2012's most important stories on faith

Dec 29, 2012 Full story: Tyler Morning Telegraph 161

In 2012, a diversity of faiths were represented in the news on the national level ...

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“Post-religious”

Since: Apr 08

Location hidden

#23 Dec 30, 2012
KMA wrote:
If Obamacare doesn't require religious organizations to pay for birth control, why did Obama have to come up with a plan to accomdate them?(See quote from USA Today article below).... a whole lot of text that simply shows your error
So now you're faulting the Obama administration for coming up with a plan that accommodated the objections of religious organizations by not requiring them to have to pay for contraceptive services?

There's just no pleasing the religious right-wing. You accommodate their superstitions and myths, and still they want more.

“Post-religious”

Since: Apr 08

Location hidden

#24 Dec 30, 2012
KMA wrote:
I personally don't have any problem with birth control. However, I respect the right of those who do to not be forced to pay for it. But, it occurs to me that the arguments being spewed by those who support forced payment of birth control could also be applied to abortion. I do have strong objections to abortion. Think about it: Birth control isn't that expensive. So, why the big push to require employers to pay for it? The answer is those behind it have a bigger agenda. After they get this fully implemented they will begin to push for a requirement that all insurance cover abortions.
Employers don't have to pay for contraceptive or abortion services, and they won't under the Affordable Care Act. Your entire argument is based on a fiction.
KMA

Benton, AR

#25 Dec 30, 2012
"KMA wrote:
...
There are multiple problems with this paragraph. First, no one is dictating what health services a person can or cannot get.

Employers who want to deny their employees access to contraceptive services from insurance providers are."

Okay, now you're just not making any sense. This is simply a false statement. Please tell me when any employer has told a doctor that they cannot prescribe birth control to an employee? Not providing coverage is not the same as "denying access." Your argument is simply intellectually disingenuous. But, don't let that stop you.

"Why stop at contraceptives? Why not just provide a plan that offers aspirin, and then employees can pay for everything else themselves? "

I agree, why stop at contraceptives. Let's require that plans cover aspirin. And, how about other things... my hair is thinning - I think insurance companies should be required to pay for hair plugs.... maybe you think your wife needs a boob job, should be covered by insurance, shouldn't it...... But, seriously, if any coverage should be required its for mental health care, but, that would be really, really expensive and its not as politically useful as contraception. But, as you say, why stop anywhere? Lets just give people unlimited coverage for anything and everything they think they need, as long as a doctor writes a prescription. After all, the insurance company is paying for it, right.

HEY, I JUST HAD A FANTASTIC IDEA. ITS BRILLIANT. I CAN'T BELIEVE OBAMA HASN'T THOUGHT OF IT. OKAY, HERE IT IS - IF THE GOVERNMENT CAN ORDER INSURANCE COMPANIES TO PAY FOR CONTRACEPTION AT NO COST TO ANYONE, WHY NOT JUST ORDER THE INSURANCE COMPANIES TO PROVIDE TOTAL, COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE TO EVERYONE AT NO COST TO ANYONE. WHY NOT? AFTER ALL, THE INSURANCE COMPANIES WOULD BE PAYING FOR IT. See the flaw in your logic now?

"Since employers don't have to pay for the service, feel free to show how."

Saying that employer don't pay is another completely false statement. If they don't pay who does? Are you getting your checkbook out?


"You apparently operate under the mistaken impression that women can obtain birth control without a doctor's prescription, that all employees are free to quit their jobs and take up new positions at the drop of a hat, and that health insurance is easily obtainable, especially without a job."

