Thread Split: First Amendment Rights

Cryozombie

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Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Again, I ask...

Where does that say "Separation of Church and State" or that the Government cannot use words like "God" or have the ABILITY to regulate WHERE prayer is and is not appropriate. I still hold that "Regulating" that prayer is not allowed in schools or courthouses is in CLEAR violation of the portion of Amendment I that states that they cannot prohibit free excersise of religion.

In fact, the ENTIRE notion of "Separation of Church and State" requires the passing of laws "prohibiting the free exercise thereof" making that silly notion (which doesnt actually exsist) unconstitutional.
 

Cruentus

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Technopunk said:
Again, I ask...

Where does that say "Separation of Church and State" or that the Government cannot use words like "God" or have the ABILITY to regulate WHERE prayer is and is not appropriate. I still hold that "Regulating" that prayer is not allowed in schools or courthouses is in CLEAR violation of the portion of Amendment I that states that they cannot prohibit free excersise of religion.

In fact, the ENTIRE notion of "Separation of Church and State" requires the passing of laws "prohibiting the free exercise thereof" making that silly notion (which doesnt actually exsist) unconstitutional.

Ooo boy...

I know I was a willing participant on this side of the discussion, but I think at this point we should split this into a seperate topic, before we distract too much from the issue of the 2nd amendment...

Paul
 
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Cryozombie

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In fact... it also applies to the right to assemble and have free speech... SAME Amendment... If the wording in that Amendment means that you cannot have "Religion" on Government Buildings... it must also state the same thing about Assembling and Speaking...

Hear that Protesters? I hope you are all on Private Property, and not Government...

WHat it means is that people want to pick and choose what freedoms we should have... not give us the freedoms granted by the Constitution.
 
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rmcrobertson

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Dear religious wackos:

1. Mr. Parsons' comments are not in the least silly. He simply went back to the actual language of the actual Constitution, and offered a reasonable interpretation of the text. In fact, what he offered is clearly the PRIMARY meaning of the text, which explicitly tells those of us willing to read that the right to bear arms is explicitly connected to the right of the people to organize a militia in opposition to the government. Arguably, this is precisely the rationale for the National Guard--and it was assuredly the rationale for the, "Minutemen," that a strict constructionist would understand that the Framers would have had in mind at the start of their fight with the then-legitimate government, England. This suggests that in fact the folks who push PRIVATE gun ownership are the radical rewriters of the Constitution; the Framers most likeely had something in mind like present-day Sweden, where private gun ownership is rare, and where all adult men go through military training, do a stint in the Army, and subsequently keep a weapon at home.

2. Arguing that Timothy McVeigh had no connection to militia groups is a remarkable evasion of reality. His ideas, friends, politics, and actions were steeped in the sort of loon-box survivalism, anti-Semitism, race hatred and bullying white guyism that marks the majority of the "militia," movement. See:

http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/people/shows/mcveigh/profile.html

3. As for the God bidness, it is remarkable that right-wing ideology turns a thread on guns to God so quickly. It is also remarkable to see the complete radicalism with which the Right approaches American tradition--as with capitalism in general, the notion that every insecure hobbyist should have a Barrett Light Fifty is utterly out of kilter with actual history in this country. Certainly, people had guns. They had rifles, they had shotguns; kids where some of us grew up had BB guns and .22s.

It remains odd to see this "strict constructionist," radical rewriting of the Constitution, of American history, and of our traditions.
 
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Cryozombie

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rmcrobertson said:
Dear religious wackos:
I will take that Comment as a DIRECT SNIPE at me, Robert. Thank You.

Not that I believe addressing any of your points will ever make a difference... but let me clarify for our other readers who may be fooled by the way you spun this...

It wasnt changed to be "About God" it was about the Interpretation of the Amendments. How if you Can TWIST the meaning of Pass no laws restricting practice of religion into somthing as stupid as "You can have no religion in government" then you can easily twist pass no law limiting freedom of speech into somthing as evil as "you can not speak out against your government"... because its THE SAME TWIST. Its not about PRAYER, GOD, or the RADICAL RIGHT, its about the notion that we can take somthing that offends or frightens us and "change" the interpretation of the wording of the constitution to make people believe we are right.

