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Should the Government Fund Religious Discrimination?

For a long time, Christian organizations have been calling on Congress to officially approve faith-based discrimination, and they’re not letting down. The question that Obama received today was why he still has not rescinded the Executive Order that gives funding to religious organizations that discriminate against atheists in hiring and firing. And of course, he spent a couple minutes giving a non-answer.

Why we continue to grant “exceptions” to people of faith surprises me. Either the Law of the Land holds in all cases (and non-discrimination requirements for federal money applies to all organizations), or there isn’t Law at all. But yet the religious continue to think that as long as they have the word “faith” somewhere in their mission statement that they can get away with anything.

The State of Illinois is taking another route. It just passed the civil unions law, and part of that law forbids funding for organizations that discriminate based on sexual orientation.

Of course, it is so common-sense and reasonable that it pisses the religious off. The numerous branches of Catholic Charities decided that it would still continue to discriminate in their adoption policies, and as a result, the state of Illinois has no choice but to sever funding for the organizations. Their foster care and numerous other services are scheduled to shut down.

Luckily, secular charities–run by normal people who do good works for their own sake–are going to pick up the slack. But it is unbelievably sad, as well as incredibly infuriating, that a group of people would only provide services as long as they can discriminate based on some instructions that they think came directly from some supernatural being.

But of course, the Catholic Charities are suing the state. That’s right, they’re suing the state of Illinois because they feel they are being denied the “right” to discriminate based on divine instructions. That, my friend, is the face of religion in a nutshell, whether you like it or not.

All of this brings up a good observation. I’ve never seen so many forces so willing to undermine the universal application of law, the concept of fair treatment and equality, and the spirit of non-discrimination–all of which are so essential to secular democracy.

But of course, all the liberal Christians are rushing to our side, right? Any day now… Any second…


Humbled by God, or Not.

As you all know, this a great blog with no secular bias whatsoever, which is exactly why I want to show you the religious perspective on inspiration. My last post demonstrated the incomprehensible size of stars and how they should humble us, but this is how Christians view the exact same thing:

So he gets a nice sinking feel, huh? And all our false feelings of importance? They come from sin, right?

Remember that this is coming from a religion that for centuries insisted that we really were at the center of the Universe, that we were really the special creation of God completely separate from animals, that everything was tweaked just right for human life.

But let us forget about that. The guy is a Christian, and he claims to be humbled by the awesome size of stars in the Universe.

He’s so incredibly humbled that he, while holding the Bible in one hand, can probably answer the following:

1. Whether God certainly exists or not.

2. How many Gods there are.

3. Whether this God cares about what happens in some negligible nanoscopic alley in the Universe.

4. Which God, out of the millions that humans have believed, is the one true God.

5. Whether or not God really chose to save us by sending Jesus to some backwards part of the Middle East.

6. Whether there is an afterlife or not.

7. What the afterlife consists of, and what thoughts and beliefs (or rituals) you must have to get there.

8. Who you may have sex with.

9. What divine instructions God gave thousands of years ago.

10. Which parts of the Bible are literally true, and which ones are metaphor.

11. Whether God really answers prayers.

As a human being, I maintain that anyone who even remotely claims that they have the answers to some of the questions above are, at the least, extremely suspect and, at worst, complete frauds. The obvious fact, of course, is that anyone who claims to know with some clarity all or most of the answers above are claiming things that human beings cannot possibly know.

This is exactly why I don’t want to see my President having breakfast with people who make a living out of making the claims above. I especially don’t want to hear him saying how faith is about being humble and understanding the limits of your own knowledge.

The problem with faith is that it makes people so incredibly, unbelievably, astronomically, and galatically arrogant, while at the same time making them not realize it.

The inspiration of the day, therefore, comes from Carl Sagan:

We live on a hunk of rock and metal that circles a humdrum star that is one of 400 billion other stars that make up the Milky Way Galaxy which is one of billions of other galaxies which make up a universe which may be one of a very large number, perhaps an infinite number, of other universes. That is a perspective on human life and our culture that is well worth pondering.