1. Felicific Forest
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    18 Apr '05 14:543 edits
    I found an article that summarises a number of issues we have been discussing at RHP. It is about Freedom of Speech, the Separation of Church and State and the flawed way "liberals" interprete the latter to sqeeze religion out of the political debate and to silence the Church. It is a form of liberal censorship, a form of intolerance and liberal bigotry.
    It is better written than I ever could do. That's why I post it.

    http://www.christianity.com/cc/article/0,,PTID4211|CHID104459|CIID328288,00.html?rating=5&SubmittedARate=yes&ipaddress=&ruserid=


    If there are politicians who promote abortion and abortion is seen by the Pope as a serious crime against humanity--which I agree it is--then he has every right in the world to say they can't have communion. They should join some other religion. Their lives are a public affront to what the Catholic Church believes. That is his job. And that is his privilege.

    When the Pope makes this kind of statement, you always have groups who start complaining about separation of church and state--like, the Pope is messing around in politics. Abortion is political, and religion should stay out of politics. When you hear someone make that kind of statement, have them read the First Amendment. Open it up and make them read it because the First Amendment places not one single restriction on private involvement in politics, regardless of your religious belief. It does not matter if your opinions are animated by religious concerns or not, you have a right to have a voice and a vote in this country. Any individual can influence the process based on his conscience. That is the way it works in America.

    Some might say that the Pope is not an American. All right then, the Bishops who are enforcing the Pope's position are American. Same point. They have the authority to do that in their organization, and they have the right in the context of this country and our political system to voice their concerns--even if they are religiously motivated. The First Amendment says, "The government shall not establish religion." It doesn't say that individuals shall not influence public policies with religious intent or religious motivation. It's just not there. This is one of the most ridiculous and bizarre canards raised against this kind of thing. The easiest way to get around it is to just read the First Amendment. Read it to them. It is very clear.

    There is another problem with this. It is a problem that I noticed after the last Promise Keepers convention. The L.A. Times had an article pertaining to people with religious concerns being squeezed out of the public arena. It hasn't always been like this. There has never been this bizarre dichotomy between religious beliefs and moral motivations, on the one hand, and public policy on the other, with the suggestion that never the twain shall meet. It has never been like that. There has been a rich integration of the religious and the public square in the history of this country.
  2. Felicific Forest
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    18 Apr '05 14:552 edits

    Then what happened is they co-opted all of the moral issues and called them political.

    When this debate started heating up, the point of view was something like this: "You keep your religion to yourself. You keep religious issues inside your religious community. Leave politics to us. That's our turf. All right? So you stick with the values stuff, the morality stuff, the relationship stuff, the counseling stuff--the soft stuff. Keep that to yourself. We will do the hard work of politics." Then what happened is they co-opted all of the moral issues and called them political.

    In other words, it was like all the moral things were for the church. Politics deals with the hard issues. Then they said, "By the way, this moral issue over here on homosexuality, that's ours. This moral issue on abortion, that's ours, too. Doctor-assisted suicide, hands off." They began co-opting all of the moral issues. They have taken everything out of the domain of private religion. In the Catholic community the Pope is vigorously applying moral principles and now they say, "You can't do that." Why? "Because it influences someone's public life. When you do that kind of thing, Pope, you are having an impact in the public square."

    What they are saying is, You must have a faith that is silent to the outside world [and read here "real world"]. You must also have a faith that has no politically incorrect impact on the outside world. Another way of saying it is, If your faith has any relevancy whatsoever to real life, then you are out of line.

    The irony is, those with religious concerns--particularly Christian religious concerns-- have been forcibly squeezed to the margins of the debate. They have been squeezed out of the debate, saying that it is illegitimate even to have opinions within your own community and talk about them if they influence the outside, secular, political community. In other words, You can't have a faith that is relevant. It must stay irrelevant, and then they fault Christianity because it is irrelevant. Well, it is not irrelevant at its heart. It is very relevant, but it has been silenced to a great degree through political pressure by people who make comments like this when the Pope talks about abortion.

    There is an exception to this. If you campaign vigorously on religious grounds for politically correct ideologies--homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle, abortion on demand, the right to die--well, then you can speak in any public venue in the country--public schools, public places, on Capitol Hill. No hindrance. You might even get a government invitation. Rev. Jesse Jackson is an example of that. Nobody beefs about him being a reverend speaking up for political ideologies. Why not? Because he is campaigning for politically correct issues.

    When did somebody say, "Listen, you religious people, you have to shut up if you are campaigning against capital punishment, or for religious pluralism, or for accepting of homosexuality. That is an inappropriate incursion of religious thought in public life." Have you ever heard anything like that before? "Religion is private. Politics is the public domain. Talk all you want about morals and ethics, but public policy is our domain."

    Then what happened is they politicized all the moral issues, as I said, and they took that from us, too. What that leaves us with now that we can talk about is--virtually nothing. We can talk in private about our faith statements and about God and Jesus, but we can only do that if it doesn't make a difference. Pretty sorry, huh? That is where I think the Pope finds himself, and I know there are going to be more attacks coming out based on these proclamations of the recent encyclical.

