FreeThought Fort Wayne

        Be Reasonable

Posts Tagged ‘separation of church and state’

Prop 8: The Musical

Posted by neuralgourmet on December 3, 2008

Star studded musical to draw attention to opposition to California’s Proposition 8 banning gay marriage. Cast includes Jack Black as Jesus (and yes! our nation was founded on the separation of church and state!), Andy Richter and Doogie Howser (I’m pretty sure Neil Patrick Harris just gave up and legally changed his name a few years back).

Just linking to the video because WordPress won’t let me embed the video.

Advertisements

Posted in Video | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Liberating the Founders

Posted by Skeptigator on November 10, 2008

A couple weeks ago I heard an excellent program on NPR about the separation of church and state. On Sundays at 4PM local, Krista Tippett hosts the show Speaking of Faith.

On the October 30th show, Krista Tippett interviewed Steven Waldman (here) who runs the BeliefNet.com website. Steven Waldman speaks ostensibly about his book Founding Faith however he delves quite a bit into the early role of Evangelical Christians in establishing the separation of church and state.

I would highly recommend his book as well as listening to this podcast.

Posted in FreeThought, Politics, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Is the Maranatha Chapel of Harlan, IN violating the tax code because they are certainly liars

Posted by Skeptigator on October 28, 2008

via acdpblog

A sign of the time perhaps? Apparently the Maranatha Chapel in Harlan, Indiana is carrying the following message on their church sign.

“Do You Want a Muslim For Your President?”

Whoever (or is that whomever) could they be talking about? In all seriousness, many religious, non-profit and tax-exempt organizations have a lot of political activities. And we can argue whether or not they should have *any* but seriously if you take a liberal view of churches (like me) and see them as performing certain civil functions (like being polling places) I honestly don’t really have a problem with political organizing in and of itself within certain limits. But when such tax-exempt organizations cross a clear line. A very clear and bright line, mind you, there should be some repercussions.  Possibly IRS repercussions. This church is actively lying about one of the candidates in this election. They can probably slither out of this by saying they are not actively endorsing any one candidate but come on who are they kidding. So am I to conclude that Christians are liars or only the folks at Maranatha Chapel. Perhaps only the person (likely under the direction of the pastor) who put the sign up. Just for fun, let’s say that Obama is an actual muslim and he’s running for President. This sign still crosses the line, period, because the intent is clear. But to put a cherry on top of this crap sundae, it’s a lie to begin with. I have not seen this sign in person. I originally heard about this from here. A website I don’t visit regularly since partisan politics often pisses me off. I plan on driving by Tuesday evening to get a picture myself after my workout, hopefully it’s not taken down by then. UPDATE: Here’s the link to the local news media: http://www.wane.com/Global/story.asp?S=9253612&nav=menu32_2

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

Posted in Politics, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , | 23 Comments »

Eddie Tabash on the threat of the religious right

Posted by neuralgourmet on July 12, 2008

Edward “Eddie” Tabash is an American lawyer and atheist who has been fighting to preserve the separation of church and state for over thirty years. He is also known for debating prominent Christian apologists such as William Lane Craig. Eddie Tabash is currently the chair of the national legal committee of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, as well as the chair of the First Amendment Task Force for the Council for Secular Humanism. In this series of four videos from a recent lecture given at the Center For Inquiry Ontario in Toronto, Eddie Tabash speaks plainly about the ever-present danger to the U.S. Constitution from the religious right. Videos after the fold. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in FreeThought, Politics, Religion | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

McCain rejects Hagee endorsement

Posted by Skeptigator on May 23, 2008

So let me see if I can get this straight,

McCain & Hagee;

Catholic Church = The Whore of Babylon, McCain has no problem with that.

God-created Holocaust = Bring my people home, McCain has a problem with that

Obama & Wright;

Racially-divisive rhetoric = Black preacher’s message; Obama ok with it since he “didn’t hear it himself”.

AIDS = U.S. government conspiracy to kill blacks; Obama “sees that one” and denounces him.

Clinton & no ties to any discernible religious figure;

*crickets* (or some tenuous and odd connections to The Family)

Politics and Religion

My question is this, Isn’t the mere association with religious figures a risky behavior? Doesn’t the volatile nature of merely being associated or endorsed by a particular religious figure illustrate how divisive religion and politics can be?

