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Adrianvs

The Song of the Strange Ascetic

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First, "D'oh" on the principal/principle gaff.

 

Second, different federal grants have different requirements. HUD Community Development Block Grants have many requirements, among them nondiscrimination requirements, which includes religion and creed. None of the services paid for by these grants can discriminate on the grounds of religion or creed. You can't refuse Jews for being Jews, you can't refuse trinitarians for being trinitarians, you can't require trinitarianism, you can't require monotheism, you can't require polytheism, you can't require theism, you can't require atheism.

 

The Boy Scouts used one of these grants to solicit and get members in a youth group that excludes atheists, which is not only dishonest, but illegal.

 

Now, if you can find an organization that:

1) has applied for and received a HUD grant with such nondiscrimination requirements, and

2) requires some or all beneficiaries of this HUD-financed program to sign a statement that they believe in the objective reality of the physical world,

then we'd have an actual test case and find out.

 

However, I don't know of any organization that does this; perhaps you could start one, and call it the Red Herring group.

 

Because the existence of such a group, and whether the courts would rule that signing their statement violated HUD's nondiscrimination requirements, has absolutely nothing to do with whether the Old Baldy council violated HUD's nondiscrimination requirements.

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adrianvs writes:

Ohhh... I get it now!

 

Atheism is YOUR creed of choice, so there can be no publicly funded organizations that exclude them. But idealism is NOT YOUR creed of choice, so there is no problem funding organizations which exclude them. It's all really so very simple now..

 

No, you really don't get it.

 

HUD grants can't be used to finance programs that exclude atheists.

 

They can't be used to finance programs that exclude theists, either.

 

Or polytheists.

 

Or monotheists.

 

Or Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc.

 

You might have some success arguing that "Idealism" a creed, and if you're successful, that would be included too.

 

By the way, do you think the Old Baldy council was wrong in getting a HUD grant that required nondiscrimination on the basis of creed, and used that money to solicit membership in a youth program that excludes kids on the basis of creed?

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In your opinion, can organizations which discriminate on the basis of non-theisitc ideology or creed receive federal funding? Every science-based organization is practicing de facto discrimination against idealists (religious or otherwise). If a science based organization made members sign a document stating that they believed in the objective reality of the physical world, then they would be discriminating against idealists in the same way that the BSA supposedly does against atheists. Can science based organizations receive federal funding in Merlyn World? Isn't discrimination based on creed prohibited as well? A lot of people are idealists. Should they not get the same protection as atheists?

 

Science in not an ideology, it is a way of approaching and solving problem and answering questions. Science organizations dont concern themselves with the religious beliefs of their members or grantees. No one is asked to sign a form that they dont believe in God. There is no discrimination by science organizations that use public funds. Having worked at a large public research university for a number of years, I can assure you that no one is asked to sign a statement of faith or lack thereof. As a matter of fact, I went to church with a number of researchers over the years.

 

The only "science" organizations that require a statement of faith that I know of are creationist. Those folks are discriminating. That is one reason that they should not receive government research grants. The other is what they do is not science.

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Merlyn,

 

Isn't it discriminatory to require that a group not discriminate in order to receive federal funds? To my way of thinking, making requirements about what a group's beliefs or actions are to receive federal funds is unequal treatment. What the Boy Scouts are doing isn't illegal, so why should they be denied funding?

 

I'm still wondering where the authority for doling out these grants is given in the constitution anyway...

 

-Rob

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Isn't it discriminatory to require that a group not discriminate in order to receive federal funds?

 

Sure, in the sense of "discriminatory" meaning to distinguish between alternatives; it's legal for the government to put nondiscrimination requirements on HUD grants.

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"Science in not an ideology, it is a way of approaching and solving problem and answering questions. Science organizations dont concern themselves with the religious beliefs of their members or grantees."

 

I did not say that science was an ideology. What I said was that any individual (or group) which uses empirical science is making certain presuppositions. One of these is that the physical world has an objective reality. This notion happens to be contrary to idealism. Idealism is an ideology itself and is an integral part of some religions. Some religions state that there is a God or gods and don't concern themselves with the existance of lesser spirits or the physical world. Some religions are based on the existance of spirits and may or may not comment on the physical world. Some religions state that the world exists and some state that it exists. The point is that the theism/atheism dichotomy is not the sole criterion and issue in religious matters. It is true that persons of some religious persuasions are excluded from an organization that requires belief in a God or god. It is equally true that persons of some religious persuasions are excluded from an organization that requires belief in the physical world. They just aren't as vocal about the government funding such groups. The point is that not every religion concerns itself with the existance of a God or gods.

 

No, science (or empiricism) isn't necessarily religious. Neither is idealism. But both rest on presuppositions that have religious implications. You may not believe that "God exists" and fight to prevent groups which hold the proposition from receiving government funding. Just remember that some people do not believe that "the physical world exists" and that groups which hold this proposition are practicing de facto discrimination against them. This IS a religious matter for many people and your principles of "nondiscrimination" would prevent the government from funding a whole lot more than what you consider to be "religious." Nondiscrimination based on theism/atheism alone is only the beginning of a consistent position. You must apply it to all religious issues and principles. Many of my idealist friends could care less whether there is a God or not. What offends them is the absurd proposition that the physical world is anything more than a cognitive construction. You may not be able to honestly join the BSA because of your religious beliefs. They cannot honestly join any scientific academy because of their religious beliefs. If the BSA is government funded discrimination, then so is every government funded science organization.

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While I agree that principles are important, I just don't see a single grant of $15,000 made several years ago as the basis for a crusade. C'mon, Merlyn, I've asked you several times--where's the real money? How many more grants like this are there? Has there been a deluge of them since the one given to Old Baldy? Has Old Baldy even tried to get any more? I certainly don't think this single incident is enough to accuse BSA of "feeding at the public trough."

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Hunt, there's a lot more where that came from; the OBC is just one example. There's a current contract in Iowa for $43,000, paying for a "traditional scouting" program (which means no atheists or gays). And yes, Old Baldy is still trying to get more grants for their discriminatory program.

 

Also check out

http://xxx.infidels.org/~nap/bsa_government_grants.html

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The list gives no details and the most recent info is from 1998. Most of the amounts are small. But again, why tell us? Your beef is with the people giving out these grants, if anybody.

 

I actually agree with you that the government shouldn't fund scouting programs themselves--but I just don't see that happening enough to make a big deal out of it. If what you'd really like is to convince BSA to change its religious requirement, you're certainly not going to do so by cutting off its government funds--there aren't enough. And you're not going to do it by insulting people. You might make some progress by explaining how people who aren't religious are nevertheless ethical, can contribute to Scouting, etc., etc. But your attitude here makes you seem like a killjoy, and I don't find that very persuasive.

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Oh Brother, people! Get a life! Don't join a group or club if it isn't what you want to be involved with! As far as I know there is no manitory requirement or draft to join BSA or have faith-based values! You have the choice to be in a group that supports YOUR believe structures.

 

It's still a choice! Find a place to belong to that supports your value system, don't destroy mine!

 

Good grief, get a life! And let me have mine!

 

 

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I'll let you have yours if you don't force me to subsidize it; that means no HUD grants, no $1/year leases, no free government buildings (e.g. Cradle of Liberty council in Philadelphia), etc. And I'll still point out how dishonest the Boy Scouts are for signing nondiscrimination agreements that they have no intentions of honoring.

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Way to dance around the question, Merlyn! But here's another point: do you have any problem with the National Endowment for the Arts funding things like Maplethorpe's "art"? I think that stuff could be considered to discriminate against Christians. Why is that OK and funding the Boy Scouts isn't?

 

 

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You're free to file a lawsuit on those grounds if you like, but you're comparing apples and oranges. The BSA excludes people on religious grounds, and HUD grants explicitly forbid religious discrimination. NEA funded exhibitions don't exclude people based on their religious views.

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"...HUD grants explicitly forbid religious discrimination."

 

So isn't it discrimination to exclude a group because it is religious?

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