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Author Topic:   Interesting read on origins of Separation of Church and State - Religous Thread
sigtauenus
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posted 01-26-2006 10:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for sigtauenus   Click Here to Email sigtauenus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Letter to Jefferson...
http://members.tripod.com/~candst/tnppage/baptist.htm

Jefferson's reply...
http://www.usconstitution.net/jeffwall.html

detailed analysis...
http://www.noapathy.org/tracts/mythofseparation.html

I know all three are long, but please take 10-15 minutes to read all 3 and then post your thoughts.


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Fastback68
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posted 01-26-2006 11:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fastback68   Click Here to Email Fastback68     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I pledged right here at M&M not to engage in religious debate anymore - at M&M. But I think this thread is mistitled. It's not a religious thread, yet. It relates to politics, and specifically human rights.
If I hear a few voices from the Christian community who agree that a debate over the separation of church and state is not a religious debate, I will gladly chime in.

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sigtauenus
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posted 01-26-2006 04:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sigtauenus   Click Here to Email sigtauenus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, that was put in there due to the debate we had a month ago over not warning somebody about the religous content of a thread.

Simon, as I've said before, I welcome your opinions.

It is my belief that somebody who cannot debate his own viewpoint probably doesn't really have his own viewpoint, but has mindlessly adopted somebody elses without much thought.

It is that thought that I welcome here, whether I happen to agree with it or not.

Simon, I would tend to agree with you about the human rights thing, as that is actually where I was going with this. I'm quite impressed that you picked up on that so quickly.

The thing I found to be very key about the 3rd link is the mention of application of the wall, in fact, the original text from Jefferson mentions the "wall of separation between church and state." Wall specifically is always truncated off that quote, allowing for an incorrect interpretation of it.

If you think about any type of wall, whether it be the Berlin wall, the wall around a school yard or prison, or the proposed wall along the border with Mexico, it is about protecting one side from the other. In this case the correct context is that the wall of separation of church and state is to protect the church from the government, not the other way around. Today's application of that quote is to protect the government, and in fact the populace, from the church, which is not intended.

Quite honestly I feel that I am losing my rights to practice free religion. Whether you have the same religious beliefs as I do or not is irrelevant, you should not be able to tell me I cannot pray in public, in school, in a government building, etc. To do so is a violation of my rights.

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Toronado3800
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posted 01-26-2006 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Toronado3800     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sounds like Jefferson wanted no portion of government to interfere with the private practice of religion.

I tend to think for the protection of all religion and government should be kept apart. Learning from my history I see the fear of reprisal from legal checks and balances work well to human politicians in line. Also, nothing has changed with people in the last 800 years to indicate absolute power no longer tends to make madmen out of people world wide.

Far as the style of the letter goes, both could have been less flowery and more to the point.

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Fastymz
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posted 01-26-2006 05:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fastymz   Click Here to Email Fastymz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

"Quite honestly I feel that I am losing my rights to practice free religion. Whether you have the same religious beliefs as I do or not is irrelevant, you should not be able to tell me I cannot pray in public, in school, in a government building, etc. To do so is a violation of my rights."

Your rights or privilege?

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Ci8UUP
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posted 01-26-2006 07:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ci8UUP   Click Here to Email Ci8UUP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I thought we came to a consensus that even if it was a religious post, you did not have to title it such? Someone made that request a while ago because he/she was offended by being "duped" into reading religious material, but that request was dismissed as silly.

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sigtauenus
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posted 01-26-2006 10:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sigtauenus   Click Here to Email sigtauenus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, seeing as how I was intentionally going to stir the pot up a little bit, I figured I'd try to add a little tact to it.

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sigtauenus
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posted 01-26-2006 10:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sigtauenus   Click Here to Email sigtauenus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fastymz:
Your rights or privilege?


Rights, Ron, rights. Its all about rights these days. Seems the status quo got shifted, now some are gaining and some are losing, and it doesn't always folow who's in the majority either.

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Fastback68
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posted 01-27-2006 04:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fastback68   Click Here to Email Fastback68     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The analysis was contentious to say the least, and in some parts, I thought, disingenuous. But Sam, your general beef is that government is interfering your freedom to practice religion, right? You buy into this interpretation that "Secular Humanism" is the new State religion?
(I will have to read up on Secular Humanism, never having heard of it before.)
And while I do that, let me just repeat something I've said before. Written constitutions can be a millstone around the neck, especially when they are hundreds of years old. They may help keep the diverse components of a nation in line, but they can also stifle evolution of thought, of laws, and even of morals, in just the same way as the Bible can. (Contrary to what the author of the analysis says, the Bible is not the one and only source of moral teaching.)
On the specific matter of the separation of church and state, to me it matters not a whit what Jefferson intended, but then I'm speaking from a British standpoint where precedent and common sense (literal meaning) guide our lawmakers rather than precedent and the Constitution as in the US. In the modern context, for many people the separation of church and state does not mean what Jefferson or the Founding Fathers intended. If you believe that a written constitution should reflect society's current values, that should not be a problem. But it IS a problem, because many people feel the US Constitution is verging on a sacred document that cannot be questioned.
Maybe it's time to rewrite the first Amendment to reflect what most people think it should say. Or tear up the Constitution and start again.
OK, now to find out if I'm a Secular Humanist

[This message has been edited by Fastback68 (edited 01-27-2006).]