You apparently operate under the mistaken impression that everything that comes from the government or an insurance company is completely free. I never said women can obtain birth control without a prescription. What does the need for a prescription have to do with the discussion? Tell me one employer that has refused to allow an employee to go to the doctor and get a prescription? You don't seem to get the distinction between paying for something and "denying access." If you go to McDonald's tomorrow and order a Big Mac, if I don't pay for that Big Mac, am I denying you access to it? And lastly, I don't think there is any law that says an employer can make a person work for them. I think that used to be called slavery. So, yes, employees are free to quit and find another job. They do it all the time. I've done it a few times myself. And, when I decided I didn't want to work for someone else, I started my own business. I know, I should have just kicked back and expected my employer and the government to provide for all my needs. I'm such a bad person.
KMA

Benton, AR

#26 Dec 30, 2012
"Employers don't have to pay for contraceptive or abortion services, and they won't under the Affordable Care Act. Your entire argument is based on a fiction."
Okay, answer this question: Who is going to pay for it? If your answer is the insurance company, where are they going to get the money?
So you don't strain your brain, I'll go ahead and give you the answer - the money used to pay for it will come from the premiums paid by the religious organizations. So, tell me again that they are not paying for it? Who's spouting fiction?

“Post-religious”

Since: Apr 08

Location hidden

#27 Dec 30, 2012
KMA wrote:
Interesting that you argue for religious liberty while, at the same time, arguing against it. Let's think about it: SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE - but you want the church to pay money to the state? SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE - but you want to subject the church to government regulation? SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE - but you want to restrict the free speech (isn't there something about that in the first amendment?) rights of pastors? SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE - yet you want to violate "religious liberty" by forcing church members to pay for something their religion believes is wrong?
No one's speech is restricted and no one is being forced to pay for anything their religion believes is wrong.
KMA wrote:
You throw around phrases like "religious liberty" and "church and state" but you believe they are only a one way street. You believe religion has no place in government but you believe the government should be able to tax and regulate churches. You dont believe in religious liberty or separation of church and state. You believe only in freedom FROM religion and keeping faith out of government.
If you really believed in "religious liberty" you would agree that churches should be tax exempt,that the government has no business telling pastors what they can and cannot say, and that the government has no business telling church members they have to pay for birth control.
You spend a great deal of space setting up a strawman argument by attributing to me things I never said.

All churches and their pastors can say ANYTHING THEY WISH to say, politically or otherwise, from or apart from the pulpit. But once they apply for a tax exemption they should abide by the same rules that all 501(c)(3) charitable organizations have to follow -- don't advocate for or against political candidates. The taxpayer can't subsidize the political activities of my 501(c)(3); it shouldn't be subsidizing the political activities of religions.
KMA wrote:
But, like many people, you only see the constitution through the filter of your ideology. Let me ask you this: What was the primary purpose of the Constitution? Was it to restrict the power of the government? Or was it to restrict the rights of the people?


The primary purpose of the Constitution was to afford the national government with adequate power and means to establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. It needed the power to tax, maintain and empower an armed force to put down rebellions (like Shay's Rebellion before the constitution, and the Whiskey Rebellion after it), and ensure the supremacy of the national government over the state governments.
KMA wrote:
Your interpretation is that the First Amendment restricts the rights of churches and their members.


Wrong. My interpretation is that the First Amendment restricts government from favoring one religious belief over another or religious belief over non-belief.

Some churches like preferential treatment and government favoritism for their mythologies and consider true neutrality on the part of the government as a "restriction" on their "rights". This is nonsense.
KMA wrote:
But, the aim of the Constitution was to restrict the government and to protect the rights of the people. Your version of "religious liberty" and "separation of church and state" empowers the government while trampling on individual rights and freedoms. I don't think that's what the framers intended. Do you?
If the aim of the Constitution was to restrict the government, the framers would never have written it. They were already operating with one of the most restrictive and constricting governments under the Articles of Confederation.

No individual rights or freedoms are "trampled" under the Affordable Care Act.
KMA

Benton, AR

#28 Dec 30, 2012
From later in the USA Today article:

"Officials said that while the final rule goes into effect today, it will not be enforced on religious organizations that object until August 2013, leaving additional time to work out details"

Its funny that they keep mentioning a "rule" that you say doesn't exist. Such shoddy reporting.

