Pagans are not doing themselves any favors…

So there is a new site for pagans, witches, druids, and other “Earth-based” religions to worship at at the Air Force Academy in Colorado.

I have no problem with this.  I personally don’t see the need for a particular place to worship as I find God to be everywhere equally, but I understand how some need a church, synagogue, temple or outdoor “worship center” and prefer a particular place to practice their spirituality.

I do however have a problem with the L.A. Times stating that pagans are “followers of an ancient religion that generally does not worship a single god.”  Depends on your Pagan.  However, most of those who worship multiple deities by name would probably argue that there is a central single force behind all of those gods.  Judeo-Christians call them angels, Pagans call them gods.  You say to-may-to I say to-mah-to.  But the L.A. Times has often been a paper full of idiots, so this isn’t a major point.

What I do find a major point is that it cost $80,000.  Are you insane?  Look at it.

I could have a house with more square-footage built for $80,000

It’s some stones and concrete.  A few bricks.  They’re in goddamn Colorado the whole thing is nothing but stone.  That means they should only have had to pay for the concrete and the bricks.  That’s maybe a $1,000.  And then there’s the work hours.  First off, the pagan students at the Air Force Academy should have volunteered their weekends to put this together…and the more open-minded Christians should have helped.  But if you have to get outside workers, low bid the thing.  That’s maybe a couple thousand more if you do it right.  That’s maybe another 4 grand…20 if you have to hire useless union workers.   It should not have cost more than $5,000 to put something like that together…and even with all the absolute bullshit and waste of government spending that should not have cost more than $40,000….but look at that.  Eighty Thousand.  Are you kidding me.

This isn’t a story about pagans, if it was it would be very boring.  This is a story about government waste.  And the pagan students are not doing themselves any favors by allowing themselves to be tied to this travesty.

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11 Comments

Filed under Budget, Capitalism, Debt, Economics, Faith, First Amendment, Government is useless, New Age, politics, Prayer, Religion, Spirituality, Taxes, Unions

11 responses to “Pagans are not doing themselves any favors…

  1. You’re right.

    The government should not be paying for anything religious at all. So, no more government-funded worship sites, and fire all the chaplains. That would save a lot of money.

    • I think you misread what I was saying (or your sarcasm needs work)…What you’re saying would be just a preposterous as the wasted money. Everyone especially, our armed services is entitled to worship as they wish, I’m just opposed to the waste of paying too much for what should have cost much, much less. And firing the chaplains would be an insult to the people who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms.

      • “And firing the chaplains would be an insult to the people who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms.”

        Why?

        Not all members of the armed forces are Christian. And you yourself write that your deity is everywhere, so why should we hire chaplains to come and preach to our troops?

        • Because I’m not arrogant enough to say the way I worship is the way everyone should worship. I prefer to commune with God through meditation, others prefer a spiritual leader. I would never tell a person how they can and can’t worship (so long as it does not hurt another person), as you seem to want to. The First Amendment guarantees them that right. And military chaplains don’t proselytizer (which is what you’re suggesting they do by the phrase preach) as they are forbidden to do so by military regulations (now if some are, yes they should be fired for breaking the rules). Also military Chaplains are required to be there for all religion and there Rabbis, imams, Buddhist monks and a whole host of other religions represented by the U.S. military’s chaplain services, so you comment about Christians just comes off as bigoted and close minded against Christians.

          • “I would never tell a person how they can and can’t worship (so long as it does not hurt another person), as you seem to want to.”

            I would say that if you consistently need a ‘spiritual leader’ of some kind, and this help cannot be gained over the internet, through mail or on the telephone, and absolutely need someone face to face on a near daily basis, then we may have to question whether or not you should be stationed so far from such luxuries.

            “so you comment about Christians just comes off as bigoted and close minded against Christians.”

            I comment about Christians because I am speaking with one.

            If the government eliminates ALL chaplains, it is treating everyone equally, and saving a lot of money by doing it.

  2. Question for the class:
    Did anyone after reading the title Conservative NEW AGER or seeing the yin-yang symbol at the side, or Ganesh at the side, or the cover of the book that says the word “Reincarnation” and “New Ager” on it think I was a Christan?…did anyone who saw all of that think for a single second that I’m not a pagan?

    Anyone?

    Because if anyone was unclear on this, let’s be clear, I’m a Pagan although I generally refer to myself as a New Ager.

    • Forgive me. I assumed I was speaking to a Christian. And my assumption was incorrect.

      The rest of my points stand.

      • It wasn’t an assumption it was a denial all the evidence on this blog which you choose to ignore because you were only looking to back up your own limited beliefs.
        As to the idea that the rest of your points stand…No, no it doesn’t.

        The money spent on the chaplain service is negligible at best, and given the benefits it produces to morale and psychological well being it beyond pays for itself.

