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BS: US Protestant Church Wars

GUEST 15 Jun 04 - 11:56 PM
wysiwyg 16 Jun 04 - 12:10 AM
Kaleea 16 Jun 04 - 12:11 AM
Amos 16 Jun 04 - 12:16 AM
Blackcatter 16 Jun 04 - 01:12 AM
Rapparee 16 Jun 04 - 09:36 AM
GUEST 16 Jun 04 - 10:46 AM
Rapparee 16 Jun 04 - 11:45 AM
GUEST 16 Jun 04 - 11:57 AM
Blackcatter 16 Jun 04 - 11:57 AM
GUEST 16 Jun 04 - 01:06 PM
Blackcatter 16 Jun 04 - 01:45 PM
GUEST 16 Jun 04 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,KateG whose lost her cookie 16 Jun 04 - 06:22 PM
GUEST,KateG who has lost her cookie 16 Jun 04 - 06:25 PM
Peace 16 Jun 04 - 06:30 PM
Bill D 16 Jun 04 - 06:48 PM
Sorcha 16 Jun 04 - 06:53 PM
Blackcatter 16 Jun 04 - 06:53 PM
maire-aine 16 Jun 04 - 07:13 PM
Blackcatter 16 Jun 04 - 07:15 PM
Joe Offer 16 Jun 04 - 07:52 PM
Blackcatter 16 Jun 04 - 07:55 PM
GUEST,Clint Keller 16 Jun 04 - 08:08 PM
Blackcatter 16 Jun 04 - 08:11 PM
maire-aine 16 Jun 04 - 11:26 PM
maire-aine 16 Jun 04 - 11:29 PM
maire-aine 16 Jun 04 - 11:36 PM
GUEST 16 Jun 04 - 11:45 PM
wilco 17 Jun 04 - 10:55 AM
GUEST 17 Jun 04 - 10:58 AM
wilco 17 Jun 04 - 11:00 AM
Blackcatter 17 Jun 04 - 11:11 AM
CarolC 17 Jun 04 - 01:04 PM
Seamus Kennedy 17 Jun 04 - 01:05 PM
Blackcatter 17 Jun 04 - 01:16 PM
CarolC 17 Jun 04 - 01:25 PM
Joe Offer 17 Jun 04 - 02:12 PM
maire-aine 18 Jun 04 - 11:33 AM
Blackcatter 18 Jun 04 - 11:50 AM
Ellenpoly 18 Jun 04 - 11:59 AM
GUEST 18 Jun 04 - 01:27 PM
Bill D 18 Jun 04 - 01:54 PM
GUEST 18 Jun 04 - 01:56 PM
GUEST 18 Jun 04 - 02:01 PM
GUEST 18 Jun 04 - 02:30 PM
GUEST 18 Jun 04 - 03:21 PM
GUEST 18 Jun 04 - 03:24 PM
Joe Offer 19 Jun 04 - 03:06 AM

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Subject: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 11:56 PM

Is homosexuality the slavery issue of our time?

The culture wars foisted upon the rest of us by the homophobic right wing nuts is now eating it's way through the Protestant churches.

First, it was the Episcopal church that split over the homosexuality issue.

Now, the largest Protestant denomination in the US, the Southern Baptists, have split off from the Baptist World Alliance, over the same issues.

From the Washington Post article on the split:

"The Southern Baptist Convention voted yesterday to pull out of the Baptist World Alliance, accusing the worldwide organization of a drift toward liberalism that included growing tolerance of homosexuality, support for women in the clergy and "anti-American" pronouncements...Because the alliance has no legislative or judicial power over its member churches, the pullout is far less consequential than the threatened schism over homosexuality in the Episcopal Church. But experts said it symbolizes an increasing polarization among Baptists, who historically have eschewed hierarchy and lived with enormous diversity in beliefs and practices."

And the National Catholic Reporter recently reported that Bush, while on his recent European trip, also attempted to enlist the Vatican in the US culture wars, perhaps because not enough Catholic bishops had denied communion to enough Democrats and Kerry supporters.

From the NCR:

"A Vatican official told NCR June 9 that in his meeting with Cardinal Angelo Sodano and other Vatican officials, Bush said, "Not all the American bishops are with me" on the cultural issues. The implication was that he hoped the Vatican would nudge them toward more explicit activism.

Other sources in the meeting said that while they could not recall the president's exact words, he did pledge aggressive efforts on the cultural front, especially the battle against gay marriage, and asked for the Vatican's help in encouraging the U.S. bishops to be more outspoken.

"During his June 4 visit, Bush asked the Vatican to push the American Catholic bishops to be more aggressive politically on family and life issues, especially a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Sources say Bush made the remark after Sodano thanked him for his stand on the issues of family and life. They also said that while Bush was focusing primarily on the marriage question, he also had in mind other concerns such as abortion and stem cell research."

So is the evangelical Republican movement in the US dividing the nation and it's Christian communities?


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: wysiwyg
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 12:10 AM

We ain't split. We are diverse.

~Susan (E'pal)


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Kaleea
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 12:11 AM

Wuld you believe---? that a local Baptist church in my town was recently picketed by other "christians" because the minister of said Baptist church stated that while homosexual sex is considered a sin by the church, they welcome all sinners who wish to know more about the teachings of Jesus. They believe that Jesus, who was renowned for having close friends from dubious walks of life, would welcome gays into his fold.
   some might ask:   WWJGD--What would Jerry Garcia do?
             OR: WWJLD--what would John Lennon do?
    maybe even WWJD--What would Jesus do?

    things that make you go, "hmmmm . . .?"


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 12:16 AM

More to the point, one has to ask oneself, "What shall I do?". For me, the answer is to stay away from mob psychology, especially where it has been organized. The last thing I need is a buncha loony religous zealots trying to straighten out my thinking.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Blackcatter
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 01:12 AM

The Southern Baptist Conference has been getting more and more conservative over the past 20 years. This latest decision is not surprising, other than it took so long to occur.

More an more churches and colleges are splitting away from the SBC. Stetson College in Central Florida did so several years ago. Even Jimmy Carter has publicly split with the Conference.

Aws for the Episcopals, there are still plenty within their ranks who are still unhappy about allowing women into the leadership, let alone gays.


This is why I am a Unitarian Universalist. Unitarian Universalism's most basic tenent is the "Inherent worth and dignity of every person." Because of this, we find it possible to grow and change as a denomination. It hasn't always been easy, but currently, about 55% of our clergy are women, 45% of our congregational presidents are women, 21% of our clergy is gay, lesbian or bisexual. The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) was the first U.S. denomination to pass a national resolution affirming gay rights within our congregations and calling for gay rights in the rest of America. This happened 30 years ago.

The UUA also supports a women's right to choose, calls for an end to the "War on Drugs," and asks serious questions about how the current administration is handling the war in Iraq (By the way, the Beacon Press, owned by the UUA, was the publisher of the Pentagon Papers.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Rapparee
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 09:36 AM

Down in Kentucky, a number of Southern Baptists told me that they were personally and religiously embarassed by some of the stuff the SBC was doing and their churches were quietly pulling away.

I don't know of any church that's a monolithic structure. Gad, the Catholics alone have enough opinions to start a church for each one. Lay Catholic opinion in the West has been diverging from that of the hierarchy ever since Vatican II, especially over matters like contraception and fertility drugs.

Even within the LDS Church there are differences of opinion.

And don't expect the members of any church to act as a massive voting block!


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 10:46 AM

Considering that there are around 1,200 Christian denominations in the US alone, I'd say that it is a given that churches and believers are constantly having partings of the way.

However, that isn't what I'm talking about. I'm talking about a specific group of Christians: conservative evangelicals, that seem to be promoting the radical right wing agenda of the Republican party.

In my lifetime, I don't recall religion ever having this sort of vice grip on our national political life, and after asking the oldest people I know, they say they can't either.

