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A Good Seperation of Church/State foundation

 
 
Reply Sun 22 Apr, 2007 07:05 am
Are there any good groups out there that fight for the seperation of church and state or operate as a counter-balance to the instanity that is religion?


I've been donating the Americans United for the Seperation of Church and State, but I'm unimpressed with the action they've taken.


Do you guys know of any more.
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Apr, 2007 07:17 am
Maporsche.

There is an inherent contradiction in your post.

There is a basic choice...

1. Support the separation of church and state.

This means that the government has no business telling people what religion the should be a part of, or which they should be kept from.

Under the first Amendment religious groups are PROTECTED. They are allowed to knock on your door. They are allowed to give you pamphlets. The are allowed to be on television. They are allowed to yell at you on the streets. This is what "freedom of religion" entails.

Separation of church and state does mean that government... or people in government positions... can't use their government positions to promote one religion or another. This is why teachers aren't allowed to promote religion and why religious prayers or symbols can be restricted from government property.

But ordinary Americans (or anyone living in a free democracy) all have the same rights to free speech and expression whether they are religious or not.

2. Counter-balance the insanity that is religion.

If you are fighting for the separation of church and state.... you are, by definition, working to preserve the rights of people who are religious. Separation of church and state is not a way to attack religion.

If you want to stop religion-- and I am making the assumption that you want to stop religious people from expressing their valid religious views, then you will probably be in favor of government intervention. This is the very thing the first amendment protects against.

If you are looking for a good group that fights for the separation of church and state... I would highly recommend the ACLU (to which I donate). The are always at the forefront of church and state issues.

However if you are looking to "operate as a counter-balance to the insanity that is religion" then you will have to look elsewhere. Since the ACLU is a real civil rights group, they often take the side of the religious against people who are trying to stop them from free expression. This includes the right of students to prosyletize etc.
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Walter Hinteler
 
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Reply Sun 22 Apr, 2007 07:30 am
What ebrown said.

The only groups I know who were acting against the insanity of religions were the communists in the so-called communist countries.
(This led to the fact that the new Germans states have a population of 80 or even 90% without belief.)
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Phoenix32890
 
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Reply Sun 22 Apr, 2007 07:38 am
Walter- Might we not say that communism simply substituted one doctrine for another?
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rosborne979
 
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Reply Sun 22 Apr, 2007 08:03 am
Re: A Good Seperation of Church/State foundation
maporsche wrote:
Are there any good groups out there that fight for the seperation of church and state or operate as a counter-balance to the instanity that is religion?

I've been donating the Americans United for the Seperation of Church and State, but I'm unimpressed with the action they've taken.

Do you guys know of any more.


The AU.Org is the only organization I know of which is specialized in Seperation of Church and state. I've been supporting them for years. What actions they've taken dissapoint you? What actions would you prefer they take?

The ACLU is probably the most powerful lobby. And I guess their charter is related to upholding the constitution and the bill of rights, so you might consider supporting them as well.

I also support the National Center for Science Education. They are not directly involved in First Amendment rights, but they are at the junction of one of the primary attack points from the Religious Right against public education.

As others have pointed out on this thread, the First Amendment is not intended to harm religion. It's intended to seperate church and state, nothing more.

If you are looking for an organization which takes a more radical view of the First Amendment, then you will be looking for a fringe organization.
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Walter Hinteler
 
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Reply Sun 22 Apr, 2007 08:12 am
Phoenix32890 wrote:
Walter- Might we not say that communism simply substituted one doctrine for another?


I don't think it to be a religion, but political ideas certainly can be religion-like. Any, not just communism.
(And our co-citizens in the "five new states" aren't 80 - 90% communists neither.)
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maporsche
 
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Reply Sun 22 Apr, 2007 08:30 am
I guess my counter-balance point wasn't geared towards outlawing religion or re-writing the constituition, but more towards a scenerio like in Kansas where the church groups were pushing for intelligent design to be included in a science class, what I would want to do is support whatever groups will be opposed to that position.

I do NOT want to stop anyone from expressing their religious views, I want to support whomever opposes those viewpoints so they are given the forum to state their positions and arguments. There is a powerful lobby and funding network behind the religious movements and I want to support the counter-balance to that movement.

Sorry if that wasn't clear.
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Mills75
 
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Reply Mon 23 Apr, 2007 04:46 pm
maporsche:
I don't know how effective it is, but there's an organization called Freedom from Religion that works to promote separation of church and state. There's also the American Humanist Association that works for the separation of church and state, among other things.

And you weren't unclear. A "counter-balance" is something that offsets the influence of something else, not eradicates it. Considering the rampant violations of church and state and the inordinate influence of religion on politics and society, there most definitely needs to be a counter-balance for it.

And Communism, as practiced in the former USSR, was very, very similar to a religion--its dogma was incontrovertible (even to the point of sometimes overruling the findings of natural science), and its founders/early leaders were revered and accorded nearly supernatural status (e.g., preserving and displaying Lenin's body in much the same fashion as a saint).
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maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Apr, 2007 06:24 pm
Mills75 wrote:
maporsche:
I don't know how effective it is, but there's an organization called Freedom from Religion that works to promote separation of church and state. There's also the American Humanist Association that works for the separation of church and state, among other things.