        “I would say that if you consistently need a ‘spiritual leader’ of some kind, and this help cannot be gained over the internet, through mail or on the telephone, and absolutely need someone face to face on a near daily basis, then we may have to question whether or not you should be stationed so far from such luxuries.”
        You don’t have a lot of interactions with people do you? Would that be your advise for psychological problems as well internet/mail/phone? Religious experiences often, very often need someone you can talk to, another person who you know will listen without judgment or bias and who will be there to tell you that things will be alright. The value of human interaction, especially of a spiritual nature is invaluable. And to suggest that people who go through period of time of massive, truly unspeakable stress, are weak because they have desire for something other than the internet is insult to our armed service and shows you know very little about human psychology. Your name says you’re not a scientist…and clearly you’ve never taken a psych class either.

        • “It wasn’t an assumption it was a denial”

          No, it was an assumption. I read the article quickly, did not read the name of your blog and didn’t notice the background until afterward.

          “The money spent on the chaplain service is negligible at best, and given the benefits it produces to morale and psychological well being it beyond pays for itself.”

          Define what you mean by ‘negligible’? Because looking at military budgets, I don’t see $80,000 as being very significant. A quick Google search (which may be wrong) shows me that the chaplains earn between $40 and $60 a year, and there are more than 3000 of them.

          Calculating conservatively, that’s a one time cost of $80,000 versus a yearly cost of $120,000,000. And you call that negligible?

          That being said, do you have any studies that indicate military chaplains do boost morale and improve psychological well being? Because I’d sincerely like to see that data.

          “Would that be your advise for psychological problems as well internet/mail/phone?”

          Psychological problems are demonstrable. Spiritual problems are not.

          “Your name says you’re not a scientist…and clearly you’ve never taken a psych class either.”

          If you’re arguing that the military should have trained psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists at their disposal, I’m behind you.

          A chaplain is none of those things.

          • Again you seem to have a problem using words. Spiritual problems are demonstrable (Capable of being demonstrated or proved…or are you saying spiritual issues don’t exist?)… they’re not exactly measurable, but they are demonstrable, if you ever spent time with actual human beings you might know that. And if you knew anything about spirituality you might know that given the MASSIVE amount of serious study that has gone into looking at the positive effects of prayer and spirituality on physical and psychological health as well as quality of life (http://onlinesurgicaltechniciancourses.com/2010/25-intriguing-scientific-studies-about-faith-prayer-and-healing/) while spiritual problems might not be measurable the positive effect of spirituality are very measurable. I promise you that if we were to get rid of the chaplain service you would see well in excess of the 1.2 million you list there in new psychological health costs.

            You’re right the $80,000 is not a large sum, especially given the $15 Trillion debt…but I was using it as being indicative of systemic government waste that led to our debt problems. As I said it should have cost $5,000 at most, paying 16 times what it should have cost is typical government waste. I do not consider giving soldiers the spiritual guidance they want or the a place to worship as they see fit a systemic waste. This was a blog about government waste…with a small part about how if Pagans in their constant struggle for good PR in Abrahamic-faith majority, would do best not to tie themselves to such waste.

            And again you show your vast lack of knowledge because most people who study for any kind of life in church leadership now take numerous courses in counseling and psychology.

            You clearly have no respect for anyone’s religious beliefs in any form (my guess is that you are an atheist, https://conservativenewager.wordpress.com/2010/01/18/why-atheists-are-pretty-much-the-dumbest-people-i-know%E2%80%A6/, but if this is incorrect you must be a terrible practitioner of whatever your beliefs are in that clearly don’t recognize the value in them) and you have a very tyrannical streak in demanding that people conform their worship to what you think is appropriate in direct violation of the freedom of religion practiced in this nation.

            (And before you respond with the BS about a wall between church and state, please tell me where those words exist in the Declaration (which mentions God), the Constitution, which protects religions, or the Federalist papers which make numerous positive references to God).

          • Cathy

            I have been reading with interest the discussion between you and Cris. You asked for studies that show stats on helping military personnel. I was unfortunately not able to get those kinds of stats and I can’t imagine why someone would compile such info. But I did find some interesting info regarding military Chaplains. Using basic human knowledge and this information one should be able to discern that assistance was given to a large percentage of military personnel.

            http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O126-ReligionintheMilitary.html

            Historically, American soldiers and sailors have reflected about the same degree of religious commitment as the civilian communities from which they came. Units that were recruited in areas characterized by strong religious institutions tended to include larger numbers of religious servicemen. In a U.S. Army survey taken in 1994, some 80 percent of the soldiers polled stated that they believed in God and had a specific religious preference. More than 100 religious denominations and faith groups were represented among soldiers, with Protestants and Roman Catholics constituting 85 percent of the total number. Chaplains from an equal number of separate denominations provided ministry for these soldiers.

            Based on the information above one can assume that without this service available a significant number of those in the military made tremendous use of this service and probably for the betterment of their own good and the service they provided for all of us. Although you do not seem to accept that people would need to speak with a chaplain to assist them with the stresses or problems they encounter in life I believe that unless you live in a vacuum you must realize that many people believe they need this type of service or relationship.

