Syte Reitz

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world…….

Browsing Posts tagged Freedom from religion

Priorities?

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Priorities

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It is moving to see a President shed tears over loss of Life, as President Obama did during the announcement of his Executive Action on gun control two days ago.

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But it is baffling to consider that the death of 26 innocent people at Newtown can move President Barack Obama to tears, while the death of over 57 MILLION innocent unborn babies does not appear to move him in the least.

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Just HOW Pro-Abortion is President Obama?

President Obama is the most radically pro-abortion President we have ever seen.

Ironically, this is a man who, as the black child of single mother,  would himself have faced a more than 54% probability of abortion, if abortion had been legal at the time of his birth.yournotkeepingitareyou_2012-02-13-brief-cartoon

  • President Obama is so pro-abortion that he voted three times against Born Alive Infant Protection Acts that would require medical care for a baby who survives an abortion.
    President Obama supports the killing of a baby born accidentally in a botched full 9-month term partial-birth abortion.
  • President Obama is so pro-abortion that he has voiced support for the abortion of his own grandchildren.
  • President Obama is so pro-abortion that through ObamaCare, he has forced mandates on religious employers, forcing the employers to provide abortifacient drugs to their employees, against their own religious beliefs.  He has pursued this prioritization of abortion in health care after initially promising his pro-life Democrat colleagues (Stupak and his 11) that ObamaCare would not include abortion.
  • President Obama even has a  “Science Czar,” John Holdren, who has advocated forced abortion and forced sterilization  in the United States to control population.

So we now have a President who has forced abortion onto America, against the wishes of 2/3 of the American population, by deception and through lies.

Do we plan to do something about this as voters in 2016?

Can the aggressive abortion agenda and the culture of deception in our government be changed?
Can we do something about this as voters in 2016?
-Stay tuned, for upcoming articles on the 2016 election, on candidates, and on America’s future options.

See also previous articles on related topics:

The Importance of Babies…

  • The Baby – an article on the importance of the baby, written on my son’s birthday, 3 years ago today. Happy Birthday, Chris!
  • Dear Baby – a letter written our first grandbaby before she was born
  • Abortion – a Much Bigger Deal Than You Think – an article for those who think abortion is not a big deal.
  • The Contrast – an article contrasting Madison’s Pro-Life community with Madison’s Pro-Choicers, and featuring the behavior of Annie Laurie Gaylor, Dan Barker, and the Freedom From Religion crowd at a Catholic Pro-Life event.
  • Black Death in America – on the importance of showing concern for all black deaths.

Obama: "For Independence Day, you will lose your independence"

Obama Administration Forcing Abortion…

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Obama Administration Subverting Religious Freedom…"Baracchio" turning into a donkey as "Timothy Cricket" looks on, appalled.  In the popular children's tale of Pinocchio, Pinocchio fell in with a bad crowd of pleasure-seeking boys.  This resulted in their turning into donkeys who would be enslaved by a coachman.  Pinocchio's conscience, represented by Jiminy Cricket (played here by Archbishop Timothy Dolan) saves Pinocchio from his bad judgement, and the tale ends happily.

 Elections 2016:

 

What Happens When You Take Character Out of Politics

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The National Disease

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Understanding the Role of Religion in Government

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“Divorcing religious faith from public life soon leads to separating government from morality and citizens from their consciences. And that leads to politics without character, which has now become a national disease.”

-Archbishop Chaput in Render Unto Caesar, p. 169.

No– nobody’s talking about violating the separation of Church and State, or the establishment of a state religion.

What is being discussed is the inclusion of principles  in government on which most citizens, and major religions, agree.  Inclusion of these principles in the Constitution and in our system of laws helps to maintain morality and justice.  The principles are not imposed from above, but result from a religious population voting their conscience to create a Constitution and to pass laws which are fair, just, and beneficial to society.

Just as the Founding Fathers of the United States practiced these principles, so, too, the 80% Christian Americans today need to think, act on, and vote these principles to maintain the system of government that was passed down to us.  We cannot sit around idly, while radicals and “progressives” progressively work to eliminate all principles of right and wrong from our government.