And you weren't unclear. A "counter-balance" is something that offsets the influence of something else, not eradicates it. Considering the rampant violations of church and state and the inordinate influence of religion on politics and society, there most definitely needs to be a counter-balance for it.

And Communism, as practiced in the former USSR, was very, very similar to a religion--its dogma was incontrovertible (even to the point of sometimes overruling the findings of natural science), and its founders/early leaders were revered and accorded nearly supernatural status (e.g., preserving and displaying Lenin's body in much the same fashion as a saint).


Mills75 - thanks. I'll check out these sites.

Also, thanks for reassuring me that I wasn't going insane. I thought I understood what I meant by counter-balance.
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Mills75
 
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Reply Mon 23 Apr, 2007 08:04 pm
maporsche wrote:
Mills75 wrote:
maporsche:
I don't know how effective it is, but there's an organization called Freedom from Religion that works to promote separation of church and state. There's also the American Humanist Association that works for the separation of church and state, among other things.

And you weren't unclear. A "counter-balance" is something that offsets the influence of something else, not eradicates it. Considering the rampant violations of church and state and the inordinate influence of religion on politics and society, there most definitely needs to be a counter-balance for it.

And Communism, as practiced in the former USSR, was very, very similar to a religion--its dogma was incontrovertible (even to the point of sometimes overruling the findings of natural science), and its founders/early leaders were revered and accorded nearly supernatural status (e.g., preserving and displaying Lenin's body in much the same fashion as a saint).


Mills75 - thanks. I'll check out these sites.

Also, thanks for reassuring me that I wasn't going insane. I thought I understood what I meant by counter-balance.


No problem. However, I make no assurances regarding your sanity. :wink:
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Diest TKO
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 09:30 am
Quote:
If you are fighting for the separation of church and state.... you are, by definition, working to preserve the rights of people who are religious. Separation of church and state is not a way to attack religion.


Agreed.

What is often forgotten about the separation of church and state is that religion needs equal protection form politics.

I am very much opposed to having relgion integrated into our policies, I think that most relgious, particularly christians in the USA don't realize how much politics has infiltrated their churches.

It's not uncommon to hear about sermons on how to vote etc. I see that as politics poluting relgion more than the opposite.
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rosborne979
 
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Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 09:38 am
Diest TKO wrote:
It's not uncommon to hear about sermons on how to vote etc. I see that as politics poluting relgion more than the opposite.


I think churches can lose their tax-exempt status for doing that.
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ebrown p
 
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Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 10:15 am
Quote:

It's not uncommon to hear about sermons on how to vote etc.


Sermons in a church telling people how to vote does not violate the separation of church and state. Quite the contrary, this is part of the freedom of expression protected by the first amendment. The tax-exempt status is the only real issue on this.

Religious groups, from the anti-war Quakers, to Martin Luther King movement, have long used religion to persuade people to take a political position, or even political action.

This is completely appropriate in our constitutional democracy.
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rosborne979
 
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Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 10:24 am
ebrown_p wrote:
Quote:

It's not uncommon to hear about sermons on how to vote etc.


Sermons in a church telling people how to vote does not violate the separation of church and state. Quite the contrary, this is part of the freedom of expression protected by the first amendment. The tax-exempt status is the only real issue on this.

Religious groups, from the anti-war Quakers, to Martin Luther King movement, have long used religion to persuade people to take a political position, or even political action.

This is completely appropriate in our constitutional democracy.


I think tax exempt status is pretty important however. Churches can't be involving themselves in the political process and expect to remain tax exempt can they?
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 10:59 am
rosborne979 wrote:
I think tax exempt status is pretty important however. Churches can't be involving themselves in the political process and expect to remain tax exempt can they?


Probably they shouldn't, but i suspect that this sort of thing going on frequently, in some churches, and there's no "religious tax exemption police" going around checking up on them.
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username
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 11:27 am
As I understand the current tax law, tax-exempt organizations can advocate for or against political issues (like the Catholic stance against abortion, etc.) but they cannot advocate for or against voting for a specific individual. Issues, yes; candidates, no.
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username
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 11:28 am
whoops, my post was a response to real life's post. But when I went back to look at the forum, ol' real had disappeared.
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Diest TKO
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 06:15 pm
Quote:

Sermons in a church telling people how to vote does not violate the separation of church and state. Quite the contrary, this is part of the freedom of expression protected by the first amendment. The tax-exempt status is the only real issue on this.

Religious groups, from the anti-war Quakers, to Martin Luther King movement, have long used religion to persuade people to take a political position, or even political action.

This is completely appropriate in our constitutional democracy.


e-brown - That's fine. I understand it's protected. My point is that having politics in church is detrimental to the church. I made no arguement that it voilates anything constitutional, only that both ends of the candle get burnt.

The more you encourage your politics to model your religion, the more your relgion begins to take on a political model. I think people lose out on a healthy religious experiance when it's tainted by people's political agendas.
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