Gifts from God and Pennsylvania Taxpayers

Pennsylvania taxpayers bought their legislators new holy books again this year, an odd tradition that apparently dates back decades but … Continued

Pennsylvania taxpayers bought their legislators new holy books again this year, an odd tradition that apparently dates back decades but is now causing concern for church-state separatists. “The fact that these legislators are receiving any holy book from the state wrongly entangles government with religion. The Constitution demands that the state remain neutral when it comes to matters of faith,” Americans United for Church-State Separation argues.

As unconstitutional, tax-funded, faith-based initiatives go, this one is relatively neutral and inexpensive. Pennsylvania’s 228 legislators were asked to choose from a wide range of holy books, ranging in price from $30-$90 a piece ($15 extra if they want it embossed with their names). According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, 72 members chose the New American Catholic Bible, by far the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s best-seller. State Rep. Chris Ross (R-Christian) ordered a copy of the Qur’an “because he had always wanted to read it.” State Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Jewish) got a Qur’an by mistake, but exchanged it for his sixth tax-funded copy of the Torah. Eight legislators (Unitarians, no doubt) declined the offer.

You’ve got to wonder why it didn’t occur to Pennsylvania legislators that they could have spent the $13,700 on more constitutionally appropriate gifts — say Starbucks’ coupons, books on the First Amendment, or copies of Gov. Ed Rendell’s proposed 2009-2010 budget that cuts $417 million for school textbooks.

But Pennsylvania taxpayers aren’t the first to fund sacred textbooks. The first Continental Congress agreed to publisher Robert Aitken’s request to endorse his Bible, the first published in the new nation. Unfortunately, despite the government endorsement, the Bible was a commercial failure. Congress later declined Aitken’s bailout request to buy his leftover Bibles and give them to soldiers.

From 1904 to 1957, new members of Congress received copies of “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth,” the so-called Jefferson Bible, at taxpayer expense. The practice was ended quietly, but in 1997 a Nebraska professor named Judd W. Patton began sending the Jefferson Bible to new Congressmen at his own expense.

Jefferson’s Bible, by the way, is an edited version of the New Testament that excludes all verses pertaining to miracles or the supernatural. Patton teaches economics, which apparently also prohibits miracles and other supernatural occurrences.

The Bible (God’s, not Jefferson’s) is also on this year’s congressional agenda. In January, Rep. Randy Forbes of Virginia, (R-Christian), founder of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, introduced a resolution “Calling upon the Capitol Preservation Commission and the Office of the Architect of the Capitol to place the Lincoln-Obama Bible on permanent display upon the Lincoln table at the Capitol Visitor Center for the benefit of all its visitors to fully understand and appreciate America’s history and Godly heritage.”

The resolution asks Congress to stipulate that “Whereas the Holy Bible is God’s Word.” It was referred to committee, presumably so members could pray about it.

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  • bevjims1

    Funny how when we have debates and questions from reporters when legislators are running for office, yet nothing comes up about understanding the constitution. Nothing. I dare the Post and other newspapers to challenge political figures running for office to take a test on the constitution. Wouldn’t the results be worth considering when going to the polls? Then maybe we’d get a government that understands what government is, and what it is not.

  • CCNL

    Considering the corruption in Harrisburg, the state capital, the bibles are never used by these “gentlepersons”. e.g. Ex-Senator Vincent Fumo, former PA Senate leader, is currently being tried for a whole host of corruption-related felonies. The case went to the jury today. Considering the evidence of kick-backs, payoffs and ripping off funds from his “charity”, he should get at least 20 years in prison where he finally will get to read his copy of the bible we bought him.

  • Mitchavery7

    Every incoming Congress(person) or Senator should receive a copy of “The Origin of Species”. Period. ALL other are opinions.

  • free9604

    Better each new legislator receive a copy of The U.S. Constitution, a week to read it, and then have to take an exam. If you fail, you go home.

  • mmm1110

    Legislators should buy their own religious books with their own money. As far as I am concerned, this is a clear violation of church and state. Taxes are need to fund services for the public, not to buy religious books for polticians. The country has gone mad.

  • Athena4

    I wonder what would have happened if a PA legislator had ordered a copy of “The Spiral Dance” or one of Starhawk’s other books? Or the Satanic Bible? Or “Dianetics”? I’ll bet that the giveaway would end right quick! :D My folks still live in PA and know their state rep. Maybe I should ask them to pass that suggestion along?

