where religion and politics meet

Everybody has a worldview. A worldview is what you believe about life: what is true, what is false, what is right, what is wrong, what are the rules, are there any rules, what is the meaning of life, what is important, what is not.

If a worldview includes a god/God, it is called a religion. If a bunch of people have the same religion, they give it a name.

Nations have worldviews too, a prevailing way of looking at life that directs government policies and laws and that contributes significantly to the culture. Politics is the outworking of that worldview in public life.

Our country’s worldview used to be Christianity. Now we are told it is and has always been secularism, which is practical atheism. This issue divides our country, but those who disagree are divided as well on how to respond.

Our country could not have been founded as a secular nation, because a secular country could not guarantee freedom of religion. Secular values would be higher than religious ones, and they would supersede them when there was a conflict. Secularism sees religion only as your personal preferences, like your taste in food, music, or movies. It does not see religion, any religion, as being true.

But God, prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments were always important parts of our public life, including our public schools, until 1963, when the court called supreme ruled them unconstitutional, almost 200 years after our nation’s founding.

Our country also did not envision a multitude of different religions co-existing in one place, because the people, and the government, would then be divided on the basic questions of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Our Constitution, which we fought a war to be able to enact, states, among other things, that our government exists for us to form a more perfect union, ensure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. It could not do this unless it had a clear vision of what it considers to be true, a vision shared with the vast majority of the people in this country.

I want to engage the government, the culture, and the people who live here to see life again from a Christian perspective and to show how secularism is both inadequate and just plain wrong.

Because religion deals with things like God, much of its contents is not subject to the scientific method, though the reasons why one chooses to believe in God or a particular religion certainly demand serious investigation, critical thinking, and a hunger for what is true.

Science and education used to be valuable tools in the search for truth, but science has chosen to answer the foundational questions of life without accepting the possibility of any supernatural causes, and education no longer considers the search to be necessary, possible, or worthwhile.

poligion: 1) the proper synthesis of religion and politics 2) the realization, belief, or position that politics and religion cannot be separated or compartmentalized, that a person’s religion invariably affects one’s political decisions and that political decisions invariably stem from one’s worldview, which is what a religion is.

If you are new to this site, I would encourage you to browse through the older articles. They deal with a lot of the more basic issues. Many of the newer articles are shorter responses to partiular problems.

Visit my other websites theimportanceofhealing blogspot.com where I talk about healing and my book of the same name and LarrysBibleStudies.blogspot.com where I am posting all my other Bible studies. Follow this link to my videos on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb-RztuRKdCEQzgbhp52dCw

If you want to contact me, email is best: lacraig1@sbcglobal.net

Thank you.

Larry Craig

Sunday, February 23, 2014

School Funding in Illinois: A Solution

School Funding in Illinois: A Solution

I would like to offer my solution for the problem of funding the public schools in Illinois.  It’s simple and easy.  The only problem with it would be the politicians, who have proven themselves to be dishonest and untrustworthy time and again.  This is not to say that they all are, of course, but the sum total of them together has led invariably to self-serving manipulation of the public trust.
But we can’t stop trying, so I offer my proposal.
Our current system of property taxes puts limits on our children’s education based on the income of their parents, people who elect to send their children to private schools are forced to pay twice for their children’s education, and the value of my property has nothing to do with my ability to pay taxes on it. 
I didn’t realize until I was out of work for a lengthy period of time the injustice of property taxes.  Why should I pay a tax on a fixed asset with no liquid assets available?  I couldn’t take a few feet off my property line to pay my taxes, so I became a believer in taxing incomes for schools.
First, the state needs to set a dollar amount for each student in the state to receive an adequate education, say, $6000.  Multiply this by the total enrollment in public schools, and this is the amount to be collected by the state through income taxes specifically for this purpose.  I would be all in favor of using this 2% income tax due to end soon as the room to work here.  The 2% should be able to cover this and could be adjusted to equal what is needed.   If the state wants to use lottery or casino profits, fine; but this total amount will be paid by the state and any shortfall will come through the income tax. 
Secondly, all property taxes in the state are then to be adjusted to reflect this drop in revenue needed at the local level. The amount apportioned to each district would be subtracted from the amount to be collected in that district through property taxes.  If a school district had one hundred properties that collected $100,000 a year in school funds through property taxes, and the state’s share will pay $90,000 to that district, then the total amount of property taxes to be raised for schools would be reduced by $90,000. 
Thirdly, all local districts are still free to raise revenue above the state minimum as they deem fit, but every district will receive an adequate funding level as established by the state.
This should provide immediate property tax relief for everyone.  Landlords would be expected to provide some corresponding rent relief to their tenants as well.  This plan will also provide necessary property tax relief for those on fixed incomes or no incomes.  People should not be taxed out of their homes.
Another part of this tax change is that people who send their children to private schools should receive a tax credit up to the amount that their taxes go for education.  So, if on my state property taxes next year, $1,000 of my taxes goes for education, but I spend $1500 on tuition for a private school for my children, I should receive a $1,000 tax credit.  If, however, I only spend $500 on tuition, then a $500 tax credit. 
Private schools are an asset to our county, and we are losing too many of them.  Having to pay huge property taxes, most of which goes for schooling, and then to pay on top of that for school again is forcing too many people to just stay with the public schools. 
A good education for everyone benefits everyone.  And paying for it from the income tax is the fairest way to do it.  We just need to be sure that renters get a break as well and that those districts that want to pay more can do so.
Now the hardest part of all this is that our government would need to keep this money separate from the general revenues.  The people in Washington didn’t do it with Social Security, and it’s not likely those in Illinois will do much better, but I think this is the best proposal I have seen.
It relieves the burden of property taxes, it relieves the double burden of those who choose private education, and it guarantees adequate funding for even the poorer school districts.  The only problem is that a part of the government will have a positive cash flow, and that would be like leaving a steak on the kitchen table and your dog in the same room while you’re out doing your errands.