So, this looks like a pretty unique phenomenon in the political sense, more than the religious sense. We are living in an era of tremendous intolerance among this group using what the pundits call wedge issues, or culture war issues. The splits in the Episcopal and Baptist churches have been over these issues specifically, rather than, say, the more theological/philosophical split of the US Lutheran churches.

There have always been conservative, mainline, and liberal denominations. Ecumenism and inter-faith practices drive people apart as often as unifies them. One expects to find the same diversity of opinions on some social and political issues among specific denominations, that one would find in the general population, but certainly not on all social and political issues.

It is the mainline denominations though, that have seen these schisms created by the conservatives, who seem to be as evangelical about their Republicanism, as they are their Christian beliefs. The mainline denominations I am referring to are the Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, and Methodist denominations, which makes up the vast majority of the self-declared Protestant Christians in the US.

Since the conservative denominations of the Christian church already exist, why don't the evangelical Republicans simply leave their mainline denominations to join the conservative denominations, rather than causing such internal strife that they force schisms and splits within their own denominations? And why this emphasis on infiltrating the nation's politics?

The most frightening aspect of the Bush administration to me, is the vice grip this group extremely small, and extremely conservative group of Americans has over the presidency and the policies of this administration.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Rapparee
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 11:45 AM

Ranks right up there with folks asking Kennedy and Kerry about how they would work out the Catholic church's stand on various things with their own politics, don't it?

Only nobody seems to ask the Protestants that....


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 11:57 AM

Actually Rapaire, it doesn't. You seem to be one of those people who is incapable of seeing the world through any lens but the red/blue dichotomy. What I am talking about seems to have sailed right over your head.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Blackcatter
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 11:57 AM

Did you know that our current pretender's brother, "Jeb" Bush, governor of Florida is Catholic? He converted after marrrying. And it's an ironic thing, even though he's Catholic, he's doing his damnedest to match his brother's death penalty record in Texas, yet the Catholic leadership ignores that he's actively sinning. He gets communion. I wonder if he goes to confession, and if the priests say anything. He actually cannot receive absolution while he's in the porcess of sinning, so if he is getting absolution, the priests are committing a sin as well.

Freaking double standard.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 01:06 PM

Blackcatter, thanks for that perfect example of what I'm talking about. That is exactly my point. I think we are seeing the political ideologues wrapping themselves up in the mantle of conservative religious tradition to get elected, and force their agenda upon an unsuspecting public that doesn't support that agenda, or anything remotely close to it.

People pay lipservice to religion in the US, and there is a tremendous amount of hypocrisy surrounding it, which makes it almost impossible to suss out with absolute certainty whether this trend is politically motivated and manipulated by the corporate wing of the Republican party, or politically motivated and manipulated by the religious fundamentalist wing of the Republican party.

I think it is crucial at this juncture to be able to suss out that difference, if we are ever going to defeat it, and return the nation to some modicum of reasonable governance, rather than this right wing radicalism that has put us at odds with the entire world.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Blackcatter
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 01:45 PM

Well, I'm able to seperate politicians statements and actions from their religious beliefs. But it's easy to do when you're outside the structure of Christ'insane'ity.

I've never been Christian and was taught that everyone's beliefs are there own and I have no right to decide whether they are valid for them or not.

It all comes down to personal liberty. That's the main differece between liberals and conservatives. The problem is that many conservatives try to say that some things are evil and base that on their religious beliefs. That is what has to be stopped.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 03:10 PM

I'm not talking about what MY beliefs are. To me, the hard task before us is to suss out what the genuine beliefs of the politicians and religious leaders are in order to determine their true agenda for the nation.

Put another way, the agenda of both the religious fundamentalist Republican right and the radical corporate Republican right is to force their policies and positions on the US and the world, without debate, negotiation, or compromise.