  • American2

    Wonderful. I hope all states follow PA’s lead. Have you read the book about Jesus? You know He saves lives everyday. Maybe God is calling on you? Turn to the new testament and read the great story of this world’s Saviour today.God bless.

  • B2O2

    “The Bible (God’s, not Jefferson’s) is also on this year’s congressional agenda.”There is no objective evidence whatsoever that a magic deity wrote the edited collection of scrolls now called the “Bible”. Only children (of a variety of chronological ages) still believe that claptrap.It’s sad to read how even in an era when superstition was much more the predominant mindset than it is today, our founders had the wisdom to decline to buy Bibles to distribute to our revolutionary soldiers — but the Pennsylvania legislature, helped by supposedly dwelling in the 21st century, has not been able to figure out the inappropriateness of that same action.Personally I wish the state would send them each a science book of their choosing. Maybe it would give some remedial scientific literacy to our legislators, and help stem our slide into third world status.This is a disgusting revelation. But a well written article (with some appreciated wry humor laced within).

  • skewb

    Why do these jokers need a new edition every year? What’s wrong with the one they’ve already got? And for the guy who said he ordered a Quran because he always wanted to read it, well, fine, but buy it yourself. It is cheap, much like the content of the book itself.

  • gregdsmith

    One person said, “Every incoming Congress(person) or Senator should receive a copy of “The Origin of Species”.”You neglect to understand that our tax money already feeds them everything they need to know about evolution through our educational system where, of course, every mention of God is banned. Buying them a Bible at least lets them know the rest of the story that they never learned in school.Have you actually read the Origin of species? About how the predominant races will push out the lesser races? It makes a nice argument for Eugenics. Let’s just wipe out the weak and make a better human race? Sounds like a great idea????

  • mikedonovan1

    The theory of evolution is not the subject of the original post. Leave the hijacking of posts to trolls like spidermean and ccnl. Granted, they are fun to have around as they never cease to make a fool of themselves but no worries, they come on here whatever the subject, no need to lure them in.

  • bevjims1

    bostonbrahmin wrote: “The point is, even if we are not a Christan nation, we use Biblical words and imagery in our daily lives, and banising the “books of Jewish myths”, as mentioned by other people, is not going to be simple. Perhaps we can start by changing the English language.”Well, I just “thank my luck stars” that we have a Constitution to guide our government and not christian language. Hopefully religion will never dictate our laws, “knock on wood”. I at least will only vote for those who abide by the Constitution and “know the ropes”. And if you have a problem with walking under a ladder, spilling salt, the number 13, breaking mirrors or feel more comfortable with rabbit’s feet, horseshoes, or four-leaf clovers, then you should wonder just what religious language this nation uses the most. Good luck with that.

  • youngj1

    I think each new member of Congress should receive a copy of the constitution. Furthermore each new state and local legislator should receive a copy of the charter document for their respective jurisdictions because as is often pointed out we are a nation of laws not a theocratic state, not a monarchy, some say a cleptocracy but I’ll stick with republic. And the last time I looked there is no government endorsed religious practice.

  • spidermean2

    bevjims1 wrote “And if you have a problem with walking under a ladder, spilling salt, the number 13, breaking mirrors or feel more comfortable with rabbit’s feet, horseshoes, or four-leaf clovers “True Christianity (Catholicism is not Christianity) does not believe in such things. You can’t discuss against Christianity coz you are ignorant of its true beliefs. True Christians don’t believe that our great great granpa is a baboon. The way you atheists use your brains, you’ve got good reasons to believe that you came from apes.Don’t you think it’s a worse kind of belief than the superstition about rabbit’s feet? You guys should look at the mirror coz you’re the dumbest people on earth and worse than the supertitious.

  • spidermean2

    For many centuries, the Vatican did not allow their flock to have a personal Bible. What caused the change that they have now a “Catholic Bible”?The devil changes too to be relevant. And by the way, like the atheists, Catholcism ALSO accepts the idea that their pope and their priests’ great great grandpa is a baboon. No wonder they hindered their flock from having a personal bible for centuries. Bevjims, are you a former Catholic? Im just asking coz almost all atheists here were former Catholics.I know there are good Catholics but I hope they start examining their religion. They’ve been fooled for centuries.

  • slowe111

    “God’s Bible”. In case other’s don’t know this:

  • gasmonkey

    If those citizens are so concerned about buying bibles for their legislators, let them reach into their own pockets and pony up. No reason tax dollars, paid for by people of every religion (or none) should foot the bill for this prostheletizing.