Whats next, shall we be tempted not to allow People that part of "the truths we hold self evident" that entitles them to "life" in "Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" because *I* might interpret that as a "right to be born" NOT to continue living afterwords...?

And As far as your comment about "the notion that every insecure hobbyist should have a Barrett Light Fifty" I think you will find that no one here said everyone should have one, only that everyone here on, to quote you, the radical right believes you should have the RIGHT to do so IF YOU CHOOSE. I dont think ANYONE here is gonna force one into your hands.
 
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rmcrobertson

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Axly, t'punk (you should change it...tell folks it's a Vulcan name), I had Sky Pilot in mind...it's one's wacky liberal socialist objection to the idea of the cannon-totin' Jesus who's just lookin' for us sinners to make His day.

And as for what one actually thinks, Sky Pilot, you might want to take a look at West's "Race Matters." (Another socialist...describes himself as Christian, a deacon of his church for maybe thirty years, a prof in Religious Studies...but no doubt bound for hell all the same.) It's a fair approximation.

You're espousing the sort of Christian esotericism that has been finding secret messages in the Bible for quite some time now. Personally, one would ague that you need to ddrop the "Left Behind," books and the Dan Brown novels and actually read the darn thing, but hey...
 

hardheadjarhead

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Technopunk said:
Again, I ask...

Where does that say "Separation of Church and State" or that the Government cannot use words like "God" or have the ABILITY to regulate WHERE prayer is and is not appropriate. <snip> In fact, the ENTIRE notion of "Separation of Church and State" requires the passing of laws "prohibiting the free exercise thereof" making that silly notion (which doesnt actually exsist) unconstitutional.


When he was president Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802 explaining why he could not establish a national day of prayer and fasting. In it he wrote of a "wall of separation of church and state." The phrase "separation of church and state" has since become the descriptive phrase for the Establisment Clause of the 1st Amendment.

He wrote:

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should `make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore man to all of his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties."

http://fact.trib.com/1st.jeffers.2.html

Jefferson's letter, drafted over a decade after ratification of the Constitution, merely coined a phrase that became a shorthand for the Establisment Clause. The idea of separation predates our Constitution and was slowly born in the literature of the "Age of Reason," also known as "The Enlightenment."

Consider the following:

1. The Constitution is a completely secular document. Nowhere in it, or the Bill of Rights, is the word "God" mentioned.

2. Other documents of the era support the idea of a secular government:

"As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion--as it has itself no character of enmity against the law, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims], ..."

Article 11, Treaty of Peace and Friendship between The United States and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary, 1796-1797. President John Adams ratified the treaty.

In 1776 Thomas Jefferson proposed this language for the new Virginia Constitution:

"All persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion; nor shall any be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious institution."

Some more Jefferson:

"That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical; ... that our civil rights have no dependance on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry; ... that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous falacy [sic], which at once destroys all religious liberty ..."

"We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities ..."

"Where the preamble [of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom] declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting the words "Jesus Christ," so that it should read, "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination."

How about a little James Madison? Read on:

"Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity in exclusion of all other religions may establish, with the same ease, any particular sect of Christians in exclusion of all other sects? That the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute threepence only of his property for the support of any one establishment may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever? "

"Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history."

"Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them, and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does this not involve the principle of a national establishment ... ?"

The list of quotes supporting the Jeffersonian interpretation of the Establisment Clause is very long. Yet the entire argument in its favor is perhaps best summed by Madison in this missive, which he wrote near the end of his life:

"I must admit moreover that it may not be easy, in every possible case, to trace the line of separation between the rights of religion and the Civil authority with such distinctness as to avoid collisions and doubts on unessential points. The tendency of a usurpation on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded by an entire abstinence of the Government from interference in any way whatever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect against trespass on its legal rights by others."

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ed_buckner/quotations.html



Regards,


Steve
 
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Cryozombie

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Steve,

Its very interesting reading, and it does explain where the term comes from...

But I think, in essence, that doesnt say much specifically forbiding the practice or display of religion in Government buildings. Sure, It argued against appointing chaplains to congress, which I could see as attempting to force Christianity on the Members of Congress...

