|Want the USA to be like Saudi Arabia, where the government is run by religious zealots who decide what you can read, what you can say, how you can dress, and how you can worship God? Or how about Afghanistan, where most women and girls are STILL prevented from going to school or where your neighbors will punish you for not adhering to their religious beliefs? If so, you are going to love groups like the Christian Coalition -- different religion, same purpose! This awful, repressive, anti-American group, as well as dozens of affiliated and associated groups, are trying to force children to pray to their God, trying to take science out of science education, trying to keep certain types of people from being married, trying to keep women from making their own choices regarding their health, and trying to keep children from reading the Harry Potter books, The Wizard of Oz, or anything by Judy Blume.
The "Founding Fathers" of the USA, who were all Christians, understood the dangers of creating a "Christian" nation. That was one of the reasons there is no mention of God or Christianity in the USA Constitution, despite the religious zealots of the time insisting on such. They also understood that a secular government provides all religions freedom to practice -- and those who don't believe to NOT practice -- whereas a religious government is only for those who follow that religion.
Sadly, as of the end of November 2008, Kentucky is violating its own constitution, as well as the principles of the USA, by enforcing religious adherence among at least some state government workers
A growing number of people in the USA -- many of them Christians -- are disgusted by the activities of these right wing Christians extremists. What would Jesus do? Join the battle against extremists, so that the USA does not become a Christian version of Saudi Arabia.
Here are some groups to support in this important fight -- visit their web sites, donate to them, read their literature and volunteer however you can:
- The National Center for Science Education
Defending the Teaching of Evolution in the Public Schools. This is a nationally-recognized clearinghouse for information and advice to keep evolution in the science classroom and "scientific creationism" out.
- Americans United for Separation of Church and State
a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.
- Freedom from Religion Foundation
A national association of nontheists that has been working since 1978 to promote freethought and defend the constitutional principle of the separation of state and church. Its Free Thought of the Day is always worth checking out. I found out about this organization because Butterfly McQueen ("Prissy" in Gone With the Wind ) left the organization her estate in her will. The organization honored her with its first "Freethought Heroine" award at its national convention in Atlanta in 1989.
- Texas Faith Network
Started by religious people who share a faith that produces a politics of community and compassion, which is not represented by the Religious Right. "In the past, religious leaders have been in the forefront of progressive movements-for civil rights, for women's rights, for programs to reduce poverty, for restoring compassion to American society. It's time for people of faith to recommit to this honorable tradition."
- Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
"We're Pro-Choice because of our faith!" RCRC was founded in 1973 to safeguard the newly won constitutional right to abortion. The Coalition founders were clergy and lay leaders from mainstream religions, many of whom had provided women with referrals to safe abortion services before the Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade. The founders believed that there would be at most a ten-year struggle to secure the right to choose. In fact the struggle is far from over. Today, the Religious Coalition is an alliance of national organizations from major faiths, affiliates throughout the country, and the national Clergy for Choice Network, Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom, and The Black Church Initiative. "While our members are religiously and theologically diverse, they are unified in the commitment to preserve reproductive choice as a basic part of religious liberty."
- Baptist Joint Committee
Its mission is to defend and extend God-given religious liberty for all, bringing a uniquely Baptist witness to the principle that religion must be freely exercised, neither advanced nor inhibited by government.
- The Interfaith Alliance
Works to promote interfaith cooperation around shared religious values to strengthen the public's commitment to the American values of civic participation, freedom of religion, diversity, and civility in public discourse and to encourage the active involvement of people of faith in the nationšs political life. "We are local religious leaders and activists, some with years of political experience, some just starting out. We work in our communities, in state capitals, in Washington, DC and wherever else our voice is needed."
- Equal Partners in Faith
"a multi-racial national network of religious leaders and people of faith committed to equality and diversity. Our diverse faith traditions and shared religious values lead us to affirm and defend the equality of all people, regardless of religion, race, ability, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity. As people of faith, we actively oppose the manipulation of religion to promote inequality and exclusion."
