Seperation of Church and State

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  1. Seperation of Church and State


    Here is an excellent article that i thought could kick off the discussion:

    Separation of Church and State

    NOT SEPARATION OF GOD FROM STATE


    by Fr. Bill McCarthy, MSA

    Our Founding Fathers


    Our Founding Fathers set this great nation of ours upon the twin towers of religion and morality. Our first president, George Washington, said that anyone who would attack these twin towers could not possibly consider themselves to be a loyal American. Not only did they set us up as a nation under God, but a nation founded upon the Judaic-Christian principles summarized in the words, "The laws of nature and the laws of nature’s God," words that we find in the Declaration of Independence.


    Never Intended to Separate State from God or from Religion or from Prayer

    The First Amendment never intended to separate Christian principles from government. yet today we so often heart the First Amendment couples with the phrase "separation of church and state." The First Amendment simply states:


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


    Obviously, the words "separation," "church," or "state" are not found in the First Amendment; furthermore, that phrase appears in no founding document.


    While most recognize the phrase "separation of church and state," few know its source; but it is important to understand the origins of that phrase. What is the history of the First Amendment?


    The process of drafting the First Amendment made the intent of the Founders abundantly clear; for before they approved the final wording, the First Amendment went through nearly a dozen different iterations and extensive discussions.


    Those discussions—recorded in the Congressional Records from June 7 through September 25 of 1789—make clear their intent for the First Amendment. By it, the Founders were saying: "We do not want in America what we had in Great Britain: we don’t want one denomination running the nation. We will not all be Catholics, or Anglicans, or any other single denomination. We do want God’s principles, but we don’t want one denomination running the nation."


    This intent was well understood, as evidenced by court rulings after the First Amendment. For example, a 1799 court declared:


    "By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed on the same equal footing."


    Again, note the emphasis: "We do want Christian principles—we do want God’s principles—but we don’t want one denomination to run the nation."


    In 1801, the Danbury Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut, heard a rumor that the Congregationalist denomination was about to be made the national denomination. That rumor distressed the Danbury Baptists, as it should have. Consequently, the fired off a litter to President Thomas Jefferson voicing their concern. On January 1, 1802, Jefferson wrote the Danbury Baptists, assuring them that "the First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state."


    His letter explained that they need not fear the establishment of a national denomination—and that while the wall of the First Amendment would protect the church from government control—there always would be open and free religious expression of all orthodox religious practices, for true religious expression of all orthodox religious practices, for true religious duties would never threaten the purpose of government. The government would interfere with a religious activity was a direct menace to the government or to the overall peace and good order of society. (Later Supreme Court identified potential "religious" activities in which the government might interfere: things like human sacrifice, bigamy or polygamy, the advocation of immorality or licentiousness, etc. If any of these activities were to occur in the name of "religion," then the government would interfere, for these were activities which threaten public peace and safety; but with orthodox religious practices, the government would not interfere).


    Today, all that is heard of Jefferson’s letter is the phrase, "a wall of separation between church and state," without either the context, or the explanation given in the letter, or its application by earlier courts. The clear understanding of the First Amendment for a century-and-a-half was that it prohibited the establishment of a single national denomination. National policies and rulings in that century-and-a-half always reflected that interpretation.


    For example, in 1853, a group petitioned Congress to separate Christian principles from government. They desired a so-called "separation of church and state" with chaplains being turned out of the congress, the military, etc. Their petition was referred to the House and the Senate Judiciary Committees, which investigated for almost a year to see if it would be possible to separate Christian principles from government.


    Both the House and the Senate Judiciary Committees returned with their reports. The following are excerpts from the House report delivered on Mary 27, 1854 (the Senate report was very similar):


    "Had the people [the Founding Fathers], during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution and the amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged, but not any one sect [denomination]…. In this age, there is no substitute for Christianity…. That was the religion of the founders of the republic, and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants."


    Two months later, the Judiciary Committee made this strong declaration:


    "The great, vital, and conservative element in our system [the thing that holds our system together] is the believe of our people in the pure doctrines and divine truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."


    The Committees explained that they would not separate these principles, for it was these principles and activities which had made us so successful—they had been our foundation, our basis.


    During the 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s, yet another group which challenged specific Christian principles in government arrived before the Supreme Court. Jefferson’s letter had remained unused for years, for as time had progressed after its use in 1802—and after no national denomination had been established—his letter had fallen into obscurity. But now—75 years later—in the case Reynolds v. United States, the plaintiffs resurrected Jefferson’s letter, hope to use it to their advantage.


    In that case, the Court printed an lengthy segment of Jefferson’s letter and then used his letter on "separation of church and state" to again prove that it was permissible to maintain Christian values, principles, and practices in official policy. For the next 15 years during that legal controversy, the Supreme Court utilized Jefferson’s letter to ensure that Christian principles remained a part of government.


