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Democracy is best served by strict separation of...

 
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 10:39 am
Foxfyre wrote:
As a refresher, here is the text of the First Amendment:

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.


The words of the amendment do not stand alone. The "intent" of the amendment is interpreted by external references as well. Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Association is historically significant to the interpretation of the intent of the amendment.

The "intent" has been interpreted as one in which the state is protected from religion, and religion is protected from the state, it goes both ways.

Despite the fact that the words, "make no law" are used in the amendment, the interpretation has been that government should "promote no position", which essentially leaves it in a secular stance.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 11:07 am
Ros writes
Quote:
The "intent" has been interpreted as one in which the state is protected from religion, and religion is protected from the state, it goes both ways.

Despite the fact that the words, "make no law" are used in the amendment, the interpretation has been that government should "promote no position", which essentially leaves it in a secular stance.


I know that Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists has been used by 'separationists' extensively; however, a careful analysis of that one phrase suggests a somewhat different intent than the way it is commonly used today. Here is an excellent little essay on that one subject:

The Myth of
the Separation of Church and State
http://www.noapathy.org/tracts/mythofseparation.html

Even as I say that, I do believe Jefferson was very aware of the dangers lurking should the church and state intermingle and I think he was explicit about that. However, his writings to the Virginia Baptists did not refer to a 'wall between church and state', and Jefferson also wrote many things like the following:

Quote:
"Among the most inestimable of our blessings, also, is that... of liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable to His will; a liberty deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support." --Thomas Jefferson: Reply to John Thomas et al., 1807. ME 16:291


I think Jefferson never expected government to be devoid of all expressions of religious faith.

THis was my post 5000 by the way.....drum roll please.......
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 12:25 pm
Foxfyre,

Congratulations on post #5000!

As far as what I was trying to say about the first amendment: Congress is (at the very least) prohibited from establishing a national religion.

Jefferson wrote in his autobiography how Virginia citizens, no matter what their beliefs, were taxed to support Church of England pastors. In his own words, this was a "religious tyranny" that needed to be corrected.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 12:31 pm
Well no quarrel from me on that point wandeljw....gotta give you a nickname....but we'll get around to it. On another thread today, DTOM mentioned having to recite the Lord's Prayer in a public school class. In my interpretation of separation of Church and State, that would be a clear violation and clearly an inappropriate establishment of religion. The phrase "under God" in the pledge, however, does not teach, infer, or expect any particular understanding of who or what God is nor does it include any expectation of faith or worship and therefore that doesn't cross the line. It is not an establishment of religion.

I have a thread going on the religion forum re the current efforts to eradicate anything religious from public Christmas celebrations. That would fit right in here too I think.

And thanks for the congratulations. Smile
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wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 12:41 pm
Foxfyre,

My member name is based on my real name. Other A2K people have called me "wandel" or just "wand".
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 12:44 pm
Works for me. Happy to me you Wandel Smile
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 12:47 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
Well no quarrel from me on that point wandeljw....gotta give you a nickname....but we'll get around to it. On another thread today, DTOM mentioned having to recite the Lord's Prayer in a public school class. In my interpretation of separation of Church and State, that would be a clear violation and clearly an inappropriate establishment of religion. The phrase "under God" in the pledge, however, does not teach, infer, or expect any particular understanding of who or what God is nor does it include any expectation of faith or worship and therefore that doesn't cross the line. It is not an establishment of religion.


No...not to one of you superstitious buggers.

But to those of us with enough mind to realize that we don't even know if there is a God...it certainly is.

In any case, if the "god" in "under god" is just some nondescript bit of nothingness not pointing at any particular god...

...why have it in there at all?

And if it is to be specific...couldn't we change it to "under Zeus" or "under Allah?"
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 12:56 pm
Because Zeus or Allah are specific gods. The term God is not necessarily specific as it would have to be defined to be specific and it could apply to any God, secular or religious.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 01:02 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
Because Zeus or Allah are specific gods. The term God is not necessarily specific as it would have to be defined to be specific and it could apply to any God, secular or religious.


Or we could stop tweedling with every little mention of the word "God" and trying to decide if it's too specific and just not say it at all. Government need not mention "God" at all to get its daily duties done. And the fact that people care so much about "allowing" government to reference "God" implies a deeper desire to have that phase used, and that's the root of the problem.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 01:08 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
Because Zeus or Allah are specific gods. The term God is not necessarily specific as it would have to be defined to be specific and it could apply to any God, secular or religious.


As I mentioned...as as you apparently decided to ignore...

...if the "god" in "under god" is just some nondescript bit of nothingness not pointing at any particular god...

...why have it in there at all?

That is the focus of Rosborne's comments also.

Why have it there at all????
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 01:14 pm
Because most Americans want it there? Because it reflects our cultural constitutional roots via the Declaration of Independence and the Federalist papers? Because it doesn't hurt anybody for it to be there?

Why is it so important to you that it not be there?
0 Replies
 
ForeverYoung
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 01:30 pm
Frank Apisa wrote:
...why have it in there at all?


Why indeed?


Quote:


The Pledge of Allegiance
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 01:43 pm
Okay that link is written by somebody who obviously is vehemently opposed to the pledge. Could we use a more objective source for the history:

In 1954 on flag day President Dwight D. Eisenhower added the words "under God" to the pledge because:

Quote:
"In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war."