    Again, my hat is off to Pope John Paul and his moral courage to stand in the gap for these critical end-of-life issues, and that he is willing to speak plainly and defend these issues even in the face of tremendous opposition.

    http://www.christianity.com/cc/article/0,,PTID4211|CHID104459|CIID328288,00.html?rating=5&SubmittedARate=yes&ipaddress=&ruserid=
  3. Standard memberRingtailhunter
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    18 Apr '05 15:16
    Religion can have its say. We should not legislate religious laws.
    Isn't there something in the bible about making that which is sacred or holy.....secular?
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    18 Apr '05 15:59
    For me the issue of religion and politics is purely one of law and legislation. Religion is far too closed a system to make decisions that should stand in law. The church may once have been the law, but in the present world, it is woefully under-representative of the people. If Catholicism for example was in charge of lawmaking and governance, who would represent the Mormons, Muslims, Jews etc? I don't begrudge individual members of the political arena from having their own religion. However, if that religion for example says that there is only one god and if you do not worship him you are going to spend eternity in hell, I feel this is somewhat too right wing a view for a person to have in a political arena. Allowing this vehement stance to influence matters of government cannot be a good idea.

    Your statement "the flawed way "liberals" interprete the latter to sqeeze religion out of the political debate and to silence the Church" seems to suggest that the church has a right to be in government. I do not see why this should be so and I do not agree with the 'flawed way liberals' comment. It is exactly this sort of fanatical view which has no place in a democratic system.

    If religion got into power, what sort of sanctions would it impose? Perhaps this would be an interesting debate. I fear that it would cause a more hostile arena with countries of differing religions, enforce certain laws such as anti-abortion, and fail to represent many millions of people, and all this based on a matter of faith.
  5. Felicific Forest
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    18 Apr '05 16:162 edits
    Originally posted by Starrman
    For me the issue of religion and politics is purely one of law and legislation. Religion is far too closed a system to make decisions that should stand in law. The church may once have been the law, but in the present world, it is woeful ...[text shortened]... many millions of people, and all this based on a matter of faith.
    Starrman: "Your statement "the flawed way "liberals" interprete the latter to sqeeze religion out of the political debate and to silence the Church" seems to suggest that the church has a right to be in government.

    The right of the Church to be in government ? I don't think this article is about this at all. I do not advocate in any way the "right of the Church to be in government". No way. This article is about trying to marginalise and silence an opposing ideology in the public sphere. It is censorship of the worst kind. It is trying to ban religion to the private sector, occupy the public sector with your own ideology and monopolise it. I dó make a distinction between "government" and the "public sphere".

  6. Subscriberno1marauder
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    18 Apr '05 16:311 edit
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    I found an article that summarises a number of issues we have been discussing at RHP. It is about Freedom of Speech, the Separation of Church and State and the flawed way "liberals" interprete the latter to sqeeze religion out of the poli ...[text shortened]... he religious and the public square in the history of this country.
    BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. The Pope is free to say whatever he wants in the US and so are all the bishops, etc. There is no merit to this article. The only ones who are screwing themselves by getting involved in politics is the Church itself as it is driving good, decent Catholics from their midst by adopting stringent, non-Gospel based positions on sexual mores. If every pro-gay rights, pro-choice and/or contraception using Catholic took your advice and "joined another religion" because these beliefs are an "affront to what the Catholic Church believes" there'd be plenty of room at Sunday Masses in the United States in the few RC churches that would be left.
  7. Standard memberfrogstomp
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    18 Apr '05 16:35
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    Starrman: "Your statement "the flawed way "liberals" interprete the latter to sqeeze religion out of the political debate and to silence the Church" seems to suggest that the church has a right to be in government.

    The right of the Church to be in government ? I don't think this article is about this at all. I do not advocate in any way the "right ...[text shortened]... nd monopolise it. I dó make a distinction between "government" and the "public sphere".

    actually its about the Pope trying to be the UN and the US Supreme court.
    and if he wants to meddle in the internal affairs of the US his Bishops should have to register as agents of a a foreign government. because thats exactly they will be
  8. London
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    18 Apr '05 16:42
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. The Pope is free to say whatever he wants in the US and so are all the bishops, etc. There is no merit to this article. The only ones who are screwing themselves by getting involved in politics is the Church itself as it is driving good, decent Catholics from their midst by adopting stringent, non-Gospel based positions on sexu ...[text shortened]... plenty of room at Sunday Masses in the United States in the few RC churches that would be left.
    So be it.
  9. Standard memberfrogstomp
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    18 Apr '05 16:42
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. The Pope is free to say whatever he wants in the US and so are all the bishops, etc. There is no merit to this article. The only ones who are screwing themselves by getting involved in politics is the Church itself as it is driving good, decent Catholics from their midst by adopting stringent, non-Gospel based positions on sexu ...[text shortened]... plenty of room at Sunday Masses in the United States in the few RC churches that would be left.
    Of course it does : most american catholics are Americans.
    The ones that put some foreigner ahead of America ought to go live in the Vatican and take their spiritual Allies the thumpers with them ( they hate America too)
  10. Felicific Forest
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    18 Apr '05 16:49
    Originally posted by frogstomp
    actually its about the Pope trying to be the UN and the US Supreme court.
    and if he wants to meddle in the internal affairs of the US his Bishops should have to register as agents of a a foreign government. because thats exactly they will be

    This is an old issue, isn't it ? The fear of Protestant and liberal America that the Roman Catholic Church might operate as some obscure foreign force to undermine American society.