Biblically speaking, Christ told disciples to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, referring at least on one level, to the payment of taxes.  Archbishop Chaput points out that in 2012, paying taxes and sitting back is not sufficient.  We must inform ourselves of where politicians are steering our government, we must consult our Christian consciences, and we must take civic action to ensure that our faith, our morality and our consciences take part in the democratic process that continues to shape this nation.

We cannot fall for false and misleading demands by radicals that we guarantee freedom FROM religion in the public sphere.  We need to support freedom OF religion, which builds the politics of character and begins to cure the national disease.

Questions?

Read the book. Amazon lets you read the first chapter free.

What Happens When You Try to Divorce Religious Faith from Public Life?

Freedom FROM Religion happens. (See The Contrast.)
Politics without character happens.
It’s not a pretty sight.

Best Summer Read: Render Unto Caesar

In his book Render Unto Caesar, Archbishop Charles Chaput gives a brilliant analysis of the role of religious belief in government, which would interest any conservative and any Christian.  It’s a compelling, can’t-put-it-down read.  Who would think that our Archbishops would start turning into popular superstars?  First Cardinal Dolan, now Archbishop Chaput.

It is With Wisdom and Good Reason that the Constitution of the United States included religion in the Bill of Rights:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
– the First Amendment, Constitution of the United Sates

Read Render Unto Caesar, and start rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s (and no, you don’t render money, you render your civic action). I have the Kindle copy, which is only $10.99, and works on iPhone.  Amazon lets you read the first chapter free.

To quote another great bishop,

Government needs religion because religion is the only reliable source of voluntary self-restraint.
No government can police a whole nation without the help of voluntary self-restraint. 
-(my paraphrasing of a talk given by Bishop Robert Morlino to Madison’s Future Society in 2003).

 

 

 

 

 

St. Pauls Catholic Center, UW Madison

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My interest in the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) was sparked last month when the FFRF started opposing the private plans of the Catholic Student Center in my town, Madison (http://sytereitz.com/2011/01/freeedom-from-religion/ ).  Since then, in one month I have seen stories online about FFRF’s attempts to interfere in local affairs in Giles County, VA, Iowa State Legislature, Colorado, Ellwood City, PA, Yakima, WA, Polk County, FL, and more.

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In each case, FFRF seems to rely on the limitations of small local budgets to intimidate the local groups, demanding that they eliminate public expression of religion, or suffer large litigation costs.

Although FFRF claims that any public expression of religion violates the Constitution, many others believe the reverse to be true, and some court rulings have upheld public expression of religion, including pre- legislative prayer and display of the Ten Commandments.  FFRF seems to rely on threats of litigation toward SMALL communities with SMALL budgets to achieve its goals of banishing religion incrementally.

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The U.S. Bill of Rights states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

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The communities affected by FFRF’s threats of litigation, as well as all communities across America which are in sympathy with preserving our Constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of religion, should band together to fight the relatively small FFRF together.  FFRF constitutes only 0.003 of 1% of America’s population, while religious people and Christians constitute 90% and 80%.  FFRF’s holdings are $5million, and their annual income is $500,000.  They have a paid staff of four people.  By business standards, this is a relatively small outfit.  If conservative America joined forces, this radical atheist organization with its unconstitutional agenda would be relatively easy to defeat.

One more avenue of opposition to FFRF’s agenda would be for conservative America to join the affected communities in establishing pre-legislative prayer, display of the 10 commandments/Constitution in schools, and nativity displays at Christmas in numerous communities across the nation.  The more communities joining in such an effort, the more FFRF’s limited resources would be spread thin.

This is one battle America could easily win.

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As is often the case, a Wisconsin State Journal (WSJ) article sent me on an interesting thought trajectory last week.

In a New Years Day 2011 article, WSJ author Chris Rickert wrote, “I approached a handful of more-or-less randomly chosen (Madison) people who aren’t exactly celebrities (but aren’t exactly unknown either) about coming up with resolutions for Madison.”

