The Johnson Amendment is under attack. https://ffrf.org/news/action/item/29883-ask-congress-to-protect-the...
This secular amendment bars religious establishments from endorsing or opposing political candidates. The current theocratic administration is attacking separation of church and state. If churches are permitted to endorse or oppose political candidates then tax exemption status should be removed. I think churches should have to pay taxes regardless since they are for profit institutions.
This pic says it all. Apparently that prayer session was in response to the scrutiny Donald Jr is under. I find it deeply disturbing that our political leaders resort to this as a means of dealing with adversity.
Simple, concise, clear, There is much eloquence in three words...I do think however or perhaps just hope that there are those whom have to ability to stop it.
I don't like it, but I cant think in apocalyptic terms. History has an ebb and flow, swirls around, repeats in different themes and patterns, and comes around again. How many people, this time last year, thought that anyone other than the anointed Democrat would be the next president? Most of the press, and most of the people who I knew. were as certain of it as they were that the sun would shine tomorrow. Yet... So who knows what will come of all this? I prefer to think, these are interesting times - as are all times - and we have our work cut out for us - as we always do. I am not a Pollyanna. I know bad things happen, and some are very, very bad. But I know that there are checks and balances, however flawed and corrupted, and that change will change again.
On an aside, I sometimes stop and wonder how one of the greatest pleasures in life, is used as a term of hopelessness and despair, or of unspeakable violence. It's almost as if someone wants us to think of sexual union as a bad thing :-) In reality, most human beings go to a lot of effort in life to get .... you know. We don't use other pleasures that way - "We are given a big slice of home made cherry pie with a flaky butter crust", for example. But that's just me being crazy and, probably, odd.
Daniel - you reminded me of something Bertrand Russell said in the intro to his autobiography:
Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life; the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a deep ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.’
I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy – ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness – that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it, finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined.
Augustine was one of many early xians who wanted us to think of sexual union as a bad thing. His progeny walk among us today. :-(
Tsk tsk tsk - Tom, you're such a freaking pessimist. Here's a little gem from Nietzsche to cheer you up.
According to the old story, King Midas had long hunted wise Silenus, Dionysus' companion, without catching him. When Silenus had finally fallen into his clutches, the king asked him what was the best and most desirable thing of all for mankind. The daemon stood still, stiff and motionless, until at last, forced by the king, he gave a shrill laugh and spoke these words: 'Miserable, ephemeral race, children of hazard and hardship, why do you force me to say what it would be much more fruitful for you not to hear? The best of all things is something entirely outside your grasp: not to be born, not to be, to be nothing. But the second-best thing for you — is to die soon.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche,
I'm thinking, don't rush me:-)).
Time to call and write our Representatives in the House!
Much more on that (how to find your congresscritters, guides to writing and calling, and discussions and sample letters on many issues!) at "Writing to Congress".
The Patheos / Friendly Atheist article quotes Nick Fish of American Atheists:
With churches not required to file IRS Form 990 and still able to claim tax-exempt status and a tax deduction for their donors, this bill would turn churches into the new Super PACs with billions of dollars of untraceable and secret money flowing through religious groups and into elections, all while handing their donors a massive tax write-off.
The provision retains the Johnson Amendment in theory, but prohibits the IRS from using any money to enforce it with respect to houses of worship only.
It's also telling that the provision's backers talk not about "houses of worship" but specifically about "churches".
This is getting to be some seriously ugly shit--
BY SUNNIVIE BRYDUM JULY 13, 2017 - Religion Dispatches
THE MOST OMINOUS PROMISES JEFF SESSIONS JUST MADE TO ADF ATTORNEYS
It took a few days and a series of FOIA requests, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ remarks at a closed-press meeting with Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys on Tuesday have finally been made public. The Federalist published the remarks in full, while BuzzFeed News reporter Dominic Holden obtained confirmation from ADF that this was indeed the speech Sessions delivered at ADF’s mysterious “Summit on Religious Liberty” in Southern California.
While sections of the speech contain the platitudes we’ve come to expect from this administration about the importance of so-called religious freedom, Sessions also made some tangible promises to the current and aspiring ADF attorneys in attendance. Although some of the language is coded, it’s not hard to read between the lines to understand that the nation’s top lawman just gave the country’s best-funded anti-LGBT hate group the go-ahead to impose its conservative Christian ideology on state and federal laws. He affirmed the Christian victimhood complex that groups like ADF champion, promising that Sessions’ DOJ will never force anyone to abandon their “sincere religious beliefs.”
Following a soliloquy on the secular constraints placed upon the federal government, Sessions signaled that he intends to continue the growing trend of privileging “sincerely held religious beliefs” over civil rights.
This is really scary. He wishes to provide protection for those of all faiths he says. This is an obvious Vail for Christians. In an ideal world will Christians thus have a constitutional right to commit crimes against unbelievers? I realize I am taking this to its most extreme but I have no doubt if he has his way that is how the letter of the law will literally read.
Even Pope Francis has essentially called the Trump admin religious fanatics. He says that they are interpreting the bible for their own agenda and scaring people with apocalyptic geopolitics. Additionally, he called Trump a climate denier and said he is bad for the environment. So the world leader of the catholic church is more rational and humanistic than Washington.
I have a small quibble with that. Pope Frances has said that gluten is a must when it comes to communion wafers. So, part of my learning of logic tells me that the Celiac disease, caused by gluten, and Catholics are now mutually exclusive sets.
Here is a link on its talk: http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/07/11/pope-reaf...
So, Jesus needs gluten to convert/represent himself.