    Following this controversy, Jefferson’s letter again fell into disuse. It then remained silent for the next 70 years until 1947, when, in Everson v. Board of Education, the Court, for the first time, did not cite Jefferson’s entire letter, but selected only eight words from it. The Court now announced:


    "The First Amendment has erected ‘a wall of separation between church and state.’ That wall must be kept high and impregnable."


    This was a new philosophy for the Court. Why would the Court take Jefferson’s letter completely out of context and cite only eight of its words? Dr. William James, the Father of modern Psychology—and a strong opponent of religious principles in government and education—perhaps explained the Court’s new strategy when he stated:


    "There is nothing so absurd but if you repeat it often enough people will believe it."


    This statement precisely describes the tact utilized by the Court in the years following its 1947 announcement. The Court began regularly to speak of a "separation of church and state," broadly explaining that, "This is what the Founders wanted—separation of church and state. This is their great intent." The Court failed to quote the Founders; it just generically asserted that this is what the Founders wanted.


    The courts continued on this track so steadily that, in 1958, in a case called Baer v. Kolmorgen, one of the judges was tired of hearing the phrase and wrote a dissent warning that if the court did not stop talking about the "separation of church and state," people were going to start thinking it was part of the Constitution. That warning was in 1958!


    Nevertheless, the Court continued to talk about separation until June 25th, 1962, when, in the case Engle v. Vitale, the Court delivered the first ever ruling which completely separated Christian principles from education.


    Secular Humanism

    With that case, a whole new trend was established and secular humanism became the religion of America. In 1992 the Supreme Court stated the unthinkable. "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. In 1997, 40 prominent Catholic and Protestant scholars wrote a position paper entitled, "We Hold These Truths," in which they stated, "This is the very antithesis of the ordered liberty affirmed by the Founders. Liberty in this debased sense is utterly disengaged from the concept of responsibility and community and is pitted against the ‘laws of nature and the laws of nature’s God. Such liberty degenerates into license and throws into question the very possibility of the rule of law itself.


  2. Quote Originally Posted by goldylight
    Obviously, the words "separation," "church," or "state" are not found in the First Amendment; furthermore, that phrase appears in no founding document.
    but look at a document where these words CAN be found:

    The Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
    (The Former Soviet Union)
    Adopted October 7, 1977

    Article 52 [Religion]
    (1) Citizens of the USSR are guaranteed freedom of conscience, that is, the right to profess or not to profess any religion, and to conduct religious worship or atheistic propaganda. Incitement of hostility or hatred on religious grounds is prohibited.
    (2) In the USSR, the church is separated from the state, and the school from the church.
    •   
       


  3. either way; you cant have freedom of religion when you have a 'church' as part of the state; those beliefs WILL be handed down in law... you cant deny man's imperfection

    frankly i get a bad taste in my mouth from religion; christianity and islam in particular; "warring" or "going to war" over religious differences is one of the stupidest things i've ever heard of... 'jihad' this and 'jihad' that... its all bull****; and not just islam... the spanish 'cleansing' of the americas in the 16th and 17th centuries is even worse than the holocaust

  4. But the church isn't part of the state today. No one today is really persecuted for their religious beliefs.(unless your a white Christian or catholic.)
    "Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
    It can't get much clearer than that they don't want government infringing on religions.
    those beliefs WILL be handed down in law... you cant deny man's imperfection
    well that's basically what laws are aren't they? Laws are what is morally acceptable in society. If you break the moral norms then you get punished.However, no one in the US is put in jail because of their religious beliefs for the most part.If you were correct that wouldn't be the case.
    In the USSR, the church is separated from the state, and the school from the church.
    This is because the communist/ socialist/ democrats don't believe or want anyone to believe in anything other than government. In their eyes government is god.

  5. Very thought out pieces, goldy & vanilla; thought there were only lik 5-10 people that knew this info (www.wallbuilders.com is where I learned about this -- very informative historical research)
    •   
       


  6. Certain aspects that exist in the USA today show a movement towards socialism.

  7. Quote Originally Posted by size
    Certain aspects that exist in the USA today show a movement towards socialism.
    Michael Moore followers and the like

  8. Not a fan of Michael Moore or gun control for that matter. But some of those militia guys( in the movie Bowling for Columbine) scared me.

  9. Hey Goldy-beat me to it. I will post some of my thoughts hopefullt today when I get a chance, but you hit on nearly eveything.

  10. Quote Originally Posted by labrad
    Not a fan of Michael Moore or gun control for that matter. But some of those militia guys( in the movie Bowling for Columbine) scared me.
    Not a fan of gun control? Go figure...