Now, Keep in mind, I am not arguing for the inclusion of any one specific religion... hey, we can allow the "Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination" to say prayer in school, it doesnt bug me at all... if the Lavey Satanists wanna Dance naked and chant their prayers in the middle of a football game, so much the better I say. But seriously, if the Coach and players wanna pray for a good game, I dont think we should be able to tell them they cant, because they go to public school...

But thats again, not specifically my point. I do often wonder about much of what we presume to take for granted... it often seems grossly innacurate when you measure it up to the actual wording.
 

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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

It's pretty obvious.. the Federal government neither can force any SPECIFIC religion on individuals, OR REGULATE ANY RELIGION, nor can it prevent any individual at any time from exercising their right to observe that religion. It means personal freedom.
 

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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

It's pretty obvious.. the Federal government neither can force any SPECIFIC religion on individuals, OR REGULATE ANY RELIGION, nor can it prevent any individual at any time from exercising their right to observe that religion. It means personal freedom.
I disagree, the amendment states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, not "any SPECFIC religion."

I take this to mean that we can not allow prayers in a public school, because it is a governement run institution and that would be respecting an establishment of religion- all of them. At the same time, the children at school should be allowed to pray at their own discretion when they have time in school as long as they are not being obnoxious about it because the government can not prohibit that freedom.

The same applies to other governement institutions. If a government employee wants to pray or what ever on his own time in private, that is fine.

The governement does regulate religion though. Mormons can not have more than one wife. You can not sacrifice people. The government can take custody of children of Jehova's Witnesses who refuse to let the child have a life-saving blood transfusion. Gays can't marry in churchs that will allow them to get married.

The same goes for the other rights the Bill of Rights grants. There are exceptions. The constituion and Bill of Rights mean what the Supreme courts say they mean and they interpret the documents based on our society and our needs.

Anyhow, back to the orginial question. The government gains the right to say "No prayer in schools" because our government has the right to enforce any laws or policies to protect our rights....as long as those laws are constitutional.
 

Rich Parsons

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Technopunk said:
Steve,

Its very interesting reading, and it does explain where the term comes from...

But I think, in essence, that doesnt say much specifically forbiding the practice or display of religion in Government buildings. Sure, It argued against appointing chaplains to congress, which I could see as attempting to force Christianity on the Members of Congress...

Now, Keep in mind, I am not arguing for the inclusion of any one specific religion... hey, we can allow the "Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination" to say prayer in school, it doesnt bug me at all... if the Lavey Satanists wanna Dance naked and chant their prayers in the middle of a football game, so much the better I say. But seriously, if the Coach and players wanna pray for a good game, I dont think we should be able to tell them they cant, because they go to public school...

But thats again, not specifically my point. I do often wonder about much of what we presume to take for granted... it often seems grossly innacurate when you measure it up to the actual wording.


John,

There is nothing wrong with Prayer.

There is nothing wrong with people who wish to choose to join a religion.

There is nothign wrong with anyone choosing to practice their beliefs.

Yet your own words show the unconscious negative aspect for those who are not Christian in this country.

I quote:
we can allow the "Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination"

You can allow me. So you grant me permission to what is already in the U.S. Constitution? I know this may not be what you were trying to say, yet also look at your choice of words.

Allow

Infedel

My Point is that many of the framer of the U.S. Constitution (USC) were Deist and also looking for secular governemnt. As state by Steve above also, no where in the USC will you find the term God. Yet, if you ask anyone opn the street they will tell you that the term God is on their Money and it mean theri Christian God. In Christianity the use of the Capital 'G' Implies the God. The use of 'g' implies the generic use.

And you ask me why is this an issue. I will ask some question and you and others can answer them.

1) Why is it ok for a Blue Eyed caucasion person to take weapons through customs and not have to show an ID at all, and I have to have training tools, show a Passport and a Drivers license and a Birth Certificate? NOTE: We were in the same car.

2) When is the last time someone asked you where you were on or before 9/11/2001?

2 a) Have you ever had anyone ask you on 9/11/2001 why you were not at your desk around 9:00 AM?

2 b) Have you ever been told to go home to your native country?
Note: I would love too, only the I do not have enough Native American Indian Hertiage (* only enough of the genes *) to claim such. I also told the "White Man" to go back to Europe and leave me alone?

My mother family has been in the US since the Early mid 1800's and my fathers family since 1621. Been here before this country was a country. Yet I am treated like a "Fur-Ner that Speks fun-ee".