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Fastback68
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posted 01-27-2006 05:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fastback68   Click Here to Email Fastback68     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Older and wiser now ... someone could label me a secular humanist if they want, but boy, is there a lot of mumbo jumbo attached to this.
http://members.aol.com/Patriarchy/definitions/humanism_religion.htm
A secular humanist is basically a humanist, and humanism is not a religion. It sounds like the Supreme Court painted itself into a corner when it ruled to the contrary.
I can think of reasons to put atheists and theists on the same legal footing, but not humanists.
So ... secular humanism is not the new religion of the US government because it not a religion. Strike 2 against that analysis.

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Fastymz
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posted 01-27-2006 12:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fastymz   Click Here to Email Fastymz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sigtauenus:
Rights, Ron, rights. Its all about rights these days. Seems the status quo got shifted, now some are gaining and some are losing, and it doesn't always follow who's in the majority either.

"Quite honestly I feel that I am losing my rights to practice free religion. Whether you have the same religious beliefs as I do or not is irrelevant, you should not be able to tell me I cannot pray in public, in school, in a government building, etc. To do so is a violation of my rights."

Where does it say you that it is YOUR RIGHT to stop a school class room,or in government building to stop any one and make them pray?
Who's RIGHTS supersede the others rights? You can pray all you want on your OWN time or in quite to yourself. But to force others to pray with you is that really your rights? I have my own believes on this issue. That'll I'll share later,but for now I need to see where this is going.

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sigtauenus
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posted 01-27-2006 12:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sigtauenus   Click Here to Email sigtauenus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Simon, very good points.

I agree on most, I admit I do need to read more about secular humanists, and that I readily bought into the argument presented about the Supreme Court decision involving them.

I think that if we want things to be a certain way, we need to change the constitution to reflect that. I'm not saying I want that to happen, but saying that needs to happen if we want things to be different than the way the constitution specifies.

My contention is that people are making arguments based on something that is not constitutional and not intended even remotely if you use other documents such as Jefferson's letters. What I'm saying is, if you want the 10 commandments out of all the town halls and courtrooms, etc, that's fine if you feel that way, but to do so via the argument that its unconstitional is incorrect.

I think if you want to say there should be absolutely no religous involvement in government, fine, make the appropriate constitutional changes to reflect that.

But to argue the the current consitition or Jefferson's letters support what we are seeing in recent lawsuits and decisions is patently wrong.

Whether or not I should or should not have a certain right to something to begin with is irrelevant, it was given to us, and I feel that numerous decisions are being made that deny many people of their rights.

When you look at the Danbury Baptist's letter, they were concerned about some future change restricting their ability to practice their religion, and Jefferson's letter was to reassure them that the government would not interfere.

Today, if you tell a kid that he cannot pray in school, or read the bible in his free time in school, you are denying his practice of religion, which he has a constitutional right to.

Talking in the context of rights, you could also move this from a religious issue to the next thing covered in the first amendment, freedom of speech. Is it a freedom of speech issue to tell a kid he cannot pray in school. Keeping along the lines of freedom of speech, why is ok now for one kid to talk openly about being gay without repercussion but another kid actually gets in trouble for praying?

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sigtauenus
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posted 01-27-2006 12:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sigtauenus   Click Here to Email sigtauenus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fastymz:
Where does it say you that it is YOUR RIGHT to stop a school class room,or in government building to stop any one and make them pray?
Who's RIGHTS supersede the others rights? You can pray all you want on your OWN time or in quite to yourself. But to force others to pray with you is that really your rights? I have my own believes on this issue. That'll I'll share later,but for now I need to see where this is going.

Who is talking about forcing anything? The only one being forced right now is me NOT being allowed to pray. This is about the free excercise of religion.

I have a friend who is a school teacher and she told me that just last week a girl came up to her and asked her to pray with her about something going on at home. The principle found out about this and told the teacher this was not to happen again if she wanted to keep her job.

So, apparently, no am I am not allowed to pray even if somebody else asks me to pray with them. This situation is exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about.

Ron, I have no intention of forcing anybody to pray about anything. All I want to do is be able to do it myself without being told I will lose my job or get sued for doing so.

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Fastymz
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posted 01-27-2006 01:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fastymz   Click Here to Email Fastymz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sam, I have not heard of any one being told they can't pray. My wife is a teacher if any of her students want to pray they are allowed. She even still says Amen after the pledge.

"The only one being forced right now is me NOT being allowed to pray. This is about the free excercise of religion."

Where can't you pray at? Can't you pray any time any where now? Even if it's quitly to yourself?

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sigtauenus
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posted 01-27-2006 08:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sigtauenus   Click Here to Email sigtauenus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fastymz:
Where can't you pray at?