Does the U.S. benefit, or more generally does religious freedom benefit, from the mixing of politics and religion in this way? How much damage is done to a candidate like Obama when he has to spend time discussing his pastors social/political/religious views? Here’s an interesting question, when Rev. Wright takes the pulpit and says (from the Rolling Stone article),

“Fact number one: We’ve got more black men in prison than there are in college,” he intones. “Fact number two: Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run!” There is thumping applause; Wright has a cadence and power that make Obama sound like John Kerry. Now the reverend begins to preach. “We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns and the training of professional KILLERS. . . . We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God. . . . We conducted radiation experiments on our own people. . . . We care nothing about human life if the ends justify the means!” The crowd whoops and amens as Wright builds to his climax: “And. And. And! GAWD! Has GOT! To be SICK! OF THIS SHIT!”

Which part of this sermon is political and which part is religious??? Is it a problem that you can’t tell?

To further illustrate the problems inherent (not specific to this instance but actually inherent) in the mixing of politics and religion is the influence that religious belief has on political decisions. Imagine for a moment that you are a dispensationalist, someone who believes that the return of the Jews to Israel is a precursor for the return of Christ. Imagine that as someone who is obsessed with “end-times” prophecy and actually bringing about Armaggedon you have the ear of the President of the United States of America. (video here, transcript here). For those who don’t know you were just imagining John Hagee.

In case you are wondering why McCain would disavow Hagee (and didn’t read the link above) he said the following,

He goes on: “Theodore Hertzel is the father of Zionism. He was a Jew who at the turn of the 19th century said, this land is our land, God wants us to live there. So he went to the Jews of Europe and said ‘I want you to come and join me in the land of Israel.’ So few went that Hertzel went into depression. Those who came founded Israel; those who did not went through the hell of the holocaust.

“Then god sent a hunter. A hunter is someone with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter. And the Bible says — Jeremiah writing — ‘They shall hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and from the holes of the rocks,’ meaning there’s no place to hide. And that might be offensive to some people but don’t let your heart be offended. I didn’t write it, Jeremiah wrote it. It was the truth and it is the truth. How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel.

Perhaps the most disturbing part (you know, besides the obvious offensiveness of it) is that Hagee believes that his omnibenevolent God actively sought the murder of 6 million Jews that He (God) knows will go to hell because they rejected Christ. To those Christians out there, Is that your God? Is this the man you want whispering in the President’s ear?

Bottom Line

Many people have made the statement on TV, to me personally and to some extent I say the same thing. Should the candidates religious belief even matter? Why not evaluate them on their records and what they say? I wish I could and here’s the important part, I cannot only evaluate them in a religiously neutral manner because they won’t let me. That’s right. The candidates themselves have made their religious views a major point of their platform. If it is that important to them in their bids for the presidency you can be assured that it will influence their decisions in the White House.

I am obviously biased (aren’t we all) but I believe that the Founding Fathers of this country hit upon an amazing concept. That the greatest way to protect the Freedom OF Religion was to guarantee that our government was Free FROM Religion.

Posted in Politics, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

The Enlightenment Show Update

Posted by Skeptigator on April 21, 2008

A handful of our members are involved in producing a public access show, called The Enlightenment Show. It is played locally on Comcast and Verizon FiOS, check your local listings for channel and times.

If however you can’t seem to catch the show locally (or you are not local) we now offer it online on our Enlightenment Show page. Each show is about 1/2 hour long and covers brief news items as well as a general topic for discussion.

So far 4 episodes have been produced and episodes 3 & 4 are currently in rotation on public access. Past topics have been “The separation of church and state”, “The scientific method” and “cold reading”. Future episodes planned include a critique of Ben Stein’s sad movie propaganda piece “Expelled” and “The placebo effect” .

If you like what you see or would like to offer some constructive criticism drop a comment on The Enlightenment Show’s page and we’ll make sure the producers of the show get the information.

Posted in FreeThought, Local, Religion, Science, Skepticism | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Steve Waldman on Fresh Air

Posted by neuralgourmet on March 15, 2008

Founder of BeliefnetSteven Waldman is the founder of Beliefnet, perhaps the most highly trafficked website on religion and spirituality. He has a new book out entitled Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America in which he debunks some of the myths surrounding the religious beliefs of the Founding Fathers. He says that the United States was not founded to be a “Christian nation” as many politicians and clergy on the right (and some on the left) are fond of declaring these days but neither was it founded as a secular nation. Instead, religious liberty was the intent of our early leaders. He appeared this past Tuesday on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terri Gross. Visitors to NPR’s website can listen to the interview and read an excerpt of Waldman’s book.

I haven’t listened to the interview yet, but thought some of our members might be interested. If you’d like to learn more about these issues I can highly recommend Susan Jacoby’s book Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism.

Posted in Events, FreeThought, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »