Monday, April 25, 2005

Bill Frist, televangelist - where to begin?

Indeed, where to end? Diving in...

After it hosted Bill Frist's political telecast denouncing Democrats as being against "people of faith," shouldn't the tax-exempt status of the Louisville Highview Baptist Church now be questioned?

Frank Rich:

Tonight's megachurch setting and pseudoreligious accouterments notwithstanding, the actual organizer of "Justice Sunday" isn't a clergyman at all but a former state legislator and candidate for insurance commissioner in Louisiana, Tony Perkins...he told a gathering in Washington this month that the judiciary poses "a greater threat to representative government" than "terrorist groups." And we all know the punishment for terrorists. Accordingly, Newsweek reports that both Justices Kennedy and Clarence Thomas have "asked Congress for money to add 11 police officers" to the Supreme Court, "including one new officer just to assess threats against the justices." The Judicial Conference of the United States, the policy-making body for the federal judiciary, has requested $12 million for home-security systems for another 800 judges.

Meanwhile, leaders throughout history have cautioned against mixing religion and politics.

Thomas Jefferson:
...the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time.

Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom in Virginia, 1779

In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is easier to acquire wealth and power by this combination than by deserving them, and to effect this, they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer for their purposes.

Letter to Horatio Spofford, 1814

Thomas Paine:
Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly-marked feature of all law-religions, or religions established by law. Take away the law-establishment, and every religion re-assumes its original benignity.

The Rights of Man, 1791-1792

Samuel West:
For the civil authority to pretend to establish particular modes of faith and forms of worship, and to punish all that deviate from the standards which our superiors have set up, is attended with the most pernicious consequences to society. It cramps all free and rational inquiry, fills the world with hypocrites and superstitious bigots--nay, with infidels and skeptics; it exposes men of religion and conscience to the rage and malice of fiery, blind zealots, and dissolves every tender tie of human nature.

Dartmouth, MA, Election Sermon, 1776

John Buchanan, baptist minister:
Preachers like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell should not forget that, in the colony of Virginia, Baptist ministers were beaten and imprisoned and run out of town for preaching their dissenting faith, while Anglican ministers were paid with tax funds from the state treasury.

April 10, 1986

Abraham Lincoln:
When the Know-Nothings get control, it [the Declaration of Independence] will read: "All men are created equal except negroes, foreigners and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer immigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty--to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.

Letter to Joshua F. Speed, August 24, 1855

Richard M. Johnson, Vice President (1837-1841):
It is not the legitimate province of the legislature to determine what religion is true, or what is false.

Second Report on the Transportation of the Mail on Sundays, 1830

Barry Goldwater (hey Tom Delay and Bill Frist, listen up!):
Religious factions will go on imposing their will on others unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy. They must learn to make their views known without trying to make their views the only alternatives.

Speech delivered in 1981

Robert G. Ingersoll:
In all ages, hypocrites, called priests, have put crowns upon the heads of thieves, called kings.

Prose Poems and Selections, 1884

William E. H. Lecky, historian:
Almost all Europe, for many centuries, was inundated with blood, which was shed at the direct instigation or with the full approval of the ecclesiastical authorities.

History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe, 1866

Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov, Russian nuclear scientist:
Intellectual freedom is essential to human society. Freedom of thought is the only guarantee against an infection of people by mass myths, which, in the hands of treacherous hypocrites and demagogues, can be transformed into bloody dictatorships.

And if that's not enough to confirm or convince readers that there is absolutely no place in politics for Bill Frist's grandstanding antics, there are more quotes here.


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