Atheist Group Wants Lawmakers To Stop...

Atheist Group Wants Lawmakers To Stop Praying Before Session

There are 200 comments on the WHOtv story from Jan 12, 2010, titled Atheist Group Wants Lawmakers To Stop Praying Before Session. In it, WHOtv reports that:

DES MOINES, Iowa - Monday's legislative session began like most sessions; with a prayer.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at WHOtv.

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Since: Jan 10

Lincolnshire, IL

#185 Jan 22, 2010
Iowa,
Let me try to respond to several of your questions and points.

Of course I want the troops home from Iraq, and Afghanistan. I also wanted them home from Vietnam, Panama, Desert Storm, and every other conflict. I did not oppose the Iraq war or the efforts in Afghanistan, nor do I oppose them now. When the time comes, I agree with you that there must be an orderly withdrawl that will protect our troops, our interests, and our allies.

I believe that we have been taking care of the folks in Haiti for way too long as it is. We send financial aid to them every year, but the people still live in poverty. Our tax dollars aren't going to change that. Yes, we should help the victims of the earthquake. However, isn't this really something that the UN should be coordinating? What use is that corrupt organization?

My preference would be to pull all financial aid back to the US except for those governments that are strategic allies and that will demonstrably support and defend our country the way we support and defend theirs. We cannot be the world's police force, babysitter, or pocketbook. We should contribute to humanitarian efforts, but only to the extent that the rest of the world contributes. Again, this should be a UN function, since it's humanitarian rather than political actions.

I assume the comment about the SCOTUS comments are from the ruling from yesterday. I think they were too broad in their ruling as well, but I also believe that everyone's voices should be heard. The McCain-Fiengold Bill stepped all over the 1st Amendment. The Supremes pushed back too far in the other direction. In the United States of Blue Dog (God Help us all if that ever happens), political candidates would be allowed to spend only the amount of money the elected position pays. In other words, if the Presidency pays a million dollars over 4 years, then that's the maximum amount that would be spent on the campaign. And everyone only gets one term in any elected position. Get elected, serve your country, and then go home and get a real job. Until we figure out a way to limit the money spent to buy... errr. I mean elect candidates, then elected officials will always be millionaires, lawyers, and corporate big-wigs. "We, the People" are under-represented.
Lee

United States

#186 Jan 25, 2010
After all of this Jesus Christ is still King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Amarant

United States

#187 Jan 25, 2010
Here is a toally reasonable thoery why can't we all honor each others beliefs (or lack there of)? That means the people that wish to pray (like me)and the people that don't can choose not to participate. A few minutes spent doing something inspirational before unter taking major legislative decision making seems like a reasonable choice to me. After all we need all the help we can get these days. Petty pickering over these types of things instead of dealing with the real issues is part of the reason we have landed in the mess we are currently in.

Since: Jan 10

Des Moines

#188 Jan 25, 2010
it's sad that no one on either side respects the other. You live your life I'll live mine, If I stay out of your way then stay out of mine. Nothing in the history of man has divided us so. Muslims want to kill everyone that doesn't believe as they do. Christians want to judge everyone that doesn't praise the Lord every time the wind blows. Catholics want to make you feel guilty for being human. I only know one thing and that is if no one religion is right than how can any of them be a true representation of Gods will?

Since: Jan 10

Lincolnshire, IL

#189 Jan 26, 2010
Highway,
Religions do not represent God's will. Individuals are the only true representatives of God's will and love. As you noted, religions, sects, and denominations are a big part of the problem. Religious faiths and denominations use a broad brush to paint themselves and others. For example, muslims believe everyone else are infidels that need to convert or die. That's a pretty wide (and partly inaccurate) brush stroke. Other religions have similar off-kilter teachings or beliefs. You're going to have to stop looking to organized religions for answers or scapegoats. You've got to break this down to the basic level - the heart of the individual. THAT is where God's will, love, and perfect purpose is going to be found.
ned

Ogden, IA

#190 Jan 26, 2010
To Common Sense:

I think our country needs all the prayers it can get. However, you make an excellent point about what the framers allowed. They weren't perfect in their framing, were they? But, who were the people who were most involved in changing that? People who prayed. In fact, the slaves themselves prayed and finally were heard. Prayer causes no real harm, does it? Historically, it looks like it gets answered.
ned