    Perhaps if the topic is ever addressed, I'd love to know your thoughts on the main question asked int he film - why do Americans kill more people with guns than any other country?

    We'll save this for another topic as to not hijack this thread

    A

  11. Quote Originally Posted by size
    Certain aspects that exist in the USA today show a movement towards socialism.
    You could say that again and agian and again

  12. Note: this is going to ramble quote a bit as I have been writing it in the middle if servicing clients (insurance) and trying to tune out a gossipy coworker that will not shut up.

    Why have I chosen to voice my views about the separation of church and state? Because I believe that this topic has become one of the most twisted, misused, and misunderstood “actions” in this country’s history.

    As a person of faith, I am distraught over the repercussions of this issue.

    • The high school I graduated from in 1997 has been pushing the FCA (fellowship of Christian athletes) out of the school, while instituting fully sponsored and endorsed gay and lesbian support groups.
    • Students in public schools who pray openly before meals are asked to leave the cafeteria or stop praying.
    • A young girl’s art project was destroyed and she was sent home in tears because she was making a clay replica of Noah’s Ark.
    • The word “Christmas” has virtually been outlawed in public schools, as have most Christmas songs such as “Silent Night” that have even a hint of Christian lyrics.
    • The “Golden Rule” can no longer be displayed, nor virtually anything referencing a Judeo-Christian God.

    All of this and much, much more has been done all stemming from the separation of church and state. Judges have taken it and ran. The liberal media has ran even further. The question is, is this what was intended by our founding fathers? Certainly it must be. Is not the separation of church and state explically stated in the first admendment? Let’s take a look and see.

    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.

    Obviusly, anyone with a sixth-grade education can plainly see that our founding fathers did not have, or want the speration of church and state as it is, and is enforced as today. What our forefathers did not want was a denomination set up and ran by the government. Consider what Thomas Jefferson, who many believe wanted the form of separation we have today, had to say on the subject: [T]he clause of the Constitution which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity through the United States; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians and Congregationalists. The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes and they believe that any portion of power confided to me will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly.

    So wait, you are telling me that Thomas Jefferson, the so-called father of speration of Chruch and state did not want what we have today? NO!! He did not. What he did want, what all of the founding fathers wanted, what this country was built on, is freedom of religion. The ability for man to practice his faith when he wants, where he wants without any government (read state) institution prohibiting him to do so. I consider the government of the United States as interdicted [prohibited] by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions . . . or exercises.
    How have we strayed so far? How has something that was set up to protect the religious liberty of man turned against him as a tool limiting and stifling this religious freedom?

    Time and time again I have heard that our founding fathers set up a secular country. Nothing could be further from the truth! The vast majority of the men who signed the constitution, the bill of rights, and the decleration of Independence held degrees in divinity or ministry studies. More still held fast to strong Judeo-Christian beliefs and morals. To say that our country was founded on anything else that Christain values is to deny our heritage. During Thanksgiving, who do you think the Pilgrims were giving thanks to? Not Mother Earth, that’s for sure. Now, along with Christmas, we must deny the historical facts that our second largest holiday is also based on religion, all because of separation of church and state.

    How can secular men write something like this?

    WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness –

    Seperation of Church and State? How we have strayed so far.

    Do we know what the first official act of Congress was? It was the printing of some 4,000 Bibles for distribution among Native Americans. Does that sound like what we have now?

    We have turned this country into a country founded by godly, faith driven men on the principle of freedom of religion into a country where its citizens are shoving God out of every public place conceivable. All in the name of separation of church and state. Is it any wonder that our morals as a country and our society woes has dropped so far?

    We drove God out of our schools, out of our courts, out of everything. Yet we still have the audacity to ask “Where was God? Why did He let this happen?” when 9-11 hit. How can America expect to be blessed by God when we have told him to get out? All in the name of separation of church and state. All in error in what our forefathers really intended. All in error of what our country was founded on.

  13. Quote Originally Posted by custom
    Note: this is going to ramble quote a bit as I have been writing it in the middle if servicing clients (insurance) and trying to tune out a gossipy coworker that will not shut up.

    Why have I chosen to voice my views about the separation of church and state? Because I believe that this topic has become one of the most twisted, misused, and misunderstood “actions” in this country’s history.

    As a person of faith, I am distraught over the repercussions of this issue.

    • The high school I graduated from in 1997 has been pushing the FCA (fellowship of Christian athletes) out of the school, while instituting fully sponsored and endorsed gay and lesbian support groups.
    • Students in public schools who pray openly before meals are asked to leave the cafeteria or stop praying.
    • A young girl’s art project was destroyed and she was sent home in tears because she was making a clay replica of Noah’s Ark.
    • The word “Christmas” has virtually been outlawed in public schools, as have most Christmas songs such as “Silent Night” that have even a hint of Christian lyrics.
    • The “Golden Rule” can no longer be displayed, nor virtually anything referencing a Judeo-Christian God.

