Separation of Church and State - Page 2




 
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Separation of Church and State
 
June 1st, 2005  
Darcia
 
Separation of Church and State
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doody
The founding fathers never meant for religion to be banned from government like it is today. Remember, back in the day, there was only one church you could be a part of, the Church of England. That is why people came to America, to practice freedom of religion.

I have read enough US history books to know that congress honored religion and God during the Revolutionary War. There was one time where congress took a day off so that everyone could "pray for the cause." Also, the only time congress ever met on suday was for "emergency sessions." George Washington was a devout believer like almost all the Fouding Fathers. But todays high school text books totally leave out religion in our history.

I believe that freedom of religion meant that the government could not force you into one religion or the other. In my opinion, having the 10 commandments on courthouse property, praying at a high school graduation, or saying the predge of allegence does not force anyone into a religion. Go to Africa, Asia of the Middle East and you will really see freedom of religion at work...yes I am being a sarcastic SOB. This be a touchy issue for me.

SGT Doody
Man You Are good. Couldn't have said it any better.


Also remember that at the Supreme Court the Ten Commandments appears like 5 times. The Founding Fathers all had some sense of a higher being whether God,or Jesus Christ. In Fact If you read Thomas Jefferson's Bible ,nicly titeled the Jefferson Bible, it shows what alot of people in America believed back then.
June 2nd, 2005  
behemoth79
 
 
well it looks like people are agreeing with me. i was looking for a good argument. this is probably the wrong forum for that.
June 2nd, 2005  
gladius
 
I'm going to have to agree with you too, to a point.

The founding fathers were deeply religious men, they simply didn't want a state church, or a church to control the state, but they never even imagined that their statement would be taken as far as it is today.

Virtualy every aspect of the USA's founding was modeled after Biblical priciples. As per the example you showed:
For the LORD is my judge (judicial branch)
The LORD is my lawgiver (legislative branch)
The LORD is my king (executive branch)
(Isaiah 33:22 NIV)


They were smart guys with lots of wisdom, I believe they also saw Christianity as the conerstone and stabilizing factor of Western Civilization. They simply didn't wan't a situation like the Church of England, or the Catholic Church in parts of Europe where the Pope was a king unto himself. They sought to avoid the danger of this extreme, however they probably never imagined the other opposite extreme that it has been taken today. Taking it to this other extreme of completely disregarding these conerstone Christian beliefs also leads to another danger, one which they probably knew but never expected, which is the decline and or fall of Western Civilization. Its already happening in Europe, slowly, but its happening.

I agree that there should never be any state run, controlled or enforced religion. However, the state and our politicians should recognize that religion and Christianity in particular is a stabilizing force in Western Civilization, and should be guided by these principals and should once in a while acknowledge it as such, but they should never be dictated by religious leaders on what to do.
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Separation of Church and State
June 2nd, 2005  
Whispering Death
 
 
I hate to call you to task Behemoth but you are WAAAAY off base on this one.

To understand the founding fathers you have to understand the 'American enlightenment mindset' that these men engaged in. All our freedoms and laws come from what they considered "natural law" or trying to get back to a 'pure' state of natural humanity, uncluttered by such things as monarchy or ORGANIZED RELIGION. Take note, organized religion is something they considered to be a negative on humankind. Many where professed deists and most that belonged to an official church where deists in philosophy. What is a deist you ask? It is someone who believes in a "watchmaker" god, basically that there is a god but he just made the watch and turned it on, letting the thing run on its own. So practically they said that god made the universe and then basically left to do something else, leaving it to run on its own, naturally.

The desit philosophy on religion omited all miracles, the bible as edited by Thomas Jefferson is the bible with all that crap about healing the sick, making men out of clay, noah and his arc, etc. etc. etc. all edited out because, generally, the founding fathers believed all that kind of stuff was just put in to get people to follow a religion and once lots of people are following under the rule of someone else that becomes 'unnatural' and once again we come back to trying to get back to the 'natural state of humanity' which is freedom but from a few basic societal constraints.

Now I will add that there are variations all over the place as one would expect to draw one single truth from the opinions of hundreds or thousands of intellectuals, but by and large this is the basic philosophy that our founding fathers generally believed in.
June 2nd, 2005  
Whispering Death
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gladius
The founding fathers were deeply religious men, they simply didn't want a state church, or a church to control the state, but they never even imagined that their statement would be taken as far as it is today.
This is debateable considering that many of the customs morals and philosophies of modern day America differs greatly from the ideals of the 1750s American intellectuals, but on the other hand you have to recognize that the founding fathers meant for the government to change and evolve which is the whole point of 'ammendments' and 'voting' different people in and out of office. So while important to understand the basic philosophies and such of our founding fathers, we also have to understand the limitations inherent in looking too specifically at their opinions. The best example of how this can go wrong is if someone was to argue that slavery was okay because many of the founding fathers where slave owners and very into slavery. Obviously society has changed since their time and we know that slavery is 100% wrong, but in their cultural context this was not so. Therefore we have to be careful in selecting what are the broad strokes of philosophy that make America great and what are the culturally influenced ocnclusions that we as modern Americans have come to better conclusions on.

