Saturday, October 22, 2011

Facts on Religion and Public Schools

Public School Students have the right to:

Pray in schools if it's their own decision and they're not disrupting class.
Read the Bible and other religious books during their free time.
Join voluntary religious clubs in secondary schools that meet during non-instructional time (as long as other non-curriculum related clubs are meeting).
Take classes about religion as an academic subject, as long as the approach is objective and non-dogmatic.
Talk about religion with their friends, as long as they do not engage in harassment.

Public Schools may not:

Compel, require or pressure students to take part in prayer, scripture reading or other form of worship.
Sponsor religious events or speakers who proselytize.
Include official prayers in school events, such as graduation or football games.
Teach creationism in science class.
Permit teachers to preach in class.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Republican Plan to End Medicare

House Republicans voted to end Medicare - but protect tax breaks for millionaires, billionaires, and Big Oil.

This reckless privatization scheme is an insult to every hardworking American who has paid into Medicare.

Medicare belongs to the people who worked their whole life to pay into the system. It's not the government's piggy bank to balance the budget on the backs of seniors.

Seniors, our children, and grandchildren deserve better than an extreme Republican scheme that would impose dangerous benefit cuts to Medicare.

GOP Budget would almost double health care costs for seniors. "The Republican congressman's proposal to privatize Medicare would mean a dramatic hike in U.S. health care costs for the elderly, an independent analysis finds. Seniors would pay almost double - more than $12,510 a year." [Los Angeles Times, 4/7/11]

The Republican Budget will force nearly 4,000,000 seniors to pay $2.2 billion for prescription drugs next year alone. "Since passing their reckless budget plan last week, Republicans nationwide have continued to make the false claim that their plan protects today's seniors. But seniors need to know the facts about the GOP plan. The Republican-passed budget will force nearly 4,000,000 seniors to pay an additional $2.2 BILLION for prescription drugs next year alone. [DPCC, 4/21/11; Associated Plan, 4/6/11]

AARP: Budget undermines vital initiatives for older Americans. "Among its provisions, the proposal would drive up costs for people in Medicare, take away needed coverage for long-term care from millions of older and disabled Americans and reduce critical help for seniors facing the threat of hunger." [AARP, 4/7/11]

CBO: Elderly people would pay more for health care under the Republican Plan. According to the CBO, "most elderly people would pay more for their health care than they would pay under the current Medicare system." [CBO, 4/5/11]

Medicare Cost would rise for many under Ryan Plan. "The House Republican for overhauling Medicare would fundamentally change how the federal government pays for health care, starting a decade from now, likely resulting in higher out-of-pocket costs and greater limits to coverage for many Americans." [WSJ, 4/6/11]

GOP Budget raises health costs for retirees. "Most future retirees would pay more for health care under a new House Republican budget proposal, according to an analysis by nonpartisan experts for Congress that could be an obstacle to GOP ambitions to tame federal deficits." [AP, 4/6/11]

Republicans' War on America Because They Hate Pres. Obama or any Democrat in Office

Their Agenda:

Destroy 700,000 middle class jobs.

Zero out federal funding for National Public Radio and public television.

Slash $1.3 billion from community health centers and eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.

Slash nearly a billion dollars in food and health care assistance to pregnant women, new moms, and children.

Slash support for Head Start, dropping 200,000 vulnerable children for pre-school.

Slash support for education to states which will eliminate 65,000 teachers and aides and dramatically increase class size.

Slash financial aid for 9.4 million low- and middle-income college students.

Slash $1.6 billion from the National Institutes of Health, a cut that will 'send shockwaves' through cancer research.

Eliminate $400 million in support to the U.S. Weather Service's early warning system for tsunamis, hurricanes and tornadoes.

Slash by 50% the number of veterans who get housing vouchers this year, which will increase homelessness among veterans by 10,000.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Five Outrageous Religious Right Myths About the U.S. Constitution

1. The Constitution says the United States is a "Christian nation."
The Constitution says no such thing. In fact, it puts all religions on equal footing by banning "religious tests" for public office and guaranteeing religious freedom for all in the First Amendment. Article VI - "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several State legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both the United States and of several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support the Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

2. There are many references to God in the Constitution. There aren't any references to God in that document. The framers didn't leave them out because they were hostile to religion. They simply intended that the government they were creating would be secular. Religion, they believed, would prosper if left in the hands of the people, not the government. Only in the Declaration of Independence is where these references are found, "When in the Course of human Events it become necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and it assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them,..." "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

3.Separation of church and state is not in the Constitution, It was invented by Communists, Adolf Hitler, etc. James Madison, considered the "Father of the Constitution," was the primary author of the First Amendment and its separation of church and state. Thomas Jefferson later spoke of that wise amendment as erecting a "wall of separation" between church and state. Church-state separation stretches back to the founders. It's as American as apple pie. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof:..."

4. The Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution to say there can be no religion in public schools. The Supreme Court says church-state separation means that kids can't be compelled or requiredto pray or take part in devotional exercises in public schools. Truly voluntary and non-disruptive prayer is legal in public schools as is legitimate study about religion in history, social studies, literature classes, etc.

5. The Constitution does not protect the rights of non-believers. The Constitution's First Amendment protects religious liberty for all, which includes the right not to believe or practice any religion. Americans enjoy more religious freedom that residents of any other nation. Courts have struck the proper balance: Voluntary religious expression is protected, but no one can be forced to support or take part in religion.