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Old 09-16-2008, 12:19 AM
 
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Starting with The Bloody Tenant by Roger Williams(1644)

Roger Williams, The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution (1644)

A Plea Before the Mass. Legislature by Isaac Backus(1744)

http://drbentownsend.com/Documents/Isaac%20Backus1.pdf

The Virginia Act For Establishing Religious Freedom by Thomas Jefferson (1786)
Jefferson: The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom

Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religous Assessments by JAMES MADISON (1785)
Amendment I (Religion): James Madison, Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments

Virginia Declaration of Rights drafted by George Mason (1776)

The Avalon Project : Virginia Declaration of Rights

Federalist #10 by JAMES MADISON
The Federalist #10


Our forefathers did not wish for a mingling of religion and state in any way shape or form.
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Old 09-16-2008, 07:18 AM
 
Location: Boise, ID
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saganista View Post
In a forum called Great Debates, I don't believe you can introduce "evidence" and then refuse to debate the nature of it. That nature reveals that the incidents cited are evidence only of a campaign to put an end to blatant usurpations accomplished through illegal and unconstitutional activity on the part of various state agencies. That is a vastly different thing from a campaign to remove God and religion from the public square.
I can't make my case any better than you just did.

The effort to remove God and religion from the public square is exactly at the heart of the examples I cited and you verified. You can't just simply dismiss them as "illegal and unconstitutional" because that is exactly what we are debating - whether they are consistent with Constitution and those who shaped it originally. The examples clearly dispel your assertion that the effort to remove God and religion from the public square is simply paranoia by the religious in America.

There is an effort ongoing in America to remove any reference to God or religion from the public area. And not just references to Christianity but all references to a Higher Power. That effort is not consistent with the statements of many of the Founders. Remember, the Ten Commandments originated from Judaism. "Under God" in the Pledge does not specify a specific God or religion. I am not even convinced that the Founders would oppose a cross or Nativity scene on public property so long as it did not promote a particular sect of Christianity.
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Old 09-16-2008, 07:23 AM
 
878 posts, read 1,845,775 times
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Originally Posted by Pandamonium View Post
Our forefathers did not wish for a mingling of religion and state in any way shape or form.
Our forefathers did not intend for the Bill of Rights to apply to the states individually.
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Old 09-16-2008, 08:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jps-teacher View Post
Unfortunately, this is an instance in which I believe it has nothing to do with respect and everything to do with paying lip service to respect. The fact that the winter break is centered on the Federal holiday of Christmas and the Christian New Year is not changed by calling it Winter Break. Nobody is fooled.
I don't think anyone expects to fool people. Exactly 100 days to go until Xmas as of today, and I don't think it's going to sneak past anybody regardless of what public schools might do. The issue is the use by a state agency of official names that cannot help but be seen as favoring a chosen religion over all those not chosen. Winter Break is as useful a name as Xmas Break without the excess baggage. Same for Spring Break versus Easter Break. Neutral names are simply a sign of respect for the degree of religious diversity that exists in this country. There should be more such signs, not fewer.

