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Archive for October 21st, 2012

Christianity and Its Sects in the Statehouse…(Gov’nr Marriage Initiatives, etc.)

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Reader warning: Not including this opening (rant?) this is an obnoxiously long (>=27,000 words) post,much of it quotes

Show and tell about some of the less publicized, or underappreciated, truths of mainstream powerful (that means financed and politically savvy, politically connected) beliefs of the truly religious who truly intend to run this place, the USA.  That is, more than they already are.

Yes, I tell this from my point of view, and on some of this I’m a former insider turned conscientiously objecting outsider, as to the religious organizations I once felt free to circulate among believing they were a little more tolerant than too many are….

(I’M A LITTLE TOUCHY ON THE FORMATTING IN THIS POST — SKIP BELOW OPENING SKYBLUE, two or three vertical inches of my yakking , IF YOU WISH TO IGNORE.  OR SCAN FOR YET ANOTHER TEACHING MOMENT..I’m full of information on this topic.  See Election Day Upcoming….)

In defense of the outrageous formatting — I tried to keep some quotes separated by background color,painstakingly manually entering the HTML to do so for every single occurrence, choosing some individually, or a few basic html color-codes memorized.  This includes line-height, font-changes, etc.  My habit of explaining quotes in the middle of an existing one didn’t improve the situation.

Moreover, wordpress doesn’t save right all the time, so it would lose formatting.  As the saying goes, simple designs are best.

Quite honestly, if you want a fantastic looking website  — go look at fatherhood.gov, or go look at the healthy marriage resource center which has a color theme AND a logo.  Then consider who paid for this nice stuff — because, most likely, given the backing — YOU did.

National Healthy Marriage Resource Center National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse

Don’t forget to read from HMRC a recent report on the results of pushing marriage to low-income couples, published under “OPRE” of the HHS (that’s USGOV, HHS/ACF/OPRE) + MDRC (a major corp. which was formed in 1974 as a Ford Foundation/Federal Agencies combo, which is where most of its funding comes from.  I’ve blogged it..).   This 2010 study (a six-pager press release, is what it looks like written by six individuals, whose careers it will help no doubt, is called:

Early Lessons from the Implementation of a Relationship and Marriage Skills Program for Low-Income Married Couples

and “only” took funding from THESE:

MDRC and its subcontractors, Abt Associates, Child Trends, Optimal Solutions Group, and Public Strategies, Inc., are conducting the Supporting Healthy Marriage evaluation under a contract with the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), funded by HHS under a competitive award, Contract No. HHS-223-03-0034. {{that =the HHS link to the report}} The findings and conclusions presented herein do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of HHS.

Child Trends is an Annie E. Casey org; Abt Associates has done several of these evaluations (the name comes up); Optimal Solutions Group, I DNR for sure, but believe it’s related to Public Strategies, and Public Strategies, of course is a SMALL PR firm which is now a much more PROMINENT PR firm as it helped kickstart and manage the first welfare-grab action in Oklahoma, ca. 1999/2000.  Which initiative (OMI) “only” took $10 million at that time from direct aid to needy families to, instead, run programs like this.

However these studies most not be cost-efficient because look who else had to then still pay more for them.  Is anyone over-billing, I wonder….

Dissemination of MDRC publications is supported by the following funders that help finance MDRC’s public policy outreach and expanding efforts to communicate the results and implications of our work to policymakers, practitioners, and others: The Ambrose Monell Foundation(see last page here, + below/International Nickel), The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Kresge Foundation (think, K-Mart, older company), Sandler Foundation (Savings & Loan, sold to Wachovia for $25billion, netting $1.4 billion for a foundation, this one….making it one of the 30 largest in the country.  That’s actually a fantastic write-up of the Sandlers, who also funded ProPublica ($30 million).They are progressive.  Progressives are into this cause, too FYI…) , and The Starr Foundation. {{INSURANCE, it turns out}}.  (More Kresge background)

Cornelius Vander Starr

The Starr Foundation was established in 1955 by Cornelius Vander Starr, an insurance entrepreneur who founded C.V. Starr & Co. and other companies later combined by his successor, Maurice R. Greenberg into what became the American International Group, Inc. [[AIG]] Mr. Starr, a pioneer of globalization, set up his first insurance venture in Shanghai in 1919. He died in 1968 at the age of 76, leaving his estate to the Foundation.

