Saturday, October 23, 2004

FBI to Track Violations of Federal Funding Rules

From the current administration's White House web site:

Although you may invite participants to join in your organization's religious services or events, you should be careful to reassure them that they can receive government-funded help even if they do not participate in these activities, and their decision will have no bearing on the services they receive. In short, any participation by recipients of taxpayer-funded services in such religious activities must be completely voluntary. For example, a church that receives direct government aid to provide shelter to homeless individuals may not require those individuals to attend a Bible study or participate in a prayer preceding a meal as part of the government-funded services they provide. But they may invite those individuals to join them, so long as they make clear that their participation is optional. (Italics added).

I'm glad the FBI is starting to collect data around this issue. Reports of violations will be taken seriously by the executive branch, as this is the front line in the religions | state interface, which interface must not be allowed to degrade.

That the words "church" and "Bible" are used, and not "synagogue" and "Torah", or "sangha" and "Dharma" should not blind our executive branch enforcers to abuses outside the Christian sphere. No organized religion, Christianity included, is an official state religion in the United States, a fact outsiders sometimes find hard to fathom.

On this point of no official state religion, something to make very clear to Iraqis and Iranians (among others): if ever they're contacted by a member of a religious network and actively encouraged to confuse said network with USA OS (my name for the US operating system of government), they should contact the appropriate federal authorities with all relevant details (perhaps the Embassy in this case, given the FBI's purview is domestic).

The intent is for Homeland Security or any equivalent clearing house to make sure the information gets back to those best able to prosecute the case, should an investigation verify any religion's attempt at a covert and illegitimate power grab.

The USA is the puppet of no particular religion or theology, by design. The world still very much needs such entities. I would encourage the Iraqis and Iranians to respect our choice, even if theirs is to promote Islam as the official state religion.