    All of this and much, much more has been done all stemming from the separation of church and state. Judges have taken it and ran. The liberal media has ran even further. The question is, is this what was intended by our founding fathers? Certainly it must be. Is not the separation of church and state explically stated in the first admendment? Let’s take a look and see.

    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.

    Obviusly, anyone with a sixth-grade education can plainly see that our founding fathers did not have, or want the speration of church and state as it is, and is enforced as today. What our forefathers did not want was a denomination set up and ran by the government. Consider what Thomas Jefferson, who many believe wanted the form of separation we have today, had to say on the subject: [T]he clause of the Constitution which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity through the United States; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians and Congregationalists. The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes and they believe that any portion of power confided to me will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly.

    So wait, you are telling me that Thomas Jefferson, the so-called father of speration of Chruch and state did not want what we have today? NO!! He did not. What he did want, what all of the founding fathers wanted, what this country was built on, is freedom of religion. The ability for man to practice his faith when he wants, where he wants without any government (read state) institution prohibiting him to do so. I consider the government of the United States as interdicted [prohibited] by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions . . . or exercises.
    How have we strayed so far? How has something that was set up to protect the religious liberty of man turned against him as a tool limiting and stifling this religious freedom?

    Time and time again I have heard that our founding fathers set up a secular country. Nothing could be further from the truth! The vast majority of the men who signed the constitution, the bill of rights, and the decleration of Independence held degrees in divinity or ministry studies. More still held fast to strong Judeo-Christian beliefs and morals. To say that our country was founded on anything else that Christain values is to deny our heritage. During Thanksgiving, who do you think the Pilgrims were giving thanks to? Not Mother Earth, that’s for sure. Now, along with Christmas, we must deny the historical facts that our second largest holiday is also based on religion, all because of separation of church and state.

    How can secular men write something like this?

    WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness –

    Seperation of Church and State? How we have strayed so far.

    Do we know what the first official act of Congress was? It was the printing of some 4,000 Bibles for distribution among Native Americans. Does that sound like what we have now?

    We have turned this country into a country founded by godly, faith driven men on the principle of freedom of religion into a country where its citizens are shoving God out of every public place conceivable. All in the name of separation of church and state. Is it any wonder that our morals as a country and our society woes has dropped so far?

    We drove God out of our schools, out of our courts, out of everything. Yet we still have the audacity to ask “Where was God? Why did He let this happen?” when 9-11 hit. How can America expect to be blessed by God when we have told him to get out? All in the name of separation of church and state. All in error in what our forefathers really intended. All in error of what our country was founded on.
    I'll only say one thing to this...

    Long gone are the days of one group preaching their beliefs, thoughts, rights and views of morality onto society as a whole.

    I do not believe in God. I know no religion but that of my own (self made heh) and I refuse to acknowledge another person, group or government telling ME how I should conduct my life and what I should believe in. I beleive the Church does this.

    I have a head and I have the ability to decide on my own what I believe in and how I will act.

    That's all. I respect you for having "found" God, I hope you do not disrespect me because I choose not to acknowedlge God's existance and what I believe.

    Peace.

    A

  14. Quote Originally Posted by size
    Certain aspects that exist in the USA today show a movement towards socialism.
    I agree... socialism is where liberals and/or most liberal democrats are leading this country to.

  15. Quote Originally Posted by houseman
    I'll only say one thing to this...


    I do not believe in God. I know no religion but that of my own (self made heh) and I refuse to acknowledge another person, group or government telling ME how I should conduct my life and what I should believe in. I beleive the Church does this.


    A
    I do not disrespect you, but you are kind of missing the point. The point is, our judicial system has taken something (the first admendment) and turned it into something it was never supposed to have been (seperation of church and state as it is now).

    The country as it was founded did what you wish; letting you do whatever spiritual beleifs you have. Now, one cannot exercise those let alone express or demonstrate them in a "state" setting. Quite different from what the plan was.

  16. Quote Originally Posted by custom
    I do not disrespect you, but you are kind of missing the point. The point is, our judicial system has taken something (the first admendment) and turned it into something it was never supposed to have been (seperation of church and state as it is now).

    The country as it was founded did what you wish; letting you do whatever spiritual beleifs you have. Now, one cannot exercise those let alone express or demonstrate them in a "state" setting. Quite different from what the plan was.
    nahh.. I understand you

    What I was getting at is when I was growing up and going to school I was forced to recite the lord's prayer each morning and listen to passages from the bible. I did not go to a Christian school. Regular old public school for me.

