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Old 09-02-2003, 11:12 PM   #1
shukrallah
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Seperation of Church and State

Yeah, everyone will look at this... but basically, i just have questions. I was ganna post in the why is ok to bash christianity thread, but i figured SkinWalker would split it.

Where did that even come from? Cause you know i can take a bible to school, and no one can stop me. Thats illegal. I agree, forced prayer is wrong, it should be an option. Like the pledge of allegiance, they just ask that you dont disturbe everyone else who is saying it (i stand, i dont really say it, but i could, i just dont, i say it sometimes) but they still say it outloud. Whats wrong with that? People of other religions who arent allowed to say the pledge still have to listen to it, but they dont have to stand, nor say it. Why not be like that with prayer?
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Old 09-02-2003, 11:39 PM   #2
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Blasphemy is not a crime, nor is religious expression...

It comes down nowadays more to "public expressions of religion."

Many atheists are offended when they hear people making religoius expressions, and non-Christians when they hear Christians talking about religion.

So the question is... is religious expression protected by the First Amendment or not?

Or are we saying religious expression, like free speech, belongs only in private (ie: churches and homes)?

Now as for me, I don't have a problem praying in private, because I can pray anytime anywhere I don't need to do anything special.

But I know of people who have to get down on their prayer mat at certain times of the day to pray (now granted, I've talked to people of that faith who say its no problem for them to pray silently to themselves anytime, anywhere).

Having a "moment of silence" to me is no big deal in public schools. People don't have to pray, etc, and as long as nobody is coerced, then no big deal.

On the other hand, the nitpick that I hear from atheists is that in school (and this applies to the pledge mostly) the "one person who sits out" will be made fun of by the other kids or feel peer pressure to "fit in."

Of course, I think if it is a just a moment of silence and they are not made to stand out in the hall (as if it were a punishment for being different) and the teacher isn't leading them in prayer, then I don't see a problem.

The academic study of religion belongs in schools. It is there at the university level, so why not high school or even grade school? I think post 9/11 a lot of people are realizing they wished they knew more about other faiths (this would help towards tolerance), and not just the stereotypes and misunderstandings they pick up from random people or tv.

The other issue is public figures (elected officials and government people) making public religious expressions. I think the issue here is that they are seen as giving the impression that they are biased.

Of course *I* see it as them pandering to their constituants.

Sort of like how in the 2001 election, all the major presidential candidates were trying to one up each other "Well I believe in God" "Well, my personal hero is Jesus" "Well I read the Bible EVERY DAY" "Well I pray all the time" etc, etc. because some religious people think to themsevlves "well, he sounds like a religious person like me, so I should probably vote for him."

And the issue with posting the ten commandments in the courtroom (rather than the judge's private office).

Another issue of courtroom stuff I remember from a few years ago (vaguely). Basically there was an old sculpture in or on the outside of the court building (I forget where, if anybody knows, feel free to chime in) and it had figures of some of the famous lawgivers of history..... Moses, Hammurabi, Muhammad, etc.

It was nice in that it had people from a variety of traditions, as historical figures. But some Muslims complained because it depicted Muhammad, and traditionally Muslims do not wish to have pictures of him in art (according to them it is done so that nobody ever tries to worship him as an idol). So it was taken down after complaints, even though it had been there for decades.


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Old 09-03-2003, 12:09 AM   #3
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People curse in public, which is illegal, but no one seems to care about that. It offends people, but no one seems to do a thing about it.

Using God's name incorrectly (you know the words) would defy seperation of church and state, but no one bothers to stop that.
The other day the teacher was making a joke of something (cant remember what it was) but it had adam and eve in it, a few minutes later he apoligized because of church and state (i doubt anyone even thought of that, but he could have gotten into trouble about it...) But people constantly make refrences to God in public, with no thought of right nor wrong, but they dont care.

