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Religious Charity

Treason and Support for Religion

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, January 31, 2001.

The United States slips further into dementia. The lovely state of Georgia, facing bravely into the wind, decides to reduce its emblem of slavery and rebellion against the United States and include it as a desktop icon along with other past emblems along the bottom border of their new flag. This, apparently, is the sort of thing that appeals to Georgia politicians, since it has taken up so much of their time. They want to make it a federal death offense to roll the American flag in mud, but somehow they get to fly a flag of armed treason, because it is part of their history. By the same reasoning, lynching, the slave patrol, piracy, and forced relocation of aborigines ought to be included on their hideous flag as well. After all, there were banners for them at one time.

Fascinating, to say no more.

And in Washington, the sanctimonious President Bush is trying to install an office of religious charity at the White House, clearly showing his respect for the division between church and state. In conjunction with his professed concern about education and his selection of an Attorney General candidate whose inclinations and views - which he denied before the Senate - vary not from a medieval Curia, Bush's program is fairly clear. Under the guise of compassionate religion - by which, we should always recall, he means his brand of Christianity and no more - Bush wants to install within the White House an office from which mandatory school prayer can be re-introduced in public schools, abortion can be outlawed, and the religious right can ascend to power, denials notwithstanding. This is to be done under the guise of granting tax benefits to those who contribute to religious charities beyond what they do now. Guess who that'll reward?

That will be about the only interest he has in public schools as the Republicans begin their campaign to intellectually disenfranchise all those who do not inherit funds or vote Republican. They want school vouchers solely to diminish the power of the institutions of American education, which traditionally vote Democratic and which must be admitted are in dire need of a briskly applied flame thrower as all corrupt and self satisfied institutions need be.

It is appalling that such a suggestion, so obviously odious and hypocritical, can even be considered by any American government. I am amazed that there has been no hysteria on this. There should be. Think about it: the President has installed an office of religion in the White House. Can a Cabinet position be far behind?

It is also revolting to consider that most religious charities, though not all, are solely concerned with using charity work as a way of building up income in their contribution plate in the same way the television stations use their helicopters as flying billboards under the guise of bringing news. They do little that they cannot send out a press release on. It is not charity, it is public relations, often with political reward in mind. They may now get it.

The best we can hope for is that a nation temporarily fixated on a recession alert that may or may not have been artificially induced and may or may not happen will start to focus on the long-term implications of the laws and appointments pending before their representatives. Not bloody likely, but we can hope.

And by the way, following the Florida recount by the newspapers? It seems we elected Gore. Why isn't he President?