    At the time, I knew no better but as I grew up, I quickly determined that I was being force fed the beliefs of my government (belief in the Chruch) by trying to agument what my own thoughts might actually end up being.

    I am so anti-establishment anymore it's not funny and I hold my contempt squarely on the Government for allowing such acts to take place. If I was not force fed something.. maybe me views would not be as harsh as they seem to be today.

    LET people make a choice to accept God and the Chruch. Don't force it down the throats of people. That's all I am saying.

    You want to celebrate God and your religion? Awesome! Do it in your own home. Don't subject me to being forced to learn/accept the beliefs of another.

    Peace.

    A

  17. Quote Originally Posted by houseman
    I'll only say one thing to this...

    Long gone are the days of one group preaching their beliefs, thoughts, rights and views of morality onto society as a whole.

    I do not believe in God. I know no religion but that of my own (self made heh) and I refuse to acknowledge another person, group or government telling ME how I should conduct my life and what I should believe in. I beleive the Church does this.

    I have a head and I have the ability to decide on my own what I believe in and how I will act.

    That's all. I respect you for having "found" God, I hope you do not disrespect me because I choose not to acknowedlge God's existance and what I believe.

    Peace.

    A
    I respect you very much, especially for having the courage to say it; but life is about "rules" and laws. You cannot violate the laws of physics & chemistry without having consequences. There are rules for this board; if we get out of line, there are people to set us straight (I know about this one); There are laws in this country, and they are a result of somebody's morality finding credence in the form of a law. You are forced to do what you would not normally do, either because the consequences of such are undesireable, or you were "indoctrinated' from an early age to follow the path of least resistance. Either way, you were trained to do what you say you will not do.

    Atheism is recognized as a form of religion in this country, according to the Supreme court. That is cool and acceptable, but it is also a form of belief system. There have always been people who manipulate others to do their will, not God's will; one of the best ways to do it is to convince people who do not get their facts straight that something obviously unethical is actually "Biblical" (I.E. "God's will"). Hitler was an athiest, and a socialist, as well as a racist, but he recognized the value of religion to motivate the masses (like Saddam did). Most people consider themselves to be religious, but it is politically correct to say so; in reality, a great majority of Americans are lazy, self-gratifying morons that want to look better than what they are, because it takes less effort. These are the type of people who are easily swayed by emotion, because it is easier to go along with an emotional arguement than base it on fact.

    Just keep in mind that as an athiest, with your own belief systems, even if your beliefs are cut and dried (well thought out, as I'm sure they are), I can take your philosophy if I'm smart enough, and using the Hitler philosophy (If you tell something loud, long, and often enough, the people will believe it; the more absurd it is, the more likely it is to be believed) I can manipulate at LEAST a majority of your "believers" to do whatever my philosophy dictates (especially if it's controversial or borders on unethical).

    The fact is, that while in this age we all may need some form of your independence (we call it pride), thinking of yourself as being above all others militates against a properly run society. Your philosophy has just as much a tendency as religion to cause actual destruction to society (as it has countless times in history), because it is tailor-made for a "ends justifies means" philosophy that can rationalize any kind of atrocity.

    So lest you think that the easy way out is to not believe in a higher power (for whatever reason you have), your philosophy, while acceptable, is no less likely to engender peace and harmony than the "religion" you have so much trouble with. No, I don't think anyone on this board will berate you for your beliefs; I just believe there are a few misconceptions about how things work in this world (psychology, etc.) and take the easy, emotional way out, choosing to blame religion for some of life's most hidious atrocities, instead of maybe looking a bit deeper, and realizing pride, power, and greed in religion (or anything) is the basis for the wrong-doing in the first place. The value in religion lies in the "Golden" rule: Love your God w/ all your heart, soul, mind and strength (pride -- I am my own god -- can be a very destructive force; this is to counteract pride & power), and to love our neighbor as ourselves ( this solves alot of society's ilk, if we only did it -- it is, however, a continuing process, something we must fight all the time).

    Be careful with your philosophy, as I try to be as well; for as religion taken to its malevalent ends can be destructive, atheism and agnosticism are considered by many to be philosophies that are the corrupting influence behind the distorting and dangerous malady of religion gone bad (NOT the belief of no God, the belief that we are God). Religion does have a value in society, and I fear eliminating it would not be a good thing; you might look to acknowledge that, whether you believe it or not. Not saying it's wrong or trying to berate ya, just challenge ya. Sorry for the rant

  18. Quote Originally Posted by GIJoe
    I respect you very much, especially for having the courage to say it; but life is about "rules" and laws. You cannot violate the laws of physics & chemistry without having consequences. There are rules for this board; if we get out of line, there are people to set us straight (I know about this one); There are laws in this country, and they are a result of somebody's morality finding credence in the form of a law. You are forced to do what you would not normally do, either because the consequences of such are undesireable, or you were "indoctrinated' from an early age to follow the path of least resistance. Either way, you were trained to do what you say you will not do.