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So the question is... is religious expression protected by the First Amendment or not?
They argue thats what it is, so... where?
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Old 09-03-2003, 02:18 AM   #4
Eldritch
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Originally posted by lukeskywalker1
People curse in public, which is illegal, but no one seems to care about that. It offends people, but no one seems to do a thing about it.
This is incorrect. Although many people do not like hearing curses spoken in a public setting, how many offenders stick around while you call or get the attention of a police officer? Freedom of speech is allowed to a certain extent, so long as you're not becoming violent or disturbing the peace (or if you're holding some sort of rally, that you have the proper permits).
Quote:
Using God's name incorrectly (you know the words) would defy seperation of church and state, but no one bothers to stop that.
Explain to me how "taking the Lord's name in vain" by saying "Jesus Christ" or "God D****it" defies the separation of church and state.
Quote:
The other day the teacher was making a joke of something (cant remember what it was) but it had adam and eve in it, a few minutes later he apoligized because of church and state (i doubt anyone even thought of that, but he could have gotten into trouble about it...) But people constantly make refrences to God in public, with no thought of right nor wrong, but they dont care.
This retraction of a joke with a reference to Adam and Eve is probably due more to the policy of "sue first, ask questions later" that many Americans seem to have adopted. PC would state that a joke with a religious reference has no place in a government funded institution (unless it's a private school), but really, when did everyone get so uptight about jokes?

And since we're on the subject of jokes, allow me to tell an amusing one I recently heard (stop me if you've heard this one):

Bob dies and is waiting in a line in the afterlife. He sees St. Peter at the end of the line, and decides to listen more closely.
St. Peter asks the man in the front of the line, "What religion are you?" The man replies, "I'm a Buddhist." St. Peter tells him, "Straight down the hall, turn right, and go to room 23. Oh, and be quiet when you pass room 11."
Another man makes his way to St. Peter. "What religion are you?" Peter asks. "I'm a Jew," the man says. "Down the hall, second left, room 52 - oh, and be quiet when you pass room 11," Peter tells him.

This continues for several people, St. Peter gives them directions and tells them to be quiet when they pass room 11. Finally Bob makes it to the front of the line. "What religion are you?" Peter asks. Bob says, "I'm an Atheist." "Oh, you're in the room 24 at the end of the hall. Please be quiet when you pass room 11." Peter tells him. Bob's curiosity gets the better of him, and he says, "St. Peter, I can understand the different rooms for different religions, but why do we have to be quiet when we pass room 11?"
St. Peter says, "We keep the Christians in room 11, and they think they're the only ones here."


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Quote:
They argue thats what it is, so... where?
Actually, the constitution gives you freedom of religion to worship what you like, where you like, when you like. Freedom of speech gives you the right to say what you like. There's also the right to freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The trouble arises when one person's right to worship conflicts with another's pursuit of happiness, so you should be considerate.
This doesn't mean that you can't worship whatever you want - it only means that you can't subject people to it when there's no other option or no place to go (like in a school, where kids are legally obligated to stay until at least 18 years old in most states).

I would argue that religious expression is not the same thing as freedom of speech because of this.

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Old 09-03-2003, 12:39 PM   #5
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One of the tenets of the United States is, and always has been, Freedom of Religion.

In order to maintain a society where religious freedom, which includes the freedom to choose your religion as well as to deny one, is preserved and perpetuated, it is necessary to separate "church" matters from "state" matters. And vice versa.

There's little doubt that these matters continually influance each other, however.

Unfortunately, it is usually a uni-directional influance. Church often exercises a positive influance (from it's perspective) on state and state frequently exercises a negative influance (again, from POV of church) on the the church.

For instance: the National Prayer Breakfast and prayer in schools, respectively.

Allowing any one denomination or religion to dominate the state (as is the case now), gives the illusion that the state is controlled by the church. The amount of control is relative to the amount of perceived influance by the church.

This perception can be offset by acts such as the removal of stone idols from courthouses, disallowal of teacher-led prayer in public schools, etc.

It is negatively offset by inclusion of "In God We Trust" on coinage, which came about in the 1950's as a method of polititians "pandering to their constituants." The inclusion of "one nation, under god, indivisible..." is also relatively new. The "under god" portion, that is.

These institutions within our society adds to the impression that the U.S. was founded by christians for christians, which is patently false.

Now if you will all excuse me, I'm late for my Anthropology of Religion class.


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Old 09-25-2003, 04:18 PM   #6
Master_Keralys
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Freedom of Religion

It's freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. I don't have a problem with Buddhists or Muslims, though I may not disagree with them, as long as they're not disrupting class or whatever. I find that many of the lawsuits are because of "offense". Well, no offense, and this isn't politically correct, but -

WHO CARES?

