Is the government shutting down religion - and do you even care?
In my studies of religions, I have found that religions claim to be holy in nature and strive to make you a better person, but all religions that I know of somehow promote hate and violence. They also claim that one group of persons is more important or more valuable than another. For me this has always been a struggle. How can a religion be holy in nature if it breeds destruction, hate, violence and jealousy into our society? Another common problem I have found within religions is that their belief structure is based upon stories which can not be scientifically proven, which is the equivalent of going into court to argue your case with no evidence. I believe that this will be the downfall of most religions as science unravels more and more of the mysteries of the universe. The people as a whole become more of a science thinking population and the stories within the religions contradict this proven science oftentimes, which is why as generations come and go the religions are increasingly viewed as myths and fairy tales instead of fact.
There is also a legal element that will eventually affect the religions, especially here in America. The Constitution guarantees the right to religion and to practice that religion, but it does not give you a guaranteed right to create an organization or nonprofit to promote your religion. Such organizations exist in most religions. (The First Amendment 1, ratified in 1791, guarantees freedom of religion, the press, and speech. It states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.") These organizations have been busy waging war against each other and fighting to promote their individual beliefs. They are so busy fighting that they do not see that there is a silent war happening on the legal level against organized religion in America, and a similar silent war happening in other countries on a legal level. The lawmakers in each state and on the federal level have been busy passing laws without caring that these laws contradict the Constitution.
The true threat to organized religions is contradictory language within the laws. As of now there are enough laws in place that if someone with millions of dollars wanted to build a legal case against Christianity, for example, with the intention of shutting down all churches and organizations that promote Christianity, it would be very easy for them to do so with a multiple step process. I will list these steps for you.
Step one: pull together as much evidence as possible on the hate, violence and murders that have happened in the name of Christianity to legally establish that Christianity is an organization that promotes hate and violence. Once this is accomplished, Christian churches can legally be classified as terrorist organizations under the federal and state laws passed after the attack on 9/11, known as the anti-terrorism laws. (If an organization promotes hate or violence they are legally classified as terrorists.)
Step 2: Christianity can be classified under the law as a fraudulent organization that seeks to deliberately defraud its members of money and other valuables. The federal and state anti-fraud laws state that if an organization intentionally uses untrue information to commit fraud, then the government has the legal right to shut down that entity. Since the church cannot prove on a legal and scientific level that the stories in the Bible are true, then telling the congregation that God expects them to give a percentage of their income to the church to do God’s work (Leviticus 27:30-32, Deuteronomy 12:6-11, Malachi 3:8-10, Luke 12:42-43, Hebrews 7:4-9) can be legally classified as using misinformation to defraud someone of something of value. The church also teaches that if you do not tithe to the church it is a sin, and if you sin the church teaches that you will burn and rot in hell for it.
So the claim also can be made that the church uses fear and scare tactics as well as the threat of harm to defraud their congregations.
So far, steps one and two can be used to legally shut down the organizations that make up organized religion. If a church cannot bring in funds, they cannot operate. Yes, they could still accept donations, but they would not be able to teach or ask their congregations to give them money. So as the older members died away, the younger members would not have been taught to give the church money and so the churches would starve for finances and begin to shut down.
Once the church has been legally classified as committing an act of fraud, the church officers and pastors can be legally tried and sentenced to prison under the current laws. The pastors and officers of the churches also face another criminal threat. If the church can be legally classified as a terrorist organization for promoting hate and violence, all pastors, church officers, and even the congregations themselves can be arrested and tried for terrorism.
Another tactic would be use of the hate crime laws. The legal argument could be made that religion is used by churches to promote a hateful environment within society, which in turn brainwashes people be intolerant and more likely to commit hate crimes. The churches could be charged with promoting hate crimes, and be held guilty by association. Most states currently have guilt by association laws, and those states that do not eventually will.
The next step in shutting down an organized religion is to attack the main source from which a religion recruits new members. If the church is classified as a terrorist organization, then promoting the written materials that make up the teaching materials of the religion could be seized by legal entities as evidence of promoting hate and violence. Selling the religious material as fact instead of labeling it as fiction could also be legally classified as defrauding the general public. If this were to occur, the churches would then be obligated to label their written materials as fiction, which would solidify that the religions would lose credibility, and society would stop believing. If people stop believing, then the religion dies.
So you see, it would be easy to shut down organized religion entirely. You can take away their churches and organizations. You can take away their ability to raise money, and even their ability to sell and distribute written material that promotes hate and violence, or promotes religion as fact instead of fiction. But let me say right here that I am not advocating that anyone do this. What I am saying instead is that the current overly broad laws covering terrorism, fraud and hate crime can now be used to attack and destroy our most precious freedoms - including the freedom of religion!
It is my opinion that the churches should stop waging war against each other. and start working on trying to pass a new constitutional amendment that forbids the federal and state governments from passing laws that contradict the Constitution. This amendment also would prohibit states and the federal goverment from passing new legislation that contradicts existing laws. And further, it would require federal and state governments to review their respective, existing bodies of law to ensure that those laws are consistent with the Constitution and with each other - and to repeal those laws that are not. Note that this would be an active legislative process, and would not require action by the courts.
I have used the example of the churches to focus on the misapplication of the terrorism, fraud and hate crime laws, but the danger to our other freedoms is just as great. The federal government and the states will continue to pass laws expanding the government’s rights and powers to fight terrorism, deter fraudulent companies and organizations and expand the prohibitions against hate crimes. All these reasons are why I say that contradictory language is the true threat, because laws need to be made specific enough so that they do not contradict one another and cannot be used for anything but the original intention of the law.
Often I have been asked what led to me compiling and writing the book, which I have titled Holy, as the primary philosophy and beliefs for the Burning Transcendent Faith. As like most great things created - whether by divine intervention, divine inspiration or simply by accident - it starts with something far simpler. For me, it started when I wrote Is the government shutting down religion and do you even care.
As I began to fully understand the true dilemma organized religions will eventually have to face, the next big question and dilemma for me began to show itself. How would you promote a religion that would not be under threat of being shut down by existing laws or laws that may exist in the future? So as I continued to ponder this great question, I realized that any religion that would be able to withstand the test of time on a legal and a scientific platform would have to be one that did not promote hate, violence, selfishness, or intolerance to other people's lifestyles and cultures. It could not promote such beliefs in the form of stories that could not be proven to be true. This doesn’t leave much traditional structure for a religion to be made of, because stories are the way that religions illustrate their beliefs and principles. The problem with the stories is that after centuries go by, they become hearsay and no scientific evidence exists to prove they are true. This brought me to another question. If you couldn’t prove that religions are true, then how could you prove that a god or higher power (by any name shape or form) actually exists or ever existed? In my studies, the only scientific evidence proving that there is a higher power is that every society and every tribe, no matter how isolated, that has existed since the beginning of humanity, has believed in some form of god or higher power.
When I wrote this paper, I did not set out to create a religion or to set down the groundwork which ultimately led to the creation of the Burning Transcendent Faith Church. But instead I was just seeking answers which led me down a path to create an interpretation of what religion would be or could be, if it did not promote hate, violence or discrimination in any way, shape or form, or promote its philosophy or belief structure through stories. And that's how I began writing Holy, the guiding book of principles and beliefs of the Burning Transcendent Faith.