The federal holiday of Xmas is meanwhile a lot younger than most people seem to think, and the holiday at all is not so traditional in this country either. The First Congress, for instance, was hard at work on Dec 25, 1789, pursuing the new nation's business. The holiday didn't come to be widely celebrated (by other than drunken fighting and rioting) until well into the 19th century, fed in not insignificant part by entirely fictional literary accounts of the holiday penned by such as Washington Irving, Clement Moore, and Charles Dickens. The federal holiday itself was not established until 1870, and even then was only for federal employees in Washington DC. Federal workers elsewhere didn't get it until 1885. The holiday as we know it today was first born in the corporate consumerism of the 1920's, but didn't really take off until after WWII.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jps-teacher View Post
He's right on this one. In the process of folding the flags, historically there has been an explanation of what each of the 13 folds they make symbolize. The explanation is strongly Christian, though there are some adjustments made for the Judaic soldiers. This explanation has been banned as of a couple months ago, if I am not mistaken. I think the ban was wrong, just as I thought the practice without regard to the individual was wrong, as well.
The ban is new information. Thanks for the tip-off. Upon looking into it, I see reports that as of Oct 30, the VA had overruled the NCA, allowing the flag-folding recitation for any family that requests it. Funerals are intensely personal moments for families, and up to the point of their becoming outlandish, it would seem perfectly proper for the state to accede to the wishes of families in such matters to the maximum extent practicable. It would not have seemed perfectly proper to have compelled such a recitation onto any family that didn't want it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jps-teacher View Post
Having heard that after school in high school when a student chose not to participate in a 'voluntary' prayer session the coach held before a football game, I can no longer "just go along" with the practice. Lives are at stake.
I would agree with this and with the paragraphs that preceded it in that far too many members of the majority religion take their majority status as some sort of special license to presume, to exploit, and to self-aggrandize. Such license is not granted, and the courts have almost universally agreed on that score. At the same time, there is legitimate expression of religion in public that needs to be protected along with all other such expressions in public. It may seem like a fine line, but in most cases at least, it is not such a difficult one to draw.
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Old 09-16-2008, 08:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niners fan View Post
The effort to remove God and religion from the public square is exactly at the heart of the examples I cited and you verified. You can't just simply dismiss them as "illegal and unconstitutional" because that is exactly what we are debating - whether they are consistent with Constitution and those who shaped it originally. The examples clearly dispel your assertion that the effort to remove God and religion from the public square is simply paranoia by the religious in America.

There is an effort ongoing in America to remove any reference to God or religion from the public area. And not just references to Christianity but all references to a Higher Power. That effort is not consistent with the statements of many of the Founders. Remember, the Ten Commandments originated from Judaism. "Under God" in the Pledge does not specify a specific God or religion. I am not even convinced that the Founders would oppose a cross or Nativity scene on public property so long as it did not promote a particular sect of Christianity.
The sources given by Pandamonium would seem to disagree with your stance to more than a little extent about what some of the founding fathers would or would not have wanted, Niners fan, but I'm afraid I don't find that compelling in two different parts of your stance.

There is an effort to remove state endorsement of a particular religious perspective.

If you said that, I would agree with you in a heart beat. But that is not your stance - you're talking about removal of "God and religion from the public square." The term is vague enough, even in the agora sense of the term, but surely the courts which are assigned to uphold the constitution are not an appropriate place in which to put a religious icon.

And, even so, a public square? I don't believe a court house lobby qualifies - and if anything, the judge's efforts would lend it to my making the argument - just as accurately - that there is an ongoing organized effort to put Christian values "in the public square" against the laws of the land.

Incongruously, to me, you said "Remember, the Ten Commandments originated from Judaism." Why would that somehow make them more acceptable?! Is state endorsed religious belief somehow better if the state endorses TWO religions or one smaller one? I really don't get your point with that line.

The giant cross... Again, this is not an instance of the public square. The public eye? To be sure. Every public eye had to see it! What is it that you find desirable in a city's forcing everybody to look at this massive religious icon?

Now, if you had talked about the removal of creches from town commons, I would have to agree with you that those are instances of "public squares."

But, Niners fan, there is an important distinction you are missing here. Vital!

This is not an effort to remove reference to God from the public square. This is an effort to remove reference to God BY the public square.

You make, yourself, an incredibly important point that runs counter to the rest of what I have understood you to be saying - which probably reflects more on my understanding than your point, I suppose.

"And not just references to Christianity but all references to a Higher Power."

It's not about Christianity, Niners fan, or Christianity and Judaism being stricken from our lives. It is about removal of the appearance of state endorsement of a particular religious perspective.

Whether that perspective is Christian, Zoroastrian, or Flying Spaghetti Monsteristic, it has no place in governmental practice.

Now, back to the public square...

I can go to downtown (town name removed for privacy) and pray. Nobody will stop me from praying on the common. Had I children and they went to the public schools, upon their being given a test they had not prepared adequately for, they would be permitted to pray without molestation. If they cross themselves as they step up to the plate or point skywards as they cross homeplate upon hitting a homerun, while the folks who know them might wonder, as they would be a) Jewish by background, not Christian, and b) not particularly observant, nobody would cry out to them "You can't celebrate your deity while playing Baseball! There's no God in Baseball!"

As I drive along the streets, some towns have signs designating directions to the local houses of worship and some do not. The ones that do not tend also not to have signs telling you how to get to colleges, and the ones that do, do. Temple Street exists, and Church Street. I confess to never having seen Yah Way, though I know in Boston for years, Burger King promoted Him.

God is welcome in the Public Square. So is Yahweh and (to a lesser extent these days, unfortunately) Allah. Budda and Brahman. Loki and Coyote. Chthulu and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Bring the Goddess and the Green Man. Bring whatever pantheon you wish.

But do not ask the town fathers to erect a monument in their names, or to place their religious symbols there for the townspeople to see during the celebration of their most holy festival of anything. Welcome does not and cannot equal invited or endorsed.

Final point:
Earlier in this post, I noted that there is an effort to put God into the public square, a consistent effort to do so. There is also an active effort to prevent other religions from gaining a foothold. Not just in the public square but even with regard to private institutions.

When other religions win a privilege that has previously been the sole domain of Christianity, there can be outcry against such a thing.

It is not enough for some that their religion be codified into the law in some regards and broadly accepted in other regards - to actively seek to gain those same benefits, even in small measure, for another religious group feels threatening.

This is the problem with apparent endorsement of religion - it builds a sense of entitlement that leads to resentment in both directions; it builds a sense of exclusivity that creates outcasts and division.

There are countries with a state religion - one is just to the north of this one - but the United States is not one of them, nor should it seek to be.
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Old 09-16-2008, 09:02 AM
 
19,183 posts, read 27,734,523 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niners fan View Post
I can't make my case any better than you just did. The effort to remove God and religion from the public square is exactly at the heart of the examples I cited and you verified. You can't just simply dismiss them as "illegal and unconstitutional" because that is exactly what we are debating - whether they are consistent with Constitution and those who shaped it originally.
What you want is a do-over. The entirely plain and oft-stated intent of the founders to establish religion as matter of individual conscience has not worked out over the years in the way that you would prefer, so you would have us erase the board and simply start over. How many church-state cases will you declare wrongly decided on this march to a new order? What percentage of all church-state cases is that? Where will you in the end establish religious autonomy if not with the individual?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Niners fan View Post
The examples clearly dispel your assertion that the effort to remove God and religion from the public square is simply paranoia by the religious in America.
The examples clearly establish that despite well-known and long-settled law on the matter, zealots will stampede over the religious rights of others if not restrained from such actions. It is the idea that compelling zealots to comply with established law somehow represents discrimination against zealots that is absurd. This is discrimination in the same sense that anti-theft devices are discrimination against thieves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Niners fan View Post
There is an effort ongoing in America to remove any reference to God or religion from the public area.
There is not. There is only an effort to protect and defend the religious rights of all against those who would joyfully trespass upon them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Niners fan View Post
And not just references to Christianity but all references to a Higher Power.
The unwarranted and illegal actions of religious zealots are indeed universally to be opposed. Such abuse is to be tolerated from no sect of any sort.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Niners fan View Post
That effort is not consistent with the statements of many of the Founders. Remember, the Ten Commandments originated from Judaism. "Under God" in the Pledge does not specify a specific God or religion. I am not even convinced that the Founders would oppose a cross or Nativity scene on public property so long as it did not promote a particular sect of Christianity.
There was significant borrowing in the development of the Ten Commandments, an enumeration which offers nothing that would have been seen as new in secular societies stretching back centuries from that time. Name any religion other than Christianity that names its deity "God" and spells it that way. The founders were extremely reluctant to see one penny of the taxes of one man put toward the religion of another, your lack of conviction on the matter notwithstanding.

Last edited by saganista; 09-16-2008 at 09:24 AM..
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Old 09-16-2008, 09:17 AM
 
19,183 posts, read 27,734,523 times
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Originally Posted by zman0 View Post
Our forefathers did not intend for the Bill of Rights to apply to the states individually.
They were creating a national government. Sovereign state governments were already in existence. The operations of these were not the topic of discussion among the founders in 1787, though the principles that they would have seen founded within their respective states are clear enough from their various writings when addressing such matters. A perhaps interesting list of some of those was presented earlier in the thread.