The Greek word "atheoi" αθεοι ("those who are without god") as it appears in the Epistle to the Ephesians 2:12, on early 3rd-century Papyrus"

When thus approached, Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) atheist Annie Laurie Gaylor suggested the following resolution for Madison: “just say no to the (St. Paul’s Catholic Student) Center‘s unreasonable demand for a tax-free, 14-story dormitory and religious addition.”  Apparently this Madison atheist’s primary concern for 2011 seemed to be preventing the replacement of UW Madison’s Catholic student headquarters. (!)

Questions immediately came to mind:

St. Paul's from 1909

  • Why would opposition to the Catholic Student center be so high on an atheist organization’s priority list?   (The replacement will be funded by private donations, and replaces an existing Catholic Student center, which has been in existence at that location since 1909.)
  • Why is MY Catholic religion being singled out by the atheists?  (The atheist’s objections did not include other campus religious groups or buildings, or their tax-exempt status.)
  • Isn’t the atheist being inconsistent? Isn’t atheism a religion as well?  Aren’t atheists simply opposing OTHER people’s religions in preference to their own? Why would they particularly single out Catholicism?

Searching the UW Madison student organization website, atheists came up as the second listing under RELIGIOUS student organizations– Atheists, Humanists & Agnostics @ UW-Madison. So atheism is listed as a religion at UW, along with Catholic student groups, Muslim student groups, and others.

If the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is so opposed to religion, what are they specifically opposed to?

According to dictionary.com, religion is “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

  • Is FFRF opposed to exploring the cause, nature and purpose of the universe?
  • Does FFRF deny the right of others to believe in a superhuman agency (as 80% of Madison and 80% of America does)?
  • Is FFRF opposed to a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs?
  • Are atheists not contradicting themselves, since they also adhere to a system of beliefs and are listed under UW Madison religious organizations?

My curiosity piqued, I visited the Freedom From Religion Foundation(FFRF) website  “about” page, where I found the statement:

“The history of Western civilization shows us that most social and moral progress has been brought about by persons free from religion.”

Abraham Lincoln

Hmmm….according to FFRF, so much for considering contributions to Western civilization by Jesus Christ, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Johann Sebastian Bach, Michelangelo, Sir Isaac Newton, Gregor Mendel, Max Planck, Albert Einstein, G.K. Chesterton, Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Clarence Thomas, Pope John Paul II, Mother Theresa………?

The FFRF “about” page goes on to claim ownership of prison reform, humane treatment of the mentally ill, abolition of capital punishment, the end of slavery, women’s suffrage, and more, for people who are “free of” religion.

Johnny Cash

A brief historical tour of these topics does not support FFRF’s claims—no one group had a monopoly on reform in these areas, and numerous religious people were involved, including famous names like Abraham Lincoln and Johnny Cash.

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A visit to Wikipedia’s entry on FFRF indicates that FFRF maintained a sign in the Wisconsin State Capitol during the Christmas season, which reads:

FFRF sign at Wisconsin Capitol

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“At this season of the Winter Solstice may reason prevail.
There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell.
There is only our natural world.
Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens the heart and enslaves minds.”

-A disturbingly intolerant statement about many religions, particularly for a city like Madison, which prides itself on its University, its intellectualism and its tolerance!

Consider a simple substitution in the last sentence of the sign:                                    Atheism is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” instead of Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens the heart and enslaves minds.”

How would FFRF tolerate the exhibition of that in the State Capitol on a gold sign for children to view?

The first line of the FFRF verse is also inconsistent with FFRF’s supposed mission; Winter Solstice, capitalized, refers to pagan celebrations, which are religious.  Is FFRF promoting pagan holidays, while opposing Christian ones like Christmas?  Hardly sounds like freedom from religion.

The FFRF Christmas season sign is an inconsistent curiosity at best, and surely would not be appreciated by 80% of Madison, who are Christian, when they bring their children to see the Christmas tree at the Capitol each year!

