".) Empty pablum.
Also, I really think public opinion is far too pro-choice for any thing to be drastically changed anytime too soon. As bound by his morals Bush may be, I bet he's more bound by his desire for a second term.
If someone wants to launch an anti-abortion campaign, they'd have to sway a large chunk of the pop. in the other direction, or the outcry would be violent.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:37 AM on February 2, 2001

I am so sick of hearing Christians crying that they are discriminated against. Geez, Congress added the "under God" part to the pledge of allegiance (*gag*); Every freakin' president starting with Washington has placed his hand on a bible and sworn to god to uphold the laws of the land; every freakin' coin and bill has "in god we trust" on it. Every bloody politician has "god bless you and god bless America" on their lips.

As I once saw on a bumper sticker: "Jesus, protect me from your followers."
posted by terrapin at 8:20 AM on February 2, 2001

Okay, so listen up: I'm pleased to announce the establishment of the 'Love My Neighbor' Church with headquarters in New York City. 'Love My Neighbor' seeks spiritual redemption through the practice of Free Love. We salute this bold move by President ("Father") Bush against discrimination and welcome any future Federal funding for our (non-denominational) Free Love Soup Kitchen and Youth Training Center.
posted by leo at 8:30 AM on February 2, 2001

Well, discrimination against christians does happen (although not in the way we usually think of "discrimination,") however, this has been brought on christians by christians. When someone attacks someone else in the name of the lord, the reaction is naturally "wow those christians are a bunch of crazy f^cks!"
It is unfair that this stereotype is brought against all christians, but they should put the blame where it is due.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:35 AM on February 2, 2001

Every freakin' president starting with Washington has placed his hand on a bible and sworn to god to uphold the laws of the land

Except for Polk. He omitted "god" and swore on the constitution.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:35 AM on February 2, 2001

Thank you rcade, for bringing that up. I wonder if he believes if the various Pagan religions are, in fact, religion. Posing the question as "witchcraft" might have confused him.

At least that's the delusional hope I have in the back of my brain and I'm very, VERY suprised that none of the journalists covering the National Prayer Breakfast or the current religion issue has verified his position on pagan religions (as well as other polytheistic religions).

The thought occurs to me....how do you categorize religions were the same god is worshipped? Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews and Christians all worship the same god....they just have different interpretations. They're not all Christian religions.....what are they?
posted by bkdelong at 9:41 AM on February 2, 2001

Keep in mind that certain Evangelical Christians get mad when Catholics are called Christian. As such, I don't expect them to be exceptionally tolerant when it comes to "not even calling themselves Christian" religions. To them, anything that rejects God is ... the work of Satan. Which I do not mean jocularly; they don't.

sonofsiam, this IS different: I think so, because they think so. There's more than the usual religious pablum here, there's a guru and a whole secretive think tank directing strategy. (These folks aren't just Republicans; they're close to Bush, so they have more influence.)

Imagine an all-too-common situation, a non-Christian child at a school football game. The teachers, the administrators, the students, the parents are all overwhelmingly Christian and want to hold a public prayer before the game. The liberal view is that the non-Christian child is being discriminated against by the majority. The Olasky-CNP-Bush view is that the majority are being discriminated against for not being allowed to co-opt public institutions for their prayer.

Effectively, they wish to revisit some of the oldest decisions in the Supreme Court's history concerning the place of religion in public life. The "separation of church and state" is based on the First Amendment's clause against an Establishment of religion (in those days, that meant public tax support for churches, as is still true in, for example, Lutheran Scandinavia). The assumption has held for well over 150 years that the majority religion's mere presence was enough to create a virtual establishment. The Olasky crowd wish to turn this conception on its head. Now, they're being careful to be inclusive of Catholics, mainline Protestants, and Jews, but the very essence of their policy plan is to push a dramatic change in the way that the federal government treats religion.

Here's one (opposing) viewpoint of what this means to minority religions, let alone non-religious people.
posted by dhartung at 10:07 AM on February 2, 2001

We all know Christian religion and any others can be used to encourage any idea.

Slavery. Well in the bible they had slaves so its okay. In fact let's teach the slave to obey their master.
Sexism. Well look at Eve, women can't preach, wife be submissive to your husband.
Homophobia. Well in the bible God destroyed a city because of those gays.

Remember all the Christian who killed others because they didn't want to convert to Christianity. Bush is no different.
posted by passionblack at 10:45 AM on February 2, 2001

Comin to canada won't help you pal, separation of church and state isn't even mandated here...at least your problem is just difficulties following through on what you're constitution's supposed to provide. My old high school still has daily bible readings and prayer and there'd be lynchings if they tried to stop it...
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 10:57 AM on February 2, 2001

Yes, passionblack, the next step is Bush advocating the mass killing of non-Christians.

Oy vey.
posted by Dreama at 11:06 AM on February 2, 2001

terrapin, your examples are pretty silly. None of those things has anything to do with discrimination or lack thereof. Besides, finding negative examples does not prove your point. It's like saying, "Look at Michael Jordan, Oprah, and Tiger Woods! See, African-Americans are extraordinarily well-off!"

That said, it's usually the majority religion or denomination that discriminates against the minorities, as seen in recent stadium prayer thingies at high schools, etc. etc. If you agree that that rule applies in general, then it isn't too hard to see where there may be cases in which the mainstream "Yeah sure there's a God, maybe" point of view in more progressive, more urban areas can sometimes result in discrimination against more conservative or stricter religious groups.