Now this brings us to the subject of religion in America. On the one hand you have Christians saying religion is important because the founding fathers where christian. However, on the oposite side you have atheists saying that not only where many of the founding fathers Christian in name only, but in fact deism was in their culture what atheism is in our present day culture. Therefore you have both sides claiming that their philosophy is the purest.

Now you have to go where the government has traditionally sided. The judicial branch has had the most input into this discussion since in the constitution they are the only branch that are supposed to interpret the constitution, AKA speak for the founding fathers. This branch has pretty stedilly sided with making government as secular as possible while reigning in fringe concepts such as legalizing currently illiegal drugs just for a few native american religions. The other 2 branches of gov't have really not seen that much of a problem with it until recently, the only major hit comming in the early 1950s when "under god" was placed into the pledge of alliegance and on our money. The reason for this, of course, was one we are all familiar with, war. The country used religion as the societal glue to steel ourselves against communism, pretty much saying "look at the freedom of religion you have here and look at how the communists would force you to disavow even the name of your god. They must be stopped!"
June 2nd, 2005  
Whispering Death
 
 
All of that is my facts and histories. If you now want to know my personal opinions on this matter, I say that where we are right now is pretty much right for the modern American culture we have. In terms of government, we are almost perfectly blind in our laws to all religious affiliations while maintaining in the spirit of our laws the cultural mores inherent in our founding father's day that where in line with traditional christian philosophies.

We have proven ourselves resiliant the wave of religious fanaticism that seems to be popular currently in world society from American christian fanaticism exemplified with murdering abortion doctors to the islama-facist movement currently threatening our lives. On the other hand we have stayed off the push to legislative atheism such as is found in many european socialist states.

On the whole, I like the way our laws have handled the subject of religion.

Now how they have handled to subject of traffic laws... oh jesus, now why arn't we up in arms about THAT!?! 70 MILES PER HOUR REALLY? Cars no safer now than they where back when you set the speed limits in the F*ing 40s!?! Airbags, seatbelts, construction all the same as in the 40s? Autoban is one of the safest roads in the world with no speed limmit and we keep getting into wrecks trying to slam on the brakes because some cop is writing chicken sh*t speeding tickets? Jesus god damned christ!
June 2nd, 2005  
Whispering Death
 
 

Topic: Re: Separation of Church and State


Quote:
Originally Posted by behemoth79
For the LORD is my judge (judicial branch)
The LORD is my lawgiver (legislative branch)
The LORK is my king (executive branch)
(Isaiah 33:22 NIV)

I'll end this with an open-ended question. Why does someone want to change what has worked for the last 200+ years?
My answer to this is that your interpretation of law and understanding of history is wrong and dare I say suffers from fanaticism instead of facts.

The reason we want to not run our gov't by the bible is because you need to put another zero on that number to find that 2,000+ years ago a little nation called Israel tried that and it ended up with them surviving for the ruling span of 2 kings before breaking out in civil war and getting crushed by a series of invaders from the asyrians to the syrians to the babylonians to the persians to the macedonians to the romans. Now we as Americans tend to like to do the ass-kicking, not being on the recieveing side :-p

Modern examples of why running your country based on religion is a very poor idea is the entire middle east. Any western observer can clearly see the bennefits Americans have been given through our system and the sh*t that middle easterners have to put up with because of the systematic failures of regims like the Taliban and the Muhlas of Iran. Don't even get me started on the Saudi's who think Muhammed gave THEM their oil, so it is God's will that they do what they want with it, whether it be jack up the price, embargo Americans, or even destroy it all if they lose power... and it's god's will that they give none of the money to their people

I mean, it sounds great on the surface, "we like our religion and we like our government, why not put 2 great things together!" but in practice it is much like chemistry. Left on their own both water and magnesium are benign and useful, but put both of them together and you will quickly have an explosive situation.
June 2nd, 2005  
Molly Pitcher
 
Well, I wasn't going to get into this further than my original post in this thread, which I think says enough about whether or not the founding fathers wanted a seperation of church and state. However, after reading Whispering Death's posts I thought I'd join in again to say I agree with pretty much everything he had to say.

Religion is a touchy subject in this household right now. I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. Charge though was raised as a Presbyterian. We have both been divorced but in my case it was called an "anullment" which as far as I'm concerned is really a half-assed loophole so I'm not called "divorced" and then be out of the Church. I wanted to stay in my religion and Charge even looked into joining, but as more details were given and his divorce became an issue that pretty much became the end of that. Add to the fact that we've been living together the last couple years and that would've certainly not been appreciated by the Catholic Church.

So what to do? We decided to meet them halfway or as near well to that as we could. Charge's father was a Lutheran though he attended Presbyterian church with his wife and children. We decided to become Lutherans. Close enough to Catholicism that I'm comfortable and Charge has been made welcome and even gets to explore the church of his father for the first time.