We need to expose them and their agendas to the American voters, in order to turn the tide against these backward looking fundamentalist zealots, and these greedy, power mongering corporate zealots. In order to do that effectively, we need to know what's what, as they say.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: GUEST,KateG whose lost her cookie
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 06:22 PM

"I don't recall religion ever having this sort of vice grip on our national political life"

A vice grip -- that's it! Now I understand. And here I only thought they had a vise grip!


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: GUEST,KateG who has lost her cookie
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 06:25 PM

Oops ... shouldn't lose my apostrophes when giggling about spelling. But truly, the vice/vise confusion can produce delicious results. Especially since the third use of the word, meaning 2nd in command, shares a spelling with the sinful one.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Peace
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 06:30 PM

In the Catholic Church, being homosexual is not a sin. Homosexualizing IS.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 06:48 PM

in case anyone missed this years ago:

this was also done with Lutheran references... ---------------------------------------------------------
I was walking across a bridge one day and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said, "Stop! Don't do it!"

"Why shouldn't I?" he said.

I said, "Well, there's so much to live for."

"Like what?" he said.

I said, "Well, are you religious or atheist?"

He said, "Religious."

I said, "Me too! Are you Christian, Buddhist or Muslim?"

"Christian"

"Me too!" I said "Are you Catholic or Protestant?"

"Protestant"

I said, "Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?"

He said, "Baptist"

"Wow, me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?"

He said, "Baptist Church of God"

I said, "Me too! Are you original Baptist Church of God, or Reformed Baptist Church of God?"

"Reformed Baptist Church of God!"

I said, "Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1889, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?"

He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915."

I said, "Die heretic scum!" and pushed him off

- Emo Phillips


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Sorcha
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 06:53 PM

All of the above are why I am not a church going person.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Blackcatter
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 06:53 PM

Brucie - that's a pretty piss-poor distinction isn't it?

Especially when even having a homosexual desire would be a sin.

What I've never understood about Catholics is why do they support punishment in this life for sins? Isn't damnation good eno8ugh, or are they all afraid that what they believe may not be accurate?


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: maire-aine
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 07:13 PM

This is a very carefully orchestrated movement. In the May 22, 2004 issue of the New York Times, the was an articled entitled CONSERVATIVE GROUP AMPLIFIES VOICE OF PROTESTANT ORTHODOXY. I may have even come across it in another mudcat thread.

I tried to find a link for you, but the NYT article is now archived and you need to pay for a copy. But if you google "Voice of Protestant Orthodoxy" you'll find some copies on other websites. Worth a read.

Maryanne


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Blackcatter
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 07:15 PM

By thye way Brucie - I hope you know that I wasn't attacking you, just the Church's stand.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 07:52 PM

I know we try not to mix church and state, or religion and politics - but I wonder if that's actually possible. I think that religion and politics may actually be inextricably intermingled. After all, both are belief systems.

I'm a left-of-center Catholic, and I've been very active in the church all my life. I'm also what you might call a yellow dog Democrat - because that party's policies are more closely aligned with my religious and ethical beliefs. Democrats seem to have far more concern for the poor and underprivileged, and to be against or at least hesitant about war and weapons and capital punishment. I suppose the abortion issue is a touchy one for Catholics, and homosexuality could also be a stumbling block - but these seem to me to be matters of personal decision, and my belief system will not allow me to attempt to control what other people do with their bedrooms or their pregnancies. I would think that progressives in most religious groups would have opinions similar to mine. I suppose we see religion as a framework through which we can pursue and express our ideals, and explore the mysteries of life.

Religious conservatives tend to see religion and a system of rules and beliefs that serve as a framework for living and as answers to life's questions. I think they want religion to provide certainty and security in an uncertain and insecure world. I think religious conservatives tend to be political conservatives - but there are exceptions. Generally, though, I think political conservatives seek the same certainty and security in politics that religious conservatives seek in religion. It seems that many conservatives need uniformity to ensure their security and certainty - so tolerance of diversity is difficult for them, especially if the diversity is within their own church.

In the Catholic Church, a pesky neoconservative movement has steadily gained strength over the 25-year reign of Pope John Paul II. It seems strongest among lay people, but John Paul II has appointed a large number of conservative bishops who are at least sympathetic to the traditionalists. Many of these neoconservatives have dismissed the majority of Catholic priests and nuns as "liberals." Sometimes, it seems they don't quite trust anybody who has had a Catholic education, because they believe Catholic schools are dominated by heretical liberals.

So, it's a problem. I don't think there is a huge difference from one religious group to another - but there is a wide gap between liberals and conservatives, and that gap keeps getting wider.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Blackcatter
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 07:55 PM

Joe,

Do you think much will change when John Paul II passes away?


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: GUEST,Clint Keller
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 08:08 PM

I'm not real up to date on this, but I understand churches have some special tax exemptions & possibly other privileges other organizations do not.

If they are going to get into politics why not tax & regulate them like other groups?

clint


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Blackcatter
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 08:11 PM

Good question Clint. Among other things, their real estate is exempt from taxes. Imagine just how much money the U.S. is missing because of that "special" priviledge.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: maire-aine
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 11:26 PM

As far as the Catholic Church goes (I came of age during and after Vatican II, let by the brilliant and visionary John XXIII), the present Pope has appointed many, if not most, of the Cardinals who will vote on his successor. Many of the liberal Cardinals are semi-retired by now, and won't be able to participate in the voting. That sets the stage for the election of a Pope who will maintain JP2's policies.

On the other hand, check out Call To Action . They present a hopeful alternative. As soon as this election is over with, I'll transfer my free time to them.

Maryanne


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: maire-aine
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 11:29 PM

Oops. Messed up on the link; tried to do it from memory. It's the Calif. Teachers Assoc. Google "Call To Action". It's late. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: maire-aine
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 11:36 PM

Call To Action is http://www.cta-usa.org/


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 11:45 PM

Here you go maire-aine:

Call To Action

Speaking of Vatican II and the presumptive pope-in-waiting, it also makes a huge difference that there is a disconnect between Vatican II era theologically educated clergy, and the difficulties they've had tending to their increasingly conservative, literal minded flocks who are ignorant of theological ambiguities and contradictions. The latter prefer to remain ignorant of our expanding knowledge of the theological vs the historical, and stick with 'tradition' (which often bears little resemblance to the theological and historical foundations of the Christian religions). These conservatives prefer the pope and the president to the religious historians and scholars, and especially prefer them to their progressive, well educated priests who dare to challenge them to actually behave in a Christ like manner.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: wilco
Date: 17 Jun 04 - 10:55 AM

Stereotyping people is an easy way to avoid constructive dialogue.   
    This is a good example, linking the agenda of part of the southern baptist congregation to the republican party.
    Most people realize that both these zealots, both the baptist religious ones and their political counterparts that we often encounter here in Mudcat, are harmless bufoons. Who takes them seriously?


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jun 04 - 10:58 AM

American voters.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: wilco
Date: 17 Jun 04 - 11:00 AM

My point illustrated. Thank you!!


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Blackcatter
Date: 17 Jun 04 - 11:11 AM

Wilco48, those harmless buffons can and have done much damage.

They are politicians, judges, D.A.s, and sherrifs throughout the south. They create laws and enforce laws that have the effect of keeping non-white citizens under "control." They enforce out-moded "sodomy" laws. During custody fights, they take away the children of mothers who just happen to be either practicing neo-Paganism, or just have a couple books in their home on the subject. They get abortion clinics closed for trumped up reasons. They control school-boards and therefore control the content of school libraries and what is taught in the classes. They prosecute prostitutes and drug-users while ignoring the johns and the major drug-dealers.

There is more - those are off the top of my head and are pulled from events that occured over the last decade or so in the Orlando, FL area. And all have been committed by conservative Christians, most of the time, Baptists.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Jun 04 - 01:04 PM

During custody fights, they take away the children of mothers who just happen to be either practicing neo-Paganism, or just have a couple books in their home on the subject.