Ogden, IA

#191 Jan 26, 2010
To Blue Dog Dem,
I agree, religious ritual does not represent God's will. That is what the Pharisees practiced.
It does boggle my mind, though, how in one breath you can talk about God's will and then begrudge aid to Haiti. Obviously, the American people INDIVIDUALLY have chosen to help Haiti, given the tremendous amount of money donated. It would certainly be nice if we would do that for our own country, too. We, the INDIVIDUAL people COULD do that collectively if we wanted to. We could clean up a lot of the messes ourselves IF WE WANTED TO. There is plenty of money in this country to share. And by the way, I don't think Americans are God's only children...pretty sure he claims all...though some are lost.
ned

Ogden, IA

#192 Jan 26, 2010
To Darlene:
What are personal beliefs (convictions,life principles) if they are compartmentalized and "left at home." They are the essence of a person. Do atheists leave their beliefs at home? Impossible. We are what we think. However, to espouse those beliefs is another story. Perhaps those legislators who want to pray could gather together beforehand. Or...nothing, absolutely nothing can stop one from praying a silent prayer. That may even mean more than one recited by someone else. My point is that true belief cannot be compartmentalized;however, true belief also cannot be destroyed by those who disagree and do not want to hear about it.
Jimmy

Palm Bay, FL

#193 Jan 26, 2010
ned wrote:
To Common Sense:
I think our country needs all the prayers it can get. However, you make an excellent point about what the framers allowed. They weren't perfect in their framing, were they? But, who were the people who were most involved in changing that? People who prayed. In fact, the slaves themselves prayed and finally were heard. Prayer causes no real harm, does it? Historically, it looks like it gets answered.
Do not even give prayer credit for freeing the slaves. The Union Army freed the slaves. What a ridiculous thing to say. Let me get this straight... God "finally" heard their prayers?? Were they not praying hard enough before? Did god not know about their enslavement until they prayed harder?

So for 200+ years, slavery thrived in north america. How can you rationalize this idea that a god suddenly intervened 2 centuries after the atrocities started to occur and then use this as a basis for historical evidence of the efficacy of prayer?
Jimmy

Palm Bay, FL

#194 Jan 26, 2010
Blue Dog Dem wrote:
Highway,
Religions do not represent God's will. Individuals are the only true representatives of God's will and love. As you noted, religions, sects, and denominations are a big part of the problem. Religious faiths and denominations use a broad brush to paint themselves and others. For example, muslims believe everyone else are infidels that need to convert or die. That's a pretty wide (and partly inaccurate) brush stroke. Other religions have similar off-kilter teachings or beliefs. You're going to have to stop looking to organized religions for answers or scapegoats. You've got to break this down to the basic level - the heart of the individual. THAT is where God's will, love, and perfect purpose is going to be found.
Your entire belief structure is rooted in organized religion. That's how the idea of Jesus has survived for 2000 years. Unless you are following the raw texts of Paul, which nobody does, your religious views are influenced, at the very least, by the early church. Agree?

Since: Jan 10

Lincolnshire, IL

#195 Jan 26, 2010
ned wrote:
To Blue Dog Dem,

It does boggle my mind, though, how in one breath you can talk about God's will and then begrudge aid to Haiti. Obviously, the American people INDIVIDUALLY have chosen to help Haiti, given the tremendous amount of money donated. It would certainly be nice if we would do that for our own country, too. We, the INDIVIDUAL people COULD do that collectively if we wanted to. We could clean up a lot of the messes ourselves IF WE WANTED TO. There is plenty of money in this country to share. And by the way, I don't think Americans are God's only children...pretty sure he claims all...though some are lost.
Who's begrudging aid to Haiti? In an earlier post i commented that I believed that we'd been providing aid to Haiti every year throgh the federal government (prior to the earthquake) but it's all ended up in the pockets of corrupt politicians.

As for "plenty of money in this country to share", what's that supposed to mean? I donate to charities, and support causes I believe in, but your version of "sharing" sounds like you want the government to spread the wealth out evenly. Sorry, but I don't relate well to Marxism. If I've misunderstood your statement, please accept my apology.

Finally, I agree - God's children are everywhere.

Since: Jan 10

Lincolnshire, IL

#196 Jan 26, 2010
Jimmy wrote:
<quoted text>
Your entire belief structure is rooted in organized religion. That's how the idea of Jesus has survived for 2000 years. Unless you are following the raw texts of Paul, which nobody does, your religious views are influenced, at the very least, by the early church. Agree?
Yes. My belief structure is influenced by the early church and the teachings of my late father, yet I'm would disagree that my belief structure is rooted in "organized religion". Paul's writings are instructional and uplifting. Some of his most influential messages came in the late 70s with "Hey Jude" and "Happiness is a Warm Gun". I'm not sure I understand "Everyone Has Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey".... oh ... Sorry, wrong Paul.

Since: Jan 10

Des Moines

#197 Jan 26, 2010
Blue Dog Dem wrote:
Highway,
Religions do not represent God's will. Individuals are the only true representatives of God's will and love. As you noted, religions, sects, and denominations are a big part of the problem. Religious faiths and denominations use a broad brush to paint themselves and others. For example, muslims believe everyone else are infidels that need to convert or die. That's a pretty wide (and partly inaccurate) brush stroke. Other religions have similar off-kilter teachings or beliefs. You're going to have to stop looking to organized religions for answers or scapegoats. You've got to break this down to the basic level - the heart of the individual. THAT is where God's will, love, and perfect purpose is going to be found.
I am 100% in agreement with you, belief in a higher power should bring us together not divide us, 2000 years of christianity means little, what about the Greek's, or Egytian cultures, were they just mistaken for the thousands of years they believed in their gods. We slap on labels that most don't understand. I cannot believe that some little girl in the middle of the rainforest, will go to hell because she's never heard of Jesus. God's will is used to explain rediculous theories, Haiti was struck by an earthquake, because they made a deal with the devil.... I suppose if a bus load of kids on their way to church camp went off a cliff, It's because they had sin in their hearts. Bull...God does not intervene, control, or influence anything in our lives. It is us, as humans that do it. God gives you everything you need for a happy life at the moment of conception, including free will to then chip away at the perfection. If you need to turn to religion to stop drinking, great. If you haven't killed anyone because you believe it's a sin, super. But that's your choice. God wants you to live your life, If you screw it up, or turn it around YOU DID IT, not him. If some want to pray, let them pray, If you don't want to then don't. Stop interfering in other peoples lives. Our lawmakers are lousy anyway, usually a case of the best investment you can make for the money.( corporate donors ) or union lobbies. Can someone give me an example of how our state or fed does anything good with our tax dollars?

Since: Jan 10

Lincolnshire, IL

#198 Jan 26, 2010
Highway,
We're closer to agreement than disagreement. I do believe that God can and sometimes does intervene in our lives. I also believe that He certainly influences people's lives every day. In fact, He is the most influential being/character/person of all times. That's not my opinion alone. Almost every person knows or has heard of Jesus and his teachings.

"Influence" is a mushy gray area. My Dad influenced me in a positive way. So did my Mom and my HS science teacher. Some people influence in a negative manner as well. But to say God doesn't "influence" us is shortsighted. Actually, depending on your point of view, God has influenced many atheist to join this discussion.
Jimmy

Orlando, FL

#199 Jan 26, 2010
HIGHWAY 420 wrote:
<quoted text>I am 100% in agreement with you, belief in a higher power should bring us together not divide us, 2000 years of christianity means little, what about the Greek's, or Egytian cultures, were they just mistaken for the thousands of years they believed in their gods. We slap on labels that most don't understand. I cannot believe that some little girl in the middle of the rainforest, will go to hell because she's never heard of Jesus. God's will is used to explain rediculous theories, Haiti was struck by an earthquake, because they made a deal with the devil.... I suppose if a bus load of kids on their way to church camp went off a cliff, It's because they had sin in their hearts. Bull...God does not intervene, control, or influence anything in our lives. It is us, as humans that do it. God gives you everything you need for a happy life at the moment of conception, including free will to then chip away at the perfection. If you need to turn to religion to stop drinking, great. If you haven't killed anyone because you believe it's a sin, super. But that's your choice. God wants you to live your life, If you screw it up, or turn it around YOU DID IT, not him. If some want to pray, let them pray, If you don't want to then don't. Stop interfering in other peoples lives. Our lawmakers are lousy anyway, usually a case of the best investment you can make for the money.( corporate donors ) or union lobbies. Can someone give me an example of how our state or fed does anything good with our tax dollars?
deist?

