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Local church, state clashes stir emotions

Augusta State lawsuit, letters on prayers reignite old debate

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Church and state clashes are common. Solutions that satisfy are not.

Jennifer Keeton  Special
Special
Jennifer Keeton

Several recent local conflicts have tested the relationship between church and state and challenged those involved to defend or disparage the role of religion in public life.

An organization of atheists and agnostics asked the Aiken City Council to end the prayers that traditionally open its meetings. A week later, a letter to Augusta's government followed.

Last week, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Christian student at Augusta State University who contends she would be required to change her beliefs in order to graduate.

People of faith can find comfort in the fact that "the system is meant to work this way," said Michael Broyde, a professor of law at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University in Atlanta.

"It's a tension that comes from two competing values. We have an anti- establishment clause which mandates the federal government never pick one religion over another. We also have another, which says anyone is free to worship as they choose," he said. "Very few countries have both provisions."

In the eyes of the church, it's more than a clash of values. It's a collision of world views.

The Rev. David McKinley highlighted the ASU conflict from the pulpit of Warren Baptist Church last Sunday. He played a clip of 24-year-old Jennifer Keeton describing her convictions in a video for the Alliance Defense Fund, which filed the suit.

McKinley thanked God for a young lady who is unwilling to violate the authority of God in her life.

"She has been confronted with what I would call a form of academic bias and coercion. And that coercion has ultimately led to this basic premise: The practice of the Christian faith disqualifies a person from a credible practice of counseling. That is the foundation of this debate," he said. "There is a Greek word for that, spelled B-A-L-O-N-E-Y."

Her lawsuit, he said, is part of a larger cultural debate between the authority of God and the voice of culture.

"While our culture has clearly become more secular, you cannot take an eraser to history," McKinley said.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit, sent letters to Aiken and Augusta this month, asking that the cities no longer pray before meetings. They are two of more than 200 letters the group will send to municipalities across the country this year. Some letters are ignored; others are resolved; and still others become lawsuits.

Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor helped found the organization more than 30 years ago because she and her mother, Anne Nicol Gaylor, felt the First Amendment was being degraded.

"Our respect for our secular way of life is at stake," she said. "You have people talking about the nation's founding in faith. It's not true. They're going to win if no one stops them. We have a hostile Supreme Court. It's more important than ever to speak out."

The group celebrated a landmark success in April, when a U.S. District Court judge ruled in favor of the foundation, which had filed suit claiming the National Day of Prayer, held in May every year since 1952, was unconstitutional.

A media firestorm resulted, drawing attention to the group's other causes.

"I have to tell you, the best way to end a violation is to go public, go to the media," Gaylor said. "We realized that if we let the public weigh in, sometimes it might not be in our favor, but these things work out."

IT'S TROUBLING TO THINK important matters are left to sways of popular opinion, said South Carolina Rep. J. Roland Smith, R-Warrenville, who is an ordained pastor in the Pentecostal Holiness church.

"There's such a thing as truth. Too few people believe that these days," Smith said. "There are warring factions in the U.S. There's an attempt to drive God out of the public sphere, which is ludicrous considering this nation was founded for the freedom to worship."

He said freedom of religion isn't the same as freedom from religion.

"We open the day up with a prayer and the pledge. We open up our assembly with a prayer and the pledge. We have our caucus meetings on Tuesday mornings, and those start with devotions," he said. "People don't have to participate, but you have to realize, these things are ingrained into public life. I resent being told I can't pray."

When conflict arises, courts should be a last resort, Smith said.

"The problem is the folks on the other side aren't willing to compromise their beliefs against religion but can't understand that we aren't willing to compromise our beliefs in that religion," he said.

The ASU case in particular rings of hypocrisy, said Dr. John Hill, the director of the Center for Care and Counseling for the CSRA, a nonprofit supported by churches to provide discounted mental health care and counseling.

In her suit, Keeton alleges that she is required to complete a remediation plan to alter her views against homosexuality if she wants to remain in the college's school counseling program.

"They want her to respect other views but won't respect her own," Hill said.

Keeton has said professors felt her Bible-based views in opposition to homosexuality are incompatible with the prevailing views in the counseling profession.

Yet, Hill said, it's common for counselors to work with clients they disagree with.

"There are lots of counselors who treat people with views very different than their own," he said.

Hill said the situation amounts to a clear case of discrimination against Christians.

"There is such a clash of world views, and people who have a traditional Christian view are being persecuted," he said. "There are nurses who are fired for not participating in abortions."

Christian pharmacists have also been fired for refusing to dispense birth control.

Broyde, the Emory professor, said such outcomes are to be expected: "I have the right to believe what I want to believe. I don't have the right to have a job with the same protections as my belief."

He says, for instance, that he could choose to be racist, but becoming a police officer and acting in accordance with racist beliefs would not be protected under the First Amendment.

"Just because an idea is protected doesn't mean my job is protected," Broyde said.

IT'S TROUBLING to call such conflicts "persecution," said John Macaulay, who teaches church history at Erskine College, a Christian school in Due West, S.C.

"There's a feeling that the church and Christians are under attack. Is it the persecution of the church in China or Pakistan? No, but in the U.S. it doesn't have to be because there are so many other examples degrading the church's authority," he said. "Historically, the church is at a point that it's never been before."

Since the Roman Empire, the church has gained power and influence and only recently experienced significant decline in authority, Macaulay said.

"I am concerned about the trend. It's not militant persecution, but it's in a form that seeks to take away power that Christians once had," he said.

Warren pastor McKinley hopes and expects a more vocal church body emerges from these conflicts. On Sunday, he reminded the congregation that their tax dollars support the school and they are not without a voice.

"There has always been a conflict with those who come under and receive God's authority in their lives and those who rebuff that," he said. "We're living in a day where the conflict of world views is the most vivid it's ever been. ... What is sufficient and authoritative for life? That is the debate. We won't accept anything less than the word of God."

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scoopdedoop64
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scoopdedoop64 08/01/10 - 11:43 pm
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Thanks Dave and I have

Thanks Dave and I have appreciated your posts as well.

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 08/02/10 - 06:04 am
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sjgraci, I know that I lose

sjgraci,

I know that I lose the debate for bringning up the Nazis (official blog/forum rules) but that is what I feel someone who is a Christian must feel when they are traeted this way.

I am sure that the idea of attending a Nazi parade and being asked to read Mein Kampf to better 'understand' them would be just offensive to someone who is Jewish as telling this lady she needs to attend a gay day parade and study homosexuality to better understand it.

Maybe it is a bit different, but the same idea is at work here, control and intolerance.

I find it very hypocritical that people are saying this lady cannot participate in the program because she has narrow views all the while not letting her be a part because of their narrow views.

Brad

momster59
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momster59 08/02/10 - 06:52 am
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Brad - I have read Mein Kampf

Brad - I have read Mein Kampf in with just that purpose in mind, to better understand the thinking behind such overwhelming hate and prejudice. I'm glad I did, as it helps me to recognize and respond to racial and religious injustice. Anyone who is planning to work as a school guidance counselor needs to be comfortable dealing with all types of people, even neonazis. To suggest that Ms. Keeton attend the parade is not an unfair request. She could meet a class of people she obviously fears in a safe setting. By the way, several churches had booths set up at the festival. Perhaps she could have worked at one of the booths. I attended the parade and festival and my heterosexuality is quite in tact.

follower
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follower 08/02/10 - 09:55 am
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Although a devout believer, I

Although a devout believer, I will have to agree with momster on the attributes of diversity in study.
The study of subjects and individuals throughout history should not cause one to abandon their faith or tenets. To understand someone elses world view demands an understanding of their culture. To ignore or disregard why an individual thinks and believes as they do is the height of disrespect.
If the investigation causes one to waver, either your belief system is flawed, or you're poorly grounded.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 08/02/10 - 10:03 am
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mr. baronvonreich, could you

mr. baronvonreich, could you share with us what you do to help others, other than try to educate all of us ignorrnant Christians, that is?

scoopdedoop64, you go brother and May God be glorified!

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 08/02/10 - 10:24 am
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yes, freeradical, As

yes, freeradical, As Christians, we are use to losing while we are winning, because we know who wins in the end, don't we!
As to the support many people like to give to them, we can conclude two things, either they never attended the place, or never attended as a Christian.

DaveMustaineRules
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DaveMustaineRules 08/02/10 - 10:48 am
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How can one person define

How can one person define what being a Christian is to others. Some feel homosexuals should be ministered to and treated with respect, others want to claim it is a disgusting sin and gays should be stoned.

What if a child went to Ms. Keeton for help with gender issues and the root cause os the confusion was a history of sexual abuse? How could she discover the root cause of the child.s problems if she is going to immediately dismiss the child's feelings as sinful? Her beliefs, if brought into a counseling setting, clearly would prevent her from discovering the child had been abused. This is not an unlikely situation as sexual abuse at an early age can result in confusion regarding gender identity and sexual orientation.

follower
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follower 08/02/10 - 11:49 am
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Dave, you pose a profound

Dave, you pose a profound question. Why is it that Christians interpret scripture with such diametrically opposing answers?
The study of scripture will have the intent of knowing the person of Jesus Christ or the intent to use it to justify a personal position [selfish intent].
This post doesn't offer the space, and I'm not qualified to comprehensively answer every question and speculative scenario.
What I do know is that the "TRUE" Christian will attempt to live their life as Jesus did. Not WWJD, but WDJD. What did Jesus do?
While the condemnatory laws and standards of the Old Testament were fulfilled at the cross in the New Testament, explaining all of that would be completely foreign to someone that doesn't believe scripture anyway.
The easiest way to address any question that relates to behavior is to do so as Jesus did when asked which was the greatest commandment. "To love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself".
If we really loved our neighbor [meaning everybody], would we wrong them?
Also, I'm not saying that I agree totally with Ms. Keaton. I still do not know all of the facts as we have the stance of one side, and partial information from the other. To speculate is futile.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 08/02/10 - 12:33 pm
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If only people knew what

If only people knew what loving someone really means...

edreformfan
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edreformfan 08/02/10 - 01:20 pm
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Momster59, Why should she be

Momster59,
Why should she be forced to do anything the other students are not required to do? Suggesting that she attend the festival sounds more like a baiting tactic than an actual attempt to improve her ability to counsel such clients. Her belief is no different than that of an atheist counselor who thinks anyone who believes in organized religion is wrong. Should that belief, expressed in a classroom, preclude a person from counseling public school students since some of those students are bound to be conflicted with religion and various world views? Or maybe those students don't deserve to be "protected" by the ASU faculty since they are probably just "religious zealots."

edreformfan
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edreformfan 08/02/10 - 01:26 pm
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DaveMustain, Your post is

DaveMustain,
Your post is nothing but mere speculation ... the belief that people are "born gay" could just as easily cause a counselor to assume a child has confused feelings because they were "born gay," causing the counselor to ignore the possibility that said child was sexually abused. The point is, whether the counselor believes "identity confusion" or "born gay," they are bound by the rules of the profession, and the statement in a classroom that "homosexuals suffer from identity confusion" does not violate the rules of the profession and should not preclude her from a counseling degree any more than the statement "homosexuals are born gay."

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 08/02/10 - 03:02 pm
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I think this article posted

I think this article posted on the Baptist Press website sums up what is happening to the First Amendment rights of those who belong to conservative churches and hold conservative religious beliefs. The article states: "Conservative Christians eventually will be shut out of the [counseling] profession...[P]ublic universities are saying because of your religious beliefs, we're going to kick you out of school."

http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=33439

Fiat_Lux
14853
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Fiat_Lux 08/02/10 - 03:15 pm
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Marlene, you might consider

Marlene, you might consider scaling the bile back a little. It makes you appear quite hateful.

And, as we all know, anyone who calls for tolerance of others, such as LGBTs, should be sensitive to a gaping breach of it that your 3:04 post is.

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 08/02/10 - 03:41 pm
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baron - I have some sad news

baron - I have some sad news for you regarding your 11:07 post yesterday. You wrote: "The facts are that poverty in America has grown year after year, decade after decade. The churches who boast about helping the poor have obviously failed to do much good. Some churches, who still exempt themselves from taxes, do little if anything to truly help the poor."

You can tax the churches until they have to go out of "business" and are forced to go underground, and that still won't eliminate poverty and poverty will still be a problem in the USA and world-wide.

Socialism tried to eliminate poverty - it failed.
Communism tried to eliminate poverty - it failed.
There is no cure or magic wand for any government program to eliminate poverty.

If they had had social programs in the days of the prodigal son, somebody would have given him a bed and a sandwich and he never would have gone home.

Poverty will only be eliminated through a heart change wrought by the power of Christ. The world has enough wealth and resources so that no one goes hungry or homeless but greed, the lust for power, and the darkness of the soul prevent Utopia. Moreover, until a person's heart has been changed, resources from kind-hearted people and government programs will be squandered by those who receive those resources.

For example, the Medicare program is well-intended and helps many. Yet, David Marrero in Miami defrauded the government program by
billing Medicare $5.8 million for HIV therapy that was never provided to patients between 2005 and 2007.

Baron - your humanistic Utopia of tax-paying churches will not change our country and the world for the better nor will it eliminate poverty and fraud. Tax-paying churches will simply give the government more money that unscrupulous users like Marrero and many, many others of government programs can misuse and abuse.

So, take your choice. According to you, churches misuse money. Well, the government misuses money - millions and millions. So. choose your poison.

But, of course, I guess if you were treasurer of the world, you would have the knowledge, money, and power to know how to eliminate poverty and to choose fellow humanists who would be ethical and honest to distribute the funds and bring prosperity to all.

You could even use the church buildings that you want taxed and which taxation would probably cause the closure of many of the smaller finanically struggling churches in the inner city as your distribution points.

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 08/02/10 - 03:41 pm
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Oh Pastor Dan.....I see you

Oh Pastor Dan.....I see you suffer from the comprehension problem like many others. You will never see where I have said that I desired church buildings to be closed. That thought was born solely in your itty bitty head.

Churches however should pay their property taxes like every other property owner. They reap the same services that other property owner reaps. Religiously ordained employees of religion also reap many tax breaks not given to other self-employed persons including the ability to opt out of the ponzi schemes of Social Security and Medicare. These idiotic tax breaks were only re-emphasized by some more discriminatory legislation passed during the first term of George 43.

Has the power of Christ entered into your heart and those of your congregation so that you/they now park your/their cars in their driveways and allow the homeless to sleep in your/their garages? Has the power of Christ entered into your heart and those of your congregation so that you/they routinely invite the hungry into your/their homes to break bread together with them?

Smelll it yet? Whew that is some rank hypocrisy!

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 08/02/10 - 03:58 pm
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Struggling inner city

Struggling inner city churches will go out of business paying property taxes. That is obviously the result of your mean-spirited desire to tax churches. Small struggling rural churches - especially African-American churches will be hard pressed to pay property taxes.

The effect of your desire to see churches taxed will close many churches because many will not be able to pay the taxes. So, by you wanting to tax ALL churches means you want to close them.

If we park our cars in garages, how will get around? Get real. Walk? Ride a bicycle? Take a high speed train that doesn't exist in America?

I am not going to justify your questions which border on accusations that I have not allowed the homeless to sleep in your/their garages? Has the power of Christ entered into your heart and those of your congregation so that you/they routinely invite the hungry into your/their homes to break bread together with them?" Because to tell you all that I have done to enter into the suffering of others especially on a public board such as this would border on boasting.

But just suffice it to say that my family and church regularly support a pastor in Bungoma, Kenya, who struggles to feed the children in his orphanage, we support a ministry in Kiev, Ukraine to the street children, I have taken in a homeless teen-age girl and took custody of her when her mother could no longer take care of her When her mother got back on her feet, she was returned to her mother. I gave a car to a desitute ministerial female student at North Greenville College. I served as a liason for a poor working African American woman who my wife worked with as a nurse and was responsible for a Habitat for Humanity house project that she still lives in today with her children.

I don't say this to boast by any means. But I say this to confront you with your mean-spirited, cruel, and heartless attitude toward everyone who has a "Rev." in front of his/her name and to every building that has "church" in front of it.

Read about my Kenyan ministry here:

http://www.faithwriters.com/article-details.php?id=106570

and here

http://www.faithwriters.com/article-details.php?id=105183

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 08/02/10 - 04:06 pm
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Pastor Dan WhiteMonday, Aug.

Pastor Dan WhiteMonday, Aug. 2 3:55 Struggling inner city churches will go out of business paying property taxes. That is obviously the result of your mean-spirited desire to tax churches. Small struggling rural churches - especially African-American churches will be hard pressed to pay property taxes.
-----------------------
LOL! That speaks volumes. Volumes!

My desire that churches be taxed has to do with equality not mean-spiritedness. But then again churches only want equality when it furthers their cause.....i.e hypocrisy.

Supporting a pastor in Bungoma, Kenya, a ministry in Kiev, Ukraine, or giving a car to a student at North Greenville College are your choices and your right but they should in no way constitute tax breaks for helping the poor when you are only promoting your chosen belief system.

You obviously have some extra to bread on hand, so break it with the hungry and homeless in your home instead of giving it to organized religious effort and then claiming it is charity.

InChristLove
22420
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InChristLove 08/02/10 - 04:09 pm
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baron, I truly hope you never

baron, I truly hope you never fall on hard times and have to resort to a Christian ministry for help. When one is hungry and has no place to lay his/her head, I sure hope pride doesn't get in the way of asking for help.

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 08/02/10 - 04:15 pm
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I highly doubt I will ever

I highly doubt I will ever fall on hard times due to the responsibility I take for myself and the strategic planning/investing I developed. However, I would never resort to a Christian ministry for "help." In the real world there are many, many organizations who help others willingly without needing to implore their religion on them or for the sake of garnering tax breaks.

follower
59
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follower 08/02/10 - 04:40 pm
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Baron, most are aware of your

Baron, most are aware of your feelings about religion and church. And even though I disagree with your stance, you also post several things with which I do agree politically.

I believe you did post an answer previously, but I truly don't remember where, so would you answer again your thoughts on other charitable institutions and non-profits? Should they also pay property taxes?

Also, if they did, and ordained ministers forfeit the deduction that you disagree with, would it change the way you felt about "religion".

Most have also read your thoughts about the crusades and the inquisition and other atrocities committed in the "name" of Christianity, so you won't have to go there.

I'm glad you've planned for the future. I hope you're not trusting in our governments ability to protect your investment. They now seem to be good at confiscating private assets.

Don't attack me, the questions are not sarcastic or cynical in nature.

Pastor Dan White
1
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Pastor Dan White 08/02/10 - 04:56 pm
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baron - Your wrote, "My

baron - Your wrote, "My desire that churches be taxed has to do with equality not mean-spiritedness. But then again churches only want equality when it furthers their cause.....i.e hypocrisy."

Indeed your desire to see ALL churches taxed is mean-spirited because poor churches that can't pay their property taxes will be auctioned off at the courthouse just as a home owner who cannot pay property taxes has their home auctioned off at the courthouse. Anyway you cut it - that puts many poor churches out of business.

In the end, thousands of poor, inner city churches will lose their property and people like you who want to see their properties taxed will have succeeded in closing them down. That is the real goal of the "Tax the church building crowd." And that is mean, just plain mean. Where will these poor people worship? But of course, worshipping doesn't matter to you. You would just as soon have no one worship.

Where will they go when they need clothes because many inner city churches provided a clothes closet. Where will they for food since many provide food pantries and meals for the hungry.

Your ideas are just plain mean.

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 08/02/10 - 05:19 pm
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And one more thing, baron,

And one more thing, baron, don't say that churches should bail-out homeowners who are about to lose their homes because they can't pay their mortgages and/or taxes.

Obama's "Making Home Affordable" (MHA) program, has provided aid for more than 100,000 homeowners. While this is significant progress, the majority of homeowners in America have yet to take advantage of the program. Experts say that 50% of foreclosures victims never contact a bank or servicer in an attempt to save their home.

Moreover, 530,000 who started in the MHA program have dropped out of the program.

How can the church fix what the government cannot fix with an unlimited supply of money to help people who are in danger of losing their homes simply because people have not taken advantage of MHA or have dropped out of the program?

Aura68
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Aura68 08/02/10 - 05:18 pm
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The comments on this article

The comments on this article are far more mean spirited than the one I had removed on the other story. All I did was suggest that ICL should remove that large black book from his or her posterior region so they could move around more freely and see the great big world we live in.

If a church (not poor country churches) is able to make the kind of luxury additions that some of these churches around here have made then they are able to pay taxes....plain and simple. And there's nothing mean about that statement.

Now my statement about the posterior - that's borderline :-)

momintum
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momintum 08/02/10 - 05:24 pm
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I've, personally, a hard time

I've, personally, a hard time understanding in today's society the beliefs in some imaginary, sky-fairy indoctrination. It would seem civilization should already be passed booger-men and monsters-under-the-bed. Realistically the very miseries, wars, and atrocities perpetuated by religions on our planet and the inhabitants are appalling. The unscrupulous politicians who use these antediluvian relics in manipulating the populace also shoulder a very good portion of blame. Most of them know better but don't mind an "amen or "Allah Ahkbar" if the situation deems it appropriate or at least a vote depends on it. The cure is but a teaspoon of logic followed with a cup of reason and that'll send whatever god or devil scampering back into the closet. Religion, in its death throes since the Crusades and Dark Ages, will non-the-less destroy as many lives as possible before passing. Fluctuating between rise and fall while steadily losing ground to truth, the gullible and superstitious are swept up in the emotional frenzy that quite often causes them such pain, guilt, and suffering, I remain in dilemma at their plight brought about by their own ignorance but I promise you that a day will come when they are both angered and embarrassed at the blood on our hands similar to our own views anent the literal human sacrifices we hold in abhorance at our ancestors.

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 08/02/10 - 05:28 pm
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Aura68 - so your point is

Aura68 - so your point is that "rich" churches should pay property taxes but "poor country churches" not pay property taxes. Baron did not discriminate between rich and poor churches. He lumped all of them into the same category.

To tax rich churches and not "poor country churches" or poor inner city churches, then you have this problem. How is government going to fairly decide the difference between a rich church and a poor church? Will a church whose tithes and offerings of $100,000 or less be a poor church? Or how about $50,000 or less?

Will a church that has no trust fund or money in a bank be classified as poor? Or will a church that has a trust fund of $50,000 be classified as poor but only receives $45,000 in tithes and offerings be classified as poor?

How will an inner city church that once flourished that has $500,000 in trust funds but needs repairs of $650,000 and receives $100,000 in tithes and offerings be classified? Rich or poor?

Granted, "rich" churches - perhaps we could say that take in $2 million or more annually and have a huge trust fund sometimes waste a lot of money. But how is the determination going to be made?

Any suggestions on how to tell a rich church from a poor church?

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 08/02/10 - 05:53 pm
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momintum - You wrote,

momintum - You wrote, "Realistically the very miseries, wars, and atrocities perpetuated by religions on our planet and the inhabitants are appalling." No argument from me there.

However, your argument that all religions and religious people have perpetrated these atrocities is a fallacy. It's like saying all people who drown, die in water. Therefore, all water is bad.

Or this one: I visited Atlanta and encountered 15 racists. Therefore, the city of Atlanta is racist.

Your logic is fallacious: "Having seen the atrocities in the world caused by religion," I therefore conclude that all religions are bad.

The conclusions you draw from your teaspoon of logic and your cup of reason are flawed logic and merely your opinion.

follower
59
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follower 08/02/10 - 06:02 pm
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momintum wrote, "Religion, in

momintum wrote,
"Religion, in its death throes since the Crusades and Dark Ages, will non-the-less destroy as many lives as possible before passing."

Is it your contention that it is religions intent to destroy lives? Or could it be that people using religion intend to destroy lives? Or do you think people are well-meaning but misguided, and as a result destroy lives?

Your writing is colorful, but as Pastor Dan stated, very flawed in it's logic.

InChristLove
22420
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InChristLove 08/02/10 - 07:34 pm
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baron, you say you would

baron, you say you would never resort to Christian ministries for help. Never say never, because you don't know what the future holds. If you were starving and had no place to go, you would deny the help of some very giving individuals for pride sake? That is too sad. I'm glad you have been wise in your investments and never fall into hard times. I was trying to make a point that there are some really good Christian ministries that help a lot of individuals. We're not all bad.

InChristLove
22420
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InChristLove 08/02/10 - 07:37 pm
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momintum: "I've, personally,

momintum: "I've, personally, a hard time understanding in today's society the beliefs in some imaginary, sky-fairy indoctrination.

Well I'd have to say I'd have a hard time believing in some imaginary, sky-fairy myself. Thankful I believe in an Almighty God who is real and alive. Just because you've never met Him doesn't mean He doesn't exist.

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 08/02/10 - 07:40 pm
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follower - momintum is spot

follower - momintum is spot on. What people SAY their religion is about and what their religion DOES are usually 2 totally separate things. Religion may not have been designed to or intent on destroying lives but it has done much of this throughout history and some in a spectacularly violent fashion.

Talk is just that, talk. The walk however, has left many a person, generation, religion, race, sex, orientation, creed, and nationality scarred forever due to its violence, discrimination, bigotry, and oppression. Let's hope the world eradicates religion before religion destroys the world.

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Property tax increase OK'd

Augusta commissioners broke a seven-year trend Wednesday and agreed 7-0 to raise property taxes by 1.75 mills to cover a deficit and provide employees a small bonus.
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