I know this to be a fact, because they tried to do it to me. Only in my case, the book in question was "The Witches", a children's book written by Roald Dahl, the author of "Charley and the Chocolate Factory" and "James and the Giant Peach". Fortunately, they did not succeed in their efforts, largely because I made sure the case was being covered in the media as much as possible.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 17 Jun 04 - 01:05 PM

"Put another way, the agenda of both the religious fundamentalist Republican right and the radical corporate Republican right is to force their policies and positions on the US and the world, without debate, negotiation, or compromise"

Taliban anyone?

Seamus


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Blackcatter
Date: 17 Jun 04 - 01:16 PM

Exactly Seamus.

Carole - to some extent you were lucky. I've been asked to testify about Wicca and Paganism in 3 different custody issues. All three times, kids were initially taken away from their mothers without any significant process - just a narrow-minded judge. Luckily, all three cases had the kids returned to the mothers once the issue was looked at and the proper organizations got involved. And this all over a religion that the U.S. officially recognizes!


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Jun 04 - 01:25 PM

I was lucky, Blackcatter. Although it wasn't because the US Constitution's guarantee of freedom of religion was being upheld in my case. I am not a Pagan, or a Wiccan, but I have spiritual beliefs that are not approved of by the extremist Christians who were trying to make a case against me. I had to hide my spiritual beliefs from them or I'm sure they would have been successful in taking my son away from me.

But on the subject of the book, they made themselves look quite foolish for trying to use that one as a part of their case.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Jun 04 - 02:12 PM

I think it's worse than that, Blackcatter. My contention is that the state religion of the U.S. is television evangelism. When I teach lay people in my Catholic parish, I often find that many of the people got their understanding of religion from television, and they seek the same rigidity and literalism and judgmentalism that is preached on TV. Mother Angelica and her Eternal Word Television Network is just another variety of television evangelism - it has a Catholic label but it often attacks Catholic priests and bishops for the sin of "liberalism." When pagans and atheists find fault with Christianity, most often it seems that their understanding of Christianity comes from television evangelism.

You ask whether the Catholic Church will change when John Paul II dies - I hope so, but remember that he's selected all the electors. Maryanne mentioned Call to Action as a Catholic movement that gives her hope, but I think it's far too strident and doctrinaire in its liberalism to achieve any widespread credibility. There's a lot of good and a lot of good people in Call to Action, but I don't think it's a major force. Opus Dei is probably the best-known Traditionalist movement within the Catholic Church - John Paul II has given it a modicum of official recognition, but I think it's still considered a fringe organization by the mainstream of Catholicism.

Blackcatter says:
    What I've never understood about Catholics is why do they support punishment in this life for sins? Isn't damnation good enough, or are they all afraid that what they believe may not be accurate?
I think that Catholic theology of sin and forgiveness is pretty solid and well-developed - if it is understood properly. I think most of us would agree that all of our actions - good and bad - have consequences. Those who believe in some sort of spirituality, believe that actions have both natural and spiritual (supernatural) consequences. If we believe in a God who is both loving and just, then sorrow for sin and forgiveness of sin seem to follow logically. If we do something wrong, there is a need for acknowlegement of wrongdoing and reconciliation, for forgiveness by the person who was wronged, and for atonement by the wrongdoer. It's a process of healing, for setting right what was wrong - and for growth. I think most of the mainstream Christian churches have similar thinking, but the Catholic Church formalizes this in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which was once called Confession or Penance - but unless there is a true change of heart and an intention to do better, the sacrament is just shallow externalism. The problem with Catholic thinking on sin and forgiveness is that it's easy to miss the nuances, and to fall into juridicalism and externalism. I suppose that's a problem with all of religious belief - some get the point and see is as a matter of the heart, and some see only the externals and don't understand the thinking behind it.

Homosexuality is a thorny question for Christians, as is sexuality in general. I don't think the churches have come up with a satisfactory theology of sexuality that fits modern life. Some of the churches have tried to take shortcuts by ordaining homosexuals and blessing homosexual unions - but they haven't yet developed a theology of sexuality that reconciles Christian tradition and thinking with the ordination and marriage of homosexuals. It's going to take another generation or two for that thinking to develop - and sexuality and homosexuality will remain a thorny issue for Christians until that thinking is developed and tested over a long period of time.

I have a friend - let's call him George - I've known for over thirty years, and I know he's an extraordinarily good guy. He was married for some twenty years, and (in many ways) he was a good husband to his wife and a good father to his children. When he got divorced some ten years ago, his wife and children found out that he has liaisons with hundreds of male lovers while he was married. Now he's settled down with a lover, and I'd guess their relationship is monogamous. I think that sooner or later, the "mainstream" churches will accept and bless monogamous homosexual unions,. and the Catholics will follow a half-century later and somehow come up with a way of saying that we've always believed in married lesbian priests. The fundamentalists will take much longer to feel at easy with homosexuality, unless somebody like Billy Graham finds a way to speed things up by coming out of the closet without losing his followers. I don't think the churches will ever find a way to approve the homosexual relationships my friend George had while he was a husband and father - and I don't think they should.

Blackcatter asked about damnation, and I didn't answer that one. I suppose I believe in a hell, but I don't speculate much about the details. I think moderate and liberal Christians generally think that hell is reserved for undeniably awful people - and that most people don't really have to worry about damnation. The fundamentalists seem to think you can get to hell for not believing the right thing - but I don't think mainstream Catholics and Protestants think that way.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: maire-aine
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 11:33 AM

Thanks, Joe, for the interesting comments. I'd have to say that I'm a Catholic in spite of the Catholic Church, not because of it. I am distressed by what the male hierarchy has done to the basic principles presented by Jesus Christ. Any MALE, regardless of sexual orientation, can be ordained, but a woman can't. I just can't believe that for 2 thousand years, God has never called even one woman to the priesthood. I don't think God discriminates like that.

But about sexuality & marriage.... Marriage pledges monogamy between two people. If Joe's friend "George" could not keep his vow, it doesn't matter the sex of the person he was unfaithful with. The point is the broken vow.

Joe, you may be right that Call To Action is too extreme, but what else is there? I don't see any middle-of-the-road for moderate Catholics, who want feel that the hierarchy has swung too far to the right.

Maryanne


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Blackcatter
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 11:50 AM

Hi,

Thanks for your responses Joe and Maryanne. I don't know much about it, but I know there's a off-shoot of the Catholic church that is welcoming for those who have had enough, but still cannot leave the faith completely. A sister of friend is involved in it, since she and her husband are both divorced, but wanted to get married in a church.

I'll tell you, I can only remotely guess at how someone must feel when it comes deciding whether to leave the church, or not. I can't really understand it, because I am completely comfortable with following my beliefs in the direction they lead.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Ellenpoly
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 11:59 AM

What a civilized discussion! Here's hoping that the trolls remain elsewhere.
It is seriously nice to read a thead which just talks the issues, rather than ranting the emotions.

Thank you!..xx..e


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 01:27 PM

Thank you for noticing Ellenpoly.

Actually, I often try to start 'civilized' threads. But they are often inundated by members who easily derail them by using the Mudcat membership code talk for calling in the trolls, ie flagging the thread as one where 'anon guest' is engaged in a civilized conversation with Mudcat members which is going well.

I would balk at any that suggestion that Call to Action is a radical Catholic group. Conservatives would love us to think that is the case, but saying that Call to Action is 'too liberal' is talking in the well-known, long established conservative code language of the radical right.

So who/what is Call to Action? It is a Vatican II oriented Catholic social justice lay organization that is also concerned with bringing about much needed church reform. That puts them in opposition to the current pope and Vatican hierarchy, which is a backlash administration attempting to do to the Vatican II reform movement what the radical Republican right is doing to the New Deal reform movement.