“Post-religious”

Since: Apr 08

Location hidden

#30 Dec 30, 2012
KMA wrote:
"Employers don't have to pay for contraceptive or abortion services, and they won't under the Affordable Care Act. Your entire argument is based on a fiction."
Okay, answer this question: Who is going to pay for it? If your answer is the insurance company, where are they going to get the money?
So you don't strain your brain, I'll go ahead and give you the answer - the money used to pay for it will come from the premiums paid by the religious organizations. So, tell me again that they are not paying for it? Who's spouting fiction?
I can't really help you if you insist on being ignorant. Go out and learn a bit about the nature of insurance, of the notion of risk and risk pools, and how increasing the number of insured and the depth of the risk pool lowers cost.
KMA

Benton, AR

#31 Dec 30, 2012
"But once they apply for a tax exemption they should abide by the same rules that all 501(c)(3) charitable organizations have to follow -- don't advocate for or against political candidates. The taxpayer can't subsidize the political activities of my 501(c)(3); it shouldn't be subsidizing the political activities of religions."

But, if you truly believed in SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE, there would be no need for them to apply for tax exempt status, would there? As far as the taxpayer "subsidizing" something - that doesn't even makes sense. As far as I know the government doesn't give money to churches, am I wrong? Do you think that because they don't pay taxes they are being "subsidized." More false logic.

"Some churches like preferential treatment and government favoritism for their mythologies and consider true neutrality on the part of the government as a "restriction" on their "rights"."

But you are not arguing for neutrality, you are arguing for taxation and regulation, not separation.

You're view of the Constitution is disturbing and misinformed. Yes, the Constitution was not meant to empower the government but to limit its power and empower the people. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be doing a very good job of teaching Civics in the government run schools anymore. That's truly sad.

It's a fact that Jefferson feared an all powerful central government. They had the same debates then that we have now about the power of the federal government vs. states. And, they came up with a document that was intended to limit the power of the federal government. But, unfortunately, we have strayed far off course and read into this supposed "living" document more than is there.

You spout off about the purpose of the establishment clause. The purpose of the establishment clause was simple. Think about the times, what happened in England with the Church of England. The purpose of the establishment clause was to prevent the government from establishing a state church. I seriously doubt the framers ever envisioned it would be used to prevent people from putting up nativity scenes and saying Merry Christmas....or to restrict the free speech rights of pastors. You, like many people, want to add to the Constitution and read things into so that you can twist it for your own purposes. Don't feel bad, even Supreme Court justices have been known to do that, rather frequently.

You assert a perverted version of religious liberty that you hope will free you from religion. I can't help but wonder why you have such a hatred for it. A lot of people have religious views that I don't agree with but I'm not trying pass laws against them. I'm not trying to restrict the things they say. I'm not trying to make them pay for something they don't believe it. Why are you doing those things? What happened to cause this anger? Perhaps you are struggling with your relationship to God. I've been there, I've been angry, much like teenagers get angry and their parents and rebel. Its perfectly understandable. I worked through it, you will too. Try spending a little time in prayer. I bet you'll be surprised with the results. Instead of putting your faith in government, try putting your faith in God. Believe me, the founding fathers did not have the faith in government that you seem to think they did. This government, like every other one will pass away. In the perspective of eternity, this life is but an instant. The Kingdom of God is the only Kingdom that will never fall. That is where your faith should be.

KMA

Benton, AR

#32 Dec 30, 2012
"Real truth and spirituality is found inside each and everyone himself"

So, are you saying that when you die, real truth and spirituality die with you?

