Texas Christian Denounces
Isidore D. Ranch
I am a Christian that does not embrace organized religion. I do have trouble wrapping my head around positive atheism and do not really care to embrace your philosophy.
I did run across an article off your site that kind of hit me in the solar plexis, the one about the churches distributing Christian Coalition voter guides. There is a church First Baptist in Pearland, TX (outside of Houston) that I BELIEVE did the same thing. I attended a service in which I witnessed some bizarre political tactics and in which the minister told us, the people in the congregation, that there were voter registration tables in the back to sign-up on the way out. When the minister started his political talk he basically said that he was taking off his Brother Rick hat and was putting on his Citizen Rick hat. Then he proceeded to talk politics and made the announcement that there would be a meeting the following night (Monday) in which he urged us all to attend. I believe the meeting was the Christian Coalition, but I may be mistaken on this. This all took place a year or so back. Because of this and something else I witnessed I came to believe that this minister was very politically involved. There has been A LOT of controversy surrounding this church.
Again, I am a Christian and I DO NOT embrace your views overall. But I do believe that separation of church and state is extremely important. I believe that the lines are becoming blurred and individuals that are truly good, Christian people are being manipulated without understanding the true consequences. It is frightening.
Yesterday President Bush announced that he wanted to give federal funds to church-based charities. Alarm bells went off in my head. He specifically referred to the good work done in the prison systems of Texas. This came right on the heels of news stories where the Texas Seven Convicts that had been caught in CO had been using religion as their front while blending in with the community.
I think there is a possibility that there is something going on with some, not all, churches across our country that is not at all Christian based; that could be using the prision systems for illegal activities. I believe that some churches are being infiltrated by people with less than honorable intentions and they are using good Christian people to manipulate and use churches to do things that will not be looked at by the feds simply because they are churches. This is speculation because of three different situations that I have been exposed to.
If Mr. Bush makes this move law enforcement will probably be even more reluctant to look deeply into any situation that involves churches or religions. Gee what a good thing for a criminal to hide behind -- religion -- Christianity.
Ask the Texas Seven how well it worked for them.
Again, I do not embrace atheism in any way. I do embrace the fact that we all have free will and our own minds to follow the path that we individually choose and that, in my mind this is God's will, and no man should ever set us on a path that will take away these freedoms of choice -- of free will. In other words, I respect your right to believe as you choose.
From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Isidore D Ranch"
Subject: Re: PA-via_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: Wednesday, January 31, 2001 12:15 AM
Our position is that the question of whether or not a god exists is one of the stupidest reasons to get into a fight. We can understand why a theist would disagree, but we encourage atheists to take this position in the interest of working to solve the many problems the plague humanity. By opening the doors to communication with our theistic fellow-humans, we greatly increase the chances that we can do something to make this a better place for us all to live -- or at least try to prevent it from getting any worse.
One of these problems is the tendency on the part of certain sects within Christendom to wish to inflict their religious views upon us all. Fortunately, more Christians disagree with this practice than agree with it. Unfortunately, it is hard for a Christian individual or organization to do something about what is happening today without being branded as "an atheist" (which, for centuries, has been used as a vitriolic smear word).
May I suggest becoming involved with Americans United for the Separation of Church and State? Yesterday, Pat Robertson came on CNN and said that Rev. Barry Lynn, leader of AU, believes that fire engines should not put out a church that is on fire. Hopefully, most people could easily see this for the lie that it is. Unfortunately, Robertson and his ilk have convinced many people that they will go to the Christian Hell if they don't do what Robertson and his ilk tell them to do. This is scary, because Robertson is the main non-Catholic influence attempting to abolish state-church separation.
And it's state-church separation that, more than anything else, will protect not only your liberty to believe what you see as the truth, but also the dignity in believing what you see as the truth -- to believe or to disbelieve freely, unencumbered by any support or coercion from the government.
If AU is too secular for you (it consists mostly of religious groups, I hear), then perhaps you might wish to look in to the Baptist Joint Committee, a group of Separationist Baptists who prefer the traditional Baptist teachings of Helwys, Smyth, Williams (and, to some extent, the influence of Anne Hutchinson, as well as the more recent champion of state-church separation, Rev. George W. Truett), to the politicizing of the post-Reagan-Era Southern Baptist Convention of today, which is, I fear, squarely in the back pocket of Robertson and his Christian Coalition.
If nothing else, you can work as an individual, encouraging your friends, neighbors, and associates to think about these things, and to write to the newspapers, magazines, television stations and networks and, most importantly, those who supposedly represent us on Capitol Hill. We have even begun encouraging the formation of an international move to pressure the largest power in the world to stop this madness!
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