Since: Jan 10

Des Moines

#200 Jan 26, 2010
Jimmy wrote:
<quoted text>
deist?
uhhh not sure what that means, I'm not preaching my point of view, don't care what anyone else believes, just think we need tolerance on both sides. Between this and the gay marriage issue, It gets 20 times the amount of feverish responses. If you want to pray, you should be able to, if you don't want to, then don't. People, all people need to stop pushing their agenda on others, both sides, Man how are we ever going to fix the real problems in our country if we are constantly distracted by this nonsense? I will no longer respond to these kind of rediculous stories, as I am being drawn into supporting more of the distraction. Sorry fellow Iowans for unwittingly contributing to the problem, kinda got caught up with some free time and allowed myself to get dragged in.....
Jimmy

Palm Bay, FL

#201 Jan 26, 2010
HIGHWAY 420 wrote:
<quoted text>uhhh not sure what that means, I'm not preaching my point of view, don't care what anyone else believes, just think we need tolerance on both sides. Between this and the gay marriage issue, It gets 20 times the amount of feverish responses. If you want to pray, you should be able to, if you don't want to, then don't. People, all people need to stop pushing their agenda on others, both sides, Man how are we ever going to fix the real problems in our country if we are constantly distracted by this nonsense? I will no longer respond to these kind of rediculous stories, as I am being drawn into supporting more of the distraction. Sorry fellow Iowans for unwittingly contributing to the problem, kinda got caught up with some free time and allowed myself to get dragged in.....
I can't get behind the "stop pushing their agenda" argument, mostly because it's completely against human nature. People in power have been pushing their agendas on everyone else for as long as there have been groups. There is a correct answer to this situation, either let them pray or don't let them pray. They both can't win. The side that loses will consequently have the other's agenda pushed on them.

[quote]
If you want to pray, you should be able to, if you don't want to, then don't...[/quote]

If you allow prayer at all, that means that the atheists lose, thus accepting the agenda of their opponents. I trust you get my point.

These issues certainly make for interesting discussion, and to some they matter very much. I'm not one of those. I don't mind conceding to the religious folk on this issue, but many fellow atheists do.

It's a simplistic position to take when you ask "how are we ever going to fix the real problems in our country if we are constantly distracted by this nonsense." First of all, we aren't "constantly distracted" by this. The real problems of this country aren't going unsolved because issues like this hold us back. Our form of government has its limitations. Frequent elections at all levels result in our leaders pandering to their base rather than doing what's best for everyone. Racism was government endorsed until the second half of the 20th century in this country because the minority was denied participation.

I say lighten up and have a good discussion. You still have plenty of time to rid the world of its ills.
Jimmy

Palm Bay, FL

#202 Jan 26, 2010
HIGHWAY 420 wrote:
<quoted text>uhhh not sure what that means
I was just curious. You were describing a rather vague version of God and I just wanted you to explain your views.

Since: Jan 10

Des Moines

#203 Jan 26, 2010
I feel that God is in everyone of us, our soul, the thing that makes us who we are. Religion corrupts for it's own purposes. I'm a good husband and father, I don't live my life the way I do because of heaven or hell, it's just the right thing to do. You sacrifice for your family, employer, community. You put everyone else at the front of the line, so someday when it's your turn someone will do the same for you. I love studying history, and through the last 5000 years man has believed so many different interpretations. I mean were they all wrong, or did they believe what they could understand, given their limited understanding of the world. As a result will we continue to evolve our understanding or simply stay stuck in the same place. I am not one to judge anyone on the matter, you gotta do what is right for you. If going to church keeps you from shooting everyone at the office, great. But I get sick of churchy people that think they can go 5 days a week, and it's gonna make up for beating their kids, or cheating on their wives. No freakin way I'm going to believe that, but they sure do. Now I'm going to get 50 responses telling me that they go to church and don't beat their kids. If you're so narrow minded to think that every comment is directed at you, get a clue. I'm not broad stroking the issue. If someone want's to pray, let them. If you don't want to Don't. The separation of church and state does not apply. That has to do with state sponsership of a particular religion over another. They are not making you pray if you don't want to. I haven't been to church in 20 years, don't think I'll feel the need to ever go. I put my faith in myself and my family. We have the freedom to choose for ourselves, face the consequences of your actions. I totally find a level of intolerance from church types, Atheists should also respect the other side. Live and let live isn't a belief, It's basic common sense.
Lee

United States

#204 Jan 28, 2010
Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. He loves all of you too. I hope no one finds it offensive being told someone loves them.

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