Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Archive: Bishop Conley article - Reponses to comments

This blog post was originally posted elsewhere. I am currently in the process of transferring all my favourite posts here. Apologies if you have already seen these.

True to generic religious website policy, after having vetted my comment on the above article, and letting three people attack my position, the site disabled my ability to reply to my interlocutors responses. Here follows my response.

Part of the reason I started this blog, was so that I could counter censorship, and continue a debate where others would not allow me to do so. So, without further-a-do...

I have already made a post about this subject here. It is not identical to the comment I made on the CNA site, because here, on my site, I knew I was able to provide links to back up my claims. Far from having to reign in my claims, I found that my original comment was a tad too conservative, so I make no apologies for the slight discrepancies between the two.
For the purpose of clarity, though, I shall post the debate so far, as it appears on the CNA site.

+Tris Secularism in America is openly hostile to religion?

There is only one openly atheist member of Congress. State Houses have introduced hundreds of Bills that propose religious privilege in abeyance of the Constitution. Ninety percent of the population believes in God. The good bishop stands in his pulpit preaching to the 26% Catholic population of the US - about 1/3 of the Christian population - claiming religious hostility. A Christian president, in a long line of Christian presidents.

I could go on, but I fear the culture of persecution will go on regardless.

The facts are simple; The US Government is a function of the Constitution that forms the secular backbone of the nation. Church and State is separated for a reason, namely that in order to protect religious freedom for all, the State cannot be seen to promote one religion over another. This is why the State cannot legally fund religious the religious programs that the religious people - especially the Catholics - seem to think is some sort of right. This is simply not the case.

If Catholics want to promote a Catholic agenda, they are free to do so in law. What they are not free to do is anything on the public's dime. That is also law.

I am so tired of seeing bishops and other clergy pleading discrimination and  persecution in the face of an overwhelming Christian majority and in spite of the laws that they claim founded the US as a Christian nation. It beggars belief - pun intended.

+Darek All I can say is that you are insane!  To make the US look like a Christian country is shear madness.  And the  Bishop is also mistakenly stating that the US founding fathers intended to build a christian nation; they were, for the most part, masons and that entity does not like the Church very much.  This is the "EXPERIMENT"  The only thing that is common in the american culture is the lack of it. They were very smart in getting the mixture of all cultures into one place like that.  People from such diverse cultures could never come together on anything other than perceived threats from outside.  by making a system of puppet elections they shifted the blame for all bad decisions of the elected puppets to the poor stupid electorate.  Thanks be to God that the normal people still rule over the Church of Christ, people who know that the healthy organism can only have one decision maker.  In the so called democracies there is also just one decision maker and he is not elected.

+Tris So you admit that the bishop is mistaken in saying that the founding fathers intended to build a Christian nation, but you think I am insane for pointing out the very same thing you make the case for.

You appear to dislike democracy, or at least the form of democracy as it stands in the US. The bishop describes his position against 'atheocracy' - whatever that is - and you take this to proudly prove that religious organisations are not tainted by democratic methods. Your argument is a master class in non-sequitur.

And you call me insane?

+Tugbaby The Bishop pointed out several examples of what he meant by "atheocracy". At no point did he claim the members of congress to be atheists. Identifying oneself with a religious affiliation and the practice of the said faith or adherence to its moral tenets are two entirely different matters. History is rife with examples of those claiming to support a particular religion, then proceeding to act entirely in the opposite manner. I may claim to be a farmer, but if I don't farm or even own a farm that isn't quite true.

+Tris I didn't state that the bishop even suggested that Congress was populated by atheists. What I did state is that there is only one. The reasons for my stating this should be apparent, but perhaps I should explain.

The bishop clearly alludes to a congress that is devoid of religious and moral standing. I suggest if you ask any of them, barring atheist Peter Stark (and even then only on the religious stance) that they would become apoplectic about such a charge; often being elected on their proud religious convictions.

That said, you completely missed the tenet of my comment, which was that secularism is not openly hostile to religion - given the point I make in the previous paragraph - and that the Federal Government has both a constitutional and a legal responsibility to ensure that whilst First Amendment rights are respected, they are limited by the rights afforded to others.

Congress has a responsibility, regardless of each player's religious (or irreligious) convictions, to maintain Government's impartiality to religious matters, lest it be seen to be establishing a religion by fiat.

Catholic groups have been up in arms about this perfectly legitimate stance recently because, state governments in particular, have been refusing government funding to certain groups because they act in abeyance to the law and the relevant constitutions under which they operate.

Like it or not, America is a secular nation, and attempts to impart religious privilege over the rights of others is unconstitutional, illegal, unpatriotic and treasonous.

+BrianL Tris,

By your logic, there is no such thing as racism in the USA.

For instance (solely using your logic and your words), since there is not a single, openly hostile racist member of Congress -- there must not be racism.  Since state houses have introduced hundreds of bills providing financial support for minorities -- there must not be racism.  Black, Asian, Hispanic and Native Americans hold jobs throughout all industries and throughout all geographies -- so there must not be racism according to your logic and words Tris.

Again, by your words I will paraphrase your last sentence substituting racist words:

"I am so tired of seeing Blacks, Asians and other minorities pleading
discrimination and  persecution in the face of their overwhelming population growth and in spite of the laws that they claim founded the US as a nation where all men are created equal. It beggars belief - pun intended."

So, Tris, using your own logic and your own words -- one could just as easily contend that there is NO racism in America as you have implied there is NO anti-religious persecution.

But one would be a fool to do so.

+Tris Seriously? Talk about creating a straw man! Let's put this vulgarity to bed, shall we? I can do a better job of misrepresenting myself than you can.

Taking the last paragraph of my comment, and without twisting the content to fit a skewed version of my words and logic, let me show you how my words and logic are valid.

I am so tired of seeing [atheists] and other [non-believers] pleading discrimination and  persecution in the face of an overwhelming Christian majority and in spite of the laws that they claim founded the US as a [secular] nation. It beggars belief - pun intended.

Let's face it, this would have been a more relevant and honest abuse of my words and logic. The sad thing is, this is almost exactly the words I hear from theists everyday. The difference being, that there really is a Christian majority, and their calls of persecution, given the reality of the situation compared to non-believers, is utterly baseless.

I'll not approach your insinuation that I am a racist, because it is loaded and equally baseless.

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