Thursday, August 13, 2009

An Answer to Criticisms of the “Faith into Action” Rally

(... re: 7 anonymous comments in the story below.)

The protest rally held in Greenville Ohio by the Citizens against CO2 Sequestration was not about religion - although there was a plethora of religious expression. Indeed the protest is in support of the values of the great United States of America that was one of the first countries in the world to guarantee religious freedom and remains at the leadership of this philosophy to this very day. If exuberant religious expressions break into the debate from time to time - so be it. We personally welcome all good people to join this effort regardless of religion, nationality, or ethnicity. Good people rise above the burdens that sometimes go along with those labels. The philosophy of “Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself” preceded Christianity, Judaism and Islam by thousands of years. Indeed it appeared in ancient Egypt, Greece and China as expressed by Confucius (Do not impose on others what you do not wish for yourself).


The federally funded Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) (through the US Department of Energy and Battelle/MRCSP) represents the antithesis of a value system that has existed in civilizations for millennia. For Washington DC to select out and force CCS on our small community undermines not only the values established by our forefathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution but the values that civilized societies have embraced since the beginning of the written word. If this country is to continue in the manner the forefathers envisioned, it is essential that protests such as Citizens against CO2 Sequestration survive and prevail.

Charles E. Reier MD
Rebecca A. Reier
_________________________________________________________________________

UPDATE: and here's more coverage of last night's event from Brittny McGraw.

22 comments:

  1. Just one question...did the name "Jesus" come up? If so, this was a Christian gathering with Christian terminology invading what should be a scientific debate on the safety and feasibility of CCS. Or is the whole anti-CCS movement not really about science?

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  2. To: Agnostic

    I wasn't in attendance last night and don't know (or care) if the name "Jesus" came up.

    But, I do take offense to your negative connotation of "Christian gathering" and "invading scientific debate, etc.".

    The organizers of last night's rally are just merely trying to reach out to as many people as possible in an effort to educate them about this project. After all, not everyone subscribes to the Daily Advocate and not everyone in Darke County has access to the web and sites such as the Darke Journal.

    Why would you find fault with a gathering that invokes free speech and might possibly involve religion?

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  3. Agnostic, I'm surprised your even care ...

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  4. Will this project create any new jobs for the thousands with no work?

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  5. Why would I "find fault with a gathering that...might possibly involve religion"?
    Because said gathering took place on public property. Promoting religious expression on public property is unethical, if not illegal. I'd love to see the public reaction if "Muslims against CO2" wanted to stage a rally.

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  6. Don't want to get all nit-picky with you, but I think Harmon Field is owned by a private trust.

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  7. From the 8th comment that followed the August 11th post on this same issue:

    "Maybe it would benefit us to focus on what we have in common with each other and not what our small differences may be."

    A worthy idea. Ironic that you are aiming this tidbit at those critical of the mixing of religion with this issue.

    It is Citizens Against CO2 Sequestration who should be the target of these words.

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  8. And to the Reiers:

    So "good people rise above the burdens that sometimes go along with [being a particular member of a religion, nationality, or ethnicity]," do they?

    So am I to assume that those who organized the Faith in Action rally are not good people? Because at the moment when they had a decision to make -- to rise above their instincts to mix their very personal religious beliefs with this issue, or to leave them out of it for the good of the commons -- they chose not to rise above the burdens that make them different from others.

    That is, except in Darke County -- the insular bubble where they can pretend that everyone is exactly like them -- where they aren't different from most everyone around them. So they indulged in the particularities of their personal lives that are wholly irrelevant to the issue at hand. And THAT is a true measure of good people: when they could cash in on their position of being a part of the in-crowd -- part of privilege and power -- and they choose not to.

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  9. To Agnostic,

    I don't think they were promoting religious expression - maybe "allowing" religion to come into play would be more accurate.

    As to your remark about allowing a Muslim gathering at a public place.....Darke County is basically a conservative community and I wonder why you even to choose to live here?

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  10. Now I am curious as to who really owns Harmon Field.

    That detail aside, I have one more retort to this comment: "Darke County is basically a conservative community and I wonder why you even choose to live here?"

    Translation: "If you don't agree with us, why don't you get out of town?" How very narrow, petty, and small town-ish.

    I am a Greenville native AND an open-minded, freethinking, liberal-leaning independent. Do I need to justify my existence to religious conservatives, even if I am in the minority here?

    I still maintain that religion has no place in the CO2 discussion. If others insist on putting it there, count me out.

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  11. Ah, as an agnostic, I'm delighted to discover there might be another in this ultra-religious area ! We are underground, because being agnostic is considered just a horrific step above being an atheist here.
    However, as an agnostic, I am also conservative--- you CAN be both.

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  12. Sounds to me like you're agnostic and defensive.

    On the Harmon Field thing, I have been told that there are many Harmon Fields across the United States ... that some wealth person named Harmon donated these fields to communities for public use. If I understood the story right, it was a reversionary grant ... meaning that if anybody attempted to restrict the public use, the field would go back to the trust.