  • onthejourney

    I applaud the eight so called Unitarian’s who declined the offer.

  • spidermean2

    The Unitarians should be given the Bible coz they are the ones who really need it to spring them out from their stupidity.History shows that states which ban the Bible are the trouble makers in this world. Communist and extreme Islam countries ban the book.

  • jclark3

    What government at all levels needs to now understand is that the US is becoming a second tier country. You can blame the policies of the last 8 years, the rise of China or whatever, but the willingness to buy bibles for legislators is a symptom of days gone bye, when America had money, power and the tough decisions were in the distance.

  • spidermean2

    Having said that, we have 8 potential trouble makers in Pennsylvania’s legislature. They have elected fools to write laws for them.

  • onthejourney

    In reposnse to Spiderman2, the issue is not that Unitarians might need the good book, I suspect some may already have a copy – they simply respect various avenues of worship- the issue is that state taxpayers should not be billed for bibles.

  • Garak

    “Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Jewish) got a Qur’an by mistake, but exchanged it for his sixth tax-funded copy of the Torah.”What’s in the new edition that isn’t in the previous five? Same for the Bibles. I didn’t know the contents changed from year to year. Aren’t these texts supposed to “eternal” or something like that?

  • KraftPaper

    stupid is as stupid does

  • spidermean2

    Unitarianism is NOT Christianity. They don’t believe that Christ is God. It’s not unusual that these people would not take a Bible even if it’s for free without any taxpayers money.

  • halifar59

    Nothing wrong with reading some good fiction from time to time. Certainly the legislators won’t make any decisions based on it. This isn’t too Religuous.

  • Respectthe9thAmendment

    Most Christians are exposed only to the good bits of the Bible — I just wish they could be forced to read the whole book and see how much nonsense they have ostensibly been giving their assent to.If I drove a bunch of pigs over a cliff the ASPC would get me.

  • bevjims1

    gregdsmith wrote: “You neglect to understand that our tax money already feeds them [legislators] everything they need to know about evolution through our educational system where, of course, every mention of God is banned. Buying them a Bible at least lets them know the rest of the story that they never learned in school.”I learned about God in school. Sunday school. Why would anyone teach about God in public school considering God is described in so many different ways by differing religions. Leave God in Sunday school where He can be defined the way YOU want him to be defined, not by a government or teacher. gregdsmith wrote: “Have you actually read the Origin of species? About how the predominant races will push out the lesser races? It makes a nice argument for Eugenics. Let’s just wipe out the weak and make a better human race? Sounds like a great idea???? NOT”I’ve read the “Origin of Species”. A hard book to get through as any scientific book or article is. Very boring in parts. But its points are very convincing which is why that single book survives today. And the book does not describe one race pushing out another race. You obviously have not read the book. It does talk about the natural variation within species, which we would call race, and how that strengthens a species to survive. And it makes no argument for eugenics. Eugenics is artificial selection. The Origin of Species describes evolution through natural selection. But an argument can be made against eugenics in that artificial selection actually weakens a species. If dogs were to all be freed into the wild today, most breeds would disappear as they are not able to survive in the wild. And consider that the legislators will read nothing about that in their religious texts nor anything about governing. One has to wonder what the purpose of giving out the religious texts is.

  • spidermean2

    I think it’s the Gideon Bible which I received for free in school that led me to Christ.If America want to rid this world of troublesome states, it is high time that it develop a program which will distribute free Bibles around the world. It might even prevent World War 3.Test it in Afghanistan and see the difference it would make. Add to the free Bible giving, the doctrine of Freedom of Conscience or the First Ammendment. Write that in their constitution. Nobody should be restricted from reading the Bible as what Catholicism did before and what troublesome states do now.

  • BobfromLI

    I’m glad that this antediluvian activity has been brought to light. The myth in some quarters that we are a “Christian Nation” needs to be laid to rest in practice. Rather than fund holy books, how about a few on economics and government (including the previously-mentioned and seriously misunderstood Constitution)? I also note that many legislators complain that they can’t read all of the proposed legislation they’re asked to vote on. Clearly, the distribution of holy books potentially impedes that pursuit. So many opportunities!

  • kwbinMD

    “It’s an ancient collection of writings, comprised of 66 separate books, written over approximately 1,600 years, by at least 40 distinct authors. The Old Testament contains 39 books written from approximately 1500 to 400 BC, and the New Testament contains 27 books written from approximately 40 to 90 AD.In 397 AD, in an effort to protect the scriptures from various heresies and offshoot religious movements, the current 27 books of the New Testament were formally and finally confirmed and “canonized” in the Synod of Carthage.”Mostly correct. There are 73 books in the Bible.

  • baffled2

    Get this. The Inquirer has reporters digging up these “hard hitting” stories about taxpayers money being misused while at the same time asking the state and ultimately the taxpayers of Pennsylvania to bail them out to the tune of $10,000,000! Don’t see them reporting on that do you? (google, philadelphia inquirer bailout) So, then the reporters of the Inquirer would be paid by the state and the taxpayers to find more waste in the Capitol, what a joke. Newspapers are dying off, let them go. The Inquirer has lost what little journalistic integrity they had left. This turns them into a hypocritical rag.

  • Athena4

    I still think that someone should request a copy of the Satanic Bible or Dianetics. That would ruffle a few feathers up in Pennsyl-tucky and this silly practice would stop.

  • adrienne_najjar

    It is sad – no, infuriating – that in this day and age, whith all the scientific knowledge we have that there are still empty-headed, myth-believing, holier-than-thou nincompoops making so much noise. When are they going to get smart and figure out that there is no god. It’s all a lot of baloney. Sure, go live your personal life according to what ever principles you like. After all, this is the US, the land of the free. Just don’t try to foist this garbage on the rest of us.

  • elife1975

    I’m curious. Is it truly ethically and morally wrong to lie to a portion of the voting public who’s proven to be comfortable with lying to themselves when formulating their worldview? If an admitted Atheist were to find god prior to running for office (which I could only believe would bolster his support from theists), while still maintaining a hidden atheist mindset, would it be that much different than much of the flip-flopping we’d seen on other issues? I also have to think that between 200 learned and scholarly individuals holding office, there has to be at least a few who would privately confess to being non believers, at least to a degree sufficient enough to alienate many of their constituency.

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 wrote: “True Christianity (Catholicism is not Christianity) does not believe in such things. You can’t discuss against Christianity coz you are ignorant of its true beliefs.”My point, which you obviously missed, was that our language is filled with many language phrases both and non-christian. The person I was responding to seemed to think that since biblical phrases are part of every day language that we are a christian nation. My response used many pagan phrases (knock on wood) to show that a lot of non-christian religious terms are also in the American vernacular. True Christians don’t believe that our great great granpa is a baboon. The way you atheists use your brains, you’ve got good reasons to believe that you came from apes.Don’t you think it’s a worse kind of belief than the superstition about rabbit’s feet? You guys should look at the mirror coz you’re the dumbest people on earth and worse than the supertitious.

  • arosscpa

    In 1968 a young theology professor at Tubugen wrote a text for his undergrads named “Introduction to Christianity.” In the opening section on belief, his writing can be summarize as this: The believer may believe in God and adhere to a creed, may hold certain evidence or experience that for him is convincing, and may associate with those of like mind, at the end of the day he can’t say he knows empirically that God exists.”Likewise, the unbeliever may cite all the historical tragedies and violence, may refer to a host of scientific facts and theories, and be surrounded by a professional and social network that continually re-enforce his stand, at then of the day he cannot say empirically that God does not exist.”That is the human situation, whether any of us like it or not. If the person who laid out this position can go on the become Pope, maybe we need to give each other a break, because we are all in the same boat.

  • ScottChallenger

    Why not feed the hungry and provide shelter to the homeless – 2 biggees in the bible – with this money?

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 wrote”History shows that states which ban the Bible are the trouble makers in this world. Communist and extreme Islam countries ban the book.”Well, communist Russia never banned the bible. Red China banned both the bible and koran. A secularist would say that any nation that suppresses the written word is by its very nature a trouble maker. Nazi Germany did not ban the bible but did ban many other books. By your definition were they trouble makers?

  • TRACIETHEDOLPHIN

    Just what every legislator needs, a book of jewish fairy tales.

  • ravitchn

    Don’t worry, people buy or give the bible but rarely read it. Ask anyone about something in the Bible, nothing obscure, something pretty mainstream; they won’t have a clue.

  • spidermean2

    I don’t know where you are getiing your facts. A communist country won’t be called communist if they don’t suppress freedom of religion. And the first step to supress religion is banning their books.

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 wrote: “If America want to rid this world of troublesome states, it is high time that it develop a program which will distribute free Bibles around the world. It might even prevent World War 3.”The government cannot do this since it would be establishing a religion, but many christian and jewish groups (oh, you probably mean only the christian bible) already perform this task. And bibles are not banned in Afganistan under the current government. They were banned under the Taliban. But you might not find a place to buy a bible in Afganistan considering how few christians there are there. Supply and demand you understand.spidermean2 wrote: “Test it in Afghanistan and see the difference it would make.”How would you plan to test it? Open a market in Kabul and sell or give away bibles? How many people there do you think would buy/take them? Or were you thinking more in terms of forcing people to read the bible?spidermean2 wrote: “Add to the free Bible giving, the doctrine of Freedom of Conscience or the First Ammendment. Write that in their constitution.”You do realize that freedom of conscience and religion are opposite concepts, right?spidermean2 wrote: “Nobody should be restricted from reading the Bible as what Catholicism did before and what troublesome states do now.”On that we can agree spidey. But I would also add that no one should be forced to read it either, as Rome forced the non-christians to read the bible or be put to the sword.

  • spidermean2

    Hitler was a Catholic and since Catholicsm hinder their flock from owning a personal Bible, it could be the reason why Hitler turned into a mad man.He became ignorant of the fact that “God bless them who bless thee and curse them who curse thee” referring to the Jews. The same mistake extreme Islam is making. They will soon find out how truthful that promise is.

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 wrote: “I don’t know where you are getiing your facts. A communist country won’t be called communist if they don’t suppress freedom of religion. And the first step to supress religion is banning their books.”Communism is an economic system that requires a totalitarian government. There is no requirement to suppress religion. Russian Orthodox churches remained open during Russia’s communist days, though under intense scrutiny as every aspect of society was. In communist China today there are christian churches though they are “approved” by the state. But Scientology is banned in Germany today. France and Australia are considering bans. So your idea that religion is only banned under fanatic and communist states is a bit overblown. Even the fanatical islamic republican of Iran has synagogues and christian churches.

  • spidermean2

    Bebjims, you are a stupid person. Im tired of discussing with you. You’re in a dream world.One parliament member in Iraq was reprimanded for visiting Israel. I think America failed in Iraq and Afghanistan because it didn’t straighten up the rules or their crooked constitution like what was done in Japan after WW2,They still let the idiots rule their land. What a waste of American lives and money.Think what you believe about communism. Dream on. Read about communism, would you? And avoid half truth and half lies.

  • spidermean2

    Bevjims wrote “There is no requirement to suppress religion.”Tell that to the fishes in the ocean. Dream on.

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 insulted: “Bebjims, you are a stupid person. Im tired of discussing with you. You’re in a dream world.”You are not discussing, you are insulting. But I forgive you.spidermean2 insulted: “One parliament member in Iraq was reprimanded for visiting Israel. I think America failed in Iraq and Afghanistan because it didn’t straighten up the rules or their crooked constitution like what was done in Japan after WW2″And Jimmy Carter was rebuked by Condi Rice for visiting Hamas. And today we have companies opening businesses in Communist China while we can’t take a vacation in Cuba. You really need to look at the whole world and not just focus on what you believe to be true.spidermean2 insulted: “They still let the idiots rule their land. What a waste of American lives and money.”The Japanese still rule Japan. We didn;t even indocrtinate them in christianity. They turned out ok. So what is your point?spidermean2 insulted: “Think what you believe about communism. Dream on. Read about communism, would you? And avoid half truth and half lies.”I’ve read a lot. If communism is so bad why are you wearing clothes made in a communist country? I think, no, I know, it is you who needs to do some reading. You can start by pointing out when churches were banned in Russia under communism. After that you can explain how kangaroos hopped off the ark and swam to Australia. Avoiding questions like these does not make one smart. It just avoids reality allowing you to live in a dream world.

  • bevjims1

    arosscpa wrote: “The believer may believe in God and adhere to a creed, may hold certain evidence or experience that for him is convincing, and may associate with those of like mind, at the end of the day he can’t say he knows empirically that God exists.”Quite true.arosscpa wrote: “Likewise, the unbeliever may cite all the historical tragedies and violence, may refer to a host of scientific facts and theories, and be surrounded by a professional and social network that continually re-enforce his stand, at then of the day he cannot say empirically that God does not exist.”Ah, but there is a difference. You cannot prove a negative. Not being able to prove God does not exist means nothing. It means about as much as not being able to prove the flying spaghetti monster does not exist. This inability to prove that God does not exist has been used by theologians for centuries, but it is flawed logic because if you adhere to this logic, then anything that cannot be proven to not exist MUST possibly exist. So bigfoot, nessie, chessie, the chubracabra, flying saucers, witches, ghosts, the boggie man, mole people, and Santa Claus, all must possibly exist, as much so as God. arosscpa wrote: “That is the human situation, whether any of us like it or not. If the person who laid out this position can go on the become Pope, maybe we need to give each other a break, because we are all in the same boat.”I think the pope needs to take a logic 101 class. His first statement offers evidence against God’s existence while his second statement means nothing. All he is doing is arguing himself out of a job.