How many atheists are there, anyway? Wikipedia claims 2.5% of the world’s population, 2% of the U.S. population.

And of these, how many are so militant that they cannot tolerate a Christmas tree or a “Merry Christmas” wish?  The couple of atheists/agnostics I know have no problem with Christmas, and they participate in Christmas celebrations and Christmas giving with enthusiasm.  They are quite tolerant of the Christian majority in America, and enjoy the spirit of the occasion.  So what percentage of Americans does the FFRF really represent?  It is certainly lower than the total of all atheists, 2%.  The FFRF website lists their North American membership of 15,500, which is 0.003 of 1% of the population, or one in 33 thousand people.

City-data.com demographics list Madison as 53% Catholic, 22% Evangelical Lutheran, and only 10% of the population outside of Christian denominations.

So as we delve further into the facts, we discover that in the City of Madison, which is 53% Catholic and 80% Christian, and in the State of Wisconsin, which is 29% Catholic and 80% Christian, the insignificant number of militant atheists want to prevent Catholic students from replacing their Catholic student center at their own cost when membership swells.

Catholic students in front of St. Paul's

Perhaps it is the tax-deductible status of the Catholic Student Center that offends FFRF?  The Catholic student center is located between its brethren structures, Calvary Lutheran Student Center, and Pres House, the Presbyterian Student Center.  All three are religious institutions and all three are tax-exempt.  The FFRF is also tax exempt, and the UW Madison atheist student organization (listed under Religious Student Organizations) is tax exempt. So tax exemption cannot be the problem.

Does FFRF think that UW or the City of Madison will be paying for the new structure?

FFRF’s Annie Julie Gaylor stated:“(St. Paul’s Catholic Student) Center’s unreasonable demand for a tax-free, 14-story dormitory and religious addition.” — but St. Paul’s Catholic Center is not demanding anything from anybody.  They already own the location since 1909, and the new building will be paid for by private donations.

So the Catholic Center is not unique in its tax-free status. The Catholic students are not demanding anything from anybody.  Perhaps it is the expansion that FFRF is opposed to?

St. Paul's today

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The expanded taller structure reflects the increase in Catholic students participating in the Catholic Center, and this is not surprising in a town which is 53% Catholic and a State which is 29% Catholic.  29 to 53% of the UW campus would represent about 11,000 to 21,000 students.  Does the FFRF, representing between 0.003% and  2% of the population (this would correspond to between 1 and 800 students), wish to deny the 80% Christian majority access to religious organizations and dormitories to support the student population’s interests and priorities?

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In a world in which litigation has much power to intimidate, small groups such as the FFRF have made some headway toward abolishing the rights of self-expression guaranteed to us by the Bill of Rights of the United States:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

The FFRF, with their $5 million fund balance, their half-million dollar yearly income, and 15,000 (North American) membership, is a small organization at best.  Yet FFRF has made some inroads towards stifling the freedom OF religion guaranteed to us in the United States– primarily by filing lawsuits against public expressions of religion.

FFRF should be reminded that the preposition used by the founding fathers in the Bill of Rights is freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion. They should be reminded that they are the guests among a majority of religious people in this country, who exhibit more much tolerance towards FFRF than is reciprocated.  And in preparation for the next time our freedom OF religion is threatened by frivolous FFRF lawsuits, we should start a Freedom OF Religion Fund to pay for the defense of the Bill of Rights against militant atheists like FFRF.  We 80% Christians and 90% religious people in this country, as well as the 8-10% tolerant atheists/agnostics/unsure believers, would prevail against the aggressive and intolerant attitudes of groups like the FFRF if we woke up, got organized and took action.

FFRF should take a lesson in tolerance from Bishop Morlino, another one of the people consulted by WSJ for this article’s New Year’s resolutions for Madison.  Bishop Morlino did not suggest stifling FFRF’s plans, challenging their tax-exempt status, or interfering with FFRF in any way.  Bishop Morlino suggested some daily quiet personal introspection for everyone in Madison– which Annie Laurie Gaylor would be wise to consider.

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