    Atheism is recognized as a form of religion in this country, according to the Supreme court. That is cool and acceptable, but it is also a form of belief system. There have always been people who manipulate others to do their will, not God's will; one of the best ways to do it is to convince people who do not get their facts straight that something obviously unethical is actually "Biblical" (I.E. "God's will"). Hitler was an athiest, and a socialist, as well as a racist, but he recognized the value of religion to motivate the masses (like Saddam did). Most people consider themselves to be religious, but it is politically correct to say so; in reality, a great majority of Americans are lazy, self-gratifying morons that want to look better than what they are, because it takes less effort. These are the type of people who are easily swayed by emotion, because it is easier to go along with an emotional arguement than base it on fact.

    Just keep in mind that as an athiest, with your own belief systems, even if your beliefs are cut and dried (well thought out, as I'm sure they are), I can take your philosophy if I'm smart enough, and using the Hitler philosophy (If you tell something loud, long, and often enough, the people will believe it; the more absurd it is, the more likely it is to be believed) I can manipulate at LEAST a majority of your "believers" to do whatever my philosophy dictates (especially if it's controversial or borders on unethical).

    The fact is, that while in this age we all may need some form of your independence (we call it pride), thinking of yourself as being above all others militates against a properly run society. Your philosophy has just as much a tendency as religion to cause actual destruction to society (as it has countless times in history), because it is tailor-made for a "ends justifies means" philosophy that can rationalize any kind of atrocity.

    So lest you think that the easy way out is to not believe in a higher power (for whatever reason you have), your philosophy, while acceptable, is no less likely to engender peace and harmony than the "religion" you have so much trouble with. No, I don't think anyone on this board will berate you for your beliefs; I just believe there are a few misconceptions about how things work in this world (psychology, etc.) and take the easy, emotional way out, choosing to blame religion for some of life's most hidious atrocities, instead of maybe looking a bit deeper, and realizing pride, power, and greed in religion (or anything) is the basis for the wrong-doing in the first place. The value in religion lies in the "Golden" rule: Love your God w/ all your heart, soul, mind and strength (pride -- I am my own god -- can be a very destructive force; this is to counteract pride & power), and to love our neighbor as ourselves ( this solves alot of society's ilk, if we only did it -- it is, however, a continuing process, something we must fight all the time).

    Be careful with teaching your philosophy w/o thinking it out completely, as I try to do as well; for as religion taken to its malevalent ends can be destructive, atheism and agnosticism are considered by many to be philosophies that are the corrupting influence behind the distorting and dangerous malady of religion gone bad (NOT the belief of no God, the belief that we are God). Religion does have a value in society, and I fear eliminating it would not be a good thing; you might look to acknowledge that, whether you believe it or not. Not saying it's wrong or trying to berate ya, just challenge ya. Sorry for the rant
    hey hey! Excellent reply.

    I won't go into a long winder affair to retort back but I will make light of something as why I don't follow a religion other than my own and what *I* believe to be right, wrong, good and decent.

    I have seen all too many people take the bible as the word of God. They take it literally and as an absolute. This is foolish. The Chruch teaches that the words of the bible as pure and devine.

    my problem isn't necassarily with religion, although I am a realist as well and find the "book" hard to beleive, however, my problem DOES lie with those people (there are many) who take the bible as absolute and fail to think fro themselves. They fail to use their own head and reasoning to evaluate what the bible (and God) is attempting say.. some actually beleive that the arc actually held two of each animal.

    This is very scary to me as we're not teaching individuality, we're not preaching thoughts of your own accord. We're teaching to follow. Jonestown anyone? Dividian <sp?> Ranch anyone?

    What also boggles my brain is that some of the most hanus, destructive and evil atrocities committed in this world we're done so in the name of religion. Seems crazy to me.

    A

  19. Quote Originally Posted by houseman
    What also boggles my brain is that some of the most hanus, destructive and evil atrocities committed in this world we're done so in the name of religion. Seems crazy to me.

    A
    Faith, in many, holds a greater importance than anything else. Therefore, when ones faith is attacked or threatened, individuals react in such a manner to protect their faith at any cost. When something is more important to you than anything else, one acts in strange ways to protect even though it may cost an individual his own life. Is this right? Too difficult for me to answer.
    Last edited by size; 02-19-2004 at 05:04 PM.

