You Gotta Have Faith. No, Seriously, You Gotta.

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The Office of Faith-Based Initiatives has survived a legal challenge from atheists*:

The Supreme Court on Monday said ordinary taxpayers don't have the legal standing to challenge a White House initiative helping religious charities get a share of federal money.

The 5-4 decision dealt with a suit by a group of atheists and agnostics against Bush administration officials including the head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

The taxpayers' group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation Inc., objected to government conferences in which administration officials encourage religious charities to apply for federal grants.

reason has been on the faith-based initiatives beat since the getgo. In 2001 Cathy Young took the temperature of the debate. In 2003, Kerry Howley explored how Chuck Colson was trolling for funds.

*I pledge to keep spelling "atheist" wrong until those mooks bow down to Allah, like Jesus would want them to.

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  1. How could anyone expect a good decision with Bush’s new high priests er, high justices on the court.

  2. They’re not athier, they’re athiest.

    Oh, atheists.

  3. So let me get this straight,

    Citizens do not have the right to petition the government for redress of grievances?

  4. ATHEIST.

  5. without looking, here are the 5 for
    Thomas, Scalia, Kennedy, Roberts, Alito

    now i’m gonna go see if i’m right

  6. So, I take it the libertarian position is that Catholics have to bankroll what they consider to be murder, but atheists shouldn’t have to pay for secular work done by religious orgs.

  7. I really, really want some Wiccans or Xenu worshippers or Church of Satan folks to get off their asses and seriously go for some of this grant money.

    Taxpayers in the case “set out a parade of horribles that they claim could occur” unless the court stopped the Bush administration initiative, wrote Justice Samuel Alito. “Of course, none of these things has happened.”

    Strictly constructionist, my ass!

  8. So, I take it the libertarian position is that Catholics have to bankroll what they consider to be murder, but atheists shouldn’t have to pay for secular work done by religious orgs.

    How many libertarians have spoken in favor of tax funding for, well, anything?

  9. Of course, I would prefer that neither activity be funded by govt, but it’s interesting how the “I shouldn’t have to pay for something I disagree with” argument gets thrown to the four winds when the people getting screwed are religious.

  10. crimethink | June 25, 2007, 11:42am | #

    So, I take it the libertarian position is that Catholics have to bankroll what they consider to be murder, but atheists shouldn’t have to pay for secular work done by religious orgs.

    Well put.

  11. thoreau,

    Have you ever seen an embryonic stem cell research thread at this site? I’m (obviously) against federal funding for that, and I’m always in the minority.


  12. How many libertarians have spoken in favor of tax funding for, well, anything?

    Including scientific research in general and embryonic stem cell research in particular?

  13. crimethink | June 25, 2007, 11:42am | #

    So, I take it the libertarian position is that Catholics have to bankroll what they consider to be murder, but atheists shouldn’t have to pay for secular work done by religious orgs.

    Strawman! Strawman!

    Do i win a prize?

  14. I admit, I’ve mostly stayed away from stem cell threads.

  15. To clarify, I don’t have any more problem with paying religious orgs to do charity work than I would with paying non-religious orgs to do the same work. Faith-based initiatives != supporting religion.

    Ultimately, I don’t think govt should be funding charity work at all, but that’s not the issue here.

  16. Nay, Crimethink has a good point. Religiousness in any form seems as icky to some libertarians (especially some on this board) as gay people seem to some evangelical Christians.

  17. Of course one could be religious and still object to the attempt by the government to get religion on the public teat. It’s a slippery slope to governmental imposition of current political dogma on religion as a requirement to have a suck on said teat. As a religious person, I’d have contributed to this effort by “a group of atheists and agnostics” and I’d gladly have joined it.

  18. Zoidburg,

    It’s not a strawman when people describing themselves as libertarians have actually taken that position, quite vehemently I might add.

    thoreau,

    Don’t you remember the Unborn Angel thread? That was an ESCR thread. And I seem to remember you talking about the practicalities of working in a laboratory segregated into non-federally-funded and federally-funded areas a few times.

  19. For the record I do not believe the feds should be funding abortions, or stem cell research either.

    I’m all for restricting them to funding things within their constitutional limits (post office, military, etc.) and once we’ve gotten there and set them within the bounds of the law we can see what else should get the axe.

  20. Ron Paul would eliminate federal funding for pretty much everything and that’s a form of libertarianism I subscribe to. No reason that certain groups need to ask the government for money rather than individuals. I pay my taxes for public goods, like roads and parks, not private benefits like medical research, religious charities or NASA.

  21. Crimtethink-I think the problem people have with the faith based stuff is that taxpayer money may be given to religious orgs to do secular goals, but that proselytizing is inherent in the programs, and that this is wrong. For example there was an Iowa prison program that had the secular goal of “fighting drug addiction” by getting people to become evangelical Christians.
    Heck, Catholics are’nt the only ones that have to pay for secular programs they don’t believe in. My taxes go to the Iraq War which I am against fo example. But Catholic taxes should not go to pay for atheist proselytizing and vice versa.

  22. an addendum, the national military and justice system are public goods too IMO. But that’s about the limit of national public goods.

  23. crimethink,

    First of all, there seems to be no wholely uniform libertarian position.

  24. Lost_in_Translation,
    Aren’t medical research, religious charities, and NASA public goods? We all enjoy the benefits of their research/work. Especially medical research.