  • mightysparrow

    Carstonio said: “Using taxpayer money to buy the holy books is not quite a First Amendment violation as long as the legislators can choose from any holy book they wish. But I suspect the measure was really aimed at promoting Christianity, with the expectation that most of the legislators would choose Christian holy books. It appears to be an attempt to get around the First Amendment while technically observing neutrality among religions”Carstonio: the first amendment requires not just neutrality among religions. It requires government to stay out of religion alltogether.The language from the amendment says that Congress “…shall make no laws respecting the establishment of religion.” The courts have interpreted that to mean that government must not support religion at all. Mere neutrality is not really neutral- it always favors some form of religion over another. That is why the very intelligent framers of the Bill of Rights worded the first amendment the way they did.

  • Carstonio

    Sparrow, I would agree that the preferred course is for the taxpayers not to buy the holy books for the legislators in the first place. I was suggesting that since the program doesn’t technically play favorites among religions, the courts might not be able to find a basis for rejecting it.That’s because we only have the suspicion that the program has a sectarian motive, and no evidence of such a motive. As an analogy, the Dover decision may have gone the other way if there wasn’t evidence that ID was crafted as Trojan horse for a sectarian viewpoint. “Supporting religion” is a vague concept, because it essentially requires the government to determine what qualifies as a religion, something it probably shouldn’t do.”Mere neutrality is not really neutral- it always favors some form of religion over another.”How so?

  • spidermean2

    Well, the idiots still can’t believe that live animals can be stored in big ships. We’ve been doing that for years now.What they want to believe is the story that their great great grandpa was a baboon. That to them is MORE REALISTIC than animals voyaging in a ship.These people got brains. MONKEY BRAINS.”How did kangaroos swam towards Australia”?It NEVER happened. Nobody until now understands creation so what made you think they swam? You can only answer that question when the time comes that you will know how the eagles learned to fly.hint: Eagles don’t have flight lessons and start training chickens to fly higher. They might evolve into eagles.Bevjims wrote “But our founding fathers fought to remove a government deeply tied with religion, and they wanted nothing like that for the new government. “Wow, you are truly a dreamer. You got all your facts from your dreams.It’s really useless to discuss with you coz you are inventing facts. ALL that you’ve said are FICTIONAL. Just like the baboon-into-man transformation.How do you call it again? Great-great-great grandpa? You know what? Here’s another “fact”. Evolution is reversible. If you continue thinking like a monkey, you might grow hairs on your face.

  • MaxF

    “Eight legislators (Unitarians, no doubt) declined the offer.”This is precisely why government officials should not be allowed to participate in such a program. Many Christians look with suspicion, and often with disdain, on Unitarians. For the author to make such a comment highlights this prejudice.I’m actually surprised the author didn’t accuse them of being atheists (as thought there were something wrong with that as well).”The Bible (God’s, not Jefferson’s). . .”If the Bible is “God’s,” a thinking person must wonder why God is so self-contradictory.

  • hyjanks

    I heard from an unimpeachable source that Spiderman2 is actually a descendant of Charles Darwin and got his education at the Madeline Murray O’Hair School of Atheists.

  • wondering5

    If any religion wants to control any part of the government, government should be allowed to control that religion.

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 opined: “Before the Japanese surrender, Japan believed that their emperor is a direct descendant of the Sun God and has the sole authority to rule over them. After WW2, America erased all that belief and made sure that such belief is illegal in their constitution and ensure freedom of religion. It even established a military base to make sure that it does not stray again.”I see, and did the Americans remove the emperor? No. He was allowed to continue in his position, just striped of power. The idea was to make the emperor like the British royal family, symbols with little power. But many wanted him removed and executed since he ordered the attack on Pearl Harbor. The US was pragmatic even after an unconditional surrender. spidermean2 opined: “Nothing of that sort happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. The religious extremists are still active in their Parliament.”Well, you have the Bush administration which not only did not know how to fight a war and couldn’t plan for peace either. Maybe Obama will actually have intelligent people work on the problem now. And we do have a large bases in Afganistan and Iraq. Japan also did not have the equivalent of Pakistan or Iran next door to add a distabilizing influence. Its a different situation but one that I agree should be handled better. The Bush administration were idiots, demanding loyalty over competence, ideology over prangatism, wishful thinking over planning. We’re lucky it has not been much worse. And who supported the failed Bush administration? Blind religious people voting for their religion to influence government. Bad mojo.

