Saturday, June 17, 2006

Gareth Morgan writes from Utah

(Couldn't resist this photo from the NZ Herald):

Right in this town where we are today, Moab, Utah, the local school has surrendered its right to refuse some Christian mystic running his "Good News" club for students in the classroom right after school ends, since he threatened to use a Christian activist lobby, the American Centre of Law and Justice, to fight for the right.

As the school president commented, "We're a very small district. We don't have the funds to go all the way to the Supreme Court."

It's pathetic, really. If you take the libertarian view - as I do - that religion is your own business, don't ram it down the throats of us that think it's just another human frailty. It's another sign that the US is on a slide back toward the intolerant conservatism that its founding fathers escaped.

That El Presidente, reformed drunkard and born-again George Dubya, can declare he is doing God's work as he blunders around Iraq totally out of his depth, could only happen in a democracy that excuses it because the Christian God is on their leader's side. Nuts!


Anonymous said...

Ol Gareth froathing at the mouth over religion.


Whether Gareth likes it or not, and he clearly doesn't both NZ and the US have a Judeao/Christian heritage.

So what if a public school classrooms are used for Bible study after school, provided that the people who attend do so of their own volition what's it to anybody else.

Surely that should be the libertarian stance. Shutting down the discussion of ideas in a public forum just because you don't agree with them is totalitarian. Seems libertarians are as inclined to intolerance as everybody else. sigh

Freedom of religion does not mean freedom from religion!

KG said...

what andrei said--too bloody right!

Meta[+]Analysis said...

But freedom of religion also means a separation of church and state, andrei, which the United States seems to be having a bit of a problem with. Gareth Morgan's issues weren't with religion, per se, they were with the insidious creep of religion into state organs.

Anonymous said...

"Freedom of religion does not mean freedom from religion!"

Why not?

Anonymous said...

Morgan is more correct than wrong. His only major error is saying that the Puritans ran New England. They basically ran Massachusetts (which is one reason the state ended up being very non religious shortly thereafter -- the Calvinists gave religion a bad name). But Rhode Island was settled by a liberal Baptist, Vermont was pretty much an outpost of skepticism. New England as a region was settled by different people depending on which colony one speaks of. So he is stating things a bit too strongly there.

As for the issue of separation of church and state here is what Andrej (sure to take the conservative view consistently) misses. The preacher nutter using the room would not be paying for it's use. He is being subsidised by the taxpayers. And I can assure you that in Utha the majority of taxpayers, especially in the rural area, would not be happy to support this religion. They would be Mormons and this guy sounds like a fundamentalist born again type. So Mormons would be subsidising a man who thinks all Mormons are heathens going to hell.

If students set up their own club without outside preachers coming in and running it I would say let them. But this preacher is basically running his little conversion centre at the expense of taxpayers.

Freedom of religion DOES mean freedom from religion for those who don't want it and does mean that it doesn't get the subsidised use of taxpayer facilities. Otherwise let him preach anything he wants. But it is not intolerance to deny him access to taxpayer funds directly or indirectly.

Anonymous said...

One more correction. Jefferson certainly supported that amendment to the constitution and was not a Christian in any theological sense of the word. But he was in France when the Bill of Rights was debated. The man considered the author of the Bill of Rights was James Madison, the father of the Constitution, and another US President. Madison was close friends with Jefferson and shared his views. But Jefferson should not be given primary credit here. Jefferson did promote a bill to separate church and state in the state of Virginia but was not the prime force regarding the First Amendment.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone point me to where (publically or privately) has George W. Bush claimed to be doing "God's work"? Thanks

Blair said...

Maybe I just don't understand how it works in America, but don't they have tresspass orders and police to enforce them in Utah?

If the guy wants to claim a constitutional right, the onus should be with him, not the school.

Anonymous said...

Lindsay is having another swipe at George Bush. I don't particularly agree with all his political slant but what would Lindsay do if she was head of a country where Islamic fanatics had killed 3000 innocents on one day. Invite the Muslims to sit down and negotiate? Lindsay, Peter Cresswell has a more commonsense slant on the Islamic menace to the Free World than you!

Anonymous said...

But whos the biggest danger to Americans Liberty...? Bush wins that vote in a land slide.

In America you are far more likely to be done over by Bush and his God driven big Government than any Islamic nutter.

Anonymous said...

Recommending raving Objectivists as a place for "commonsense" views is funny. Really funny.

According to the proBush book "The Faith of George Bush" the then governor of Texas told Evangelist James Robison "God wants me to run for president." Robison is the man that "coverted" Bush into a fundamentalist.

"President Bush is God's man." Bush aide Timothy Goeglein.