Friday, September 23, 2005

Repealing One Civil Right at a Time

Two weeks ago Paul Pressler, the architect of the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention, described how the Religious Right intended to deal with Roe v. Wade. After expressing his elation with the selection of John Roberts as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court he said, "Roe v. Wade won't be revoked, it will die the death of a thousand cuts and qualifications and regulations until it gradually disappears."

I suspect that Pressler has described the Religious Right's strategy for dealing with more than Roe v. Wade. They are already applying the same strategy to repealing the First Amendment and civil rights legislation.

One of the most egregious examples is the authorization that congress gave churches and religious groups to discriminate in hiring yesterday. Churches and religious groups have always been free to discriminate in their hiring when they were spending money received from private donations. Yesterday congress authorized them to discriminate in hiring with the money they receive from federal grants.

First, this administration opened the flood gates for churches and religious groups to receive billions of dollars from the federal treasury. Now they are permitting the churches and religious groups to ignore laws protecting the civil rights of minorities when using that federal money. Already they have seized on hurricane Katrina as an opportunity to distribute more federal money to faith-based organizations and give vouchers to private and religious schools.

It's not hard to see what is happening here if you just ignore their pious sounding rhetoric and look at the reality of what they are doing. They are slowly creating an established church. It is being established not by a direct act of congress (that would violate the First Amendment which says "congress shall pass no laws respecting the establishment of religion"), but indirectly by government appropriations. Christian churches and religious groups are being funded while minority faiths, with tokens here and there for the Jews, are being marginalized as a matter of public policy.

A good example of this establishment of religion by appropriation is taking place in Houston. A couple weeks ago Texas State Representative Garnet Coleman told participants at an Americans United forum that Second Baptist Houston "bought" the right to direct relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the city. He said they came in with a million dollars and offered it for the relief efforts on the condition that they take control of the effort. He also indicated that the church's much publicized assent to work with the interfaith community was forced upon them by the mayor of Houston. Coleman asked, "Why is this church that never showed an interest in helping the poor in the past suddenly interested in leading this effort?" He answered, "They are making an investment. They know that billions of dollars are going to be funneled into this and they are the ones who will be in position to control it."

By the time the graft, corruption and injustice of what is now being done in the name of "faith-based initiatives" and "hurricance relief" is widely known and publicized, the Supreme Court will be stacked with jurists who will deny minority rights and interpret the constitution to mean that Christianity has always been the established religion of our nation.


D.R. said...

So are you suggesting, along with Garnet Coleman, that 2nd Baptist Houston gave money to the Katrina efforts not out of Christian love, but in order for political gain? If so, that is a mighty big accusation to make against your Christian brothers. And not only that, they are not even given a chance to defend their motives.

runbdp said...

Truth hurts.

Take right hand and grab wool.

Repeat with left.

Blink repeatedly.

See clearly.

mom2 said...

Bill, Is your advice from experience?

D.R. said...

I am not sure that is truth, Bill. Sounds like unChristlike speculation and suspecion. That is just a hearty accusation to call truth without any real shred of evidence. Is that what truth is to you?

Greek Shadow said...

DR, time will tell, but us skeptics don't trust egomaniac Mega Churches leaders controlling Billions of taxpayer money where there is little or no accountability.

Greek Shadow said...

I came across these rules to bloggin good manners today and thought I'd share a couple of them that seem to apply here. I have a link to the whole list on my blog.

As stated by sleeping momma:

First of all, this is my space to do with whatever I want. Yeah sometimes I get wrapped up in what my readers will think or will I hurt someone's feelings if I change how I do my blogroll but in the end it's an extension of my home and no one is going to tell me what I can and cannot say or write in my own home... I also enjoy writing for an audience and I love the positive aspects of the community involved in the blogosphere. If someone starts dictating what I can and cannot do, well it's not fun anymore...

Second, I try very hard to extend that courtesy to other people by behaving as a guest in their home blog. This especially applies to comments. When posting a comment I try to stay on topic, share my thoughts on their post or an experience they reminded me of and I try to be supportive. If they want advice I will offer it if I feel it's pertinent. If they request no advice I respect that request. Above all, I behave as a guest in their home and expect the same courtesy from those who comment on my site. I don't care if you post a long comment, just stick to the subject and don't flay me for my beliefs or practices and above all don't try to "convert" me to whatever your belief is. Share your ideas and beliefs but no conversion efforts please...

D.R. said...

The problem with applying those "rules" to this blog is that it sounds as if that is someone's personal blog thoughts. This blog is advertised on media sites, as well as the official site of mainstream baptists. In fact, the name itself implies that Prescott speaks for a whole group of people. Additionally, he is a public figure, who openly advertises his blog and claims very often that what he writes are facts. Finally, the blog here attacks others who should be given the right to defend themselves and the organizations of which they are a part.

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...


What you said is FALSE.

This weblog is clearly labeled as my PERSONAL weblog. The weblog name is Mainstream Baptist not Mainstream Baptists.

The official website for Mainstream Baptists is at

D.R. said...

So you don't advertise this on news websites (like Ethics Daily), as well as on Mainstream Baptist's website. On that site in fact, it has the link here, which says, "Mainstream Baptist Blog". There is nothing that says it is your personal site or any disclaimer that says that those views are not officially reflective of the main site. Legally, were you to be sued for libel, one could sue as well.

While I saw that your blog does say it is personal, there is nothing to indicate that in how you advertise. That is how I drew my conclusion regarding the above post. If you are going to advertise it as "the" Mainstream Baptist Blog, then it cannot be personal as well. Also, it is not advertised as a personal blog on Ethics daily.

That is why I don't feel that those "rules" cannot apply strictly to your site.

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...


I'm growing weary of your impertinence AGAIN.

I don't advertise on either the Mainstream Baptist website or on the Ethics Daily website. I am listed there, like I am listed on nearly 200 other websites and weblogs with verying degrees of prominence.

Post on topic or start your own weblog and post whatever you like.

This is your last warning. The next time I banish you an erase your posts will be the last.

D.R. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nathan said...

d.r. - Let me get this straight... in your first comment, you seek clarification because you're worried that Bruce wrote a "mighty big accusation to make against your Christian brothers."

Then, your second post accuses bill of being "unChristlike".

I'm still scratching my head as to where your moral higher ground lies.

I'm also wondering if your befuddlement as to the nature of this website was the impetus of your hateful and rude comments in this and earlier posts.

From just reading through all the comments, I feel that you didn't exactly clear the air over who is acting like Christ and who isn't.

/apologies to Bruce for continuing this threadjack at the expense of his original post.

cks said...


Well . . . D. R. and I had a small wager as to whose posts you would remove first: mine or his.

Thanks for dinner!

D.R. said...

Actually, cks, I removed it myself. I had a fact that was not correct in it, so I removed it. Sorry no dinner, yet.