Real truth is only found through Christ (not religion, not churches). The Kingdom of God and the souls of men are the only things that will last forever. Seek ye first the Kingdom of god and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. Try opening up your heart to the truth. I agree, sometimes churches and religious organizations have not been what they should. Although, they also do a lot of good. But their shortcomings are because they are made up of people, imperfect people. But, the Kingdom of God is not any earthly church or oganization. It is a spiritual kingdom. It is this Kingdom that is really what is real, or significant. This physical world is really only a distraction. This is the real truth. By realizing this, we overcome this physical world. This life is like a vapor or a mist, gone in an instant. It is eternity that is important. This truth will not die when I or anyone else dies, it is an eternal truth that has never and will never change. Someone may write a book that seems insightful today, someone else may write a different book that seems to provide great insight tomorrow. Those people will die, the people who read those books will die, that insight will die with them. But, those that enter the Kingdom of God will spend eternity with him. All you have to do is seek him. It's that simple.
Danzig

Borås, Sweden

#33 Dec 30, 2012
KMA wrote:
"Real truth and spirituality is found inside each and everyone himself"
So, are you saying that when you die, real truth and spirituality die with you?
No, I haven't said that they die with you. I haven't even said that you die.

But check out Alkuajatus, it describes the inner world, which is where the truth is found and where the true self is found, so you could call Alkuajatus a map you can use to find.
KMA

Benton, AR

#34 Dec 30, 2012
The government envisioned by the Constitution is one of enumerated powers (see Art. I, Sec. 8 and the 10th Amendment). That means that unless the Constitution grants a power to the government, the government does not have that power. For that reason, many of the founding fathers did not believe that a Bill of Rights was necessary (the Bill of Rights was actually passed after the Constitution, at the insistence of several states). Since the founding and particularly since the Civil War the government's practical power has expanded tremendously through the interpretation of several clauses, e.g. the spending, commerce, and "necessary and proper" clauses.
KMA

Benton, AR

#35 Dec 30, 2012
Having experienced mistreatment at the hands of the British government, writers of the United States Constitution were careful to limit the powers of government and protect the rights of individuals. The primary purpose of federal government was to:

1. Defend the shores

2. Establish a system of currency

3. Deliver the mail

4. Protect individual rights

Consider Amendment X, the last in the Bill of Rights:



Amendment X


The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.



Interesting question: Does the U.S. Constitution grant rights to its citizens?



Answer is, No. Looking back at the forerunner of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, we find the Grantor of individual rights:



"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."



So, the Constitution does not grant rights. It assumes people have those rights from the Creator and establishes that government shall not take them away.



The Constitution could be a dangerous instrument if it granted rights, because by amending it, those in power could take our rights away. The founding fathers were adamant that citizens already had those rights.



How far we have come since then! Look again at Amendment X. The founding fathers wouldn't recognize us, would they?

KMA

Benton, AR

#36 Dec 30, 2012
From the Declaration of Independence:

That to secure these
Rights, Governments are instituted among Men,
deriving their just Powers from the Consent of
the Governed.”
KMA

Benton, AR

#37 Dec 30, 2012
But it was the doctrine of enumerated powers
that was meant to constitute the principal
defense against overweening government. Since
all power began with the people, the people
could limit their government simply by giving it,
through the Constitution, only certain of their
powers. That, precisely, is what they did,
through enumeration, thus making it clear that
the government had only such powers as were
found in the document. The very first sentence
of the Constitution, following the Preamble,
makes the point:“All legislative Powers herein
granted shall be vested in a Congress ...”
25
(emphasis added). The point is reiterated in the
Tenth Amendment, the final documentary statement
of the founding period:“The powers not
delegated to the United States by the
Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States,
are reserved to the States respectively, or to the
people.” In a word, power was delegated by the
people, enumerated in the Constitution, and thus
limited.
The idea, plainly, was to limit government
from the outset by limiting the things it could do,
almost all of which, as Article I, Section 8 of the
Constitution indicates, relate to securing rights.
In fact, James Madison, the principal author of
the Constitution, made the point in 1794 when he
rose from the floor of the House to object to a
welfare proposal, saying that he could not“undertake to lay [his] finger on that article of
the Federal Constitution which granted a right to
Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence,
the money of their constituents.”30 Notice
that Madison was not objecting to benevolence.
Rather, he was making a point about constitutional
principle: however worthy the end might
be, Congress had no power to pursue it since the
people, through their Constitution, had given
Congress no such power. In 1887, exactly 100
years after the Constitution was drafted,
President Grover Cleveland made a similar point
when he vetoed a bill to buy seeds for Texas
farmers suffering from a drought, saying he
could “find no warrant for such an appropriation
in the Constitution.”31
KMA