3) Have you crossed to Mexico? I have not, because I was asked if I was going home to see my Catholic Mother there. Like that had anyting to do with anything.

So John et al, the reasonable person who uses common sense, (* very Rare *) would not make these statements or treat people like this. Yet, there are people out there who do. There are people out there who tell me that Abortion is bad because thier Priest told them so. So therefore it should be illegal. People make comments that 'God; is on thier money and in their pledge so therefore this is a Christian Nation. I do not deny that Christianity is the largest religion in the US. Yet, it has no place in my government.

Now to the buildings:

Having the Bill or Rights the Magna Charter, the Ten Commandments as examples of documents that have stated laws or rights, then this is fine. the use of a Bible to swear people in (* Not done anymore, as far as I know *), the requirement that Atheist cannot be Judges back in the 1800's and early 1900's, shows also that people what Religion in their government when this was not what was designed by the USC. This is not a theocracy, this is a republic.

I have no problem with a copy of every bill and or coin ever made being displayed in a Federal building as a part of history. I have not problem with teh Declaration of Independance and other older documents being preserved as history.

I saw tonight the War of 1812, the forgotten US war. Why because went in to Canada and burned the Parliment and then the British and some Colonists (* Canada *) came south and routed our militia and burned Washington D.C. Yet, a huge hurricane hit the city soon after so the damage was not as bad as the fires were put out. There was a tornado also the decimated the British Column. The person discussing this was the Mayor of Balitmore. (* Baltimore being the next city the British attacked *) The Mayor stated, It was the Hand of God as the Tornado swept through the city wiping it clean of the attckers. Why did the mention of God have to come up from historical point of view? Did not the mayor understand that Toranado are a natural event from Thuderstroms and that Hurricanes have many if not all the properties of thunderstorms.

So, my point is that people use the general acceptance, as a way to discriminate and insult and attack people who are not Christian or do not fit their definition of Christian.

So, I ask another question, by the removal of the word God from our money, what do you or anyone else suffer, who wishes to continue their religous studies and practices?

PS: I have lots of other examples or people assuming I am Islamic, becuase I ahve read the Qu'ran in the past. Or I wish someone else enlightenment at the end of the month of Ramadan. So, becuase I have a little bit of education about religions, people assume things, and treat me differently. Sorry for the rant, and I did not mean to attack you John if you believe I have, jut like I do not beleive you meant to insult me and others with the term Infedels (* which means Unbelievers, yet as an unclean stigma to it as well *)

Peace
 
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rmcrobertson

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Ah, good. Common ground.

One agrees that the government--in all in forms and levels, including schools---is Constitutionally forbidden to demand prayer, sponsor prayer, or in any way require citizens formally or informally to pray to or even so much as recognize the Christian God.

Hopefiully, we can go back to the original Pledge of Allegiance and its original intent, which was to support internationalism and the development of the league of nations, the precursor to the UN--as Tennyson wrote, "the Federation of Man, the Parliament of the World."

"I pledge allegiance to my Flag, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all."

Good to see the agreement. Especially since the Pledge was written by a minister.
 
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Cryozombie

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Hey man... I was quoting the words of Thomas Jefferson from the Post hardheadjarhead used to show that the Framers were against having religion and government as a single entity.

They were not my words, yet your response seems to assume them to be. Please go back and read Steve's post in full, you will see I was using his words.

It was my intention to use that quote to INCLUDE the same group of people that Jefferson did not wish EXCLUDED.
 
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Cryozombie

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rmcrobertson said:
Ah, good. Common ground.

One agrees that the government--in all in forms and levels, including schools---is Constitutionally forbidden to demand prayer, sponsor prayer, or in any way require citizens formally or informally to pray to or even so much as recognize the Christian God.
Absoultley correct... but its funny how you leave out the part where they also can not tell you that you CAN NOT pray in school, court, congress, the senate, the White House, etc... you know, that whole "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" portion of the statement.
 
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rmcrobertson

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Who has done this, except for idiots? Please cite examples. Prayer groups, wearing of religious symbos, observance of holidays, etc. are all certainly perfectly legal in schools...don't blame leftists for the occasional fool who happens to be a principal somewhere.
 

