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Southern Religion

Right hits Utah Gov. Huntsman after he endorses same-sex civil unions

Endorsement of same-sex civil unions by republican Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman brought the right side of the political roof down on him this week.

Among those legislators and conservative group leaders who spoke against Huntsman this week was Utah Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka. She said:

Ruzicka

Ruzicka

We are against civil unions, and we are disappointed that he said he supported civil unions, and we want the people to know that the legislature doesn’t agree with the Governor, and that civil unions is a synonym for marriage, and that if they were to pass it, it would be in violation of our very law in this state.

There with her were representatives of the thirty-legislator Utah Coalition for Traditional Families, protesters wore T-shirts that read “homosexuals are anti-species” and assorted others

Huntsman’s stand has provoked strong reactions all around. With the weight of reactions reportedly falling in the governor’s favor.

Unlikely to get his views legislated in Utah, Huntsman’s action puzzles most observers, although some see it as an example of pure leadership by a Mormon who has chosen to contradict prevailing public opinion in his home state.

February 13, 2009 Posted by | Law, Politics | Comments Off

Old-time Baptists understood the danger of government money

Mark Silk upbraids Baptists for failing to adhere to their historic tradition of determined independence from government.

That tradition is recorded in “The Remonstrance and Petition of a Convention of Elders and Brethren of the Baptist denomination assembled at Bristol [CT] on the first Wednesday of February, 1803:”

Your petitioners believe that all mankind are entitled to equal rights and privileges, esp. the rights of conscience…and that all human laws which obliged a man to worship in any lawfully prescribed mode, time, or place or which compel him to pay taxes or in any way to assist in the support of a religious teacher unless on his voluntary contract, are unjust and oppressive.

It took them a decade and a half to persuade Connecticut to end its tax subsidy for religious institutions.

Some of today’s leading Baptists are in the opposite camp from their tough-minded forebears. Mark gives us the example of erstwhile Baptist pastor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, straining to assault the economic stimulus bill as “anti-religious.” Because it includes boilerplate language [.pdf] barring the use of tax monies for religious purposes.

There are Baptists, Mark acknowledges, “who still cleave to the old-time separationist faith — yo, Joint Committee! — but they are way too few and far between.”

The danger for Baptists and for other faiths, as Dan Gilgoff explains, is that Huckabee & Co. will prevail and make public subsidies for religion a matter of national policy.

Thomas Jefferson’s 1808 “Letter to Virginia Baptists” tells us why Huckabee & Co. are making an argument that is dangerous to religion in general, not just Baptists:

Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the, “wall of separation of church and state,” therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.

The danger, as you see, is described in the much-ignored second part of Jefferson’s argument.

As the old-time Baptists and Thomas Jefferson both understood, accepting the state’s money has a corrupting effect on religion. One cannot, the old-time Baptists knew, serve two masters.

February 13, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion | , , , | Comments Off

Puerto Rican Disciples of Christ celebrate centeniary

Puerto Rican Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) centenary convention blogged by DisciplesWorld.

February 13, 2009 Posted by | Religion, Uncategorized | | Comments Off

   

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