Benton, AR

#38 Dec 30, 2012
Come on Danzig, you're really just trying to sell a book, aren't you?
KMA

Benton, AR

#39 Dec 30, 2012
Danzig, I went to the site and started watching the video. It was so boring I couldn't watch it for long or I would have been asleep. Not only was it boring but it didn't really say anything.

But, I'm curious, what do you believe happens when someone dies?

“Post-religious”

Since: Apr 08

Location hidden

#40 Dec 30, 2012
KMA wrote:
But, if you truly believed in SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE, there would be no need for them to apply for tax exempt status, would there?


I believe in a separation of church and state -- the farther apart the better for both.

Taxes exist to run the government and provide services for individual and corporate groups. In order for churches to avoid paying a tax, they have to apply for an exemption. If they don't apply, no exemption.
KMA wrote:
As far as the taxpayer "subsidizing" something - that doesn't even makes sense. As far as I know the government doesn't give money to churches, am I wrong? Do you think that because they don't pay taxes they are being "subsidized." More false logic.
Of course they're being subsidized. Government allows churches to operate freely without taxation, something it doesn't allow many other corporate groups to do. They are free to use their income however they wish without having to pay for services that the government supplies to everyone else on a taxable basis. Churches get a free ride.
KMA wrote:
But you are not arguing for neutrality, you are arguing for taxation and regulation, not separation.
If "churches" want to become political players, and advocate or support candidates that make the laws for everyone else, then I don't want them to get a free ride. Pay taxes like everyone else, or get out of politics.
KMA wrote:
Yes, the Constitution was not meant to empower the government but to limit its power and empower the people.
Go back and do some real research; don't just parrot the Disney version of history.

Ask yourself this: if the framers' true goal was the restriction of government power, why didn't they just keep the Articles of Confederation, which restricted government power far more than the Constitution?

The Constitution was created to empower government, not restrict it. The Bill of Rights, added later, guaranteed individual rights against government infringement. The latter was added to satisfy fears of the Anti-Federalists about the former.
KMA wrote:
I'm not trying to restrict the things they say. I'm not trying to make them pay for something they don't believe it. Why are you doing those things?


How am I doing those things? No one is restricted in saying what they want to say or being forced to pay for anything they don't want to pay for.

If a pastor wants to tell his parishioners to vote for Obama, he can do so. He just can't expect the rest of society to subsidize his political efforts by granting him an exemption from paying taxes.
KMA wrote:
Why are you so angry? Perhaps you are struggling with your relationship to God.
Oh, pull-eeze. Not another godbot. Do me a favor and drop it. I'm not "angry at god". I don't believe in any gods. I'm not angry at something that doesn't exist.

However, I do get a bit PO'd at people who push unproven and conveniently unprovable faith beliefs as justification for public policy.

“Post-religious”

Since: Apr 08

Location hidden

#41 Dec 30, 2012
KMA wrote:
From the Declaration of Independence:
That to secure these
Rights, Governments are instituted among Men,
deriving their just Powers from the Consent of
the Governed.”
The Declaration of Independence is not a legal document. It has no controlling authority as law.

“Post-religious”

Since: Apr 08

Location hidden

#42 Dec 30, 2012
KMA wrote:
...
Consider Amendment X, the last in the Bill of Rights:
...
Sure, if only you'd consider Amendment IX immediately before it.

“... truth will out.”

Since: May 08

Stratford, Connecticut.

#43 Dec 31, 2012
Danzig wrote:
Real truth and spirituality is found inside each and everyone himself ...
Like Jonestown's Rev. Jim Jones and Islam's "prophet" Muhammad?

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