I get offended all the time. People making out in the halls. People swearing like demented monkey-lizards. Whatever. I deal with it. People need to learn to deal with it; if they can't, then they are going to have a horrible time when they get into the real world. Suing over offense is the worst possible thing ever.

Separation of church and state is an idiotic reference; it's not even part of the actual text of the Constitution. What is there is that "Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment of religion". In other words, the government should keep out of the debate completely. It's absurd to think that the courts and Congress should be allowed to make laws regarding it.


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Old 09-25-2003, 06:35 PM   #7
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Separation of church and state is an idiotic reference; it's not even part of the actual text of the Constitution. What is there is that "Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment of religion". In other words, the government should keep out of the debate completely. It's absurd to think that the courts and Congress should be allowed to make laws regarding it.

Lol, that was why i made the thread, so i could say that when someone said it came directly from the constitution, but no one did


True, lots of things offend lots of people, but nothing is done about that. You know why? Because the people who are supposed to be doing something, are to busy trying to remove christianity from everywhere, but home and church.
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Old 09-26-2003, 05:17 AM   #8
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There is a seperation for a very basic, easy to understand reason. That being relious heirarchies had always had the power. When America declared itself free of the English monarchy, they knew this. They wanted the people to have the power and not the damnable Cardnals and Priests. They had been screwed over too many times by them.

Just an ironic thing, the woman who sued to get prayer removed from public schools(Great call IMO) said 'Thank God' when the verdict was declared. Go figure.
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Old 09-28-2003, 04:35 AM   #9
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Re: Seperation of Church and State

Quote:
Originally posted by lukeskywalker1

Where did that even come from?
I'm pretty sure it had somethign to do with the fact that the origional colonies had so many different religions, and that we did not want to ever have an "official religion" like the monarchies of europe, so it was setforth in the constitution to prevent it from happeneing down the line. I guess people didnt want the pope getting the crazy amounts of power he did at one point in time in Europe.
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Old 09-28-2003, 04:36 AM   #10
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grrr, MydnightPsion beat me
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Old 09-28-2003, 07:58 AM   #11
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Well... right now I'm not thinking too straight but I do think that the first ammendment rights should be used but people need to be courteous when they say things. Just because you have a right doesn't mean you should abuse it. Like the press that yell at a greiving family stating they have the right to cover the news story of the death, they should be courteous, understand peoples feelings. I don't care what you feel like saying if it hurts someone it shouldn't be said. You have the right to say it but if it hurts someone you should think about it before saying it and take into consideration that you wouldn't like someone else saying something that does the same emotional damage that your comment does to them.


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Old 09-28-2003, 08:04 AM   #12
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Re: Freedom of Religion

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Originally posted by Master_Keralys

I get offended all the time. People making out in the halls.
I agree with most of what else you said I just fail to see why you are offended by kissing?! I mean, it's just expressing emotions, just like hugs and even compliments. Why should you be offended by someone elses happiness? Can't you be glad they have happiness and enjoy eachother and feel glad that they express it instead of being unknowing of eachothers love?


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Old 09-28-2003, 07:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by BS87
grrr, MydnightPsion beat me
But you made a point I didnt and that was the many different religions in the colonies. Though I'm sure most were still Catholic.
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Old 09-30-2003, 07:51 AM   #14
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Seperation of Church and State comes from a letter by Thomas Jefferson.

"...legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."

You are correct in saying that the colonist didn't want another England, or another early Massachusetts for that matter. Its funny really, the Puritans came over here for religious freedom then set up a government that is still ruled by religion. They had England all over again except with the Puritan faith ruling. Has anyone ever read a transcript of Ann Hutchenson's trial? It's funny. They didn't like the idea of a women teaching the Bible so they put here on trial. For the majority of it they keep talking about the "evil things" that she did but never say exactly what the evil things are. The following isn't exact, but you still have to see the humor in this. They asked her if she admitted to having meetings at her house in which she taught the Bible. She admitted to that. They asked her if any men had been present when she taught she said no. OK so they were originally accusing her of teaching men, then they say, OH! So you don't think that men are worthy to hear the word of God? The trial was full of this.


