Category Archives: Catholic Church

Thomas Jefferson On Religious Freedom

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“Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the “wall of separation between church and state,” therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society. We have solved … the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries.”

~Founding Father Thomas Jefferson: in a speech to the Virginia Baptists, 1808

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How To Tell If Your Religious Liberties Are Being Violated In America

Religious Liberties

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Religious Liberty As Bigotry — Discrimination Historically The Purview Of Religious Zealots

“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”
– Judge Leon M. Bazile, January 6, 1959

Yesterday it was “The Coloreds;” today it is “The Gays.”

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Arizona Governor Jan Brewer today vetoed the License To Discriminate Against Gays law passed by Arizona’s house and senate. That’s a good thing. But what’s bad is that she did it for economic reasons as opposed to ethical and moral reasons (Apple, American Airlines, the NFL, all the tourism associations, etc implored her to veto the bill because implementation would inevitably mean economic boycotts against the state).

I agree with using all tools available to shoot down these religion-based bigotry bills, no doubt, yet it should be stated clearly that the greater and heftier rationale for veto are ethical and moral. In a land that espouses freedoms as a central premise, any legislation that codifies discrimination because an individual does not like another person’s life should be anathema and promptly shot down.

rel-fIn one’s religious realm (at their church or in their home), one may treat and allow in another in any way they would like (short of abuse and physical harm or death), but when running a business or interacting in daily life, one is in the social and civil realm, and here you may not violate another’s freedoms to live… that is the US Constitution. That means that one’s freedom to act discriminatorily is illegal. Don’t like that the constitution protects even those you don’t approve? As conservatives have said for years to protesters, etc… if you don’t like it here, maybe you should leave for some other country.

For far too long, conservatives have used the shield of religious freedom to enshrine bigotry and discrimination. It’s nothing new. The righteous must always have the unrighteous.

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While LGBT Americans are the current target of this effort to repackage prejudice as “religious liberty,” we are hardly the first. As Wake Forest law Professor Michael Kent Curtis explained in a 2012 law review article, many segregationists justified racial bigotry on the very same grounds that religious conservatives now hope to justify anti-gay discrimination. In the words of one professor at a prominent Mississippi Baptist institution, “our Southern segregation way is the Christian way . . . . [God] was the original segregationist.”

In 1901, Georgia Gov. Allen Candler defended unequal public schooling for African Americans on the grounds that “God made them negroes and we cannot by education make them white folks.” After the Supreme Court ordered public schools integrated in Brown v. Board of Education, many segregationists cited their own faith as justification for official racism. Ross Barnett won Mississippi’s governorship in a landslide in 1960 after claiming that “the good Lord was the original segregationist.” Senator Harry Byrd of Virginia relied on passages from Genesis, Leviticus and Matthew when he spoke out against the civil rights law banning employment discrimination and whites-only lunch counters on the Senate floor.

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Bob Jones University excluded African Americans completely until the early 1970s. The IRS revoked the schools tax-exempt status, and the school sued. When Bob Jones’ case reached the Supreme Court, the school argued that IRS’ regulations denying tax exemptions to racist institutions “cannot constitutionally be applied to schools that engage in racial discrimination on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs.” Doesn’t that rationale sound familiar? But the justices did not agree. In an 8-1 decision by conservative Chief Justice Warren Burger, the Court explained that, “On occasion this Court has found certain governmental interests so compelling as to allow even regulations prohibiting religiously based conduct.” Prohibiting race discrimination is one of these interests. And in these modern times, prohibiting discrimination based upon sexuality has come to be one of these interests.

Importantly, in United States v. Lee, the Supreme Court has also ruled, “When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.”

A religious bigot’s decision to refuse to do business with someone — especially for reasons such as race or sexual orientation — can fundamentally demean that individual and deny them their own right to participate equally in society.

Religious liberty is an important value and it rightfully belongs in our Constitution, but we do not allow it to be used to destroy the rights of others. Hateful discrimination is wrong. And it doesn’t matter why someone wants to discriminate.

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Through their varied talking points, conservatives advance a narrative suggesting a “religious rights vs. gay rights” conflict, ignoring the fact that not all religious persons are anti-gay and the reality that many gay persons are religious. Moreover, it suggests an uneven playing field that is opposite of reality.

There are NO federal laws protecting gay citizens from discrimination in employment, housing, or public accommodations. Many states and cities offer their own laws to compensate for this national failure, but gays are still largely unprotected throughout the country. Conversely, religious discrimination has been prohibited under federal law since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964!