Okay, I dunno if any of that made sense.
posted by daveadams at 11:34 AM on February 2, 2001

Well, his dad said:

"No, I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." (in 1987, and since has always refused to apologize or withdraw the statement)

So, Dreama, I'm sorry, but your supposed "so far out it's wacko" scenario doesn't seem terribly far from what the Bush family wants.

posted by norm at 11:37 AM on February 2, 2001

<OFFTOPIC>BKDelong, the term that was used (mostly, IIRC, in the Byzantine empire) during the Middle Ages is "People of the Book", indicating that Christianity and Islam are both based on the Old Testament; both religions assert that they are coming forward from the Judaic prophetic tradition (Islam from the Judeo-Christian prophetic tradition). Elsewhere in the religious spectrum, Baha'i's founder, Baha'u'llah, similarly asserted that he followed the prophetic tradition of Muhammed, although he also claimed to be following in the path of Krishna. Mormonism bases its divergence from traditional Protestantism on the revelation of the Book of Mormon. I'm not sure where the Jehovah's Witnesses got their ideas, but from what I know of them, they seem to be rooted in the New Testament (although their interpretations differ in many ways from mainstream Protestants), but I know there's some kind of adventist tradition in there. "Millions now living will never die" and what.</OFFTOPIC>

See what a liberal arts education is good for? Pontificating on MeFi!

SoSIA: "One nation, under God" and "In God we trust" are relatively recent additions -- they stemmed from American desire to show the wholesome American way differed from Godless communism. To assert that they in some way invalidate the establishment clause, which people do now and again, always boggles me.

Dhartung: I read a thought-provoking Joan Didion piece on Olasky a while back. I'll see if I can dig up a link. Olasky disturbs me in ways I can't quite pin down, and I'd like to think it's not just due to some knee-jerk anti-religious impulse on my part. I guess I just get creepy Dickensian vibes off of him.

Daveadams: I can see how that might be in the case in certain social circles, but do you think that's the case in state funding of religiously-sponsored charity work? I don't know whether it is or not, and that's what Dubya is addressing here. The main problem I see is that inevitably this is going to lead to state funded proselytizing -- government projects never stay 100% targeted. And that's why Dubya's use of that Martin Luther King quote doesn't ring true for me; I'd respond that he who takes the king's pay plays the king's tune. Look at the flip side -- what happens when the state starts using the thread of witholding money as a club against churches who receive government funding?
posted by snarkout at 12:18 PM on February 2, 2001

Silly me, I forgot to credit the fine Null Device blog for tipping me off to that quote.
posted by norm at 12:40 PM on February 2, 2001

snarkout: I know where they come from. And I wasn't saying that they defy chruch-state yada, yada. I was saying that bush's words were as meaningless and ineffectual as those (although dhartung has given me some new things to consider now.)
Sorry if i was unclear.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:46 PM on February 2, 2001

Freedom of religion also means freedom FROM religion. When are people going to get that into there heads? Even if you give money to "all" churches you are still saying to atheist/agnostics that you support organized religion in general.
posted by thirdball at 1:12 PM on February 2, 2001

SoSIA -- You weren't unclear; I failed to wrap my response to you in offtopicness. It was more of a side thought about people who really are unclear on the concept.
posted by snarkout at 2:55 PM on February 2, 2001

If you look at this ABC News article, Bush says:

"Our country from its beginning has recognized the contribution of faith. We do not impose any religion. We welcome all religions. We do not proscribe any prayer. We welcome all prayer. This is the tradition of our nation. And it will be the standard of my administration."

This clearly rules out atheists, though I'm not sure that his speeches have the legal precision of Clinton's, where every word was carefully chosen.
posted by bbrown at 3:56 PM on February 2, 2001

though I'm not sure that his speeches have the legal precision of Clinton's, where every word was carefully chosen.

No, even *more* scarily, they are relatively spontaneous emissions of his heart.
posted by rushmc at 4:52 PM on February 2, 2001

thirdball: yes. i couldn't agree more.
posted by lia at 9:09 PM on February 2, 2001

For anyone still reading this thread, the Joan Didion piece on Olasky was published in the New York Review of Books. Worth reading.
posted by snarkout at 1:20 PM on February 3, 2001

snarkout: Well, in my comments I was reacting more to Bush's statement than his program to address the perceived discrimination. The best way to prevent any possibility of government discrimination is not to give any money to any of these groups. Government subsidy always leads to inefficiencies, unfairness, and more problems.

Not that subsidizing such things isn't a great idea in theory. But in practice, in the real world of real people, it often (always?) causes more harm than good.
posted by daveadams at 11:42 PM on February 3, 2001

daveadams: silly, maybe. sarcastic, definitely. But I still think people who are part of a huge and powerful majority should learn to walk in the other person's shoes to see what persecution really is. There certainly wasn't anything in Bush's Christianity-laden coronation speech for atheists like me. Of course the former VP candidate, Joe Liberman—for whom I voted—also doesn't think the Constitution provides freedom from religion. And that disappoints me.

People of every and no religion should be concerned when portions of one particular religion become overly common in the daily activities of the U.S. government.
posted by terrapin at 2:35 PM on February 8, 2001

« Older During the Super Bowl fans were subjucted to a...   |   51,631 dot com layoffs Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments