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953034 Posts in 62854 Topics- by 15312 Members - Latest Member: jdubois5
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61  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 26, 2014, 08:56AM
No, it's a matter of divided loyalties.  In the church you are members of the Kingdom of God;  there are inevitable conflicts with your nationalism.  Putting the flag in there is a potent reminder of your country's requirements.  As a Christian you cannot put your country above your Lord.  Outside the church is a different matter. 
Why do you insist on conflating loyalty and love of your country and love of God.  You're seeking some conflict that just isn't there. 
62  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 26, 2014, 08:53AM
Another older article:


Again read the comments.  Of course, most of them are a bit more thoughtful and courteous than is found here lately.

Uh, you are all familiar with Mark Twain's War Prayer, right?  

The War Prayer

by Mark Twain

 It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fulttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory with stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener.

It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety’s sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came — next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams — visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender!

Then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation:

God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest,
Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!

Then came the “long” prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory —

An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher’s side and stood there waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, “Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord and God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!”

The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside — which the startled minister did — and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:

“I come from the Throne — bearing a message from Almighty God!” The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. “He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd, and will grant it if such be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import — that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of — except he pause and think. “God’s servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two — one uttered, and the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this — keep it in mind. If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon your neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain on your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse on some neighbor’s crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

“You have heard your servant’s prayer — the uttered part of it. I am commissioned by God to put into words the other part of it — that part which the pastor — and also you in your hearts — fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard the words ‘Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!’ That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory — must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

“Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth into battle — be Thou near them! With them — in spirit — we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended in the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames in summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it —

For our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimmage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!

We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

(After a pause.) “Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits.”

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

I think some of the commenters are paranoid about something they perceive but is not there or they're missing the point like yourself.
63  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 26, 2014, 08:34AM
I don't know of a single church that worships a flag and country. You keep making this stuff up as you go.

Because it fits the stereotype they want to spread.
64  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 26, 2014, 08:28AM
It amazes me that professed Christians do not know that flying a national flag in church is a controversial issue among the faithful.

Here is one article of many discussing it: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/july-august/should-churches-display-the-american-flag.html

Most pastors I've spoken with regret flying the flag and do so only because it offends a small minority of their congregants. 
Who said they didn't know it was controversial?
Those offended are misguided.
65  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 26, 2014, 08:27AM
Some Christians see their highest duty as being towards their God, while not disparaging the value of other but lesser allegiances; others worship their flag and country, and give lip service to their faith.

You are self identifying with the latter camp. 
In your humble opinion.
Sorry. God, Country, Family.
66  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 26, 2014, 07:38AM
And even more, I feel strongly that my religion should not be contaminated with nonspiritual icons.  We should not be selling Folger's coffee or Ford cars from the pulpit, should not be flying the flag or reciting the pledge of allegiance, should not be confusing the spiritual and the secular. 

That is my opinion.  I do not see why that offends you nor why you should be so contemptuous of it. 
It offends me and my fellow sailors and marines.  Americans have sacrificed so that you can worship as you wish.  Is it so difficult to acknowledge and be greatful for that.  In a church.  It's not a religious symbol.  You seem very ungrateful.  
67  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 26, 2014, 07:32AM

No, your argument just isn't valid.
It's okay ... you'll pull through.
Nothing like a little condescension. 
What a great comment.  Really adds to the conversation.  I think your narcissism has totally consumed you now.
68  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 25, 2014, 01:39PM
I haven't heard that accusation.  

People send their children to private schools, if they can afford it (I couldn't) for various reasons.

People want vouchers to send their children to private schools so it will be cheaper.

In the past the conservative Protestant wing opposed vouchers because they didn't want children taught Catholicism in private school.  Back then the RC had the largest private school system going. Today the same wing favors vouchers, because they don't want their children taught evolution and global warming in public school.
Where do you get your information?! 
"Today the same wing favors vouchers, because they don't want their children taught evolution and global warming in public school."  Did you read that somewhere or is that your opinion?  Please advise.  Maybe your use of "conservative protestant wing" is inaccurate.
69  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 25, 2014, 01:19PM
BvB forgot
H) Call them a narcissist. That always helps. I know because my Jesus told me.
You're funny.  I think.
70  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 25, 2014, 12:47PM
Those who disagree with me are (choose one or more):
  A) deluded
  B) deceived by the [liberal/conservative] spin machine
  C) hates America
  D) hates God
  E) is just dishonest (or racist/communist/stupid ... etc)
  F) all of the above
  G) may have a point--got to give it some consideration and maybe check into it if it passes initial muster
It's clear that some are prone toward some of those answers just as a knee-jerk kind of reaction, and depending upon which, to rejecting any real form of self-correction or bias mitigation at all. Others are prone toward another of those answers for pretty much the opposite reason--there tends to be an acceptance that human nature actually applies to them as well as to other humans and that they need to back up what the feel with things like evidence and actual reasoning according to actually functional principles and such.
So here's The Thing ... until that's addressed, effectively, there's not just insufficient good faith for genuine discussion, but all too often it seems there's none at all. This is, again, The Real Issue™ underlying a huge chunk of our disagreements and general problems.
It's stupid posts like this that often derail any conversation.  This is narcissism at its best.  Try to stay on topic.  It's not about you.
71  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 25, 2014, 12:20PM
You obviously didn't really read my post.  If you did, I mentioned that many Black urban families send their kids to Catholic School (even Protestant ones) because the education is better than the urban ghetto Public Schools.  The answer to this is not vouchers to pay for the tuition.  The answer for this is to make the urban ghetto Public Schools work better.  Maybe if somebody looked the other way about occasional corporate punishment (as is often practiced by the Nuns) ... ;-)
Why is the answer not charter schools?  We throw money at public schools and nothing changes.  Go after the parents.  That's a big reason why our schools are failing.  Uninterested and lazy parents.  And uninterested and lazy teachers either burnt out, teachers handcuffed or just some bad teachers.
72  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 25, 2014, 12:14PM
That's true Dusty, but most everyone I know that sends their kids to private school (or one of the local rural school districts) says it for a better education.  However, they also don't want their kids around "those kinds of people."

It's amazing to me how White Protestants see very little if any discrimination in the U.S., while the minorities (both racial & religious) are acutely aware of it.
Did they tell you that BH or is that your gut feeling?
Is it only white protestants?  Source please.
I think many people don't admit they see it and many people also think it's more rampant than it actually is.  Keeps the likes of Sharpton and Jackson in business.
73  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 25, 2014, 11:39AM
You're missing the history.  The voucher landscape has changed dramatically, and the conservative Protestants who formerly strenuously opposed them now support them. 
I know the history.  But like you said now they support it. 
74  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 25, 2014, 11:29AM
So, how do you come by this special knowledge? Please list your references.
The left wing/teachers union spin machine.  If it wasn't true they'd have to come up with more fake reasons.
75  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 25, 2014, 11:28AM
Vouchers were a thinly disguised way to resegregate schools.

The people who want vouchers were often Whites who wanted to use Private Schools, Parochial Schools, and Charter Schools as a way to get away from "them".  If that's what they want, I don't think the Government should be subsidizing that.  Note to ronkny: lots of Blacks also send their kids to Catholic Schools usually because they get better education than many ghetto Public Schools -- often because there are fewer classroom interruptions.

Mind you, I have nothing against Parochial Schools, Private Schools, or Charter Schools except when they fail to provide adequate education for any later steps.  I remember a guy who flunked out of my college (Cooper Union) because his Catholic School never provided Trignometry or Algebra -- two prerequisites for starting Calculus which we started as Freshmen.  He was pledging my fraternity and we devoted lots of hours to tutoring him and it just wasn't enough.

But I also think that Private Schools, Parochial Schools, and Charter Schools should not receive Government subsidy.
Youre wrong.  Tell that to parents in Harlem.  Hint; most aren't white.  That's a lie put out by the left and the teachers union.  Yes there are some whites who want that but a majority of parents who want vouchers  just want they're kids to have a decent education
76  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 25, 2014, 10:15AM
No, BvB is right on this one, separation was a strong part of the Protestant agenda.  However to be more complete one must admit that part of that was fear of Catholicism becoming more powerful. 

