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Separation of Church and State


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#211 Ectoplazzum

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 05:10 PM

Mellilotflower made an excellent point about how non-religious doesn't necessarily equate to atheist. And even so, I don't think an atheist approach by the government would hurt in the least. Since it seems impossible to equally include every religion into politics and matters of the state, why not just take a no-God stance when refering to administrative affairs? That doesn't deminish the values of a country and certainly not the values of a particular individual. We shouldn't need God to make us act like responsible caring people, ya know?

Ana



Exactly!   :)

Elle

#212 Vampchick21

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 06:44 PM

See...I honestly never realized that the 'under God' part was added in 1954, and I never realized that the Pledge was written in 1892...I honestly thought it was written around the time of the Declaration of Independence.  But what do you expect from a Canuck, eh?  LOL!

At any rate, seems CNN was actually right on this.  I did some searching around, and the 1954 addition of 'under God' was added at the height of McCarthyism, because of what was perceived as one of the darkest aspects of the communist system: atheism.  This change was signed into law by President Eisenhower

This is how Congress at that time explained it.

#  At this moment of our history the principles underlying our American Government and the American way of life are under attack by a system whose philosophy is at direct odds with our own. Our American Government is founded on the concept of the individuality and the dignity of the human being. Underlying this concept is the belief that the human person is important because he was created by God and endowed by Him with certain inalienable rights which no civil authority may usurp. The inclusion of God in our pledge therefore would further acknowledge the dependence of our people and our Government upon the moral directions of the Creator. At the same time it would serve to deny the atheistic and materialistic concepts of communism with its attendant subservience of the individual.

As a note, "In God We Trust" was added to US currency in 1955.  In 1956, that phrase became a national motto.

So what I'm understanding here, is that it doesn't come so much from a desire to be more Christian than it comes from a desire to separate from any hint of Communisim, at the time, seen as the greatest threat in the world.

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#213 anasuya

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 07:00 PM

Honestly, I don't know how that helped seperate the American people from Communism, considering there WERE Christian communist sects. It's just one more way to use the religion of the majority to gain political power over the public.

That's it. I'm becomming a socialist. Oh wait... I'm already an anarchist. lol

Ana
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#214 Vampchick21

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 07:03 PM

Hey, I didn't know there were Christian Communist sects!  <scrambles to make note of new item to research>

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#215 anasuya

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 07:16 PM

lol vampchick. as a side note.... early forms of communism were supported by Plato with his Greek idea of a Golden age to the Jewish Essenes to the Fransiscans. Although it's not the communism we know of in modern times, the concepts haven't been lost with time.

So, I don't particulary buy the excuse of adding to the pledge based on a need to seperate from Communism, since there were Christian communist groups. It honestly amazes me the excuses people will use. I'd respect it more if the government just admitted they were power mongers and let it go from there.

Ana
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#216 anasuya

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 08:05 PM

WHAT IF THE WALL OF SEPARATION BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE FELL?
By CHARLES LEVENDOSKY
Casper Star-Tribune
As the controversy over funding religious schools with tax dollars heats up, some citizens are claiming that the concept of "separation of church and state" is only a myth. While it is true that the phrase does not literally appear in the U.S. Constitution or the Bill of Rights, the principle of the wall of separation is imbedded in the two religious clauses of the First Amendment and Article VI of the Constitution.

The First Amendment states, in part: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; ..." The Establishment Clause means that government cannot support or endorse one or all religions. It also means that government must be neutral in regard to religion.

The Free Exercise Clause means that the government should not interfere with religious worship unless it has a compelling reason to do so for public safety or because of societal mandates or laws. The Free Exercise Clause does not protect human sacrifices, incest, or polygamy as a part of religious worship.

Article VI of the Constitution states, in part: "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." This clause is a further barrier to mixing church and state. It doesn't matter what a person's religious beliefs are, that person can run for office. A person's religious beliefs cannot be used to disqualify that person from sitting on a jury.

The Founders were well aware they were creating a secular state. There is no mention of God or a Supreme Being in the Constitution or in the Bill of Rights. The Founders and their parents and grandparents had witnessed the persecution and civil unrest in England and Europe because of unholy marriages between church and state. The colonies became home to those who were escaping religious persecution.

The Founders knew the evil promulgated when government can enforce religious doctrine or religious beliefs. The separation of church and state was very much on their minds as they crafted our Constitution and our Bill of Rights.

The separation of powers is also a principle that isn't literally named in the Constitution, but is implied by the very structure of the Constitution. The document spells out the powers of Congress, of the president, and of the courts. The phrase "fair trial" cannot be found in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, but it is implied in those documents.