  20. Quote Originally Posted by houseman
    hey hey! Excellent reply.

    I won't go into a long winder affair to retort back but I will make light of something as why I don't follow a religion other than my own and what *I* believe to be right, wrong, good and decent.

    I have seen all too many people take the bible as the word of God. They take it literally and as an absolute. This is foolish. The Chruch teaches that the words of the bible as pure and devine.

    my problem isn't necassarily with religion, although I am a realist as well and find the "book" hard to beleive, however, my problem DOES lie with those people (there are many) who take the bible as absolute and fail to think fro themselves. They fail to use their own head and reasoning to evaluate what the bible (and God) is attempting say.. some actually beleive that the arc actually held two of each animal.

    This is very scary to me as we're not teaching individuality, we're not preaching thoughts of your own accord. We're teaching to follow. Jonestown anyone? Dividian <sp?> Ranch anyone?

    What also boggles my brain is that some of the most hanus, destructive and evil atrocities committed in this world we're done so in the name of religion. Seems crazy to me.

    A
    You make excellent points that are valid; this is a concern with true religious people as well, as it should be; but politics and pride in everything corrupts. I would argue that its not religion itself that caused these historical atrocities, but people with their own agendas doing their own thing in the name of "religion". The true basis of most religions is free will, and the ability to make your own decisions; it just comes down to what I base my decisions on, and not force my beliefs on others. Some people cannot believe something, however, without forcing it on someone else (I mean, right is right, right?). This is not a flaw in religion, but natural tendencies; it happens with everyone regardless of background. It is part of our psychological make-up. You are right, though, it is downright offensive at times.

  21. BTW, houseman, I would vote for you w/o 2nd thought, if you were honorable, responsible, and had a reputation for doing the right thing even when inconvenient (since you are anti-establishment, I would say you qualify), regardless of your philosophical leanings... as long as I knew you would consider my concerns based on their merits, and not disregard them either because I was "religious", or because they have a possible Christian basis.

    Vote for you in a second, bro

  22. Quote Originally Posted by GIJoe
    BTW, houseman, I would vote for you w/o 2nd thought, if you were honorable, responsible, and had a reputation for doing the right thing even when inconvenient (since you are anti-establishment, I would say you qualify), regardless of your philosophical leanings... as long as I knew you would consider my concerns based on their merits, and not disregard them either because I was "religious", or because they have a possible Christian basis.

    Vote for you in a second, bro
    LOL. Aww shucks *chuckles*

    As I've ALWAYS said... doing the right thing isn't always the popular thing. Courage of your convictions and knowing you're doing the right things for all and not select groups or individuals is key for me I guess.

    It's a good thing, perhaps, I live in Canada where we're a bit more tolerable, it seems, of those without a religious following. In other words.. I couldn't tell you if any of my politicians are religious people - they all equally suck

    A

  23. any reasonable man with a triple digit IQ should not have to be told why religion has no place in Government.

    even my children understand this basic concept.

  24. Quote Originally Posted by Milo Hobgoblin
    any reasonable man with a triple digit IQ should not have to be told why religion has no place in Government.

    even my children understand this basic concept.
    Are you offering a statement of fact or an opinion?

  25. Quote Originally Posted by Milo Hobgoblin
    any reasonable man with a triple digit IQ should not have to be told why religion has no place in Government.

    even my children understand this basic concept.
    Your children believe that likely because they were taught that; My girl was tested at 172 IQ, and she disagrees with you; back it with fact and it makes me more inclined to agree with you, if it makes sense. That statement resorts to name-calling, instead of addressing the issue; besides as I've already illustrated, 172 IQ qualifies as a moderately intelligent individual who says "no basis to your opinion" -- can you expound a bit?

  26. again... if it has to be explained... you simply do not understand the basic principles of government.


    but if it will make you happy.



    Government is an entity designed to deal with the absolutes in relation to the social and business interactions of men. How to regulate those interactions and how to deal with the repercussions when those interactions break down. Religion is not an absolute and by its DEFINITION relies upon FAITH. How do you design laws based upon a faith? upon a NON absolute.

    Religion has its own set of punishments to deal with failure... and with the SAME faith that you believe in your religion you MUST be bound to believe that those punishments will be handed out through the diety of that particular religion... if you DO NOT believe that then you arewnt exactly faithful, now are you?

    How do I tell you that your belief in the afterlife is wrong then attempt to write a law to that effect. How do I do that without infinging on someone elses belief ?

    Its a simple fact that no man or group of men could attempt such a task without guaranteed failure, It has ALWAYS failed and ALWAYS will.

    Let Government rule men... let religion rule their afterlife. This way works the best.

    Secular governments will ALWAYS provide the most freedom in terms of religion becuase IDEALLY they do not involve themselevs in such affairs.