Conservatives absurdly portrait gay nondiscrimination protections as “special privileges,” implying that religious people are thus at a disadvantage… even though the religious already enjoy those same protections! Based on this false premise, conservatives argue that religion needs its own extra protection to compensate for these “special” gay protections — a law like what was proposed in Arizona. In reality, such a law would give religion an unfair advantage, allowing religion to trump any protections gay citizens might enjoy through other state or local laws.

THIS is really what “Religious Freedom” means in these debates: it frames a discussion for conservative Christians wrestling with the emerging equality of a previously disadvantaged group.

Just as segregationists argued during the 20th Century that “God created the races” and “placed them on separate continents” for a reason, 21st Century conservatives similarly struggle to reconcile legal equality for the gay community with a religious tradition of condemning homosexuality.

Rather than “burdening” religious belief, the progression of gay citizens’ equality simply presents a new legal framework to ensure that anti-gay religious beliefs are not unjustly imposed upon others.


Thomas Jefferson — The Paramount Founding Father, The Intellectual Voice Of America, On Religion As A Founding Principle

Thomas_Jefferson_21. “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”

~Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802

2. “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is error alone that needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”

~Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Horatio Spofford, 1814

3. “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, then that of blindfolded fear.”

~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

5. “I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.”

~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Elbridge Gerry, January 26, 1799

6. “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.”

~Thomas Jefferson: in letter to Alexander von Humboldt, December 6, 1813

7. “Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the “wall of separation between church and state,” therefore, is  absolutely essential in a free society. We have solved … the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries.”

~Thomas Jefferson: in a speech to the Virginia Baptists, 1808

8. Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”

~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814


Faustian urGe Manifesto

Ensuring That Serving “Capital” Interests Must Also Serve To Broadly Improve The Lives Of “We The People”

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CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST often bemoans ethical failures while he also attempts to mitigate, in some minuscule way, the social damages he and too many other citizens suffer from “Traditional” American Values (social and business). Inappropriate personal agendas and indifference toward obligation and ethics are significant annoyances that he addresses by trying to learn more — what wags the world and why.

Given the circus of extremes on display in society and within the political realm since President Obama’s re-election, CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST is currently working through the conundrum of how so many intelligent, educated people manage to place their feet in their mouths while their heads are so firmly up their arses.

He’s frustrated, and believes the nation is threatened, by libertarianism — knowing the objectivist/libertarian belief system is inappropriate to a fruitful, functional society. Libertarians disregard a profound reality: We are responsible for the decisions we make, yes, but we’re not responsible for the options we’re given. Thus, CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST believes that we should create that “society we would want if we didn’t know in advance who we’d be.”

He sees that another libertarian delusion is establishment of the fanciful “self-made” individual. The laughable concept discounts external influence or inspiration and exhibits a blatant disregard for the interconnectedness that is the human condition.

He remains convinced that we humans do not have to destroy each other to survive (as in two wars extinguishing 100,000+ lives as revenge for the prior killing of 3000) but that we choose to do so… not the nonsense propounded that genetics or patriotism demands it. CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST knows we have the ability to reason and that too many simply choose the easier way of reactive non-thought.

Though imbued with a simmering cauldron of rage just below his deceptively pleasant (and not altogether unpleasant looking) exterior, he’s always willing to self-examine and learn — yearning for family, friends, community members to take the same ride.

The hope… the desire… the craving… for forward movement and betterment on cultural, political, and individual levels are woven into his personal fabric, with key objectives toward equality/equitability*, liberty, fraternity, justice-for-all, empathy, self-awareness, growth, momentum, compassion, and humor.

(*EQUALITY of advancement opportunity and treatment under the law and social memes — EQUITABILITY of rewards and outcomes [economic and social])

On EQUALITY:

It appears that a large number of citizens seeking minimalist government from the Right are for strong government, though, when it favors their perceived social interests, such as interfering with the reproductive rights of women, the marriage rights of non-heterosexuals, and the civil rights of non-whites.

CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST relishes challenging the authority of political, religious, and societal priests, as he liberally supports marriage for everyone, equal rights for everyone, less poison for the environment, progressive taxation, removal of corporate personhood, financial regulation enforcement up to and including criminal incarceration, the elimination of all “consensual crimes,” and many other positions that lead conservatives to squirm uncomfortably in their seats.

On EQUITABILITY:

The Right will argue that allowing the free market to function will fix our problems. But, the free market doesn’t guarantee social outcomes, merely economic ones. Yes, it may provide more efficiency on the whole and grow the economy faster as a whole, but by itself doesn’t guarantee how wealth is distributed. The Right cannot be indifferent to the consequences of a middle-class life undermined, nor can it be indifferent to half the population’s inability to buy the products and services that businesses sell.

