Here We Go Again

Religious Freedom seems to be the topic of the day in many circles (after the impeachment, of course). Especially since our esteemed President signed the recent Executive Order which he said was aimed at “reducing discrimination against people and groups of faith.”

(Ironically, Trump ended his above comment with … “There’s nothing more important than that.” I can’t help but ask … more important that impending impeachment?)

One writer in an article about the EO seemed giddy with excitement:

President Trump acted in the best interests of the American people Thursday when he signed an executive order to bolster and protect the rights of students to pray and discuss God in their schools. The order champions and reinforces the freedom of religion guaranteed to us in the Constitution as one of our most important rights.

He went on to say (undoubtedly without prejudice) …

We’re not looking to coerce or force anyone to accept our beliefs – we simply want government to respect our constitutionally derived right to freely express our own deeply held faith.

Of course the question then arises … WHOSE “deeply held faith” are you referring to, sir? The deeply held faith of the Muslim? The deeply held faith of the Mormon? The deeply held faith of the Sikh? The deeply held faith of the Jew?

Oh wait! His next remark seems to make it quite clear:

My own organization has been encouraging students to exercise their religious freedom by bringing their Bibles to school on the first Thursday of every October. (emphasis added)

Maybe I’m off-base, but aren’t Bibles the textbook for Christians?

He goes on to mention how terribly some (Christian) students are treated because they were …

… prohibited from praying during non-instructional time, denied participation in faith-based student clubs on campus, and chastised for expressing biblical points of view in class assignments.

IMO, his first two complaints have some validity, but that last one? Borderline if you ask me. I mean, isn’t “expressing biblical points in class assignments” an example of crossing that line?

In another article on the same subject, the Rev. Johnnie Moore, a member of Trump’s informal evangelical advisory board contended that …

the “White House isn’t saying whether one should pray or to whom or what they should pray to” with the announced changes but that “they are simply making it clear that in the United States students have First Amendment rights also, and our ‘separation of church and state’ wasn’t intended to suppress a vibrant religious life in America but to facilitate it.”

Sounds good, but if this guy is on the evangelical advisory board, there’s little doubt the entity “to whom” he’s referencing.

It never ends. Instead of allowing people to be who and/or what they want to be, certain groups insist upon molding everyone to their way of thinking/believing.

Doesn’t anyone ever wonder why “God” (who is supposed to the All-Wise One) didn’t design his creations to all think the same way? It sure would have saved us humans a lot of grief!

33 thoughts on “Here We Go Again

  1. once again into the breach! I remember in the 1960’s. the attempts to bring religion into the public school system..two years of arguments, attack ads and many, many meetings later a new president came into office (A Catholic by GOD!!!) and suddenly it was against every rule for there to be religious activity of any type in the public school system. There was a young people’s religious revival of sorts in the early 70’s……those “Jesus freaks” all wanted to have public schools teach creationism while handing out flowers and singing lovely peaceful songs……… in the 80’s people’s heads came out of their asses for a while. It seems they have forgotten how dark a space the anus actually IS and have shoved them back up there. This too shall pass. A president’s resolution means emphatically NOTHING. It is a statement of what he thinks should happen without any mandate to actually DO it behind it. GO VOTE!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Donald “Two Corinthians” Trump barely knows anything about Christianity (hell, he barely knows anything about anything). It’s all about pandering to the biggest and most loyal part of his base. He doesn’t care about the substance of their beliefs. If there were millions of loyal Trump voters who worshiped hippopotamus farts, he would shamelessly parrot the rhetoric of the hippopotamus fart cult and pander to their delusions of persecution just as much.

    Generally speaking, people are free to do religious stuff in school if they aren’t obnoxious or disruptive about it. What isn’t allowed is anything that implies official recognition for a religion by the school authorities, such as prayer organized or endorsed by the school (even if non-believers can opt out of it, it’s still favoring a particular religion). Fundies, however, believe they’re entitled to be dominant and get that official recognition, and they constantly push and push at the boundaries. Right now they just happen to have a president who will support those efforts as long as he believes they’ll keep voting for him. It’s up to the courts to uphold the First Amendment.