Though it typically is not, meanwhile, the history of the United States could as well be taught as that of the First Republic (the Revolution through the Civil War) followed by that of the Second Republic (post Civil War to date). The actual moment of demarcation between these two came on July 9, 1868, with ratification of the 14th Amendment. What were the original intents of those forefathers of ours who authored that amendment? What are the implications of those intents for those of us alive today?
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Old 09-16-2008, 09:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jps-teacher View Post
There are countries with a state religion - one is just to the north of this one - but the United States is not one of them, nor should it seek to be.
Kudos. That's a fine post. Covers the relevant issues in a logical and eloquent manner. Maybe there'd be a spot for you on the 9th Circuit the next time one opens up...
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Old 09-16-2008, 09:42 AM
 
2,180 posts, read 3,186,564 times
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Originally Posted by saganista View Post
Name any religion other than Christianity that names its deity "God" and spells it that way.
The Jews, when writing in English, often refer to JHVH as God, though I grant that some have taken on G-d as a way to avoid the naming of Him.

"In the Beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth, and the Earth was without form and void."
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Old 09-16-2008, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Boise, ID
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jps-teacher View Post
The sources given by Pandamonium would seem to disagree with your stance to more than a little extent about what some of the founding fathers would or would not have wanted, Niners fan, but I'm afraid I don't find that compelling in two different parts of your stance.
I think you are taking my separation of Church and State too broadly. My perusal of the links by Pandamonium didn't find anything that contradicted my position. I maintain that many of the Founders did not intend to see the purging of any reference to Deity from public property. For instance, just because Madison rightly opposed the establishment of a Christian school sponsored by the government ( Amendment I (Religion): James Madison, Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments ) doesn't mean that he would support some of the efforts that I cited previously. If there is a quote in any of the links from Pandamonium that supports the belief that government has no business referencing God or that any reference to Him is inappropriate on public property then I would like to see it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jps-teacher View Post
Incongruously, to me, you said "Remember, the Ten Commandments originated from Judaism." Why would that somehow make them more acceptable?! Is state endorsed religious belief somehow better if the state endorses TWO religions or one smaller one? I really don't get your point with that line.
I was merely pointing out that not all references to religion on public property are Christian.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jps-teacher View Post
But, Niners fan, there is an important distinction you are missing here. Vital!

This is not an effort to remove reference to God from the public square. This is an effort to remove reference to God BY the public square.

You make, yourself, an incredibly important point that runs counter to the rest of what I have understood you to be saying - which probably reflects more on my understanding than your point, I suppose.

"And not just references to Christianity but all references to a Higher Power."

It's not about Christianity, Niners fan, or Christianity and Judaism being stricken from our lives. It is about removal of the appearance of state endorsement of a particular religious perspective.

Whether that perspective is Christian, Zoroastrian, or Flying Spaghetti Monsteristic, it has no place in governmental practice.
I see your point but I believe the attempt to remove God BY or FROM the public square is not simply an effort to remove references to Christianity but rather an effort to remove references to the belief that there is a God. That is evidenced by the efforts against "under God" in the pledge and the removal of the God from the National Cemetery ceremony. (The restoration of the ceremony, if chosen by the soldier's family, is irrelevant here because I am arguing the case for the efforts to remove God.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jps-teacher View Post
Now, back to the public square...

I can go to downtown (town name removed for privacy) and pray. Nobody will stop me from praying on the common. Had I children and they went to the public schools, upon their being given a test they had not prepared adequately for, they would be permitted to pray without molestation. If they cross themselves as they step up to the plate or point skywards as they cross homeplate upon hitting a homerun, while the folks who know them might wonder, as they would be a) Jewish by background, not Christian, and b) not particularly observant, nobody would cry out to them "You can't celebrate your deity while playing Baseball! There's no God in Baseball!"
I imagine we are all in agreement here.

By the way, you are much too well-reasoned for the 9th circuit!
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