The Left would argue that the solution is for laws to transfer wealth from the rich to the middle class. But, while that would increase consumption, depending on the scope, it could threaten the amount of capital available to investment by the transfer itself and by eliminating incentives to invest. The Left cannot be indifferent to the fact that one can’t invest what they don’t have, and that no one will accept the risk of investment if the payoff is transferred completely away.

CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST understands the take away to be that “reasonableness” must prevail as to the extent, but transfers of some wealth should ensue as a part of the solution. So, let’s avoid extreme redistribution and focus on finding the correct amount that ameliorates the problems at hand (which will improve sales and garner more aggregate profit for firms, shareholders, and stakeholders… alike) while retaining enough incentives to invest and risk take.

As a Social-Capitalist/Social-Democrat**, CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST favors smart government — a government as big or as small as needed to achieve progressive social and capital ends, ensuring that serving “capital” interests must also serve to improve the lives of “We the people” broadly (hence, “Social”).

“Our” government’s job is best done when it benefits all of the people, and not just capital interests — as he interpretes the right favors.

(**Social Democracy is exhibited as an economic precept of Social Capitalism. The contemporary social democratic movement seeks to reform capitalism to align it with the ethical ideals of social justice while maintaining the efficient and wealth-building capitalist mode of production, as opposed to creating an alternative socialist economic system. Practical modern social democratic policies include the promotion of the commonweal, and the creation of economic democracy as a means to secure stakeholders’ rights.)

“This vast number of worlds, the enormous scale of the universe, in my view, has been taken into account, even superficially, in virtually no religion, and especially no Western religions.” – Carl Sagan

Taking exception with the very concept of “American Exceptionalism,” CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST feels compelled to explore these issues in rambling-though-coherent thoughts and an adventurous assortment of arbitrary amusements.

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Liberalism is “Life.”

It is an unrelenting pursuit of freedom from physical dangers that can kill or disable us.

  • The Liberal believes it is a nation’s job to protect its citizens from physical harm, whether from external sources, such as hostile nations, or internal ones, like crime, disease, or hunger. Without the solid ground of physical wellbeing, our nation and its citizens cannot enjoy the benefits of being free.
  • Liberals believe in a strong military, well suited to defend the nation.
  • Liberals believe in good laws, hard-working police, and a just legal system to protect its citizens from crime.
  • Liberals believe in affordable health care for everyone, to keep our people strong.
  • And Liberals believe in the availability of food and shelter for its needy, not as a hand out but as a reasonable step in moving all Americans toward self-reliance and the freedom that comes with it.

Liberalism is “Liberty.”

It is the freedom to do as your conscience dictates without impeding another’s rights. Liberalism established a nation where personal belief and self-determination are protected, not persecuted; where hard work is rewarded, not demanded; and where each person is bestowed with the ability to better his or her life because of citizenship, not class.

  • Liberals believe in freedom of speech to protect us from political oppression.
  • Liberals believe in sound regulations to protect us from economic oppression.
  • Liberals believe in just laws to protect us from social oppression.
  • And Liberals believe in quality education to protect us from the oppression of ignorance.

Liberalism is “The Pursuit of Happiness.”

It is the freedom to create an environment where the individual can excel. What is freedom if it cannot be used to better our lives? A truly free society must be one where its members can rise above their limitations and expand their futures — it is “The American Dream,” and it’s alive and well in the heart of the Liberal.

  • Liberals believe in equal opportunities for all to rise above our means.
  • Liberals believe in equal opportunities to rise above our education levels.
  • Liberals believe in equal opportunities to rise above our social status.
  • And Liberals believe each and every family should have an equal opportunity to make this world better for their children.

Based on these tenets, Liberalism is not the monster it’s made out to be by the opposition.

  • It is pro individual and pro family.
  • It is pro community and pro country.
  • Liberalism is, by its very definition, the heart and soul of what it means to be an American.
  • It stands against tyranny of any kind, whether international or domestic.
  • It works to remove abuse and fight crime.
  • And it strives to eliminate the idea of a wasted life by not wasting resources and opportunities.

America Was Founded Upon Christianity — But… Not Really

The Founding Fathers, Christianity & Deism

DEISM is a philosophy maintaining that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of a creator. According to deists, the deity seldom, if ever, intervenes in human affairs or suspends the natural laws of the universe.

Deists typically reject supernatural events such as prophecy and miracles, tending instead to assert that a god (or “the Supreme Architect”) does not alter the universe by intervening in it. This idea is also known as the clockwork universe theory, in which a god designs and builds a universe, but steps aside to let it run on its own.