Not that Starr was alive at the time, but didn’t we just bail out AIG to the tune of $182 million in 2008? (hover cursor)

The Foundation currently has assets of approximately $1.25 billion, making it one of the largest private foundations in the United States. It makes grants in a number of areas, including education, medicine and healthcare, human needs, public policy,

respectively (the ones I know offhand), UPS (AEC), steel (Carnegie, right?) retail stores, and ????  Back to the Marriage Study:

In addition, earnings from the MDRC Endowment help sustain our dissemination efforts. Contributors to the MDRC Endowment include Alcoa Foundation, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Anheuser-Busch Foundation, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Ford Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, The Grable Foundation, The Lizabeth and Frank Newman Charitable Foundation, The New York Times Company Foundation, Jan Nicholson, Paul H. O’Neill Charitable Foundation, John S. Reed, Sandler Foundation, and The Stupski Family Fund, as well as other individual contributors.

(The Stupski Foundation (not family fund) show him as coming from Schwab (+Princeton, Yale…) and her in Special Ed particularly; He has been on the board of MDRC….and is on the board of the Glide Foundation)

So supporting the MDRC Endowment which supports, studies on these matters in order to form a more perfect union between corporations and social scientists when it comes to government policies, we have contributing foundations who made their money in:

“On Sept. 21, 2004 at the post-concert New York Philharmonic Opening Night gala dinner, Gala Chairmen Hiroko and Hiroshi Tada (far left and far right) and Lizabeth Newman (third from left) with Maestro Lorin Maazel and his wife Dietlinde and Philharmonic Board Chairman Paul B. Guenther”   {{to the right — NYT link above/unrelated:  Herb and Marion Sandler.}}

The Newmans are married.  Perhaps if every one stayed married we, too, could attend some NYPhilharmonic Opening Nights?  Therefore, why not support studies of low-income couples and testing marriage promotion on them, funded federally…disseminated with help from the MDRC endowments these helped fund…)

The report (which I’m looking at) thanks:

Our appreciation goes to Andrew Cherlin, Kathy Edin,**(see “OMI”)  Richard Heyman, Ronald Mincy, (search my blog — he runs a fatherhood research institute at Columbia) and Robert Wood for their thoughtful review of the report).  On page 5 of the report, they show which curricula they used — four, in total.  Two were based on PREP (federally-funded), and one on PAIRS (also federal grantee, or its originator).  The fourth was based on a corporation called “loving couples, loving families, inc.” in Seattle and focuses on military families:

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/US-Naval-Special-Warfare-Training-Families-07010/

One example of the US military’s response is the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Resiliency Program, which recently issued a contract worth up to $44.4 million to Loving Couples Loving Children, Inc. in Seattle, WA. This LCLC program was originally developed by John and Julie Gottman for low-income couples expecting a child

The Gottmans are highly involved in this field also….It’s big business, maybe instead of promoting marriage to low-income couples, someone should promote the “promoting marriage BUSINESS” to them (ALL of them!) which has a guaranteed federal grants stream behind it and infinite expansion possibilities.  Who needs child care or housing subsidy after that? People could get off welfare in a flash — all they have to do is go forth and recruit.  Make sure that a sizeable target population of low-income remains (supply & demand).  I suggest perhaps captive audiences — like prisoners?  Or adolescents enrolled in high school? (There’s competition, but not a monopoly already involved in those market niches).   Go grab a mother with small children off a soupline and promise them better, chunkier soup — if they enroll….

OK, that’s enough — and this is the REAL post…..That was just the reader alert that this was a long, and messy, post….on volatile topics that are going to offend some people more than the appearance here….

At the bottom of this post is 2001 testimony in front of a U.S. Senate Subcommittee, on the subject of  Welfare and Marriage.  If you read nothing else, please read this, and the section introduced by Rep. Mark Anderson (a Unification church members)….

Romney is sure to promote and approve of this continued funding of marriage promotion, yet Obama has, every bit as much as George W. Bush did, all of this having been specifically enabled to start with by 1996 welfare reform, which tied federal aid to the states NOT to families receiving the aid — but as block grants, tempting certain individual with specific, evangelistic and religious agenda, to grab it for specialized programming.

My Background, not Uncommon, belies common Welfare and Religionspeak.

I was not raised religious, but became interested as a young woman in college, and continued this interest to this day.  While never a traditional church attender (at least for religious reasons), I’ve had exposure to many traditions over time, after which an abusive marriage with religion at the forefront of said excusitis.  I then got out of that and realized just how religious our overall culture had become in the meantime (the 1990s, 2000s in particular) — and how much of that resurgence of religion was in direct response to the challenge of feminism, and the challenge presented by women like me getting out of marriages like that.  When I say “women like me” — many women in abusive marriages are targeted because of their education or professional ability — and not because of (as welfare funding presumes, patronizingly) because of a LACK of it.  The abuse happens across the spectrum.