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Old 09-30-2003, 01:56 PM   #15
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I could, obviously, be wrong about this, but it strikes me that the separation of church in state was a defense against the larger issue of religious oppression, and not just against England. 17th and 18th century England doesn't strike me as that bad of a place, as far as religious abuse is concerned. Sure, they kicked out the Puritans--but wouldn't you? I mean you've got a country full of moderate, cool people and a group of angry, belligerent people who wear black. I would oppress them too (ok, that was simplified, but hopefully you see what I mean).

Religion evolved into a tool for state justified oppression, in Ancient Egypt one of the first religions was centered around the idea that Pharoah was a god. If you look into their history and see (if you're willing to make guesses, anyway) places where myth gets changed into political statement. It's no coincidence that many rulers through history have claimed to be influenced by the deity most of their subordinates worshipped, and also no coincidence that the religious officials held a lot of sway over these kings and queens.

Human beings have always had myths and spiritual beliefs--they are our way of answering those really tough questions when kids get to that age..., however it wasn't until people organized themselves into states that those beliefs were organized into formal religions. People in large and complex societies are difficult to control, and early rulers who didn't have the same resources available to them that our rulers have now needed a powerful tool like religion to centralize power.

Centralized power makes for very strong countries, and countries to day are more centralized than they ever have been before. The EU is actually making a progress towards uniting Europe--something which has [never been done before, despite many attempts through history. With things as they are, if countries were allowed to use religion as a means of justifying any and all political moves--we would in for some trouble .

A somewhat depressing example of Religion's use as a state tool is our recent war against Iraq. I can't remember his exact phrasing, but I recall shuddering when Bush invoked God as a reason to go after the Iraqis. Even those of you who are Christians should have been shuddering and asking yourself if Jesus would have condoned such action, and if you really believe that a human being is capable of interpreting the will of the almighty.


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Old 10-02-2003, 12:24 AM   #16
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The separatin of church and state is not about being offended, it's about the government making no regulations on where and what religions are practiced. Becuase public schools are a state funded and regulated institution, they should not institute prayer sessions, for any religion.

On the topic of money and the pledge, I think they're a blatant violation of the separation of church and state. Poeple are required to use legal tender, and students are required to hear the pledge, regardless of whether they say it or stand. The pledge states that the US is a nation under god. That is not a true statement in relation to the constitution, and the constitution is the supreme law of the land. I can think of no concievable reason why the pledge and money exist as they do.


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Old 10-02-2003, 12:40 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lime-Light
The separatin of church and state is not about being offended, it's about the government making no regulations on where and what religions are practiced. Becuase public schools are a state funded and regulated institution, they should not institute prayer sessions, for any religion.

On the topic of money and the pledge, I think they're a blatant violation of the separation of church and state. Poeple are required to use legal tender, and students are required to hear the pledge, regardless of whether they say it or stand. The pledge states that the US is a nation under god. That is not a true statement in relation to the constitution, and the constitution is the supreme law of the land. I can think of no concievable reason why the pledge and money exist as they do.
It's entirely concievable that much of American government centers around God--it's a country filled with Christians, and they were and are the dominant force of the country. However, as America has moved onto the world stage, and has become more open to other cultures (let's not pretend it is or ever was an equal society, or actually was a melting pot ) issues like this become more important. Remember Manifest Destiny? Very much adopted by Americans, and very much a religious centric idea.

To the founders of this country, these things were so small they probably didn't notice that they were there, the same with the people who created the most recent design for our money. Recently, more and more of the population is not Christian, therefore government discrimination is a bigger and bigger issue, and I agree that all traces of god need to be removed from the government--people with minority beliefs should not be forced to swallow the majority belief, that isn't fair.


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Old 10-16-2003, 06:49 PM   #18
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I'm bumping this topic up to the top so people have a place to make the arguments that are inevitably going to result from the "Should 'Under God' be removed from the pledge" thread.

I guess I'll make a comment here...

Separation of church and state = good. Religion should not be part of a democratic system. That meaning, religion should not be a factor in the decision making process.

I believe this because too many people believe too many different things in a single country for them to be making laws and decisions based on one religion. If we make laws that have no religious basis, we don't run the risk of offending other groups.

After all, isn't religion supposed to be about choice? Just because something is allowed doesn't mean you have to do it, and I think it would mean more to whichever deity you worship that you follow his/her/its laws because you made that choice, not because it was a law.


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