Yesterday I read an interesting factoid about playwright Christopher Marlowe: In the 1590s, while he was producing his plays, church officials began to accuse him of espousing atheism, a charge that was punishable by torture. On May 18, 1593, a warrant was issued for his arrest, but he died in a fight over a bar bill before the police could find him.
Accused of espousing atheism was punishable by torture?
That made me think about how fortunate I am to have been born in the United States at this more enlightened time in history. It brings shudders to imagine how it must have been to live back in such barbarous times as the sixteenth century, when one must, just to continue living, bow down to the cruel and inhumane decrees of the pompous and unbelievaly ignorant leaders of what was called The Church.
On this day, February 7 in 2002, President George W. Bush announced his plan to federally fund faith-based initiatives.
Bush started his day at a National Prayer Breakfast held in the ballroom of the Washington Hilton Hotel, where he explained the basic philosophy behind his plan. In service to others, he said, we find deep human fulfillment. And as acts of service are multiplied, our nation becomes a more welcoming place.
Later that day, he announced the new policy from the Oval Office with leading members of Congress and the press in attendance. Bush proposed that faith-based organizations should assume a greater role in providing social-service programs without breaching the separation of church and state. He suggested that government should not discriminate against faith-based programs, but it should encourage them to flourish. Under his plan, religious groups could receive federal funding to implement programs usually carried out by secular non-profit organizations.
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The above plan is clearly ridiculous. Giving taxpayer money to organizations sponsored by (controlled by) religious institutions brazenly does breach the separation of Church and State.
The Faith-Based Initiative is nothing more than a foot-in-the-door ploy to elevate the Church to a previously held voice of power within the government. The term faith-based is a neologism (coined in the 1970s), mostly current in American English, to describe any organization or government idea or plan based on religious beliefs, specifically Christian beliefs. The term commonly refers to associated organizations such as Catholic Charities. Such "faith-based organizations" typically deliver a variety of services to the public.
The Anti-Defamation League says: The Faith-Based Initiative and ‘Charitable Choice’: is Harmful to Religious Liberty and Civil Rights.
The Anti-Defamation League is a strongly pro-religion, national human relations and civil rights organization. For close to a century, it has been an ardent advocate for religious freedom for all Americans.
ADL believes that the best way to safeguard religious freedom is through the separation of church and state embodied in the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, which allows Americans to practice their various faiths freely and boldly.
To this end, ADL strives to advance religious liberty by opposing government interference, endorsement, and entanglement with religion. In the familiar words of distinguished U.S. Supreme Court Justice Black: "A union of government and religion tends to destroy government and degrade religion."
Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 431 (1962).
The Faith-Based Initiative represents a dramatic shift in the way government funds social welfare services for our nation's most needy citizens. The design and implementation of the initiative raise serious and deeply troubling implications for the religious freedom of all Americans – and the integrity of our nation's religious institutions.
More in a .pdf file . . .
The above should be a warning to all who are able to imagine the future of the United States and, indeed, the world, if people's lives are ever again controlled by religious doctrines, no matter how benign and righteous they might seem to be on the surface. Every man and every woman should be in control of his or her self.
Of course, this is merely my opinion, but (remembering the foot-in-the-door principle) it should be obviously true to all people who are able to think.
WORD FOR TODAY
1. A new word, expression, or usage.
2. The creation or use of new words or senses.
a. The invention of new words regarded as a symptom of certain psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia.
b. A word so invented.
4. Theology A new doctrine or a new interpretation of scripture.
BORN ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
Born Feb 07, 1883
Died Feb 12, 1983
Died Feb 12, 1983
James Hubert Blake was an American composer, lyricist, and pianist of ragtime, jazz, and popular music. In 1921,
Blake and long-time collaborator Noble Sissle wrote the Broadway musical Shuffle Along, one of the first Broadway musicals to be written and directed by African Americans. Blake's compositions included such hits as, "Bandana Days", "Charleston Rag", "Love Will Find A Way", "Memories of You", and "I'm Just Wild About Harry". The musical Eubie! featured the works of Blake and opened on Broadway in 1978.
Blake claimed that he started smoking cigarettes when he was 10 years old, and continued to smoke all his life. The fact that he smoked for 85 years was used by some politicians in tobacco-growing states to build support against anti-tobacco legislation.
His 100th birthday was celebrated in 1983.
Note: I once saw Eubie Blake interviewed on TV and when he was asked what he attributed to his living so long, he answered, "I smoked several packs of cigarettes and ate a handful of candy bars almost every day of my life."
Born Feb 7, 1960
Age 52 years old
Age 52 years old
James Todd Spader is an American actor best known for his eccentric roles in films such as Pretty in Pink; Less Than Zero; Sex, Lies, and Videotape; Crash; Stargate; and Secretary. His most famous television roles are those of the colorful attorney Alan Shore in The Practice and its spin-off Boston Legal, for which he won three Emmy Awards, and Robert California in The Office.
Born Feb 7, 1965
Age 47 years old
Age 47 years old
Christopher Julius “Chris” Rock III is an American comedian, actor, screenwriter, television producer, film producer, and director.
After working as a standup comic and appearing in small film roles, Rock came to wider prominence as a cast member of Saturday Night Live in the early 1990s. He went on to more prominent film roles, and a series of acclaimed comedy specials for HBO.
Rock began doing stand-up comedy in 1984 in New York City. He slowly rose up the ranks of the comedy circuit in addition to earning bit roles in the film I’m Gonna Git You Sucka and the TV series Miami Vice. Upon seeing his act at a nightclub, Eddie Murphy befriended and mentored the aspiring comic. Murphy gave Rock his first film role in Beverly Hills Cop II.
Rock began receiving major parts in films. Though he started off with supporting roles in films such as Dogma, Beverly Hills Ninja, Lethal Weapon 4, and Nurse Betty, he went on to star in films like The Longest Yard, Bad Company, and Down to Earth. Some of his more recent film appearances include Death at a Funeral, Grown Ups, and 2 Days in New York.
Born Feb. 7, 1804
Died May 17, 1886
Died May 17, 1886
John Deere was an American blacksmith and manufacturer who founded Deere & Company, one of the largest and leading agricultural and construction equipment manufacturers in the world. Born in Rutland, Vermont, Deere moved to Illinois and invented the first commercially successful steel plow in 1837.
The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries.