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August 29, 2006



Hugo, I half-way agree with you--but only half-way. Freedom of worship and of conscience does not equal an entitlement to funding. That gets a yes-but from me.

There is no entitlement to funding in "freedom of faith and worship." If I want a billboard by the highway for a religious message, having to pay for it myself is not in any way an infringement on "freedom of worship."

But--and it's a big BUT--if the government normally pays for something, requiring believers--and only believers--to pay for it is, in my opinion, an infringement on freedom of religion. If the government normally provides (e.g.) funding for child-care, it shouldn't be able to say "we'll fund only Catholic child-care" OR "we'll fund only non-Catholic child-care."

As the government becomes involved in more and more spheres of life, and applies more and more strict anti-religious tests in those areas, religious believers are strongly and pervasively discriminated against. That is a bad thing.


Sam, with all respect, that's the same argument that Bob Jones University made when they were threatened with losing their tax-exempt status for banning inter-racial dating. If one roots one's prejudice in one's faith, does that mean that one ought to receive government aid for that prejudice, irrespective of who gets excluded?

Antipathy towards homosexuals is not an intrinsic part of Christian identity. Some secular gays and lesbians and some social conservatives think it is, but that don't make it so.


Well, Hugo, I'm a lot more libertarian than you are. I think the government's position was wrong in the BJU case, wrong in the Grove City case, and wrong in this case--but I also think that public schools as currently structured, and public colleges as currently structured, are a bad idea. Governments are not well-situated to decide what the fundamental tenets of a religion are.

I just do not think that the government's coercive powers ought to be used--ever--to prevent or restrict certain ideas from being presented in public debate. I think coercive restrictions ought to be on methods, not ideas. The rules for protesting your employer and the rules for protesting your local mega-church and the rules for protesting an abortion provider ought to be the same rules. Similarly, the rules on acceptable membership criteria for associations should not privilege "Sam's morality" over "Hugo's morality", or vice versa.


I refuse to believe that discrimination against homosexuals is a 'religious right' worth protecting... And from, what I can see of it, this bill doesn't even infringe on it, simply on discriminating with money from the public purse. If religious groups want to build fences around each other and block out all the dangerous influences of a secular state, they shouldn't expect that very same state to pay for it as well?

All these issues came up in Ontario (where we have an entire publicly-funded catholic school board) a couple a years back with Marc Hall, a young man who went to one of these schools and was banned from going to prom because he was gay..



Well, wedge, you and I will just have to disagree. I believe that "homosexuality is bad" is a religious opinion that governments should leave alone, along with "peyote enables me to commune with the ancestors", "this bear is my familiar", "offering animal sacrifices protects me from the evil eye", and pretty much every other religious belief that doesn't involve violence against others.

And on if religious groups want to build fences around each other and block out all the dangerous influences of a secular state, why should they expect that very same state to pay for it?--I'll answer the same as I did above; they shouldn't--unless the state is charging them for providing it. The state has no obligation to provide child-care--but if it does charge taxes to provide child-care, it shouldn't provide it only to whites, or only to non-believers, or only to Catholics.


Amen, Sam - in our society where the government (thru funding or regulation) pervades nearly every aspect of life, it is nearly impossible for religious believers simply to opt out of Caesar's system unless they become total separatists like the Amish.


and pretty much every other religious belief that doesn't involve violence against others.

Why on earth do you think it's OK for the government to draw the line, but only at religious practices you personally find offensive? If my religion says it's OK for me to kill another person of my faith for blasphemy, who are you to step in and suppress my religious ideas? If it's just violence that's your problem, I assume you are OK with the government excusing religion-based child porn? Or religion-based fraud?

By the way, it is currently just as improper for the goverment to fund anti-religious groups. Atheists Only Adoptions is not any more eligible for funding than Bob Jones Infant Placement Agency.


When did "secular" = "anti-religious"? Secular means "non-religious".

You are not being discriminated against if you don't get money to be discriminatory.

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