jmullaney: *Again, show me one [religious organization] that is recieving federal or even state funds and is clearly breaking discrimination laws. *
As I said, religious organizations have an exemption from the nondiscrimination clauses of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, so when they discriminate in hiring based on religious affiliation, they are not breaking the law. Nor would it be illegal of them to discriminate in this way even if they received federal funding under “charitable choice” provisions. That doesn’t necessarily make it right or constitutional, but the problem is with the law itself, not with the behavior of the organization.
Since the relaxation on government funding of such organizations via “charitable choice” only began with the 1996 welfare reform provisions, there are few “pervasively sectarian” religious groups that get taxpayer funding in this way so far, and I know of no case where the constitutionality of such funding has been legally challenged because a religious recipient discriminates on the basis of religious belief. But as tax-funded “faith-based action” programs proliferate, such challenges will surely come. As I said before, if you feel that there’s nothing to worry about in this situation up to that point, feel free to go on ignoring it. For now.
*Oh, sure. So being gay is a “religious” belief, but being against drug testing isn’t? And you’re complaining about double standards?! *
You misunderstood me. I was pointing out that a sectarian organization may legally discriminate in employment on the basis of religious belief. I was not arguing that opinions on homosexuality (or drug testing, for that matter) necessarily have to be regarded as religious beliefs. It does seem very probable to me that the firing of a lesbian by a Baptist organization that I cited above was motivated by religious opposition to homosexuality, but as you noted, that is not generally regarded by the courts as necessarily constituting religious discrimination, and I didn’t claim it was bound to be so regarded.
To recap: my point is that under the provisions of “charitable choice” and the current right of religious organizations, and them alone, legally to discriminate in employment on the basis of religious belief (belief in the generally accepted sense, in no way implying any “secret test” of my own, which you inferred from the same misunderstanding I explained above), we taxpayers will be (and perhaps even now are) paying religious organizations to discriminate in employment in ways that we would not permit to a non-religious organization. I don’t like this, and it doesn’t make me in any way “biased against religious organizations” not to like it. It’s a double standard.
Brian Bunnyhurt: aw c’mon, even I can answer most of those, and I’m neither Republican nor Christian! Point by point:
*Where does Christian dogma explicitly uphold the non-ethics of publicly mandating that citizens be allowed to go without food, medicine or shelter when these same citizens hold common interest in tens of billions of tax revenues from public leases? *
It doesn’t—in fact, it enjoins upon Christians the duty of caring for the needy, deserving and undeserving—but it does not mandate that this be done via the social services of the secular state.
*Where does Christian dogma explicitly say to pray in public (schools)? *
Doesn’t. Doesn’t forbid it, either: there are many arguments about it based on Jesus’s expressed disapproval of praying in an ostentatious fashion, but Christian theology in general doesn’t hold that this implies that prayer must always be secret or private.
Where does Republicanism suggest that opposing the rights to abortion or medical-marijuana or physician-assisted-suicide is promoting more personal freedom and more personal responsibility for ones decisions?
“Republicanism” is probably not a defensible term for conservative ideological convictions, but letting that go for now: most Republicans (judging by polls, the platform, and the positions of their leaders) apparently consider abortion to be murder of a human being with full personhood status, so naturally it is a requirement of personal responsibility not to do so. As for the other issues, personal freedom and responsibility are always balanced with other desiderata like the common good and the safety of society, for conservatives and liberals alike (as I’ve noted before). Everybody needs to compromise between the liberty of the individual and the good of the whole, and it doesn’t automatically invalidate the sincerity of one’s positions.
Also, as per abortion, where does Christianity specifically prohibit this?
Depends whom you ask. The Ordinary Magisterium of the Catholic Church currently forbids abortion, as do the core beliefs of many Protestant denominations. There have been varying theological opinions on abortion throughout the history of Christianity, as there are now among different Christian groups.
Where do Republicans find reasons to force a woman have a child against her desires, yet philosphically disallow for state funds to support the raising of this child?
See above; they believe that the state should prevent murder but is not necessarily responsible for assuming the function of Christian charity in alleviating poverty.
Where does Republican theory of government OR general doctrines of Christianity suggest that tax-exempt churches should be more directly involved in people’s economic welfare and schooling with public funds?
Well, the Republican platform and many Republican pronouncements on the issue generally seem to hew to the line that “faith-based intervention” is more effective than secular, so it should be promoted by the government in the interests of getting results and saving money. This claim seems to me pretty weak as a basis for policy: though I completely agree that many religious charities do very good and helpful work (I’m a fan and supporter of the (Quaker) Friends Service Committee myself), I don’t think there’s conclusive evidence that church groups will really be significantly more effective than secular ones at solving social problems.
For one thing, there is currently very little assessment and accountability for religious social-service providers (see the cover article “Freedom From Religion” in this week’s The Nation—sorry, doesn’t appear to be an online version). Government-provided services are tracked, evaluated, and analyzed, which keeps us aware of ways in which they’re unsatisfactory (and incidentally adds to their cost). Church-provided services are usually not, but popular goodwill (and media attention to their “success stories”) contribute to a common perception that they are much more effective, irrespective of the lack of hard evidence. (An extreme example of this trusting spirit is provided by the pro-charitable-choice Jewish conservative Marshall J. Breger, who writes here: “Faith-based social services work. The anecdotal evidence is incontrovertible. It is pastors, not bureaucrats, who can reach out to convicted felons.” !! Since when is “anecdotal evidence”, even when claimed to be “incontrovertible”, an adequate basis for major national policy decisions?)
But not to get too far OT: though I may think that the weakness of these claims (that faith-based services are preferable because they work better) is, or ought to be, a bit of an affront to the traditional Republican virtue of hardheaded practicality, I don’t think there’s anything “un-Republican” about the nature of the claims: spend less money, get better results, what’s not to like?
Where does EITHER Republicanism or general Christianity benefit from the federal or state government leaning towards one mainstream religion over all others?
Aw, fer Pete’s sake! State establishment of a particular religion has historically always constituted a huge advantage both to the chosen religion itself and to the ambitions of the citizens who follow it! (And that’s not even taking into account genuine ideological convictions that everybody should follow the established religion for the good of their souls, which many believers see as the chief benefit of an established religion.) Republicans are both more likely to be Christian and more likely to be religiously conservative than the groups to the political left of them; of course it seems advantageous (as well as just plain right) to many of them that the government should promote Christianity!
But (to get back to the OP—yes, there was an OP once, long ago!) I agree that this enthusiasm for religious promotion is antithetical to a principle that Republicans claim to endorse, namely government noninterference with the lives of individuals.
Now Brian (and Morpheous), I have a favor to ask, in return for my answering all those questions: could ya see your way to easing up on the wholesale condemnations of Republican"ism" that don’t really have much support besides ideological antagonism? I definitely sympathize with the irritation of others who just don’t much care for many Republican views, but I (and Maeglin and Sofa King) have enough to do here defending our more moderate criticisms without having to dodge the friendly fire as well.