            I also found a list of what the Chaplain service does in the military along with the sacrifices they have made.

            Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/religion-in-the-military#ixzz1f3ZKhyt2

            Religious life in the military centers on opportunities for voluntary worship, counseling, religious education, moral leadership training, pastoral support, religious retreats, child and youth ministries, and holiday observances. Religious activities for military personnel, in garrison or in the field, are approved by the commander of the unit involved. The chaplain serves as a staff officer, qualified by education, ordination, and endorsement to implement the command religious program for the welfare of service members and their families, and to facilitate the free exercise of religion guaranteed to them by the First Amendment.

            Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/religion-in-the-military#ixzz1f3ZcTLWp

            Since 1775, more than 400 chaplains have given their lives for their country, 7 have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, and hundreds have been decorated for bravery and outstanding service. Recent interest by former Warsaw Pact countries in developing military chaplaincies based on the U.S. model may be evidence of the respect other nations have for the way religion functions in the American military establishment.

            Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/religion-in-the-military#ixzz1f3aML7XA

            Actually based on the above and what I have heard about ministers and their training it appears that the ministers can provide counseling (in place of a physiologist). Although I did not include this info ministers have been assisting the military since the beginning of this country including the Revolutionary War. So since they have been around since then I would tend to believe that many soldiers feel that they need this type of service in their life. I for one feel that when someone is willing to give their life for me and you that they should have whatever they feel they need to provide that service – don’t you??

            Since I agree with Cris that it appears that you are possibly an atheist and probably think that there should be a separation between government and religion (which again Cris is correct about – is not in the constitution). It was interesting to discover this information regarding religion in the service according to the courts.

            http://pewresearch.org/pubs/890/religion-in-the-military

            the government pays the chaplains’ salaries. The government also pays for the places of worship and even for the worship materials themselves. So the chaplaincy does appear to be an oddity under the Establishment Clause.
            The reason that the chaplaincy is likely constitutional, despite the Establishment Clause restrictions you mentioned, has to do with the principle of religious accommodation. While the Establishment Clause generally prohibits the government from funding and sponsoring religious activities, there is one important exception to this rule: The government may fund or sponsor a religious activity if the government does so to accommodate the religious needs of people who, because of government action, no longer have access to religious resources. Thus, when the military has isolated service members from their normal worship opportunities, the government may then facilitate worship by providing the necessary religious resources, like chaplains. In such situations, the government is merely responding to a religious need and is therefore not promoting religion.
            Have courts upheld the constitutionality of the military chaplaincy on the basis of this accommodation principle?
            The U.S. Supreme Court has never heard a case directly involving the military chaplaincy. But in Abington School District v. Schempp (1963), a landmark decision that prohibited public schools from leading Bible reading, several justices argued that the military chaplaincy is a valid accommodation of religion under the Establishment Clause.
            Given this inability of service members to worship outside the military base, some of the justices concluded that the military may provide chaplains to accommodate the religious needs of service members.
            The only federal court decision directly dealing with the military chaplaincy’s constitutionality is Katcoff v. Marsh (1985), a case decided by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In Katcoff, the 2nd Circuit upheld the U.S. Army’s chaplaincy on the ground that service members have a constitutional right under the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause to engage in religious worship, a right that the Army would unduly burden if it did not provide chaplains.
            Today, it is very unlikely that a court would follow the reasoning in Katcoff because courts have interpreted the Free Exercise Clause much more narrowly over the last 20 years.1 Nevertheless, courts today would probably reach the same outcome — upholding the chaplaincy’s constitutionality — but for different reasons. Instead of finding that the Free Exercise Clause requires the military to establish a chaplaincy, as the Katcoff court did, most courts today would likely find that the Establishment Clause permits the military to provide chaplains so long as it does so in response to the religious needs of service members.

            http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/berger/2011/02/23/religion-in-the-military

            In recent years there has been some enhancement of the role of chaplains in the military. After the Kosovo conflict chaplains were urged to help with conflict resolution, involving local religious leaders. I have been told that a program under consideration now would have chaplains serve on the staffs of regional commands to help strategy becoming aware of religious factors in the particular area of operations. Such a program would constitute a significant step beyond the primary function of chaplains—to provide religious services to individuals in the armed forces. It would involve chaplains in the actual planning of military operations.

            And this last part shows that the Chaplain service is becoming very integrated since we now have “wars” against a basically religious contingent or terrorism (whatever your preferred terminology).

            Now back to Cris’ original argument – I do not even think it was worth $5,000. If my limited understanding of Wicca’s are correct then it is based around nature and they should have been happier by carrying their own rocks and building a real fire pit (versus the gas one provided by the military) and then they would have been closer to nature in their spiritual events. But the whole of the argument was based on waste not on religion.

            To your argument I think that common sense would demonstrate that the Chaplain service provides assistance to the soldiers feeling its need regardless whether you think they should or not – it is not about what you think but what the soldier thinks.

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