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Author Topic:   Is America a Christian Nation?
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 61 of 206 (547722)
02-22-2010 12:05 AM
Reply to: Message 58 by Buzsaw
02-21-2010 11:26 PM


Re: Representative Leadership
That's were it gets sticky and controversial, i.e. interpreting the Constitution's intent.

Well, see my previous post. We know how James Madison interpreted the First Amendment, and he wrote it.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by Buzsaw, posted 02-21-2010 11:26 PM Buzsaw has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by Buzsaw, posted 02-22-2010 3:20 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 558 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008


Message 62 of 206 (547723)
02-22-2010 12:19 AM
Reply to: Message 55 by Buzsaw
02-21-2010 11:07 PM


Re: Establishment & Practice Not Same
(Buzsaw:) What they established primarily was the freedom to practice religion anywhere...

(Me:) ...what they established primarily was that government would have no direct involvement ... with ... any particular religion...

(Buzsaw:) You've got that wrong, Otto.

Actually, Buz, it seems that you and I are simply placing primary focus on different clauses of the First Amendment. I'm focusing on the first clause (Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, ...), while you are focusing on the second one (... or prohibiting the free exercise thereof).

Now, I realize it would be nit-picky and pedantic to point out that the first clause is in fact "primary" in at least one sense of that word (and personally, I consider that clause to be the more important one), but I have no problem with treating both clauses as equally important. Do you have a problem with that?

Edited by Otto Tellick, : (had to disable "smilies":)


autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.
This message is a reply to:
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Coyote
Member (Idle past 334 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 63 of 206 (547724)
02-22-2010 12:33 AM
Reply to: Message 58 by Buzsaw
02-21-2010 11:26 PM


Re: Representative Leadership
Bottom line: As we the people of the Republic (majority) become more secular, the intent of our Christian oriented founders becomes less relevant.

This process started back with The Enlightenment, which the founding fathers studied and emulated. They passed on the legacy of The Enlightenment, not the legacy of the Dark Ages.

That means we don't need, after thousands of years, or hundreds of thousands of years, to kowtow to the various shamans for fear of being burned at the stake, the Inquisition, or the like.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 20041
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 64 of 206 (547729)
02-22-2010 1:02 AM
Reply to: Message 58 by Buzsaw
02-21-2010 11:26 PM


Re: Representative Leadership
Hi Buz,

Bottom line: As we the people of the Republic (majority) become more secular, the intent of our Christian oriented founders becomes less relevant.

And the intent of our secular oriented founders becomes more relevant.

Which includes most of them, whether of personal christian orientation or not.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by Buzsaw, posted 02-21-2010 11:26 PM Buzsaw has not yet responded

  
Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 558 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008


Message 65 of 206 (547736)
02-22-2010 3:22 AM
Reply to: Message 57 by Dr Adequate
02-21-2010 11:16 PM


... The objections to abortion and embryonic stem cell research are based on a religious doctrine ...

But these would not be Establishment Clause cases as such

Thanks for the clarification. As I mentioned later in the post you quoted, laws that concur with religious doctrine could be passed, given rational motivation. But as you point out (and as demonstrated by things like "blue laws" -- no commerce/liquor sales on Sundays, etc), such laws can be passed and enforced without regard to objectivity, so long as they don't explicitly invoke or assert their religious basis, so I stand corrected.

In that circumstance, such a law can (and generally will) be repealed when a majority of voters or their representatives take action to do so (in the event that they come to see it as a bad law having no merit), or when some alternate religious group challenges it (in the event that it interferes with the practice of that other religion).

It may be that the sort of legal precedent I would hope for hasn't happened yet (but maybe some legal scholar will make my day): that laws like criminalizing abortion or halting stem cell research, if enacted, could be struck down on the grounds that they have no motivation at all outside of a specific religious doctrine, and thereby serve to establish that religion, in violation of the First Amendment.


autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 57 by Dr Adequate, posted 02-21-2010 11:16 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 69 by Dr Adequate, posted 02-22-2010 6:26 PM Otto Tellick has acknowledged this reply

  
Buzsaw
Inactive Member


Message 66 of 206 (547769)
02-22-2010 3:20 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by Dr Adequate
02-22-2010 12:05 AM


Re: Representative Leadership
Dr Adequate writes:

Well, see my previous post. We know how James Madison interpreted the First Amendment, and he wrote it.

However, obviously the majority of signers on to the admendment thought otherwise. Else why would they have allowed exercise within government, not considering that to be establishiing religion by law?

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

Embolding mine to emphasise make no law........prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Thus there was no law restricting free exercise of religion, no matter where.


BUZSAW B 4 U 2 C Y BUZ SAW.
The immeasurable present eternally extends the infinite past and infinitely consumes the eternal future.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by Dr Adequate, posted 02-22-2010 12:05 AM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 68 by Dr Adequate, posted 02-22-2010 5:37 PM Buzsaw has responded

  
Buzsaw
Inactive Member


Message 67 of 206 (547770)
02-22-2010 3:36 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by Coyote
02-22-2010 12:33 AM


Re: Representative Leadership
Coyote writes:

This process started back with The Enlightenment, which the founding fathers studied and emulated. They passed on the legacy of The Enlightenment, not the legacy of the Dark Ages.
That means we don't need, after thousands of years, or hundreds of thousands of years, to kowtow to the various shamans for fear of being burned at the stake, the Inquisition, or the like.

Again, it would take an establishment law for that to ever happen. That's why it didn't happen when exercise of religion was within government facilities. No law established anything by them doing that. Along came representatives who decided that that was not good policy and they discontinued it.

If however, the majority of the people's reps decide that we should go back to more exercise within government and the courts didn't overturn, no law of Congress can stop them from doing it as per the amendment.


BUZSAW B 4 U 2 C Y BUZ SAW.
The immeasurable present eternally extends the infinite past and infinitely consumes the eternal future.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by Coyote, posted 02-22-2010 12:33 AM Coyote has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by ZenMonkey, posted 02-22-2010 6:47 PM Buzsaw has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 68 of 206 (547772)
02-22-2010 5:37 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by Buzsaw
02-22-2010 3:20 PM


James "I Wrote The Bill Of Rights" Madison
However, obviously the majority of signers on to the admendment thought otherwise. Else why would they have allowed exercise within government, not considering that to be establishiing religion by law?

Er ... because they might have been idiots?

The fact is that the guy who wrote the First Amendment thought that it excluded the chaplainship to Congress. If we want to know what the Framers thought, we know what James Madison thought, and he wrote the Bill of Rights.

So enough of your equivocation about how we don't know what the Framers thought. We know for certain that the guy who wrote the First Amendment thought that Congress having a chaplain was a breach of the Constitution.

You might argue that it is in fact a good idea for Congress to have a chaplain, but let's have no more of your mealy-mouthed equivocation about how difficult it is to find out what the Framers thought. We know what James Madison thought. He thought that you were wrong. Utterly, hopelessly wrong.

Now if you want to stand up and say that the First Amendment should be interpreted, not according to the meaning that the person who wrote it ascribed to it, but rather according to some idea that you've just made up ... then it's a free country. You can say what you like. But I shall say that the First Amendment means what the person who wrote it meant it to mean.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by Buzsaw, posted 02-22-2010 3:20 PM Buzsaw has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 73 by Buzsaw, posted 02-22-2010 9:21 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 69 of 206 (547774)
02-22-2010 6:26 PM
Reply to: Message 65 by Otto Tellick
02-22-2010 3:22 AM


Thanks for the clarification. As I mentioned later in the post you quoted, laws that concur with religious doctrine could be passed, given rational motivation. But as you point out (and as demonstrated by things like "blue laws" -- no commerce/liquor sales on Sundays, etc), such laws can be passed and enforced without regard to objectivity, so long as they don't explicitly invoke or assert their religious basis, so I stand corrected.

Well, that's the quickest I've ever convinced some on the internet that they were wrong.

To be precise, I convinced a liberal that theocracy is constitutional.

Yay me.

Damn, it's so depressing. I can speak reason to the left, and this wil sway them, but I have no idea how to speak nonsense to the right. Logic and facts will convince the left ... what convinces the right?

Let's give it a go ... hey, Buzsaw, IF YOU DON'T VOTE FOR OBAMA THEN FLYING PIGS WILL EAT YOUR CHILDREN ... how am I doing? Am I insane enough to convince you? What does it take?

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 65 by Otto Tellick, posted 02-22-2010 3:22 AM Otto Tellick has acknowledged this reply

  
ZenMonkey
Member (Idle past 2739 days)
Posts: 428
From: Portland, OR USA
Joined: 09-25-2009


Message 70 of 206 (547777)
02-22-2010 6:47 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by Buzsaw
02-22-2010 3:36 PM


Re: Representative Leadership
Buzsaw writes:

Again, it would take an establishment law for that to ever happen. That's why it didn't happen when exercise of religion was within government facilities. No law established anything by them doing that. Along came representatives who decided that that was not good policy and they discontinued it.

If however, the majority of the people's reps decide that we should go back to more exercise within government and the courts didn't overturn, no law of Congress can stop them from doing it as per the amendment.