One small example is the former fierce opposition to school vouchers, purportedly for separation of church and state but in reality to prevent Catholic schools from getting more students and funds. 
I disagree. 
There are Protestant parochial schools too.  And non parochial private schools.  No. Bathe reason people were against vouchers was because of the teachers union and left wing politics.  For the most part.
And yes some Protestants still fear Catholics.  Unfounded fear by the way.
77  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 25, 2014, 10:03AM

Until about 30 years ago or so most conservative protestants were staunchly separationist, so many remaining members of The Greatest Generation, and probably many of their kids, will fall under that same umbrella.
As a believer and non I think it cheapens religion to mix it with politics--trivializes it--introduces a character of pettiness into it ... etc.
I disagree.  I'd like to see the research.  There was no internet and polling for stuff like that was not as often if at all for those kinds of things.  And no one complained about chaplins and crosses and prayers in the military.  And there was no call for a "humanist" Chaplin whatever that is.
I don't want and most reasonable people don't want a state religion, like the Constitution expressly forbids.  The anti religious, separation it's or whatever you want to call them have expanded the meaning.  And they're wrong in my opinion.  Justice Black's ruling was also an opinion.
78  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 25, 2014, 08:53AM
I guess what I'm looking for is a definition of militancy that's specific, but not so narrowly defined that it applies only to atheists. In other words, a set of attributes or behaviors that could apply to any religious or non-religious person, since we all agree that religious people can be militants, too.

This thing is easier to see at a distance, so I'll take militant Islamists as a model. For purposes of universal application, the word 'religion' can be construed as 'religion or lack of religion or other religious beliefs'. Here are my attributes:


1)...Behave violently in service of their religion.
2)...Compel others to participate in their religion.
3)...Seek to codify their religion as law.
4)...Hold beliefs that negatively affect certain groups (ethnic, gender, sexual preference, etc.) and act upon those beliefs whether or not those people share their belief system.

There must be more, but I can't think of them at the moment.
Except for 1.  I agree.  Militant doesn't nescessarily mean violent.  Although there are violent atheists and religious.
79  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 25, 2014, 08:30AM
Yes.  We value both.  Neither are part of Christianity.  Jesus was not pro any country, nor did he promise freedom.

Technically true, but for all practical purposes most people consider capitalism and patriotism synonymous.  Else why all the complaints about "socialist" leaders?

Maybe so, but that's not relevant.  We should practice our religion because we're required to, regardless of the consequences. Actually all the government protectionism makes it easy and convenient to be a Christian, no effort required, no risk.   
American Christianity finds nearly everything offensive; and continues to conflate faith and patriotism.

Freedom is NOT a Christian value.  Faith is, charity, humility, etc.  Not freedom. 
I'll repeat.  Without what that flag represents you would not be able to practice your religion freely.  People died to give you that freedom.  Christianity, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim.  It doesn't matter.

 "but for all practical purposes most people consider capitalism and patriotism synonymous.  Else why all the complaints about "socialist" leaders?"  Huh?  No.  That would be incorrect. 
Socialist leaders or leaders advocating many elements of socialism.  Why is that a patriotism issue?
80  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion Matters on: Sep 25, 2014, 07:58AM
You're giving the easy examples. How many Christians in rural America would have a problem if the only religious symbol in their school or park was an Islamic one? I don't think the people who object to such a thing are militants--they just don't want their tax money used to promote someone else's religion.

The problem with your use of 'militant atheists' is that it seems to encompass behavior that is acceptable when religious people do it, but not when non-religious people do it. For instance, I went past a church readerboard yesterday that said "The wicked shall be destroyed." If someone posted a readerboard that said, "Christians will be destroyed" it would cause an uproar. Christians often try to persuade others of their religious beliefs, and predict dire results for those who disagree with them--it's called spreading the gospel. When atheists do the same, criticizing religion and trying to persuade others not to believe in it, they're militants, I guess.

When I say 'secularist to a degree' I mean they would not want to establish Old Testament law as a legal requirement, or be subject to legal penalty for violation of Biblical tenets, even those they subscribe to. Also, many Christians would object to uncritical presentation of religious belief as fact if it were not Christian, or if it were of a particular type of Christianity (Catholic, Amish, etc.) to which they do not subscribe.

There are religious loons and atheist loons. 
I have never had anyone tell me that my religious beliefs will result in dire consequences.  I know there's people out there like that but I've never me them and I've lived in NY, PA, AL and WA. 
What militant atheists are doing is just plain mean spirited because they think they're smarter than everyone else.  I never saw anything like this when I was in school.  No one got dyspepsia from hearing a religious song in school.  At least those trying to convert people are trying to "save" them, according to them.  Atheists just hate religion and think we're worshiping fairies.  So what.  There's no harm as long as there is no indoctrination. 
The "tax money" issue is a red herring.  Private groups can donate things and they still wouldn't want them in parks and public places.
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