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Technopunk said:
Absoultley correct... but its funny how you leave out the part where they also can not tell you that you CAN NOT pray in school, court, congress, the senate, the White House, etc... you know, that whole "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" portion of the statement.


John et al,

In my area more than one small church who cannot afford a building of their own rent office space some where and use the school. The pay for the renting of the school just like anyone can. I think the issue is when people insist that people pray at an event. The moment of silence to reflect or pray is allowed by many of the lcoal schools as well.

And as to the quote, you did not put Quotes around it, so I apologize. if it was taken out of context. Yet, that is nto the first time I have heard them.


Peace
 
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Cryozombie

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You know what?

You people are MISSING THE POINT.

I used the example of Religion to question interpretation, and exclusion, and you all are turning the entire issue into one of Religion...

Going so far even as to suggest that *I* have religious Bias and want everyone to worship like me, ergo, I am demanding the worship of Christ in schools.

Let me reinterate my point... Excluding the issue of religion for a moment...

This thread was not meant to be "About God" it was about the Interpretation of the Amendments. How if you Can TWIST the meaning of Pass no laws restricting practice of religion into somthing as stupid as "You can have no religion in government" then you can easily twist pass no law limiting freedom of speech into somthing as evil as "you can not speak out against your government"... because its THE SAME TWIST. Its not about PRAYER, GOD, or the RADICAL RIGHT, its about the notion that we can take somthing that offends or frightens us and "change" the interpretation of the wording of the constitution to make people like minded. Its about the statement saying that in order to be able to have a militia, the people need to be armed, and turning it into "Only the Militias can have Guns". Its about saying that since the Illinios State Constitution says all Males between 18 and (71 I think) are in fact members of the militia therefore Article V of the US Consitution where it states: "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia," must mean that all males between 18 and (71) in the state of illinois do not have to have a Grand Jury Indictment before being held to answer for a capital crime, or... or... the list of crazy ways to interpret these things can go on and on and on...

The question I posed prior to splitting this thread was INTENDED to ask the question "How do we twist, and justify, some of the crazy notions that we do about what these amendments mean?" But instead the thread got locked into a debate over religion. Again.

whatever. I dont even care anymore...
 

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Its very interesting reading, and it does explain where the term comes from...

But I think, in essence, that doesnt say much specifically forbiding the practice or display of religion in Government buildings. Sure, It argued against appointing chaplains to congress, which I could see as attempting to force Christianity on the Members of Congress...


Bester, the Founders were well aware of the perils of theocracy. The church had been meddling in state affairs since the 4th century, when Constantine made Christianity the "official" religion of the Roman Empire. We need not go into the problems that presented...or do we? I'm assuming you're well aware of the Inquisition, anti-semitic pogroms, the Albigensian Crusade, persecution of the Huguenauts, the Hussite wars--the list goes on and on--not to mention the intentional squelching of intellecuual development via the leveling of the charge of "heresy" anytime it was perceived someone was rocking the theological boat. In France alone there were seven religious wars between 1563 and 1580.

Jefferson, Madison, and the Founders were well aware of this--as well as of the religious persecutions in America up to that time-- and set out to draft a secular document for the governance of our nation. There have been non-stop challenges to the church/state separation concept since.

Now, Keep in mind, I am not arguing for the inclusion of any one specific religion...

Perhaps not, but many Christian conservatives are arguing for exactly that, stating rather ignorantly that this is a Christian nation--and quoting out of context a 19th century Supreme Court justice in order to validate this stance, claiming the court "ruled" we are a Christian nation. They did not.

Dominionism, which was mentioned briefly in the Christian Reconstructionist site, is on the rise. It is less inflammatory than Reconstructionism, and as a result far more popular as witnessed by the huge sales of Evangelist Tim LaHaye's "Left Behind" series, which drew heavily on sales from the Christian right.

Dominionists believe that Christ will return when the world has been fully Christianized...starting with America.

Now...one may argue that it is quibbling to ban prayer at a high school basketball game (one doesn't ban prayer...they ban the endorsement of it by a state institution--players and spectators can pray all they want), but Madison said it best in the post I made earlier:

"The tendency of a usurpation on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded by an entire abstinence of the Government from interference in any way whatever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect against trespass on its legal rights by others."

