Category Archives: Religions

Trump to ease enforcement of limits on church political activity

By Naomi Jagoda and Lydia Wheeler, The Hill, 5/03/17

President Trump is set to sign an executive order Thursday to make it easier to for churches and other religious groups to participate in politics without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status.

Trump plans to sign an order in the morning that attempts to overcome a provision in the federal tax code prohibiting religious organizations from directly opposing or endorsing political candidates. This prohibition is known as the “Johnson amendment,” because it was proposed by then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson (D-Texas) in the 1950s.

Easing restrictions on church political activity has been a longtime priority for Trump, social conservatives and a number of congressional Republicans. They argue the Johnson amendment stifles churches’ First Amendment rights….

continue reading at The Hill

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Filed under Religions, Tax, Trade

Churches Are Readying Homes And Underground Railroads To Hide Immigrants From Deportation Under Trump

by Salvador Hernandez and Adolfo Flores, BuzzFeed, 2/25/17

Churches across the US are fighting back against the Trump administration’s mandate to ramp up deportations with new sanctuary practices of their own, using private homes in their congregations as shelter and potentially creating a modern-day underground railroad to ferry undocumented immigrants from house to house or into Canada.

Church leaders from California to Illinois and New York told BuzzFeed News they’re willing to take their sanctuary operations for undocumented immigrants underground should federal immigration authorities, emboldened by Trump’s recent directives to take a harder line on deportations, ignore precedent and raid their campuses.

“We’re willing to take that risk because it is our call to justice, and this is how we live our faith,” Rev. Justo Gonzalez II, pastor of Pilgrim St. Luke’s in Buffalo, told BuzzFeed News. He leads one of the churches that has reached out to an organization in Canada to possibly take in undocumented families….

continue reading at BuzzFeed

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Filed under Immigration, Religions

The religion-based repression begins

email from Avaaz, 1/28/17

People are being pulled off planes and pushed into detention centers in airports across the US today — legal visa holders, visitors, refugees, even the green card holding spouses of American citizens!

And we are fighting back.

People are gathering at your airport to protest this inhumane and racist treatment. Let’s join them and add strength to this protest. Showing up in the terminal now can be the beginning of a national movement that endures and wins. Here’s the Facebook link for the protest near you:

Philadelphia International Airport, Terminal A-West, International Arrivals at 2pm tomorrow, Jan 29

https://www.facebook.com/events/252451231859979/

Check this link for any updates to the time or location

This is not an approved action. And that means people might get arrested and non-citizens might face extra threats. There will be many more chances to get involved after this, and this protest might not be right for all of us.

For those who can, make your way to the protest in the link above. Also, the resistance movement needs lawyers to help represent those detained. If you, or someone you know, fits the bill please fill out the form here:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScU15uSaSkA61YrGmXfplfOu2UwlcwIyEJXPuyON6SCE6YlAw/viewform?c=0&w=1

This is last minute, and risky, but the faster we mobilize, the faster the courts, Congress and Trump feel the heat of a massive public outcry.

In solidarity,

Emma

More information:

Trump’s Order Blocks Immigrants at Airports (New York Times)

US-bound migrants blocked from flying to JFK airport (The Guardian)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/28/rights-groups-flooded-with-calls-as-people-fear-re-entry-to-us-will-be-denied

Trump executive order: Refugees detained at US airports (BBC News)
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38783512

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Filed under Immigration, Religions

On the Down Side of Institutionalized Religion

An Analysis (31 January 2016) by Lawrence Davidson, To the Point Analyses

Part I – Religion as Ideology

Ideologies are pre-set forms of thinking that shape people’s worldviews and, supposedly, help to order and simplify reality. While this supposition is always flawed to one extent or another, ideologies can be very seductive. In part this is because they free their adherents from the hard work of critical thinking. Thus, they are often held onto tenaciously.

Because ideologies distort reality, they are particularly unsuited for those aspiring to power as well as their devoted supporters. History is full of examples of politically powerful ideologies that underscore this fact: fascism, communism, various military cults (particularly popular in South America and the Middle East) and even the ideology of democracy as manipulated by corrupt elites, who play the Pied Piper to the masses.

Yet there is still one more ideology out there which, even now, wreaks havoc by either claiming for itself the trappings of secular power or attaching itself in some influential advisory way to the institutions of power. That ideology is religion in its various institutional manifestations.

I want to emphasize that I am not referring to the personal religious convictions of millions by which life is made to appear understandable and meaningful. Whether such convictions are accurate or not, they play an important role at the individual level and, as long as they do not promote harmful intolerance, should be left to benignly function at the local level. What I am referring to are religious ideologies that are institutionalized in bureaucracies that can project power much as do secular institutions of authority. Religious ideologies so institutionalized see themselves as possessed of God-given truth while playing the game of power amidst human competitors. …

continue reading at To the Point Analyses

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Filed under Lawrence Davidson, Religions