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  13. Dale L Musser Pres Greenville Park BoardAugust 15, 2009 at 9:05 AM

    Harmon Field is owned by the City of Greenville and maintained and managed by the Greenville Parks and Recreation board. It is used by many organizations throughout the city and county and is for public use. Please enjoy our(and by that, I mean "your" park) and all it has to offer. Budget cuts have taken it's toll on Harmon Field and the Park, but this year many private organizations and business' came together to improve the statium and the park, by volunteeing their time and talents. What a great jesture this was and there is still more to come yet this year.

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  14. Was it ever owned by the harmon trust ... or was somebody blowing sunshine in my ear? In my defense, I was repeating what was told to me by a city official within just the last couple years.

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  15. Darke Journal,

    Someone told Agnostic that since he (or she) does not align with the majority values of this community, he ought to move somewhere else. If raising an objection to such an empty-headed statement makes one defensive, then we should all be defensive.

    Sounds to me like you're an apologist for blurring the lines between church and state.

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  16. Yeah, that comment was just silly. You're better served to ignore it than engage it further. I don't think that sentiment reflects the mainstream Christian thought in this community. A true Christian would want the atheist/agnostic to stay in his community so that - and that the Christian's example might someday make a change in that person's life. But like any segment of society, you have your clowns. Ignore the clowns.

    As to church and state, most people are completely ignorant of the law because there is so much demagoguing on both sides. For example, Christian kids can pray away in schools and there's nothing the state/teachers/administrators can do to stop it. Yet - Christian parents, for some reason, insist on spiritually-untrained educators to lead paryers. It's stupid. And then on the other side, you have the folks who want to vanquish any reference to God in our society, when "God" doesn't refer to any one religion. And even for you agnostics, agnosticism is your God. And the country was founded upon references to God, so to say the same Constitution that founded our country also prohibits any reference to God is just just dishonest.

    The church-state line is pretty clear: no state agent can promote a specific religion. End of story.

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  17. "And even for you agnostics, agnosticism is your God."

    So taking no position on the existence of God is in and of itself a God for agnostics?

    Do you believe in Zeus? I am assuming that you do not. So is it reasonable for me, a believer in Zeus, to say that your lack of belief in Zeus serves as a God to you?

    Or your lack of belief in Krishna. Does it stand to reason that your akrishnanity serves as a God to you?

    Or is it possible that you are misunderstanding what it means to be an agnostic?

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  18. Agnosticism (Greek: α- a-, without + γνώσις gnōsis, knowledge; after Gnosticism) is the philosophical view that the truth value of certain claims — particularly metaphysical claims regarding theology, afterlife or the existence of deities, spiritual beings, or even ultimate reality — is unknown or, depending on the form of agnosticism, inherently impossible to prove or disprove and hence unknowable. [1] It is not a religious declaration in itself and the terms are not mutually exclusive.

    ... yep, that's what I thought it meant. I make one "nuanced" metaphor - and you jump all over it avoiding all my other great points!

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  19. Britannica World Language defines "agnostic" as "professing ignorance, or the inability to know, especially in religion".

    A not-so-flattering definition.

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  20. Yes. It's such an unattractive quality to have the humility to know when one does not actually know.

    What's so much more attractive is to pretend one knows about things one hasn't the foggiest clue about (and I haven't the foggiest clue about the existence or lack of existence of God).

    It's as if many religious people have convinced themselves that what they possess is not belief at all, but is some sort of factual apprehension of God. It is described as "believing in God" for a reason. Because there isn't enough proof to have knowledge. It's called "faith" for a reason: because one must make a leap over logic in order to possess the belief. One cannot reason his way to it.

    And yet, people who admit that there's no way to truly know are looked at in a "not-so-flattering" light.

    A couple of quotes from a couple of very wise men:

    "What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite."

    AND

    "I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance."

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  21. " A true Christian would want the atheist/agnostic to stay in his community so that - and that the Christian's example might someday make a change in that person's life."


    That pretty much says it all... The "true" christens want to push their beliefs on to others... I have friends of several different faiths, and its the ones of christen faith that push for me to go to church, and try to convince me that their beliefs are the right ones. Faith is a very personal thing, something I think that has been forgotten around here, and it is a personal decision that comes from within, not something that people should be shamed or forced into.

    I quite like the comment was made about the idea of an Islamic gathering, it shows how narrow minded people are without realizing it. They want to live in their little bubble and can't understand why businesses from more diverse backgrounds avoid the area. I can only imagine the ridiculous out cry from people if instead of a new Taco Bell was being built it was a synagogue.

    To the event organizers if they had thought it though and called it a multi-faith gathering, even if they only had one faith attend would have saved this whole discussion from happening...

    In all, like has been said before I think adding religion to a science debate cheapens the entire issue and creates more of the lynch mob atmosphere that is becoming apparent.

    I think it is silly to think even for a second that the people who want to work on the CCS project are not people of faith. So acting as if holding a religious protest makes the protesters "better" people than those who want to carry out work, that may help the earth that god gave us, is well, ridiculous...

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  22. Sounds to me like this has turned in to a religous battle over something that has absalutely nothing to do with any body faith.

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