But let us suppose for argument's sake that the principle of separation of church and state does not exist, that it is an erroneous reading of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. What would be the ramifications if that wall suddenly fell?

Law professor Douglas Laycock of the University of Texas at Austin, who is an expert in church-state law, said flatly that such a supposition is a mistake, that it gives support for the recent rhetoric that dismisses the principle of the separation of church and state. That principle, he said, is imbedded in the religious clauses of the First Amendment. "Separation of church and state" is merely the slogan for what those clauses mean.

But, Laycock said, if you want to make the supposition, then put it this way: "Without separation you can't get to free exercise. The government would be free to meddle and eliminate free exercise for everybody."

Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, gave a list of ramifications that would be the result of denying or eliminating the wall of separation: Churches would vie for public money and it is likely that minority religious groups would always lose in the competition. Schools, businesses and public offices could start their day with prayers of the majority religion. There could be a renewal of the Bible riots that plagued our nation after the Civil War. Blasphemy laws might be enacted and enforced.

Melissa Rogers, associate general counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee, added to the list. It is likely we would see violence against minority religions, she said. Religious entities would then be treated by the government in the same manner as any secular organizations -- that is, there would be conditions tied to any public funds given to churches; religious groups would have to hire and fire according to federal law; religious organizations could not discriminate based upon religion when hiring.

Elliot Mincberg, legal director of People for the American Way, summed it up this way: "If the doctrine of separation of church and state fell, religious freedom, religious practice would be much less free." The autonomy of religion from state powers disappears, he said. Government could promote religion. Some states could endorse one religion and discriminate against others. Courts could get involved with deciding church issues. He also noted that where religion and state are bound together, there is religious conflict -- as in Kosovo and Northern Ireland.

Professor emeritus of humanities Robert Alley of the University of Richmond, Va., speaking of the Bible riots in the 1800s, said: "The [separation] principle in the First Amendment may have been violated in the short run, but there it was, nevertheless, as a guardian that righted the ship and now we don't have the kinds of religious persecution that were fairly common in communities in the 19th century. I genuinely believe that without the First Amendment interpreted in a strict way, this country would quickly find itself in the throes of serious religious conflict between religious groups. And that can only get worse as more and more different religious groups take on the character of numbers sufficient to have weight. We have a growing diversity. The First Amendment is far more important to us now than it has been in any point in our history. We've avoided what Europe has gone through, what's going on in the Balkans right now."

Edwin Gaustad, professor emeritus of history at the University of California at Riverside, was emphatic about what would happen if the principle of separation of church and state were ignored: "The most horrifying but most obvious example is religious warfare -- because that was true of England in the 17th century, of the continent in the 16th century. Any time you put the power of the state, which is to say the power of the sword, behind conformity and religion, you're calling for religious persecution, you're calling for religious martyrdom, you're calling for religious warfare. All you have to do is look at the history of the Western world to find example after example after example. From our relaxed point of view in 1999, we say, 'Oh that could never happen.' But the fact is it happened over and over again."

Those who argue that the wall of separation between church and state has made us a godless nation ignore the reality. Our country has a growing religious diversity, thousands of vital and active religious groups, and a religious liberty on a scale never known before in the history of humankind. We should be grateful to Madison and Jefferson for the wall of separation that protects us all.

(Charles Levendosky is the editorial page editor of the Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune. His commentary has won numerous national First Amendment awards and is now distributed by the New York Times wire service.)
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#217 flyingorb

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 02:15 PM

That's it. I'm becomming a socialist. Oh wait... I'm already an anarchist. lol

Ana


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#218 MoonChild

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 09:40 PM

who am I?

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#219 Caesar

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 09:45 PM

who am I?

your moonchild silly :)

#220 MoonChild

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 09:52 PM

hahaha, I was referring to my own political identity!

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#221 NocturnalCantaloupe

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 04:52 AM

I would have no idea what kind of political parties are over there Moon. Teach us!  So what are ya politically speaking, I am if anything, a Republican.
Is the art of life, living somewhere in between?

#222 mellilotflower

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 06:39 AM

lol vampchick. as a side note.... early forms of communism were supported by Plato with his Greek idea of a Golden age to the Jewish Essenes to the Fransiscans. Although it's not the communism we know of in modern times, the concepts haven't been lost with time.


