Targeting religious belief on campus

Part of the ‘economic stimulus’ plan?

{ 11 Comments }

  1. wow, that is frightening. Esp since there are a number of churches who use schools on the weekends as their meeting places-that means itis bad for both those churches AND the schools since they will not receive the rent money for the use of the facilities either. It seems to be a very unwise move on many levels.

  2. I am saddened and angered and scared. I wish I could say I’m surprised. I wonder how many will be joining the homeschooling ranks soon.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  3. This seems overblown to me from this description and quote: http://religionclause.blogspot.com/2009/02/amendment-to-stimulus-bill-defeated-ban.html

    I think the standard is kind of like the tax standard for my home office: what’s the “primary use”? I think it means you can’t use it on a chapel or zen prayer garden. I don’t think it means a dorm where Christian groups sometimes meet–that’s only a small percentage of their use, not their purpose and not “a substantial portion” (like if I worked at my dining room table, that wouldn’t make it a home office). The way most educational institutions are hurting financially, they’ll have plenty of qualifying ways to use this money if they want it–they’ll just use it on a parking lot or something. Then they can use their parking lot money on the chapel. It’s a wash.

    The stimulus bill also includes $100 billion for faith-based initiatives.

    I know the devil’s in the details on all this stuff but I hate to see Christians be so reactionary we seem afraid we’ll perish without enough grants. Our God fears not Caesar!

  4. hi, i’m delurking for this. this makes me so angry. don’t religious people pay taxes? aren’t they using our tax dollars to fund these things? so they are saying that those of us who’s tax money is used for funding aren’t even allowed to use the facilities? i am so mad, i don’t know what to say!

  5. On one hand, I think there is a determined segment of our population who will do whatever they can to ‘control’ or even outlaw Christianity. So goes history. On the other hand, I think Christians are far too concerned about what benefits and recognition their ‘organizations’ are given from the government. We don’t need government buildings (ie public school buildings) in order to exist or gather. We don’t “believe” by government permission. And all the freedom of speech in the world doesn’t guarantee that people’s hearts will change when they hear the truth. I would just as soon not live under oppression and I will speak up for maintaining personal liberties, but I’m not sure that includes claiming “a right” to government subsidy, in whatever form. They will tax and say they are caring for us, but I will try where ever possible to avoid using services that legitimize their extending their tentacles into my life.

  6. Thank you for posting this!

  7. In response to a previous comment: people from all religions (and lack thereof) pay taxes in this country.

    Additionally, as mentioned earlier, this administration is also putting a lot of money into (primarily Christian) faith-based organizations. The article in this post seems like right-wing fear mongoring to me, designed to keep diverse groups from working together to actually get something done.

    I believe this quote (from Obama) found on an NPR article discussing his faith based initiatives explains the focus of the administration:

    “In a world that grows smaller by the day, perhaps we can begin to crowd out the destructive forces of zealotry and make room for the healing power of understanding.”
    President Barack Obama

  8. The package contains so many things that are outrageous that it’s hard to pick just one or two things to pick apart. It’s crazy.

  9. I don’t see how this is any different from what currently happens with parochial schools. When I was in (parochial) school, tax dollars could be used for anything but topics/events devoted to religious practice. The school still received tax dollars, but the other events were carried by tuition or private support. A ban indicates that schools wouldn’t get any money at all if they had faith-based activities, which is not the case here.** Asking them not to use certain funds for certain purposes is a different story. If the schools were permitted to use federal funds for religious groups, they would have to fund all religious groups. So if Uni Alpha has a ton of Christians and Uni B a ton of Satanists, both schools would be equally eligible for $$.

    ** barring funds to schools w/any religious activity is more like a gag rule (again, not the case here.)

  10. Now is the time for Christians to humble ourselves and PRAY! We also must to teach our children about the Declaration of Independence and give them a very deep understanding of our Constitution (particularly the Bill of Rights).

  11. @ bethPie — part of the issue speaks to Laura’s observation: government funding comes with government strings. The separation of church and state was meant to protect the autonomy of both parties — the state can’t tell you how to worship, and the church can’t tell the state the same thing. Remember, the early settlers came because of religious persecution: their faith/practices were different from those of the government (and Britian had already seen wars due to religious changes in their government.)

    So the Constitution/Bill of Rights speaks from that position: how can a group of citizens be protected from an overarching government? And how can this fledgling government be protected from churches who then take their rules and apply them to the populace ? Remember, leadership changes faster than laws do, and different religions have different practices. Catholics, Methodists, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are all Christians, but their practices are hardly universal, and restricting their legal influence (not philosophical, but legal influence) to the secular, allows people of different faiths to live peaceably in a community (hopefully.)

    It is the duty of all citizens to understand the laws that govern their country. But it’s very important not to ascribe certain meaning to the laws because we wish it to be so: the freedoms given in the Bill of Rights aren’t negated by lack of government funds. In contrast, it could be seen as promotion of a particular faith, which is against the Constitution.

    If the government decided that it would fund the religious aspects of schools, then it’s a short step for the government to apply standards/conditions/restrictions to that curriculum, or to actively promote certain faith-based subjects that may not be desirable (meaning, you might want a federally funded program to teach your views, but do you really want it to teach mine when my church starts lobbying the government for control of those funds?) It’s important to know your rights, but it’s helpful to understand why the Founding Fathers thought those rights were necessary.