What's the point of all this? It shares with you the frustration one couple had with organized religion just getting married. I think that illustrates pretty darn well why religion has no place in our laws either for or against.
June 2nd, 2005  
r031Button
 
 
I'd just like to point out that using the bible as a supporting text in arguing for religion in Government is flawed. In itself it seeks to explain history along religious terms; therefor it will present an argument for religion, no matter how you read it. A more legitimate source would be a study of theocracies in the 20th century or even the 19th century; as we can be fairly certain the records are correct. Quoting a 2000 old text(that's a rough estimation and I have no idea on validity of that, I;'m sure the old testament is much older and new a few hundred younger) is in itself flawed in that we have no way of knowing the validity of the information presented in that text, aside from testing that text in itself.


Needless to say I'm strongly for the separation of church and state. Firstly in that I'm socially liberal, I believe in gay rights, the right to choose, and contraceptives. Most Christian churches are against those. Secondly, which church? Do you want a Catholic state? And Orthodox church(Greek Russian or Ukrainian?)? Prespetyrian? Amish? There's no way to include all of those ideals into one governing body. And lastly, look at the middle east, espeically Iran; do not for a second think that it's just because of Islam that the people of that country are so repressed. It's because they've allowed religious fantatics to take over the country.
June 3rd, 2005  
gladius
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whispering Death
To understand the founding fathers you have to understand the 'American enlightenment mindset' that these men engaged in. All our freedoms and laws come from what they considered "natural law" or trying to get back to a 'pure' state of natural humanity, uncluttered by such things as monarchy or ORGANIZED RELIGION. Take note, organized religion is something they considered to be a negative on humankind. Many where professed deists and most that belonged to an official church where deists in philosophy.
I kind of heard of this before. I think by far its NOT true that most of them were deistist in nature. There were some who were, most of them were not. If they were, the actions of most of them went against deistism, which makes it hard to say that they were, when their actions speak otherwise.

Thomas Paine, in his discourse on "The Study of God," forcefully asserts that it is "the error of schools" to teach sciences without "reference to the Being who is author of them: for all the principles of science are of Divine origin."

Nor does George Washington. He was an open promoter of Christianity. For example, in his speech on May 12, 1779, he claimed that what children needed to learn "above all" was the "religion of Jesus Christ,"

Madison's writings are replete with declarations of his faith in God and in Christ. In fact, for proof of this, one only need read his letter to Attorney General Bradford wherein Madison laments that public officials are not bold enough about their Christian faith in public and that public officials should be "fervent advocates in the cause of Christ."
...And while Madison did allude to a "wall of separation,"
...According to Madison, the purpose of that "wall" was only to prevent Congress from passing a national law to establish a national religion.


Alexander Hamilton was certainly no deist. For example, Hamilton began work with the Rev. James Bayard to form the Christian Constitutional Society to help spread over the world the two things which Hamilton said made America great: (1) Christianity, and (2) a Constitution formed under Christianity

Any portrayal of any handful of Founders as deists is inaccurate. (If this group had really wanted some irreligious Founders, they should have chosen Henry Dearborne, Charles Lee, or Ethan Allen).


Quote:
The desit philosophy on religion omited all miracles, the bible as edited by Thomas Jefferson is the bible with all that crap about healing the sick, making men out of clay, noah and his arc, etc. etc. etc.
The reader, as do many others, claimed that Jefferson omitted all miraculous events of Jesus from his "Bible." Rarely do those who make this claim let Jefferson speak for himself. Jefferson own words explain that his intent for that book was not for it to be a "Bible," but rather for it to be a primer for the Indians on the teachings of Christ (which is why Jefferson titled that work, "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth"). What Jefferson did was to take the "red letter" portions of the New Testament and publish these teachings in order to introduce the Indians to Christian morality.

http://www.wallbuilders.com/resource...?ResourceID=29


I think that saying that most of the founding fathers were deists is a myth being propagated by atheist to to give them something to stand on when it comes to constitutional debate. There certainly was an element of deists phylosophy, but to say its broad as it was is stretching the truth by alot.

Its clear that by those word and actions Most of the founding father meant this country to be Christian, although they did not want a state run church. They had a clear grasp of the foundation of Western Civilization.


Quote:
Modern examples of why running your country based on religion is a very poor idea is the entire middle east.
I agree with you here that we should not have a state enforced or run religion. This is also what the founding fathers envisioned. I would be totaly against a state enforced religion. I don't think any of us who advocate this want a state run or enforced religion. No way.

However what some people are trying to do is the opposite extreme, which in my oppinion is just as bad, and will lead to the decline and or fall of Western Civilization.

Quote:
The reason we want to not run our gov't by the bible is because you need to put another zero on that number to find that 2,000+ years ago a little nation called Israel tried that and it ended up with them surviving for the ruling span of 2 kings before breaking out in civil war and getting crushed by a series of invaders from the asyrians to the syrians to the babylonians to the persians to the macedonians to the romans.
I don't know if you know the reason why all those bad things happened to them,... what you are advocating is the reason why it happened. They disregared the Biblical laws which were handed to them, and ingored them and or made up their own laws to suit them (which seemed probably to them good in the short-term, but they paid for it later).