Plato was for something more along the lines of a meritocracy... in that Philosophers would rule because only they had the intelligence and teaching to know where best to lead a country.
Communism generally rejected Religion and Christianity because they saw it as another means of oppression, much like the state or the army, another means by which the Bourgousie (sp?) subdued the proletariate and convinced them that suffering for "the greater good" was nice idea and that the more they suffered in this life, the better things would be for them in the next.  It was a general rejection of authority under the assumption that all things given on authority were likely no more than tools of oppression, espescially if by their very nature they are unprovable.
Again, as I have many times, I will encourage you all to read The Ragged TRousered Philanthropist By Robert Tressell

The point which I should first wish to understand is whether the pious or holy is beloved by the gods because it is holy, or holy because it is beloved of the gods.

Sonnet XCIVBut if that flower with base infection meet,The basest weed outbraves his dignity:For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds

#223 MoonChild

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 08:31 PM

well, as I already mentioned there are over a few thousand parties here! so much for democracy..............

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#224 shellas13

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 05:40 AM

Wow..this was a very very VERY long thread to read through...lol. But it was worth it...for the most part, lol ;D. As I was reading this, I kept seeing in my head that episode from South Park where there was this huge debate about whether to keep the SP flag or to change it cause it was deemed 'racist' to some. In the end, they had a poll which had three people saying they should change the flag, three people said DON'T change the flag as it was 'history' and about 4589 people that were 'undecided'! LOL Yeah, in many ways I'm in that same boat, lol. Okay, I was in a private Christian school for ten years and so had to salute not only the American Flag, but the Christian flag AND the Bible, lol...talk about ruining your mornings! lol But it was okay as I WAS a Christian then and I felt very loyal to the US at that time, being an immigrant and feeling very welcomed (for the most part) by my adoptive land. Now, those feelings have changed as I've gotten older and, I HOPE, wiser. I feel, like Ana, that religion UNLESS it is given as an option for a class, really has no place in an learning enviornment. Truly, if you believe SO very much in your 'God', then having prayer in school or out of it should make no difference. However, I think that if just to make EVERYONE somewhat happier, then a moment of silence should suffice. There are times I think that the word 'PRIVATE' has lost its meaning and more disturbingly, it's value. In this world where everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame, we are starting to be conditioned to wanting all that limelight on us and it's getting harder to remember or even AVOIDING someone always wanting to make a stand, even if there is no need for it. As for the Pledge...altho recent developments have caused me to grow a very large cynical chip in my shoulder, lol, I am for the most part, okay with the fact that it is said in school. Perhaps WHY we are failing as a nation is because we no longer THINK of ourselves AS a nation...whether or not it's under ONE GOD. Now I don't think that BLIND loyalty should be encouraged, but I do think that SOME inspiring of loyalty isn't out of rational thought, lol. And really, if this sentence UNDER GOD was written into law, then it can be written OUT of it SHOULD the public wish it so. But that would mean that the voice of the nation would have to be heard very loudly and everyone caring THAT much about it, then under this democratic nation that we are living in, I think there should be people trying their best to do something about it. BUT, the pledge ITSELF, I've always seen as a good. I am proud to be an American (music playing in the background, lol), and for ME, I am of the mind that if I keep believing and SAYING that this is a nation with liberty and justice for all, then it WILL be one. But then again, I'm an optimist! :)

BTB...is all the vanilla eaten already? ;D

#225 aloha_spirit

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 12:56 PM

Okay, I was in a private Christian school for ten years and so had to salute not only the American Flag, but the Christian flag AND the Bible, lol...talk about ruining your mornings!

Christian flag?  I never knew such a thing existed.

If you're in a provate Christian school, you should come to expect some sort of devotional (Bible verse, etc) at the beginning of the day.  Much the same way a few of my LdS friends attended the Kamehameha Schools (privately owned).  Every morning they said the Hail Mary and the Lord's Prayer (LdS generally don't use memorized prayers).  They accepted it as part of the territory.

I think that if just to make EVERYONE somewhat happier, then a moment of silence should suffice. There are times I think that the word 'PRIVATE' has lost its meaning and more disturbingly, it's value.


Since my post, I was able to talk at length with my brother on this topic.  My brother, like myself and all my siblings, attended BYUH - a private university owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He served a two-year mission for the Church.  He is still active in the Church.  What gives this brother a unique pov is that he teaches at both a regular middle school and an alternative high school.  Both these public schools are located in a city dominated by LdS.  My brother is totally against prayer or a moment of silence in public schools.  Religious students should pay their devotions before leaving their homes.  A moment of silence may be appropriate at school if news breaks of a major catastrophe (another 9/11 or if the president gets assassinated).

At BYU-H all students are required to take at least one religion course per semester.  Every religion class begins and ends with a public prayer offered by a student.  All instructors of all subjects are encouraged to relate the subject matter back to the gospel.

I didn't lose my mind - I have it backed up on a disk ... somewhere





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