Virginia Beach public schools.

Just to clarify, when I said "I" or "me" earlier I was refering to the populace in general, not me specifically.

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Fastymz
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posted 01-27-2006 08:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fastymz   Click Here to Email Fastymz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sam, they can't pray to them selfs at that school? How could the they stop them or even know?
Or the Teachers can't pray aloud with them?
My wife can't pray with the kids. Mostly because what about the rights of those they have other gods they pray too,or who don't believe in it at all. Doesn't it affect their rights?

I do like a good debate. I think as long as all party's involved keep an open mind. They will learn something either about others or them selfs if not learning more about the issue.

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[This message has been edited by Fastymz (edited 01-27-2006).]

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Fastymz
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posted 01-27-2006 08:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fastymz   Click Here to Email Fastymz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What do you think about this,

http://www.wkrn.com/global/story.asp?s=4405882

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sigtauenus
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posted 01-27-2006 08:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sigtauenus   Click Here to Email sigtauenus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fastymz:
Or the Teachers can't pray aloud with them?

Apparently not. The child asked the teacher to pray with her and the teacher did and then got in trouble.

So what if some other kid is buddhist or even atheist. The teacher isn't showing favoritism, the kid asked her pray with her and she accomodated.

Hmm, wonder what would happen if a wiccan kid came up and asked the teacher to pray, and the teacher said "I'm sorry, but I cannot pray to your God." Would that be discrimination against the wiccan kid if the teacher had been willing to pray with a Christian kid?

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DidgeyTrucker
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posted 02-11-2006 11:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DidgeyTrucker   Click Here to Email DidgeyTrucker     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A few years ago when all this was becoming big news, I took the time to look for and read the constitution. The phrase "separation of church and state is not in the constitution. I did find the statement "Congress shall make no law....prohibiting the free exercise (of religion)"

So the way I read it the constitution calls for freedom OF religion - not freedom FROM religion.

Why am I the only one who sees that?

Tracy

[This message has been edited by DidgeyTrucker (edited 02-15-2006).]

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mellowyellow
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posted 02-12-2006 09:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mellowyellow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you, Ron. Certainly agree with the points you make. Personal feelings, along with a belief in God as I understand God, remain just that...Personal. Should one pause, at any time of day, and say a prayer, wonder why they would have to make it a public thing. IMO, things are going on in our Country today that raise an alarm bell, re threatented rights, and to me, prayer is not one of them.

Religious freedom, Religious uprisings, Religious intolerance seem to be key in defining issues of any given country.

Yesteray, at Advance Auto Parts, buying a brake bleeder, a helpful young man waited on me. He was a good sales person, not the stereotype that one hears mentioned on line. But....as I paid, he tried to hand me a small booklet. Asked him what it was, and he started in, extolling his religion. Told him I had a God of my own, and he asked me if it was *****? Told him as politely as one could, that it was not for him to inquire.

He waited on me once before, telling me then, that he was a Cuban who came ashore 2 years prior. Asked him, yesterday, if he could do that in Cuba and, of course, got an emphatic no. So then, asked him if being in the US gave him the right to force his religion on someone else, who may not want to hear it. Got a pained look from him-end of conversation.

What he could have learned was, had I chosen to call the company headquarters, that religious freedom does not extend to do what he did while waiting on customers.

Do not need, or want, and audience to pray.

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SteveLaRiviere
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posted 02-12-2006 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SteveLaRiviere   Click Here to Email SteveLaRiviere     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I like the quote that says 'Don't pray in my school, and I won't think in your church!'

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hwyman3
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posted 02-12-2006 05:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hwyman3   Click Here to Email hwyman3     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by DidgeyTrucker:
A few years ago when all this was becoming big news, I took the time to look for and read the constitution. The phrase "separation of church and state is not in the constitution. I did find the statement "Congress shall make no law....prohibiting the free exercise (of religion)"

So the way I read it the constitution calls freedom OF religion - not freedom FROM religion.

Why am I the only one who sees that?

Tracy


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Toronado3800
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posted 02-14-2006 01:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Toronado3800     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What if my religion says the human body God gave us is a beautiful thing. To honor God's gift all us bodyists believe it and all its natural (and fun) actions should be publicly displayed. Not only that, clothing hides God's gift to us all so it can't be worn.

I'd end up with a ticket for public indecency , then in jail for hurting no one just because people are offended somehow by my naked body. So we all live with pressure from other religions and our public institutions try to find some safe ground of not letting any one encroach too much.

At least the local football team got the draconian law about beer sales on Sunday partially rolled back

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DidgeyTrucker
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posted 02-14-2006 11:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DidgeyTrucker   Click Here to Email DidgeyTrucker     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yeah, didn't God punish Adam and Eve for covering their naked bodies?

Tracy

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Fastback68
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posted 02-15-2006 02:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fastback68   Click Here to Email Fastback68     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe God punished Adam and Eve for eating the forbidden fruit. Covering their bodies was their own choice, brought on by shame.

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