  11. SubscriberBigDoggProblem
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    18 Apr '05 16:49
    Originally posted by ivanhoe

    Then what happened is they co-opted all of the moral issues and called them political.

    When this debate started heating up, the point of view was something like this: "You keep your religion to yourself. You keep religious issues inside your religious community. Leave politics to us. That's our turf. All right? So you stick with the values stuff, the ...[text shortened]... rticle/0,,PTID4211|CHID104459|CIID328288,00.html?rating=5&SubmittedARate=yes&ipaddress=&ruserid=
    I agree with the article on one point. If you join a religion that kowtows to one man's authority, then you're stuck following his orders.

    I take issue with the statement that people with religious concerns are being 'squeezed out of the public arena'. Both you and the author of the article and every other religious person remains free to post as much pro-religious stuff as they wish.

    Why doesn't the author bother to support this claim? He mentions one article in the LA Times without giving any quotations from it. Where is his evidence that christians are being 'squeezed out'? What does it matter whether Jesse Jackson would be invited some places that conservative christians would not? I'm sure Promise Keepers wouldn't open their doors to Rev. Jackson either. See, it works both ways!

    This author seems to think that the right to free speech means the right to speak without dissent. Free speech ought to be a double-edged sword, allowing us to speak our mind, but also subjecting us to the differing opinions of others.
  12. London
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    18 Apr '05 16:56
    Originally posted by BigDoggProblem
    I agree with the article on one point. If you join a religion that kowtows to one man's authority, then you're stuck following his orders.

    I take issue with the statement that people with religious concerns are being 'squeezed out of the public arena'. Both you and the author of the article and every other religious person remains free to post ...[text shortened]... word, allowing us to speak our mind, but also subjecting us to the differing opinions of others.
    Here's a nice article on a related subject:

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=108&ncid=742&e=10&u=/ucac/20050414/cm_ucac/itsonlyfunnyuntilsomeonelosesapie

    Liberals enjoy claiming that they are intellectuals, thrilled to engage in a battle of wits. This, they believe, distinguishes them from conservatives, who are religious fanatics who react with impotent rage to opposing ideas. As one liberal, Jonathan Chait, put the cliche in The New Republic: Bush is an "instinctive anti-intellectual" and his administration hostile to "fact-driven debate." In a favorable contrast, Clinton is "the former Rhodes scholar who relished academic debates." Showing his usual reverence for fact-checking, The New York Times' Paul Krugman says the Republican Party is "dominated by people who believe truth should be determined by revelation, not research."

    I'm not sure how these descriptions square with the fact that liberals keep responding to conservative ideas by throwing food.
  13. Standard memberfrogstomp
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    18 Apr '05 16:57
    Here what I think of the pope meddling in American internal affairs.

    "In matters of foreign affairs, my country may she ever be right, but right or wrong, my country, my country." Lt. Stephen Decatur

    and last I checked the Pope runs a country.
  14. Felicific Forest
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    18 Apr '05 17:04
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. The Pope is free to say whatever he wants in the US and so are all the bishops, etc. There is no merit to this article. The only ones who are screwing themselves by getting involved in politics is the Church itself as it is driving good, decent Catholics from their midst by adopting stringent, non-Gospel based positions on sexu ...[text shortened]... plenty of room at Sunday Masses in the United States in the few RC churches that would be left.

    How things are looking now, these liberal Catholics will leave the Church the next decennia No1. They will only go to Church on Christmass because of the nice athmosphere and the warm feeling they will get watching the candles.

    The Church isn't about being popular. If people decide to choose for The New Ideology which opts for killing as a means to solve human problems, which opts for serving men rather than God, please don't expect the Church to adjust their teachings just to keep the Churches filled on Sunday. If you expect the Church to do this, and liberals dó expect the Church to do this, then you don't understand one bit of what the Church is about.

    Théy need conversion, NOT the Church.

  15. Standard memberfrogstomp
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    18 Apr '05 17:06
    Originally posted by ivanhoe

    This is an old issue, isn't it ? The fear of Protestant and liberal America that the Roman Catholic Church might operate as some obscure foreign force to undermine American society.

    Old issue maybe but an ongoing attempt.

    Using bishops and priests as a fifth column and enforcing monolithic rulings from outside is not a minor thing. and it dont matter how the pope or you or anybody else views the 1st amendment only the Supreme Court's view speaks for America on that issue, and America has spoken.
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