Claiming that Call to Action is 'too liberal' and beyond the Catholic mainstream is just plain wrong. It IS the mainstream of the US Catholic church, which IS politically liberal, and which DOES support the Vatican II reforms, and believes that examining, challenging, and prosecuting (as in the clergy sexual abuse scandal) the institutional church is part of the Vatican II reform mission, which calls on the church laity to take action independent of the clergy to create a more just world. Pope Paul VI was behind this movement, so you can't exactly say that it is just a bunch of malcontented Marxist lay people, out to destroy the church.

To claim that Call to Action is too liberal is akin to claiming that National Catholic Reporter is a Marxist rag, which is also a common accusation spewed by the radical right. National Catholic Reporter is a lay edited, award winning Catholic newspaper, like the Christian Science Monitor.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 01:54 PM

" But they are often inundated by members who easily derail them by using the Mudcat membership code talk..."

so far, NO anonymous has ever given a serious, reasonable explanation for refusing to be identified in ANY way....even as 'guest XYZ', to distinguish them from 'guest at 12:37PM Oct19', which is TEDIOUS to refer to.

...we DO have any number of non-members who use some regular name to allow us to be reasonably sure of following what they are saying from day to day, and I have no problem with this. I don't care if you are anon because you are really Don Rumsfeld or just don't want PMs flooding you, it simply IS rude and confusing to expect everyone to treat each bit of anonymous opinion seriously when it is like coming home and finding notes from your neighbors about some issue taped to your front door with NO signature.

I cannot even begin to fathom why someone (in face, several someones) would continue to enter discussions in which they all use the same identifier........


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 01:56 PM

Sorry, I also meant to provide some links, so people can judge for themselves.

National Catholic Reporter

Joe Offer also mentioned Opus Dei. Here is a reprint of a National Catholic Reporter article about them, which details their agenda in American politics:

"Selling orthodoxy to Washington power brokers"


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 02:01 PM

BillD, this is intended as a gentle suggestion. Your post is off-topic to this thread, and so perhaps we might all be better served if you started/refreshed another thread on the subject you wish to discuss.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 02:30 PM

Maire-aine, I found the NY Times article you mentioned at the WorldWide Religious News website:

"Conservative Group Amplifies Voice of Protestant Orthodoxy"


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 03:21 PM

And I knew I had recently read some information on the 1992 organization "Evangelicals and Catholics Together". It is here, at the religioustolerance.org site:

"Evangelicals and Catholics Together" (ECT)

It is this convergence of conservative Christians who are now attempting to completely take over the resources of the mainline Protestant churches, and succeed in moving the entire US Christian community as far to the right as the radical Republican right has moved with the help of the Protestant evangelical movement led by the likes of Pat Robertson, et al.

When you look at the two above linked articles, you will see that both Catholic and Protestant names are leaders in this radical right movement--and that their Washington lobbying groups and think tanks are all staffed by people from the most radical right organizations, like the American Enterprise Institute, Catholic Information Center, Institute for Religion and Policy, etc.

It is a veritable right wing Christian Cabal.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 03:24 PM

bullshit guest.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Protestant Church Wars
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Jun 04 - 03:06 AM

Well, I may think Call to Action is too liberal for the majority of Catholics, but I'd love to be able to go to their annual convention. Their convention has the best slate of Catholic speakers you'll find anywhere. I think I'm too liberal for the majority of Catholics, so I try to tone things down and express my ideas in a way that reaches a broader spectrum. I don't think this is dishonest, since I don't say anything that compromises what I believe.

On Fridays, I work at a women's center that's run by four wonderful nuns. When I'm there, I can relax and not be careful how I say things - the nuns are kindred spirits. We had Edwina Gateley speak last weekend - Edwina's a well-known figure in Call to Action, and a fascinating woman.

I don't think I've ever considered leaving the Catholic Church. I figure it's just as much my church as it is the Pope's, and I'm not about to let those right-wingers take over my church.

I do like National Catholic Reporter but I prefer America the weekly magazine published by the Jesuits. Lots of thoughtful writing there.

-Joe Offer-


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