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The wall of separation of church and state is *not* what you think it is!

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posted on Dec, 6 2008 @ 02:20 PM
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It isn't what you think it is. You, my friend, are ill-informed. It is exactly the opposite.
(Ok, I checked any prior topics on this, and didn't see any like it. So here goes).

The bottom line is this: the wall of separation of church and state has nothing to do with keeping the church out of the government. It is specifically addressing keeping the government interference out of the churches.

This is not in the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. It is not a law. It was a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to a Baptist church to reassure them that his opinion was that the government should not interfere with churches or religions, and was the meaning behind the establishment clause.

See for yourself, and stop trying to keep religion out of the government. Stop taking the "In God We Trust" off everything. Stop trying to take "under God" out of our pledge of allegiance.

While you are at it, go to the Supreme Court of the United States, enter the chambers, and gaze upon the Ten Commandments engraven into those hallowed walls, and remember Thomas Jefferson saying that he believed we, the people, the government of a free land, should not interfere with religion.

What the heck, that's what makes this country so fantastic.

www.usconstitution.net...

[edit on 6-12-2008 by Jim Scott]

[edit on 6-12-2008 by Jim Scott]




posted on Dec, 6 2008 @ 02:31 PM
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This "wall of separation of church and state" is often used to assist atheists in removing monuments from public properties, and is a big favorite of large legal organizations like the ACLU to push the atheist agenda on our schools and local governments who do not have sufficient funds available to pay for counter-litigation. It is also very damaging, when coupled with the teaching on (godless, if you will) evolution, to college students, destroying their fragile faith.

With the low quality of education received already, where students can't even name where the Pacific Ocean is located, or name the Vice-President, who is surprised that people are getting this concept backwards?

The reason IMO this is so backwards is because (1) the media promotes it (2) the atheists promote it, and (3) the average guy falls for it and assumes it is the truth.

IMO church brings morals to government officials, ethics to businesses, good behavior to students. Some carry the religious thing too far, but that's because their teachers (at church) or their friends are getting it wrong.



posted on Dec, 6 2008 @ 03:23 PM
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I see it mostly as a way to keep one religion from infringing on the rights of another.

What if something happened, causing a shift in favor of another religion?

Well, congratulations. Your actions just opened the door for a religious state.
And since America is a melting pot, the religion could very well change.

Even if it is your religion of choice, then you open up the can of worms that is interpretation of religious law that HAS been abused EVERY time it is utilized.

Religion is an important part of people's lives. I'm not about to contest, or berate that fact. It's a good thing, and if nothing else, gives people hope and something to aspire to.

But the second you start mixing the government and religion, you start down a very slippery slope.

But if you're so insistent, I give you the example of Iran. A modern day religious state.

Before you say "But Christianity has no extremists!!"
Wrong. An example of Christian Extremism.

All it takes in a religious state is a twisted interpretation of an otherwise peaceful religion to spell doom for the rights and freedoms we now enjoy.

I'm not for separation of church and state because I'm atheist (I'm not), but because it in reality protects and preserves religions in their purest forms.

But maybe I'm crazy?



posted on Dec, 6 2008 @ 03:27 PM
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IMO church brings morals to government officials, ethics to businesses, good behavior to students. Some carry the religious thing too far, but that's because their teachers (at church) or their friends are getting it wrong.







If the morals of our politicians are a good example of Christian ethics, then I'm siding the the atheists on this one.



posted on Dec, 6 2008 @ 03:39 PM
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Like it or not, our constitution, and our resulting laws are based on the JudeaoChristian ethic of the people who founded this country. Kudos to the OP for citing the Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists, stating that the GOVERNMENT had no business interfering or involving itself in religion. He never states that religion has no place in government. (Consider that we don't know exactly what Jefferson's religouse beleifs were. He had his own redacted version fo the Bible, keeping those parts he agreed with, and removing those parts he didn't.)
The sas part is that most people today believe that "the seperation of church and state" is actucally in the constituion. This is a sad commentary on the state of education in this country.
When I was in school, in the 50's and 60's, in every classroom, there hung a copy of the Declaration of Independence, and a copy of the Ten Commandments. (I graduated in 1968, but in the south, we give in slowly. We had daily bible readings in homeroom, until I graduated.)
I, for one, am sick and tired of liberal judges interpreting the law based on LETTERS, rather than the law, or the constitution.
THe people here on ATS need to get off their butts, write their congressmen and tell them, we have laws and we expect them to be interpreted and upheld according to our constitution. If we can't do that the we deserve(with apologies to the ladies)to have our cojones cut off and handed to us on a plate. Because if we don't do it, that is exactly what will happen!



posted on Dec, 6 2008 @ 03:40 PM
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Originally posted by Jim Scott
IMO church brings morals to government officials, ethics to businesses, good behavior to students.


