For those already uncomfortable with the erosion of the separation of church and state in voucher programs and faith-based programs under Presidents Bush and Obama, a new proposal in Flint Michigan is likely to seen the inevitable result of this trend. The Flint city council is considering using police and other public officers to distribute copies of “The Way To Happiness,” a book by Scientology creator L. Ron Hubbard.
Scientologist Monika Biddle reportedly introduced the council to the book during an August 22 meeting as a way to reverse the high rates of crime and poverty in the city. The message appeared to resonate with Councilwoman Monica Galloway (right) who said “We need to sow [values] into these children [because these] are things they are not getting.”
While presented as a nonreligious moral code, the book is obviously associated with Scientology and written by its founder. Putting aside the controversy over Scientology and the view of some countries that it is a cult or criminal organization, there remains the more pressing question of the use of material closely associated with a religious organization. The book contains 20 different principles like “Don’t Be Promiscuous,” “Be Temperate,” and “Do Not Murder.” It has been distributed by The Way to Happiness Foundation which claims a distribution of 100 million copies of the book all over the world. The Foundation and distribution of the book has been the source of long controversy around the country, particularly in schools.
Police Chief James Tolbert did not balk at the notion of police officers passing out the book. He is quoted as saying “From the information I’ve seen, apparently it works. I’m for anything that works.” (You may recall Tolbert from the Detroit scandals)
Secularists have objected to the plan for obvious reasons. First, the use of public employees to distribute such a book is highly troubling, particularly when the book is written by a religious leader. I would feel the same if it is Hubbard or a rabbi or the Pope. It further erases the line of separation that is already under fire in our society. Second, the notion that a book like this will save the city of Flint shows how detached from reality some members of the government have become. The idea that a police officer will hand a copy of this book to a drug dealer and he will suddenly realize that killing and promiscuity is wrong seems less than likely. Finally, the role of politicians in trying to instill morality in a population is a dangerous proposition. Not only are politicians the last group that I would look to for such lessons, they often use such gimmicks to take away from the fact that they are making no serious efforts to address these social problems.
Flint has enormous and growing problems. It will not help its image with investors to be seen as using public employees to pass out a book like this. More importantly, it will not help its citizens. Flint has lost too much in jobs, the environment, schools and other areas. It does not need to add the separation of church and state as another casualty of its long-standing downturn.
123 thoughts on “Flint Michigan Considers Distributing Scientology Book To Save City”
Really these are opposite sides of the same coin. In each case the govt. is trying to compel the beliefs of the people. There is no balance to be had.
Religious belief or not having religious belief may not be compelled by the state.
Jill, Religious zealots want govt. to sponsor religion[theocracy]. Atheist zealots want govt. to stomp out religion[Communism]. Constitutionalists like Hubert understand the balance quite well. If you’re balanced, you easily understand balance.
Nick, I asked Squeeky above how she would feel if she was forced to think Muslim instead of Christian. She said she would rebel. That is how non-religious people feel about being forced to think like a religious person.
We would rebel because we don’t want to do that.
The state sponsorship of any religion, whatever that religion may be, is forcing a person’s conscience. It is the state’s job to make certain that no one is forced into any religion of any kind. To me, this is what protects freedom of conscience and freedom of/from religion for all people.
It is very difficult for me to understand why religious people don’t want the same freedom for all people. The state should not compel any person in the matter. History is replete with what happens when states sponsor one religion over another. That history is a blood bath. You may feel that your religion is the best, most true and wonderful in the entire world. Other people feel the same way about there’s. State neutrality allows both you and them to follow the religion of your choice. It also allows me not to follow either yours or theirs.
I can’t see what is wrong with that. It seems to safeguard everyone’s rights.
Hubert, I live in secular progressive hell. And the Freedom FROM Religion Foundation based in Madisom @ least makes no bones about their perversion of the First Amendment clause. I give them kudos for being forthcoming. There are many here who hide their true feelings about loving PC and hating the First Amendment, hating guns and the 2nd Amendment..
on 1, August 29, 2014 at 6:01 pmAnnie
Jefferson’s wall of Separation of Church and State.
Here is the letter by Jefferson to The Danbury Baptist Church.
“For those already uncomfortable with the erosion of the separation of church and state in voucher programs and faith-based programs under Presidents Bush and Obama”
This can only be described as willful ignorance. The intent of “separation between church and state” was to keep a wall of separation between the church and government so that the GOVERNMENT WILL NOT INTERVENE IN THE CHURCH’S BUSINESS. It was not intended to be a weapon of the government to use against the Church. Over and over, we see examples where so many people have inverted its original meaning.
The original meaning of the “separation of church and state” is from a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association and the idea was of religious freedom, not a governments limitation on the free exercise of religion.
Hubert, we are all reasonably intelligent and can read on here
[Congress thus inhibited from acts respecting religion, and the Executive authorised only to execute their acts, I have refrained from prescribing even those occasional performances of devotion, practiced indeed by the Executive of another nation as the legal head of its church, but subject here, as religious exercises only to the voluntary regulations and discipline of each respective sect.
So Hubert, I read this again and in a different light, do you mean that you think the government should force us to believe in God?
Late correction to this thread.
America fights abroad for Israel.
Onward Christian soldiers,
marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus,
marching on before.
America is a theocracy which must:
“Do the most good for the most people”
or “be thy brother’s keeper.”
Oops! I missed that in the Preamble, Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Kinda looks like the Founders said, “The King is dead! Freedom, self-reliance and neutrality; the only forces applied to Americans will be market forces.”
Wow, guess those poor fools never heard of Karl Marx, Justice Roberts of Obamacare fame, Hillary Clinton et al.
John, that’s Marching As the operative word being as. Just because the Neocons get us up in arms about the Noble Lie does not mean that song has anything to do with a Crusade. Furthermore, the reason it sounds that way is it’s an English Hymn… But it is entirely about the Foundations of the Church and not the Nation. Not once is the Nation Mentioned
4. Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
but the church of Jesus constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never gainst that church prevail;
we have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail.
They tried to guard us against all of those things that Progressives Stand for in the Bill of Rights and the Living Constitution.
Constitutional MYTH: The Consitution doesn’t separate church and state.
Annie That is very sad. I am starting to see how the gravatar works and does not work sooo, my comments should be more coherent. lol
Jefferson’s wall of Separation of Church and State.
Can someone point exactly where in the constitution the words “separation of church and state” appear?
For all it’s “secular” claims, The Way to Happiness Foundation is listed as a “Scientology Related Entity” in the once secret 1993 Closing Agreement between Scientology and the IRS.
Therefore, regardless of the claims to be secular, having public officials passing The Way to Happiness out is a clear endorsement of a religion, and would put Flint on a collision course with the 1st Amendment.
And that’s leaving out the fact many of these precepts are “borrowed” directly from other religions, further undermining the “secular” claims.
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