  25. crimethink-

    Yes, I used to post in those threads. Mostly I’ve stayed away lately. And all I’ve really had to say is that the practical difficulties of dividing a lab should be minimized, so as not to discourage scientists from seeking private funding.

  26. thoreau,

    How many libertarians have spoken in favor of tax funding for, well, anything?

    Lots.

  27. Devil’s Advocate:

    Aren’t medical research, religious charities, and NASA public goods? We all enjoy the benefits of their research/work. Especially medical research.

    Are you suggesting we should send medical missionaries into space?

  28. As example a lady I know went to a “faith based” organization for food. She was told she would not receive any food help until she prayed with them. Do they received federal money for this? I don’t know but perhaps I should find out.

    By the way she refused to pray and left without the food.

  29. I suppose the biggest gripe I have is the “ordinary citizens don’t have standing” bit. If ordinary citizens don’t have standing in legal matters involving their own Constitution and federal government, then who the hell DOES?!

  30. ktc2,

    That almost sounds like an episode of South Park.

  31. Are you suggesting we should send medical missionaries into space?

    Pleeasssseeee don’t give the religious idiots anymore ideas!

  32. Bob,

    There is a whole crapload of case law that explains who does and who doesn’t have standing. Anyway, in a lot of ways the courts are trying to avoid becoming legislatures.

  33. I don’t think so, as much as I would relish the idea of medical missionaries trying to convert the Fungi from Yuggoth.

  34. Devils Advocate,

    The Marklars made them leave.

  35. “There is a whole crapload of case law that explains who does and who doesn’t have standing. Anyway, in a lot of ways the courts are trying to avoid becoming legislatures.”
    I see your point, but if the legislatures write stupid legislation they gotta live with courts construeing it…I agree, if taxpayers don’t have standing to challenge the spending of THEIR money on potentially UNCONSTITUTIONAL bullshit, WHO DOES?

  36. Devil’s Advocate,

    No, none of those are public goods. i can’t walk into a medical research lab and demand the latest treatment, nor can I go up to NASA, hand them a bunch of measuring instruments and tell them to add it to the shuttle for the next launch.

  37. also, i wonder when the last time the justices looked at the constitution was. All I hear now is quote from a case which was decided by precedent from a case decided by precedent from a case decided by precedent from a case decided by….

  38. I’ve been volunteering with what could be called a “faith based group,” though it’s not really. It was organized by a few local churches and we use space in a classroom at a Lutheran, Episcopalian, or whatever kind of white bread Protestant church is across the street from mine, but we never bring up anything about religion.
    I was there a few weeks ago when a woman asked if we had bibles to give out like one of the local churches did. The other volunteer there with me goes to my church. She told her that no, we didn’t give out bibles, we were Unitarian Universalist and we were as likely to read from the Kama Sutra as we were to read from the Bible. The woman had no idea what the Kama Sutra was, but I almost died. (Should I start carrying a copy of the Kama Sutra in case someone asks again?)

  39. As example a lady I know went to a “faith based” organization for food. She was told she would not receive any food help until she prayed with them.

    I would agree that they should not receive federal funding for that program if they require participation in religious activities. But the plaintiffs in this case were saying that even paying a religious org to do exactly the same work as a secular org would be unconstitutional.

    As far as the proselytization goes, that shouldn’t be happening either, but TBH a lot of the secular charity organizations deliver a political agenda to the aid recipients, and that shouldn’t be happening either.

  40. Here’s a fun fact. At least a while ago and probably still, one of the major hospital chains that was under contract to provide veterans and military personnel and dependents was the Roman Catholic “Sisters of Charity” chain. (And don’t think “Lilies of the Field,” we’re talking big business here.) In a sense, the mere name of the hospitals proselytize. Should they be ineligible for these government contracts?

  41. bah, arguing who should get government largesse (in a sense, my money) is rediculous. We could solve this problem by eliminating the trough.

  42. Of course one could be religious and still object to the attempt by the government to get religion on the public teat.

    No kidding.

    It is also worth noting that the first amendment came partly out of the fact that pesky Baptists, Quakers, Methodists and other no-conformists had a huge problem with the state religions of some of the colonies and were determined to not have a National Church.

  43. no[n]-conformists – dammit!!

  44. the same amount that objects to one of the most heavily subsidized pieces of property at State and North Ave, Chicago.

    I double object to that.

  45. Here’s a fun fact. At least a while ago and probably still, one of the major hospital chains that was under contract to provide veterans and military personnel and dependents was the Roman Catholic “Sisters of Charity” chain. (And don’t think “Lilies of the Field,” we’re talking big business here.) In a sense, the mere name of the hospitals proselytize. Should they be ineligible for these government contracts?

    No, but the hosptial was (presumably) providing assistence to all patients ane not making participationin religious rituals a requirement for people to get treatment. And the mere name is:

    1 – trivial (whats in a name?)

    2 – not directly related to actual treatment

  46. crimethink,

    The real libertarian position is that the federal government shouldn’t be supporing any charities at all. Problem solved.

  47. crimething: So, I take it the libertarian position is that Catholics have to bankroll what they consider to be murder, but atheists shouldn’t have to pay for secular work done by religious orgs.

    thoreau: “How many libertarians have spoken in favor of tax funding for, well, anything?”

    thoreau, you have been staying away from the embryonic stem cell threads. Does Ron Bailey count, for example?

    Oh! Of course. Now I take your meaning. Very subtly played, my friend. Very sly indeed.

  48. “crimething” should of course be “crimethink.” I make that stupid typo all the time. Apologies, and no offense intended.

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