Women in my situation, while we are willing to speak out about, and if necessary boycott, religious groups on the basis of their overt abuse and treatment of women and children,  are not usually ready to become so-called radical feminists and embrace the whole spectrum of, for example, N.O.W. or issues which would require us to utterly reject the foundations of a personal spirituality or understanding of life having spiritual components, however they are expressed in language and culture.

It has not helped induce even the moderately religious to speak out against misogyny, or minimizing/coverup up crimes committed against women (mothers, specifically) and constantly demeaning/minizing  women, to have practically the only others who are doing this, insisted on the full spectrum of polarizing matters which some are divided on, for example, abortion “whenever,” or endorsing and promoting LGBT no matter what.

Moreover, most of recent history and a good deal of the records of human history (and civilization) have a religious underpinning — and superstructures — so to fail to LOOK at this from inside and outside, to me, makes no sense.

If I’d relied only on help from nice(?), religious people to survive and/or leave, and/or thrive after that marriage — I truly believe one nuclear family — or the majority of it — would be dead right now.  When I then do the life-promoting thing, which is to separate, I truly do not appreciate living in a country run by forces which endorse the death-promoting thing, which is worshipping marriage as an idol, and sacrificing human life to it.   Or being silent while others do this.

However, it is not going to take me much more to become a very radical feminist if we have much more of this stuff shoved down the collective, national throat as “good” for someone, when it’s basically good for those who have an extremely odd and convoluted view of the universe.   Some of which I look at in this post.  Specifically three Christian groups:  Protestant Evangelical, Mormon & a bit of Catholic.  I also gave a brief review (but have blogged elsewhere) of Unification church.

ALL of these have promoted the “teach marriage using welfare funds” theory and exploited the situation.

Then, of course we had the election of 2000 and an Executive Order on faith-based programming.  A friend of mine sent me an “About.com” summarizing the situation — even as far back as 2005.  Here is the link, plus some:

Federal Funding of Faith-Based Services

Why Not Give Federal Funds to Churches?

By ,

“The government gave more than $1 billion in 2003 to organizations it considers ‘faith-based,’ with some going to programs where prayer and spiritual guidance are central…” recently reported Laura Meckler, AP writer. . . .

In January 2001, President Bush created, via Executive Order, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Since then, Centers for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives were established at five federal agencies, assistance and guidebooks were provided to religious groups to help them to apply for federal funds, and websites were created for speedy access to applications.

And in February 2004, the President issued an Executive Order earmarking an astonishing $3.7 billion to be doled out to faith-based and other organizations.

Apparently, Bush’s faith-based initiative was never intended to give religious-related groups equal footing in the federal grants process. Bush’s faith-based initiative was conceived to be the centerpiece of his administration’s domestic agenda, spearheading the final attack on the New Deal and the War on Poverty by replacing, not augmenting, federal social services.

Federal regulations now allow federal agencies to directly fund churches and other religious groups. Bush acted alone to rewrite these regulations after failing to persuade Congress to change the law.

That’s not enough, said Jim Towey, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. An additional $40 billion in federal money is given out by state governments, he said, and many states do not realize that federal rules now allow them to fund these organizations. ”

With neither Congressional approval nor oversight, and without Judicial review, President Bush has successfully implemented his vision of doling out multi-billions of federal taxpayer funds annually to faith-based groups to supplement or support their social services programs.

. . .(In H.R. 1261) . . . George Bush has effectively inoculated faith-based social service providers from complying with federal employment requirements as a backdoor method of implementing a new American social order that permits discrimination on any basis in the workplace.



And that was in 2005.  We are now in 2012.  I recently was reviewing a list of “megachurches” in a certain state, most of which got to be “mega” by their innate desire for evangelism, skillful use of the internet, and at least one was running PREP, Inc. and had just begun more associated nonprofits (social service) which were already delinquent in filing.   Here’s a by-state searchable database from 2011 from

Hartford Institute for Religious Research (thanks to them for this research!)

Megachurches by State (separate smaller files)

So, I look at some distant AND recent history of some of these Christian groups, in addition to their self-portraits on the internet and as, again, presented before the Pope   Congress, or Congressional subcommittee hearings re: what to do with the pooled wealth (which WELFARE and the right to collect funds and appropriate children here or there, regardless of parentage or existing law) of this enterprise we call our country.

This is addressed to atheists, skeptics, agnostics, and any “a-religious” innocents as to what they’re facing, here… and why the family (unified, conciliation, etc.) courts are producing a helluva a lot of “ex-“converts of these religions, and refusing to support them…  

And such (women/mothers) can document what our various institutions covered up, excused, and how we were degraded in those institutions the moment we rejected domination by a resident male; unless we accepted a replacement dominator (of either gender).

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Written by Let's Get Honest

October 21, 2012 at 10:48 am

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