    And no matter what they do, they can’t stop the number of “nones” from exploding year by year as younger people leave religion in droves. All this fundie ranting and bullying is just the death throes of an obsolete monster that can’t stop itself from sinking further and further into the tar pit.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. I just can’t help but notice the religion with the longest history of oppressing other faith cry oppression like babies every time someone wants to restrict their overbearant, intrusive ideology from running their lives

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Many, many, MANY times I’ve been accused of promoting a “Victim-complex” when I share my deconversion from the Cult of Christology and how leaving that cult is HARD while living inside a region and U.S. state that is predominantly Protestant Christian, sometimes/often Fundy-Evangy Xian. 😬😵🥺

    Liked by 4 people

  5. On average, children spend 20% of their week in school, 80% out of school. Is it really too much to ask that they refrain from expounding on their religious beliefs for a short 7 hours, five days a week? Given the diversity of our nation, and the fact that there is NO state-supported religion (contrary to what the likes of Franklin Graham and his ilk seem to believe), it is highly inappropriate for discussions of religion in school where some are almost certain to be offended. Would somebody please explain the U.S. Constitution to the Oaf in the Oval Office???

    Liked by 4 people

  6. “… prohibited from praying during non-instructional time, denied participation in faith-based student clubs on campus, and chastised for expressing biblical points of view in class assignments.”

    The third complaint sounds like it was a demand for a license to disturb the class, but do the two other complaints actually have validity? Have children been prohibited from praying during non-instructional time, or denied particiaption in faith-based student clubs on campus? Why?

    Liked by 1 person

    • In some schools, there are student clubs which are officially supported or sponsored by the school in some way. I think there have been cases in which such schools refused to let religious clubs be set up with such sponsorship since that would imply official endorsement of a religion, which would violate the constitution. In the case of private student clubs with no connection with school authorities, I can’t imagine that the school authorities would care to prohibit such clubs, or could prohibit them, or would even know about them.

      As for “expressing biblical points of view in class assignments”, some rabble-rousing preachers train Christian students to ask certain canned questions when their teachers bring up evolution, in order to undermine the teaching of evolution (such as “how can you know what happened at the beginning of the world since you weren’t there personally” whereas, they imply, God was there and therefore he does know). This is disruptive, wastes time, and confuses other students (geography teachers aren’t expected to waste time answering challenges from flat-Earthers in class). They are probably complaining about teachers quashing that sort of thing.

      Remember that pretty much all of these kinds of cases are confrontations deliberately fomented by religionists with the aim of forcing the school authorities into doing something that would constitute an endorsement of religion. They aren’t things that develop naturally. The fundies consciously try to start fights so they can yell about persecution when a fight happens.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Thanks for the explanation. So, what this is about, is a blatant lie, that someone was prohibited from doing from something specific, when infact they were not prohibited at all. It is annoying how people can be so stupid, that even if they would like the endorsment of a religion or an ideology, that they would submit to or accept, these sorts of underhanded methods of smuggling their ideals into schools. I would like to think, that if someone would use such obvious lies to further a cause dear to me, I would be among the first to cry foul.

        Obviously Biblical points of view do not belong to any class or other educational subjects, or fields of science, than theology or religion class and I find it disturbing, that anyone could even demand that from schools without being publicly ridiculed. But it happens. Religions (at least) are weird ideologies, in that people become decidedly blind to all criticism about their particular own religious beliefs and accept the most terrible half-truths and even lies to promote their brand of superstitions, even though by far most people are not that interrested in the supernatural.

        Does it not help to fight such nonsense by bringing out to the public forum the obvious and not at all well hidden lies in this agenda? How is it, that the media has not grabbed this blatant and deliberate lying and twisting of the truth? Very few people appriciate lies, especially from a politician, or any character in power.

        Liked by 2 people

        • The media in the US represent a whole major issue which would be off-topic for this post, but suffice to say they are mostly rather useless in situations like this. Despite the US having extremely strong protections for free speech and the free press, they are mostly rather timid, and obsessed with appearing “balanced” meaning not favoring one side of a dispute over the other, even when the truth is mostly on one side. Our media have tended to actively hide how crazy and authoritarian Trump and the Republicans are, for example, because they always try to report everything in a “balanced” way, meaning trying to present both parties as equally bad, even when they are not. The major media would not describe a Trump statement with the word “lie” even when it obviously is one.

          And of course religion has always been especially immune from criticism. That’s true everywhere, it’s just more true in the US than in Europe because the whole culture here is more religious. There are various reasons for this. For one thing, in earlier times, religious dissenters (who tend to be the strongest believers) often fled Europe to settle in America, so over time the most religious part of Europe’s population largely migrated here. Also, the huge geographical size of the country allowed larger local cultural differences to develop. We have a much bigger gap between our most advanced and most backward regions than a European country does. Religion is declining here just as in Europe, but we are a generation or two behind.

          There are still enormous areas where people have never encountered a religion other than Christianity and know almost nothing about such religions (except that they are “Satanic”), and almost everyone treats Christianity as obviously true and therefore deserving of being recognized as such by everybody. To speak out against official prayer in school, to defend the teaching of evolution, or to say that some other religion ought to be accepted as much as Christianity, would mark you as a weirdo and a bad person and destroy your social life. Even many Americans don’t realize how much of the country is like that. The big cities and especially the western and northeastern coasts have a mix of cultures and are open to ideas from the outside world. The southeast and the rural interior is mostly an utter mental desert. Think of it as one country containing two separate national cultures, like Belgium.