Deism became prominent in the 17th and 18th centuries during the Age of Enlightenment—especially in Britain, France, Germany and America among intellectuals raised as Christians who found they could not believe in supernatural miracles, the inerrancy of scriptures, or the Trinity… but who did believe in one God. Deistic ideas influenced many leaders of the American and French Revolutions.

Deism and the founding of The United States

In the United States, Enlightenment philosophy (which itself was heavily inspired by deist ideals) played a major role in creating the principle of religious freedom, expressed in Thomas Jefferson’s letters and included in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

American Founding Fathers, or Framers of the Constitution, who were especially noted for being influenced by such philosophy include Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Cornelius Harnett, Gouverneur Morris, and Hugh Williamson. Their political speeches show distinct deistic influence.

Other notable Founding Fathers may have been even more directly deist. These include James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Ethan Allen, and Thomas Paine (who published The Age of Reason, a treatise that helped to popularize deism throughout the USA and Europe).

Benjamin Franklin wrote in his autobiography,

“Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle’s lectures. It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist.”

For his part, Thomas Jefferson is perhaps one of the Founding Fathers with the most outspoken of Deist tendencies — though he is not known to have called himself a deist, generally referring to himself as a Unitarian. For example, his treatment of the Biblical gospels which he titled “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth” — but which became more commonly known as the “Jefferson Bible” — exhibits a strong deist tendency of stripping away all supernatural and dogmatic references from the Christ story.


Gay Marriage Rights: Love American Style

Recognition of Gay Marriage is a hot topic lately — election time and all.

It’s either no big deal… your mom and dad will instantly feel their relationship is tainted and trade in for a new arrangement (probably with a sexier or wealthier partner!)… or the Almighty will smite the United States with horrible wrath (throw a hurricane, tornado, or drought our way… because those never otherwise happen).

The question being answered is, “Should gays be allowed to marry?”

That’s the wrong question.

The proper question to answer is this

“Should it be legal for any two adult U.S. citizens to have the ‘self-evident’ and ‘unalienable Rights’ already guaranteed to ALL citizens?”

Marriage… If something’s “self-evident” and “unalienable” and all citizens are equally protected under the law, then what’s the holdup?

Gay Marriage. Marriage. One and the same.

Well, the sanctity of traditional marriages will be violated, and you know what that means… Nothing.

It’s against God’s law, some say, and you know what happens when we break those Nothing.

Your God, maybe… Not mine. Not the God of many, not the God of the godless. America is not a theocracy. Worship your God. Follow his laws for you.

Conferring legal status on a committed couple should have no impact on your faith and marriage, nor your parents’. If same-sex marriage is against your personal moral code, don’t marry someone of the same sex.

Quoting Scripture and citing the “abomination” of homosexuality is an attempt to assert the Christian Bible as the authority establishing U.S. laws… over the Constitution. Both documents, though, require an evolved understanding over time.

The “Good Book” abounds with passages endorsing polygamy, concubines, slavery, and the subjugation of women.

  • In addition to the death warrant in Leviticus 20:13, the God of the Holy Bible wants dead those who plant different crops side by side or wear garments sewn with different threads. Should U.S. law align itself with these precepts?
  • Leviticus 11: 9-10 forbids eating shellfish. Shouldn’t the opponents of same-sex marriage also seek to prohibit the consumption of lobster, crabs, oysters, clams, mussels, and shrimp?

Let’s just state the uncomfortable truth: whatever your Bible (of any faith) says doesn’t matter. Not one bit. Secular law is dominated by the terms of the U.S. Constitution. Period. And even that needs a high court to modernize our understanding of its protections as we evolve and progress.

Our Declaration of Independence declares “All men are created equal.” But the “men” referred to were only white male property owners. We evolved.

Others suggest it is a slippery slope which might lead to marriage rights for children, turtles or toasters. These arguments are specious and insulting.

Felons can marry. Illegal aliens can marry. The developmentally challenged can marry. Those with genetic diseases can marry. Heck, in some states, cousins can marry.

The mission of America — as made clear in our Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution — is freedom. As we hear often… freedom isn’t free. The cost isn’t just that paid by our loyal armed service members. The price of freedom is, also, putting aside the prejudices that we hold against our fellow men and women.

Getting back to our original, proper question, the answer is…

It is anti-American and unconstitutional to deny marriage equality rights to gay and lesbian couples.

This country has said out loud and on paper: Equal Rights For All. Not just some. Not just those who worship a certain way. Not only those who love a certain way.

Marriage equality is for ALL. Guaranteed!