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 wrote: “bevjims, you should try living in a godless society so you would see the idiocy you are spreading.”Hmmm, an interesting statement. What do you define as a godless society? A society where faith in anything is illegal or a society which has religions, just not beliefs in the judao-christian God? Is Japan a godless society? How about Thailand or India? And while you bring up Marx and his anti-religious fervor, you forget our founding fathers who also thought religion was the opium of the people. Ben Franklin questioned whether God existed but considered christianity a good thing since it suppressed anarchy. Not something a believer would likely say. And if you ignore the christian influences of the 1950s in government and look at the founding documents you will see that religion is not included in government in any way. That does not mean morals derived from religion are not included, but morals come from many sources. Laws against murder for example are not based on the ten commandments though the ten commandments may have influenced some people who wrote the laws, while atheists, jews, diests, atheists and others agreed that murder should be against the law based on their own moral convictions. But our founding fathers fought to remove a government deeply tied with religion, and they wanted nothing like that for the new government. Keep religion safe and separate from government.

  • elife1975

    Religion must be eliminated if you hope to take full control of your populace, otherwise all those idiots will still take their instruction from their Pope. They’re too busy killing and suppressing in the name of the lord to take the time to do your regimes killing. C’mon, multitask!

  • elife1975

    Religion must be eliminated if you hope to take full control of your populace, otherwise all those idiots will still take their instruction from their Pope. They’re too busy killing and suppressing in the name of the lord to take the time to do your regimes killing. C’mon, multitask!

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 answered the question: “Bebjims wrote “After that you can explain how kangaroos hopped off the ark and swam to Australia. “And that is how a believer addresses contradictions and the nonsense in the bible when it is presented to them. Spidey, you not only believe in God, you believe anything that doesn’t make sense can just be ignored in order to continue the belief. Do you see the illogic in believing in something based on documentation which is irrational, and then ignoring that irrationality in order to maintain the belief?-Just how did the kangaroos make it from the ark to Australia?But what I find most telling is the reaction believers like Spidey have to these questions. Not one of curiosity but one of defensiveness, as though asking a question about the religion is an attack on the religion, something not allowed. If you cannot defend your religion to simple questions then your belief has trumped your rationality. That’s how witches gets burned at the stake, deamons exorcised from the mentally ill and wars/killing/suicide justified.

  • Carstonio

    Using taxpayer money to buy the holy books is not quite a First Amendment violation as long as the legislators can choose from any holy book they wish. But I suspect the measure was really aimed at promoting Christianity, with the expectation that most of the legislators would choose Christian holy books. It appears to be an attempt to get around the First Amendment while technically observing neutrality among religions.Regarding neutrality among religions, using the proper name “God” in these discussions results in favoritism toward the Abrahamic religions, even when the proper name is used by atheists. I use the simple noun “gods” as a generic reference, to make it clear that no religions’ claims about deities are more likely than any other religions’ claims.

  • Freestinker

    BEVJIMS1,Spidey just admitted that “It” (the ark story) “never did” happen and that “It” is just a “dream” (a myth).Please give credit where credit is due!

  • bevjims1

    Freestinker wrote: “Spidey just admitted that “It” (the ark story) “never did” happen and that “It” is just a “dream” (a myth).”No, he said it is in “my” dream. I don’t have illusions or dreams about the ark. Spidey however believes in the flood based on past blogs. But when presented with common sense questions he becomes defensive. He’s never answered the question which I continually ask. Just another example of the bury-your-head-in-the-sand approach to belief.

  • Freestinker

    “I use the simple noun “gods” as a generic reference, to make it clear that no religions’ claims about deities are more likely than any other religions’ claims.”————————————–Carstonio,Same here. And whenever anyone else uses the term god, capitalized or not, I always ask them to please clarify which one they are referring to.