- Read a banned book! Find a listing here: The Forbidden Library: Banned and Challenged Books
Looking for Christian societies, Christian-based communities or Christian-inclusive associations that are much more concerned with living the true fundamentals of the teachings of Christ rather than trying to keep your kids from reading Harry Potter? Here are but a few suggestions:
- The United Church of Christ
The UCC community has some really radical ideas... like seeking to respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed. UCC was born from the uniting of the Evangelical and Reformed Church with the Congregational Christian Churches, two Christian communities with roots in the founding of the USA, and that have long been at the forefront of human rights. Congregationalists were among the first Americans to take a stand against slavery. The UCC's Golden Gate Association ordained the first openly gay person in history as a Christian minister. In 1995, UCC published The New Century Hymnal, the only hymnal released by a Christian church that honors in equal measure both male and female images of God. Although its poetry is contemporary, its theology is traditional.
- Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
"Friends hold that the words of the Bible should not be taken as the final revelation of God. The Books had been written by men who were acting under the power of the Holy Spirit and it was necessary to read the words in the power of the same spirit and to listen to what the Spirit then spoke in your heart. The words were active agents in the sense that, when read in the Spirit at the appropriate time, they would spring to life for the reader and take the reader forward on his or her spiritual journey." From the beginning Friends gave women and men equal status, believing "that we are all children of God bestowed an equality upon all." Religious knowledge, like the appreciation of beauty, is not attained by a logical process of thought but by experience and feeling. Quakers maintain that the teaching of Jesus is a practical method for the guidance of the world today, that religion is concerned with the whole of life, and that, beyond a certain point, definition becomes a limitation. The first Quakers to arrive in America were viewed as dangerous heretics in many of the colonies. They were deported as Witches, imprisoned or hung. Quakers played a major role in the creation of the colonies of West Jersey (1675) and Pennsylvania (1682). These colonies were noted for their toleration of minority religious groups, like the Jews, Mennonites and Muslims. In 1688, a group of Friends in Germantown, Pennsylvania took a public stand against slavery; this is believed to be the first stirrings within a religious organization of the abolitionist movement in America.
- Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
"Our roots in North America go back to the independent, self-governing churches of colonial New England, who covenanted to help one another in times of need." At a Unitarian Universalist worship service or meeting, you are likely to find members whose positions on faith may be derived from a variety of religious beliefs: Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, naturist, atheist, or agnostic. Members might tell you that they are religious humanists, liberal Christians, or world religionists. "All these people, and others who label their beliefs still differently, are faithful Unitarian Universalists committed to the practice of free religion. We worship, sing, play, study, teach, and work for social justice together as congregations-all the while remaining strong in our individual convictions."
- Mainstream Baptists
"We are not narrow-minded, dogmatic, legalistic or anti-intellectual. We believe that all truth is God's truth and we are open to discovering truth by scientific inquiry, philosophic reasoning, and human experience. We humbly recognize that ultimate Truth is beyond human conceptualization (Isaiah 55:8), that Truth is ultimately personal (John 14:6), and that we must depend upon the guidance of God's Spirit to discern truth (John 16:13)." Has excellent, detailed information about the takeover of the Southern Baptist Church by Christian extremists.
- National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice
"Calls upon our religious values in order to educate, organize, and mobilize the religious community in the U.S. on issues and campaigns that will improve wages, benefits, and working conditions for workers, especially low-wage workers.
- Call to Renewal
A national network of churches, faith-based organizations, and individuals working to overcome poverty in America. Through local and national partnerships with groups from across the theological and political spectrum, we convene the broadest table of Christians focused on anti-poverty efforts. Together we work to influence local and national public policies and priorities, while growing and developing a movement of Christians committed to overcoming poverty.
- Center for Progressive Christianity
Its mission is to reach out to those for whom organized religion has proved ineffectual, irrelevant, or repressive, as well as to those who have given up on or are unacquainted with it; to uphold evangelism as an agent of justice and peace; to give a strong voice both in the churches and the public arena to the advocates of progressive Christianity; and to support those who embrace the search, not certainty.
For a sane, respectful exploration of Christianity and other faiths, see BeliefNet.
"Mommy, what's Saddlebacking?
Black Box Voting .ORG
A site that should be required daily reading for anyone involved in the supervision of elections in the USA. If you think the USA has fair elections, think again.