26 February 2010 My book or no book so says my book
From: The Washington Post
“Does Wall of Separation extend overseas?
By David Waters
Should the federal government pay for a Bible-based sex education program? What if the program instructed youth that "God has a plan for sex and this plan will help you and protect you from harm"? What if it urged them to memorize and recite Psalm 119:9 ("How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word")? What if it was funded by the State Department to help villages in AIDS-ravaged Africa?”
How firm is the 1st Amendment? Does the government have any reason to fund Christianity-based education programs? Is AIDS/HIV prevention sufficient cause to allow our government to fund what are essentially missionary programs in third world nations?
During the Reagan and Bush II administrations the religious right rammed legislation through Congress to prevent our government funding any family planning programs that even mention, in passing, abortion. This was certainly an assault upon the integrity of the 1st Amendment. Even if it dealt with foreign aid moneys and an attempt to raise the quality of life for women and children in third world nations, the evangelicals and fundamentalists felt that they had the right to force their religion upon countless thousands who were thus stripped of information that might have markedly improved their lives.
I have no doubt that if programs to prevent HIV/AIDS were based upon the Torah, the Koran, the sacred texts of Hinduism or any other non-Christian religion the religious right and their Congressional puppets would be up in arms and searching for any means of preventing program funding. It would not matter that the incidence of a lethal disease might be decreased, that lives might be saved, and that economies might be improved; as long as the program was not Jesus-based, it would never be acceptable to the theocrats and theocons who make up the religious base of the GOP.
We’ve seen this religious insanity from the extreme base of Christianity since the various colonies that became this nation were established. In the beginning there were colonies for Catholics, for Puritans, for Baptists and Quakers. The animosity between the various sects was so intense that they wouldn’t share the same terrain if they could avoid it. If they had to share, it became a struggle for sect supremacy that still exists today. The sect with the greatest numerical superiority seems to have completely forgotten that they were once extremely unpopular. Now they have apparently forgotten that history, mistaking numbers for a license to rule the nation via lobbyists and puppet elected officials.
In my opinion, the “establishment clause” of our 1st Amendment applies to all American policy, domestic and foreign. We should not provide any financial assistance to any religious-based program here or abroad. If the religious wish to fund missionary programs, they are free to do so. But the United States government should never provide a cent toward any program based in any religion.
As an example of how well the religious right is following the supposed tenets of their faith here at home, witness the number of citizens lacking health care, lacking jobs, lacking homes. Those unfortunates need help from many governmental agencies. Currently Congress is locked up over health care reform. The party which most frequently and most loudly announces that “this is a Christian nation” is also the party that has spent the last 13 months making every effort to prevent the government reforming health care in order to meet the needs of all citizens. Lots of WWJD bracelets and bumper stickers out there but apparently most of the people sporting them failed to read “the book.”
We have no reason to fund any faith-based program, here or abroad, to reduce HIV/AIDS infections. Teach a few verses from any sacred text to some horny young males. Give their cousins an unlimited supply of condoms and tell them that using condoms lowers the risk of infection. Faith or science? There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind which group will live longer and which is more protective, prayer or condoms.
Just to round this out, it won’t matter what language is used for what faith’s prayer. They are all ineffective against retro-viruses. But the fundamentalists and evangelicals will all tell you that the infected used the wrong prayer from the wrong book. Funny how that works out. Funny how it works out in the streets of Kabul, in the barrios of Los Angeles, and in the lily-white protestant small towns and suburbs.