  • spidermean2

    Bevjims wrote “The Japanese still rule Japan. We didn;t even indocrtinate them in christianity. They turned out ok. So what is your point?”Before the Japanese surrender, Japan believed that their emperor is a direct descendant of the Sun God and has the sole authority to rule over them.After WW2, America erased all that belief and made sure that such belief is illegal in their constitution and ensure freedom of religion. It even established a military base to make sure that it does not stray again.Nothing of that sort happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. The religious extremists are still active in their Parliament.

  • gibsonpolk

    I’m not sure what offends me more, having the State buying magic books for elected officials, or hearing you refer to them with tags (R-Christian) (D-Jewish).

  • spidermean2

    Bebjims wrote “After that you can explain how kangaroos hopped off the ark and swam to Australia. “It never did. It’s only in your dream.

  • Tolerant1

    Just an FYI, William Penn established Pennsylvania as a religious “Holy Experiment” that would allow all its citizens to practice religions of their own choosing, and further that Pennsylvanians should be a tolerant people accepting to people of all faiths. That is why the first Jewish Synagogues in the western world (as well as many other religious buildings of varying faiths) were built in PA. and why people like Spiderman2 can live, work, and pray in Pa. today. Over the years we seem to have forgotten the tolerance part. Perhaps this “great land” was built by “Christians” because Quakers like William Penn founded a colony that was accepting enough to allow the Catholics (who were being persecuted in England) a place to go and prosper without fear of persecution?P.S. I can only imagine the views of “Spiderman 1″ if “Spiderman 2″‘s perspective is so distorted.P.P.S. We should not be spending taxpayer money on books of any kind for politicians in pa., they already have a stipend that is ridiculously high and could be used to purchase anything they want or need.

  • spidermean2

    bebjims, add this to your brain. It’s empty anyway,Marx on religionKarl Marx was an atheist, and criticized religion in several of his works. He often wrote that religion must be abolished before society can be truly happy. In his Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, he famously saidReligious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions

  • Tolerant1

    If I am a man of high Moral character, an independent voter, and a Practicing Friend (Quaker). Does that make me a (high I-Q). And if I am a high IQ person, do I even want to be in public office?

  • spidermean2

    ” the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. “It is as if Marx is describing North Korea about communism. What a pity. These atheists are making cages for themselves.bevjims, you should try living in a godless society so you would see the idiocy you are spreading.

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 scribbled: “Well, the idiots still can’t believe that live animals can be stored in big ships. We’ve been doing that for years now.”No, just can’t believe that once the ark landed the animals swam oceans to the other continents. You still have not explained that. How did the kangaroos get to Australia and kiwis to New Zealand?spidermean2 scribbled: “What they want to believe is the story that their great great grandpa was a baboon.”My great great grandpa was a coal miner. Sorry about yours.spidermean2 scribbled: “That to them is MORE REALISTIC than animals voyaging in a ship.”You likely carry the same blood proteins found in monkeys. But there is no evidence animals swam oceans to get from one continent to the other. Please explain.spidermean2 scribbled: “How did kangaroos swam towards Australia? It NEVER happened. Nobody until now understands creation so what made you think they swam? You can only answer that question when the time comes that you will know how the eagles learned to fly.”Now wait a minute, the bible is very clear on the flood story. Are you saying the biblical description of the flood was wrong? If so, what other parts of the bible are wrong?spidermean2 scribbled: “Bevjims wrote “But our founding fathers fought to remove a government deeply tied with religion, and they wanted nothing like that for the new government.” Wow, you are truly a dreamer. You got all your facts from your dreams.”Then show me in our founding documents where religion is tied to government. I’m starting to doubt that you have read the bible or the Constitution.spidermean2 scribbled: “It’s really useless to discuss with you coz you are inventing facts. ALL that you’ve said are FICTIONAL. Just like the baboon-into-man transformation.”Then lets hear your facts. Where in the founding documnents is religion defined as being part of government, and which religion. If you have no facts, then making them up is not a substitute, except in religion. And lets hear hat part of the flood story is right and which is wrong. Come on spidey, you cannot get away with just making up what is right and what is wrong. Is the biblical description of the flood real or not?spidermean2 scribbled: “How do you call it again? Great-great-great grandpa? You know what? Here’s another “fact”. Evolution is reversible. If you continue thinking like a monkey, you might grow hairs on your face.”That’s Lamarckian thinking. You probably have no clue who he was or what his theories were, but they were wrong, like your’s. The facts are against you, many many facts. The only thing you have is the bible, which you are already saying was wrong on the ark story. You remind me of a person in the middle of the ocean who cannot swim and wonders what all the wet stuff is.

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