It acknowledges the important and powerful role religion has played in our nation's history. It does not presume a Christian God or Jewish God or any particular diety but succinctly denotes religious faith.

A more complete history is here:
http://www.homeofheroes.com/hallofheroes/1st_floor/flag/1bfc_pledge.html

The question remains: why do some object so strenuously to the phrase? What harm comes to those who either do not recite the pledge or just omit that phrase or say it believing it doesn't mean anything?
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 01:52 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
Okay that link is written by somebody who obviously is vehemently opposed to the pledge. Could we use a more objective source for the history:

In 1954 on flag day President Dwight D. Eisenhower added the words "under God" to the pledge because:

Quote:
"In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war."


It acknowledges the important and powerful role religion has played in our nation's history. It does not presume a Christian God or Jewish God or any particular diety but succinctly denotes religious faith.....



The question remains: why do some object so strenuously to the phrase?


For the exact reason you just gave. Because it succinctly denotes religious faith!

The pledge of allegience to my country should not be contingent upon me accepting any "faith"...or any kind of superstition.

An atheist...or in my case, an agnostic...can be as loyal to his/her country as any theist....

...and why should the theists particular superstition be intruded...UNNECESSARILY...into the process?

I object to it for the same reasons you might object to a phrase being added which says, "...one nation...with absolute certainty that there are no gods involved in its destiny...with liberty..."

It has absolutely no reason for being there.

The pledge is about an individual pledging loyalty to country...not to any superstition.

What is so difficult for you to understand about that?



Quote:
What harm comes to those who either do not recite the pledge or just omit that phrase or say it believing it doesn't mean anything?


Well since it is not necessary in any way to the purpose of the pledge...which is to affirm loyalty to one's country...what harm comes to anyone if it were removed from the oath?


In any case...it fosters superstition...and I think there is harm in that.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 01:57 pm
In your opinion it foster superstition. To a large number of others it is meaningful and important. So who should prevail since the phrase itself is not an 'establishment of religion':

a) The large majority who have no problem with the phrase and want it there and are willing for it to be ignored by any others or

b) The minority to whom the phrase is meaningless and/or an irritant and therefore think it should be denied to everybody?
0 Replies
 
ForeverYoung
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 02:01 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
In your opinion it foster superstition. To a large number of others it is meaningful and important. So who should prevail since the phrase itself is not an 'establishment of religion':

a) The large majority who have no problem with the phrase and want it there and are willing for it to be ignored by any others or

b) The minority to whom the phrase is meaningless and/or an irritant and therefore think it should be denied to everybody?



One word: COERCION

One phrase: TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY

One question: WHY ARE YOU HAVING SUCH A PROBLEM WITH THE CONCEPT THAT PEOPLE OF ALL OR NO RELIGION ARE EQUALLY DESERVING OF RESPECT?
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 02:03 pm
How is it disrespecting anyone for the majority to include a phrase "under God" in the pledge? So long as the minority is not required to say it, how is it coercion? Doesn't it seem more coercive to deny it to everybody because a few dislike it?
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 02:12 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
In your opinion it foster superstition.


Yes, that is my opinion.


Quote:
To a large number of others it is meaningful and important.


And I understand that, Fox. Truly. I'm not just blowing smoke at you.

If I were convinced the god of the Christians, for instance, actually existed, I would want to kiss its ass at every possible juncture also.

So I do understand the motivation you mentioned.



Quote:
So who should prevail since the phrase itself is not an 'establishment of religion':


Well, Jesus Christ, Fox...of course it is. It establishes the religion of "There is a God...and we live 'under it.'"

That not only sucks...it truly violates the intent of the framers.



Quote:
The large majority who have no problem with the phrase and want it there and are willing for it to be ignored by any others


Well they are being unthinking...since the phrase has absolutely no function in the intent of the pledge...which is to allow people to pledge their loyalty to their country.

Suppose the phrase were....one nation, under Republican or Democratic leadership...?

Would that be okay?

The large majority of the people are either Republican or Democratic leaning.


Quote:
The minority to whom the phrase is meaningless and/or an irritant and therefore think it should be denied to everybody?


Well, I don't think we are trying to deny it to anyone...let alone everybody.

If you want to think this is a nation under some god...think it. And when you pledge your allegience to it...think or assume you are pledging allegience to a country "under that god."

But why have a phrase like that as part of an official pledge...when it is totally unnecessary to the purpose of the pledge...other than the majority unnecessarily and inappropriately imposing its will on the minority?
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 02:15 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
In your opinion it foster superstition. To a large number of others it is meaningful and important. So who should prevail since the phrase itself is not an 'establishment of religion':

a) The large majority who have no problem with the phrase and want it there and are willing for it to be ignored by any others or

b) The minority to whom the phrase is meaningless and/or an irritant and therefore think it should be denied to everybody?


Majority always rules? That could make for some interesting changes in the world as you know it, Foxfyre.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 02:20 pm
I would like to ask Frank how use of any phrase is an 'establishment of religion' which infers a state mandated or sanctioned religion?

And ehBeth, please explain how you extrapolated 'majority always rules' from what I said.
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