          Yes, a lot of people are “blind to all criticism about their particular own religious beliefs and accept the most terrible half-truths and even lies to promote their brand of superstitions” because that’s how they were brought up, that’s how everybody around them is, and that’s just the way things are. The internet and mass media are starting to change that (movies and TV come from the big-city culture), but it’s a slow process.

          And as we’ve discussed before, the fundies here have such a strong conviction that they should dominate, that any time they are prevented from pushing their religion on others, it really does feel like they are being unfairly discriminated against. Not being able to have official Christian prayers or Bible nonsense taught in science class really does feel like they’re being oppressed, especially since these people mostly live in areas where almost everybody agrees with them. The court rulings and laws that stop them from doing those things come from outside, from the hated alien big-city culture. But what else can we do? We can’t let half the country sink completely back into the Dark Ages. They vote. And how they vote affects our part of the country too (see Trump and the Senate).

          Liked by 2 people

          • So what can we do now, in the present besides, vote, of course, and keep informed. You really can’t convince a trump supporter or a religious nut otherwise. It’s impossible.

            Do we just have to wait it out? Or is it more a longer range thing, that future generations will have to insure changes back to some sanity and decency? And given what I see in a lot of younger people, will this even happen? I know some are very concerned and see religion for what it is, but others don’t and are already being influenced by the political and religious extremes.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yes, keep voting and wait it out. There are more of us than there are of them, and we’re winning this argument, fast. Remember, the percentage of the US population self-identifying as Christian has fallen from 78% to 65% in just the last twelve years, and the trend is continuing. This is partly generational turnover (more-religious older people die off and are replaced by less-religious younger people) and partly deconversion (for example, for every person that joins the Catholic Church, six leave). And many people who nominally self-identify as Christian are actually liberal, cosmopolitan, and fairly secular in outlook.

              The decline of religion cannot be stopped or reversed because its an inescapable part of the social modernization process. It happens in every region as education and development progress, including places you wouldn’t expect.

              It took vote-suppression laws and Russian interference and the Electoral College to make Trump president. There’s a limit to how far they can warp the system to perpetuate the influence of a shrinking minority. In the meantime, we still have a solidly secular constitution. The crazies can corrupt an occasional school board here and there (and then get sued into submission at huge cost), but they can’t stop the decline of religion or the rest of the social changes they hate. There’s grounds for short-term frustration. There’s no grounds for long-term pessimism.

              Liked by 2 people

          • And I totally agree about the media. Fox we know is state controlled propaganda, but the others seem lukewarm like you say, for balance. One exception to me, is Rachel Maddow..MSNBC, my personal favorite.

            Liked by 2 people

        • PS: Just ran across this post which I think expresses the problem with the timid US media rather well. There is also the issue that the media don’t want to lose viewers (and money) by saying anything that might offend somebody. They are even less willing to be honest about the endless lies and distortions of the religious nuts.

          Liked by 2 people

    • This: denied participation in faith-based student clubs on campus, does not compute. If the faith-based student club is already there…why are they denied participation? That’s either poorly worded or just plain goofy. I keep seeing that empty auditorium, speaker at the ready, and no one in the seats…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Probably just poorly worded, and what the writer actually meant was that the school authorities do not allow such clubs to be formed (under official auspices), so students can’t participate in them because they don’t exist. Evangelicals have the lowest average educational level of any demographic group in the US. On Evangelical sites I often see clumsy, ungrammatical, or garbled writing which fails to get the writer’s point across clearly.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Hello Nan. I find it interesting that Christians demand the first amendment rights to talk about their religion in schools, put up notices and posters, wear religious symbols and clothing pushing their point of view and yet freak out demanding that schools block any positive LGBTQ+ massages of the same. School leaders make kids wearing rainbows change or wear the shirts inside out. I recently posted about a teacher going off one a young boy who was happy he was being adopted by … two dads. Thankfully there was a happy ending with the teacher being escorted from the school property, but the Christians feel she was the one wronged. So I would say these group really only want special rights / privilege for Christians only.

    As for Christian clubs after school. There is nothing stopping the churches from having after school programs for kids. It would support their message more than asking others to do it for them. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes … the rainbow attire is a GREAT example of the discrimination that Christians want to scream about. A student wearing a hijab would be another. No matter how much they want to deny it … “religious liberty” is all about THEIR religion. Because, well, you know, it’s a “Christian Nation.” WRONG!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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