    Because government is run by MEN... fallible men... NOT Dieties..

    Do you want MEN telling YOU how to be faithful.. how to practice your beliefs??

    Of course you dont.

  27. Quote Originally Posted by Milo Hobgoblin
    again... if it has to be explained... you simply do not understand the basic principles of government.


    but if it will make you happy.



    Government is an entity designed to deal with the absolutes in relation to the social and business interactions of men. How to regulate those interactions and how to deal with the repercussions when those interactions break down. Religion is not an absolute and by its DEFINITION relies upon FAITH. How do you design laws based upon a faith? upon a NON absolute.

    Religion has its own set of punishments to deal with failure... and with the SAME faith that you believe in your religion you MUST be bound to believe that those punishments will be handed out through the diety of that particular religion... if you DO NOT believe that then you arewnt exactly faithful, now are you?

    How do I tell you that your belief in the afterlife is wrong then attempt to write a law to that effect. How do I do that without infinging on someone elses belief ?

    Its a simple fact that no man or group of men could attempt such a task without guaranteed failure, It has ALWAYS failed and ALWAYS will.

    Let Government rule men... let religion rule their afterlife. This way works the best.

    Secular governments will ALWAYS provide the most freedom in terms of religion becuase IDEALLY they do not involve themselevs in such affairs.

    Because government is run by MEN... fallible men... NOT Dieties..

    Do you want MEN telling YOU how to be faithful.. how to practice your beliefs??

    Of course you dont.
    Unfortunately, it is government that got its absolutes from religion ("You shall not kill, you shall not covet, ,etc.), and you are good at understanding religion from your perspective, your viewpoint; but all you're proving is why there is hatred, animosity, and warring in this world, and it is ignorance to obvious facts. You base your whole thesis on fallacies and misunderstanding, instead of pulling yourself away from your philosophy, and studying the basis of laws, and how they relate to a person's moral and/or philosophical beliefs. Someone's filled your mind with mush, and you have to pull away and think for yourself.

    You are missing the entire point of this thread. Separation of church and state is to keep govornment out of religion, and to prevent any one religion from influencing the government as well. Read this entire thread again, this time pay attention to religion being more than just an archaic belief about things that happen after we are dead. Your own prejudice prevents you from comprehending, and there is nothing that can be said to you to convince you otherwise. You can call names if you want, but why don't you post your IQ, and I'll let you go at it with my girl... she's nice, but someone else's hostility and name-calling brings out the brilliant girl I know all too well.

    I'm sorry you base so much of your thesis on philosophy and your own personal experiences and prejudice -- you seem to think so hard that you're missing the simple points; this is a fantastic example of why we cannot get along in this country; think about people other than yourself.

  28. Did you read the first article in the thread???


    Not everyoine believes in God. Those people must also be governed by the same government that YOU do?

    Or do they not count? I AM thinking of EVERYONE including myself...

    its you who are failing to see the obvious.

    You cannot rule godless people with a government whom, at its core is baed upon religious principles and morales.

    It MUST be secular to be fair.

  29. Quote Originally Posted by Milo Hobgoblin
    Did you read the first article in the thread???


    Not everyoine believes in God. Those people must also be governed by the same government that YOU do?

    Or do they not count? I AM thinking of EVERYONE including myself...

    its you who are failing to see the obvious.

    You cannot rule godless people with a government whom, at its core is baed upon religious principles and morales.

    It MUST be secular to be fair.
    And all YOU have to do is just read the post you just wrote, and replace "God" with "law", and you just made my point. You're too caught up in yourself and your hatred and discrimination against religion and its advocates to even realize what you are saying... you have got a great number of us grinning from ear to ear.

    I still respect your opinion, but I don't see that you respect others with what has been stated in this thread. Law brings order to the lawless. You are too caught up in proving you are different and therefore better (by implying that you and your kids are the smart ones on this) to see value in religion in making laws (where do you think laws come from?). If all you can see is bad in everything except with people who agree with you, can you see how harmful that thought process is? That's what we're trying to get away from in this country.

  30. you are looking way to far into my post.

    ALL im saying is that religion has NO place in government.


    How can a godless man feel equal in a courtroom where is is asked to swear on a bible... where the ten comandments are printed in stone on the wall... where "in god we trust" is on every bit of currency?

    How can that man not feel that he will be considered lesser when his basic morale character is questioned by the same men whogovern him because they are "men of god"?

    FREEDOM of RELIGION must ALSO INCLUDE FREEDOM *FROM* RELIGION. Yet you deny people that freedom when god has a place in government.


    this has NOTHING to do with hate and everything to do with equality.

    But if there were true eqaulity the religions like Christianity would lose their power to control men and their thoughts and actions.

    Men would TRULY be free.
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