I think that you're confusing two ideas here. That's understandable, since the distinction between religious activity within a government facility and religious activity sponsored or promoted by the government itself isn't always so clear.

Look at a range of actions to see how they differ.

Case 1: A county board of supervisors passes regulations that require every resident to attend services at a Methodist church every Sunday. Clearly unconstitutional. Doesn't matter if 99% of the county are Methodists.

Case 2: A state prohibits anyone who doesn't believe in Almighty God from holding public office. Clearly unconstitutional. Despite this, seven states still do exactly this. In Arkansas being an atheist even makes you incompetent to testify in court cases. I guess that no one there thinks that you're telling the truth unless you promise that you believe that God is gonna strike you down if you don't.

Case 4: All the teachers at a public school are required to begin class in the morning with "a minute of silent prayer." Unconstitutional. This is still the sort of school prayer that got the boot years back. It fails the test because 1) the teachers are acting in their official capacities as government employees; 2) they're specifically calling for prayer, albeit silent prayer of the students choice; and 3) they're making this activity mandatory, although I can't see how they're going to make sure that the kids are praying instead of thinking about lunch or getting a D in Chemistry. On the other hand, if by school prayer you mean students getting together at lunch to read the Bible and pray, then that just fine and has never been illegal, despite fundies trying to whip themselves up into a frenzy of indignation.

Case 5: A valedictorian asks everyone at graduation to join her in prayer. Probably constitutional. Here's where the distinction is subtle. The valedictorian here isn't a school official, but a private individual expressing her own personal beliefs, even if at an official school event. One could make the case that this is still a case of government approval of religious activity, but you'd be on thin ground.

Case 6: A state park allows the use of public space for a church to hold sunrise services on Easter. Conditionally constitutional. There's nothing wrong with people using public space for whatever they want, providing that they're following the general park rules, e.g. no candles for services if open flames are prohibited. However, the park has to allow everyone equal access. They can't say yes to the Baptists and no to Hindus, Wiccans or even atheists. (The likelihood of atheists attending Easter services is doubtful, but they they could have Solstice Appreciation Day, I suppose.) If the park did discriminate on the grounds of religious belief, they'd clearly be showing government preference.

Case 7: A local pro-Palestinian group refuses a request by a pro-Israel activist to speak at their monthly meeting. Constitutional. Case law regarding discrimination by private organizations is often complex, but in this case we have a private group asserting its right not to sponsor messages that it doesn't approve and in fact directly contradict its own central message. A country club might be prohibited from refusing membership to Jews, but the pro-Israel activist would have a hard time finding a court that would force the pro-Palestinians to host her.

Case 8: A mosque posts a large sign on its lawn saying: "SUBMIT NOW TO ALLAH OR FACE THE FURY OF HELL." Clearly constitutional. This is a private group expressing the beliefs of its members on private property. Even if someone might not like it, the First Amendment clearly allows this sort of religious expression.

So to get back to Buz at long last, I believe that what the above illustrates is the nature of government neutrality with regards to religion. If by "religion within government facilities" you (Buz) mean non-discriminatory use of public venues for religious purposes, I don't see a problem with that. But if you mean Congress ought to start basing more legislation on Christian beliefs, then that's not how this country is supposed to work, no matter how many of those Congress-critters or their constituents are Christian themselves.

Edited by ZenMonkey, : Clarification of Case 4.


I have no time for lies and fantasy, and neither should you. Enjoy or die.
-John Lydon
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 71 by Dr Adequate, posted 02-22-2010 8:29 PM ZenMonkey has responded
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 71 of 206 (547787)
02-22-2010 8:29 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by ZenMonkey
02-22-2010 6:47 PM


Re: Representative Leadership
I shudder to think of case 3.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by ZenMonkey, posted 02-22-2010 6:47 PM ZenMonkey has responded

Replies to this message:
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ZenMonkey
Member (Idle past 2739 days)
Posts: 428
From: Portland, OR USA
Joined: 09-25-2009


Message 72 of 206 (547795)
02-22-2010 9:18 PM
Reply to: Message 71 by Dr Adequate
02-22-2010 8:29 PM


Re: Representative Leadership
Doh! I think I was going to do another school prayer example, and then lost track.


I have no time for lies and fantasy, and neither should you. Enjoy or die.
-John Lydon
This message is a reply to:
 Message 71 by Dr Adequate, posted 02-22-2010 8:29 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
Buzsaw
Inactive Member


Message 73 of 206 (547798)
02-22-2010 9:21 PM
Reply to: Message 68 by Dr Adequate
02-22-2010 5:37 PM


Re: James "I Wrote The Bill Of Rights" Madison
Dr Adequate writes:

Er ... because they might have been idiots?

The fact is that the guy who wrote the First Amendment thought that it excluded the chaplainship to Congress. If we want to know what the Framers thought, we know what James Madison thought, and he wrote the Bill of Rights.

Dr Adequate, this is not the republic of James Madison. For that matter, even James Madison said,

"We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the whole future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."

John Q Adams, signer, saidThe highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."

Samuel Adams said "We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven, and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come."

Alexander Hamilton said, "The Christian Constitutional Society." Its object to be first: The support of the Christian religion; and second: The support of the United States."

John Hancock was the first signer of the Declaration of Independence and member of the Continental Congress. He stated: "Sensible of the importance of Christian piety and virtue to the order and happiness of a state, I cannot but earnestly commend you to every measure for their support and encouragement…Manners, by which not only the freedom but the very existence of the republics are greatly affected, depend much upon the public institutions of religion."

On September 12, 1782, Congress approved the governmental printing of the first English-language Bible printed in America. Printed in the front of that Bible was the following Congressional endorsement: "Whereupon, Resolved, That the United States Congress…recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States." Of this event, one early historian observed: "Who, in view of this fact, will call in question the assertion that this is a Bible nation?

Benjamin Rush was a Founding Father and signer the Declaration of Independence. "The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effectual means of extirpating [extinguishing] Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that is was improper to read the Bible at schools. The Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period in life...[It] should be read in our schools in preference to all other books from its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public happiness."

Those are just a few cited. There's more:

http://www.truenews.org/...paration_of_church_and_state.html


BUZSAW B 4 U 2 C Y BUZ SAW.
The immeasurable present eternally extends the infinite past and infinitely consumes the eternal future.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 68 by Dr Adequate, posted 02-22-2010 5:37 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
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 Message 80 by ZenMonkey, posted 02-23-2010 10:17 AM Buzsaw has responded
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hooah212002
Member (Idle past 50 days)
Posts: 3183
Joined: 08-12-2009


Message 74 of 206 (547799)
02-22-2010 9:25 PM
Reply to: Message 73 by Buzsaw
02-22-2010 9:21 PM


Re: James "I Wrote The Bill Of Rights" Madison
http://www.truenews.org/...paration_of_church_and_state.html

Really Buz? THAT is the best source you can find? Let's see what they say about a few other issues:

(section titled FACTS about homosexuality)

Fact 1 - Homosexual marriage degrades a time-honored institution.

Fact 2 - Homosexual marriage would radically redefine marriage to include virtually any sexual behavior

Fact 6 - Homosexual marriage would subject children to unstable home environments

FACTS? I think not.

Really Buz? Next time, use non-biased sauce.

Edited by hooah212002, : No reason given.


"Some people think God is an outsized, light-skinned male with a long white beard, sitting on a throne somewhere up there in the sky, busily tallying the fall of every sparrow. Others—for example Baruch Spinoza and Albert Einstein—considered God to be essentially the sum total of the physical laws which describe the universe. I do not know of any compelling evidence for anthropomorphic patriarchs controlling human destiny from some hidden celestial vantage point, but it would be madness to deny the existence of physical laws."

-Carl Sagan


This message is a reply to:
 Message 73 by Buzsaw, posted 02-22-2010 9:21 PM Buzsaw has not yet responded

    
Buzsaw
Inactive Member


Message 75 of 206 (547803)
02-22-2010 9:52 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by ZenMonkey
02-22-2010 6:47 PM


Re: Representative Leadership
Zen Monkey writes:

So to get back to Buz at long last, I believe that what the above illustrates is the nature of government neutrality with regards to religion. If by "religion within government facilities" you (Buz) mean non-discriminatory use of public venues for religious purposes, I don't see a problem with that.

Check, Zen. That's what the Constitution calls for. If Zen Buddhism becomes as prominent in the US of A as Christianity was in the days of the founders, then get up the majority vote, install enough support and have the representatives implement building some Buddhas around DC where the Buddist sheeples can bring their offerings and prayers, etc. Imo, God forbid, but that's how a republic is suppose to work.

Zen Monkey writes:

But if you mean Congress ought to start basing more legislation on Christian beliefs, then that's not how this country is supposed to work, no matter how many of those Congress-critters or their constituents are Christian themselves.

Congress shall not forbid the free exercise of religion. Freely exercising legislates nothing. Anything which gets out of hand can be handily handled at the poles.


BUZSAW B 4 U 2 C Y BUZ SAW.
The immeasurable present eternally extends the infinite past and infinitely consumes the eternal future.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by ZenMonkey, posted 02-22-2010 6:47 PM ZenMonkey has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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