The forced inclusion of a religious interpretation of creation in a curriculum; the forced posting of laws specific to one religion in schools; the coercion of children to take a pledge or offer a prayer or sing hymns to a particular God or to swear fealty to scripture not of their choosing or of their parent's choosing--ALL of these have been done in U.S. public schools at one time or another. This certainly doesn't honor the rights of the "hindoo" or "musselman," now, does it? Or the atheist?

I seriously doubt the residents of Mississippi are going to allow a Muslim to pray prior to a football game without condemning or harrassing him for it. They certainly won't let him lead any prayers.

Leave religion in the churches and at home. People of faith do not deserve special rights.


Regards,


Steve
 

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As to your suggestion that the Exclusion Clause is twisted crazily in interpretation, somehow...you're correct. I can't see your point. Clearly I'm missing it.

hardheadjarhead said:
Its very interesting reading, and it does explain where the term comes from...

But I think, in essence, that doesnt say much specifically forbiding the practice or display of religion in Government buildings. Sure, It argued against appointing chaplains to congress, which I could see as attempting to force Christianity on the Members of Congress...


Bester, the Founders were well aware of the perils of theocracy. The church had been meddling in state affairs since the 4th century, when Constantine made Christianity the "official" religion of the Roman Empire. We need not go into the problems that presented...or do we? I'm assuming you're well aware of the Inquisition, anti-semitic pogroms, the Albigensian Crusade, persecution of the Huguenauts, the Hussite wars--the list goes on and on--not to mention the intentional squelching of intellecuual development via the leveling of the charge of "heresy" anytime it was perceived someone was rocking the theological boat. In France alone there were seven religious wars between 1563 and 1580.

Jefferson, Madison, and the Founders were well aware of this--as well as of the religious persecutions in America up to that time-- and set out to draft a secular document for the governance of our nation. There have been non-stop challenges to the church/state separation concept since.

Now, Keep in mind, I am not arguing for the inclusion of any one specific religion...

Perhaps not, but many Christian conservatives are arguing for exactly that, stating rather ignorantly that this is a Christian nation--and quoting out of context a 19th century Supreme Court justice in order to validate this stance, claiming the court "ruled" we are a Christian nation. They did not.

Dominionism, which was mentioned briefly in the Christian Reconstructionist site, is on the rise. It is less inflammatory than Reconstructionism, and as a result far more popular as witnessed by the huge sales of Evangelist Tim LaHaye's "Left Behind" series, which drew heavily on sales from the Christian right.

Dominionists believe that Christ will return when the world has been fully Christianized...starting with America.

Now...one may argue that it is quibbling to ban prayer at a high school basketball game (one doesn't ban prayer...they ban the endorsement of it by a state institution--players and spectators can pray all they want), but Madison said it best in the post I made earlier:

"The tendency of a usurpation on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded by an entire abstinence of the Government from interference in any way whatever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect against trespass on its legal rights by others."

The forced inclusion of a religious interpretation of creation in a curriculum; the forced posting of laws specific to one religion in schools; the coercion of children to take a pledge or offer a prayer or sing hymns to a particular God or to swear fealty to scripture not of their choosing or of their parent's choosing--ALL of these have been done in U.S. public schools at one time or another. This certainly doesn't honor the rights of the "hindoo" or "musselman," now, does it? Or the atheist?

Note please that a school is a government building.

I seriously doubt the residents of Mississippi are going to allow a Muslim to pray prior to a football game without condemning or harrassing him for it. They certainly won't let him lead any prayers.

Leave religion in the churches and at home. People of faith do not deserve special rights...regardless of their beliefs.



Regards,


Steve
 
G

ghostdog2

Guest
People of faith do not deserve special rights...regardless of their beliefs.

I seriously doubt the residents of Mississippi are going to allow a Muslim to pray prior to a football game without condemning or harrassing him for it. They certainly won't let him lead any prayers.HHJH

I've been following this thread with interest and have to disagree on one or two points:
1. I don't think people of faith should have more rights than others, but they shouldn't have fewer either.
2. I have a lot of friends in Mississippi and, really, don't let Hollywood define them for you. A Muslim in Mississippi is in no worse shape than he would be most other places.
As a last point, many of the early settlers came here not to escape religion or live in a secular state, but to be free to practice a religion that was not well tolerated in their home countries.
Wasn't it religious tolerance they sought, not freedom from religion?
 
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