As you say yourself, it's your opinion; it's not necessarily a fact. I personally don't really associate the America government with "morals", nor American big business with "ethics" either.


Some carry the religious thing too far, but that's because their teachers (at church) or their friends are getting it wrong.


Ah, one of my favourite Christian themes: 'those people? Oh, they're not Christians! They say they are, but they're not you know. They don't count. Ignore those Christians'.



posted on Dec, 6 2008 @ 03:40 PM
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Originally posted by Thelast
I see it mostly as a way to keep one religion from infringing on the rights of another.

What if something happened, causing a shift in favor of another religion?

Well, congratulations. Your actions just opened the door for a religious state.
And since America is a melting pot, the religion could very well change.
----
All it takes in a religious state is a twisted interpretation of an otherwise peaceful religion to spell doom for the rights and freedoms we now enjoy.

I'm not for separation of church and state because I'm atheist (I'm not), but because it in reality protects and preserves religions in their purest forms.

But maybe I'm crazy?


I see your point, and it is a a very valid one. However, the founding fathers, in particular George Washington, brought up a great thought on this very subject. He was not worried about the country descending into this abyss because we have freedom. Freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of religion, etc. allow for many, many different groups and points of view, as you see on ATS. It was his belief that, because of so many freedoms and beliefs, no one religion or system could overtake the US. The sheer divisiveness of the many existing points of view prevent the cohesiveness of one. Take, for example, our President. Even though he has been duly elected, there are fighting factions wanting to remove him.

There will always be plenty of atheists, Muslims, Mormons, Christians, etc. to stir up the excitement and keep the divisions. You, my friend, are secure in America *because* we are free.

However, do not prevent the entrance of morals into government. Our leaders need that influence. They need someone to hold the reins to direct the path of our national well-being.

In fact, many of our elected representatives share prayer groups in Washington, D.C.

You may want to know, also, that George Washington founded over 100 religious tract societies in his spare time.



posted on Dec, 6 2008 @ 03:44 PM
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Originally posted by asmeone2



IMO church brings morals to government officials, ethics to businesses, good behavior to students. Some carry the religious thing too far, but that's because their teachers (at church) or their friends are getting it wrong.







If the morals of our politicians are a good example of Christian ethics, then I'm siding the the atheists on this one.


Personally, I think politicians are generally good men. I know their job requires compromise, (which you see little of in the California legislature), so sometimes they wind up compromising their beliefs. This can result in an eroding of one's personal values. It is good if the people can reinforce those basic moral values for the politicians once in awhile, rather than run off saying "I don't want to bring religion into this."

As I mentioned in another post, many of these men share common prayer groups. All is not bad. A few mavericks get out of hand. Religion is not the end of immorality, only it's watchdog.



posted on Dec, 6 2008 @ 03:44 PM
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OP I think your premise is flawed anyway.

If the government is involved in religion, then religion is also involved in the government.

It isn't one or the other.

If one of these thigns is forbidden by the Constitution, then the other should be, too.



posted on Dec, 6 2008 @ 03:48 PM
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reply to post by Merriman Weir
 

Thank you for your post, and you are correct in many ways.

However, I do not feel it safe to let the horses pull the wagon without a driver. IMO, the test of a person's character is what that person is doing when no one knows what they are doing. In that circumstance, it would be best if that person thought "god is watching me," rather than "nobody knows and nobody cares."

As I mentioned in another post, the existence of religion does not mean the end of immorality, but only exists as its watchdog.

Would you throw out the control, the driver, the watchdog, and let the reins fall to the ground to let the horses run wherever, just because at one time there was an unruly horse or a bad driver?



posted on Dec, 6 2008 @ 03:50 PM
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Originally posted by asmeone2
OP I think your premise is flawed anyway.

If the government is involved in religion, then religion is also involved in the government.

It isn't one or the other.

If one of these thigns is forbidden by the Constitution, then the other should be, too.


I strongly disagree. For example, a religion has freedom to worship. The government cannot forbid that freedom. The religion cannot forbid the government, however, from performing any action. It can only influence the populace to vote in a particular way.



posted on Dec, 6 2008 @ 03:56 PM
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So if say, tomorrow, another religion besides Christianity was the majority religion in the United States would you still defend religion and government being together?



posted on Dec, 6 2008 @ 04:26 PM
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Originally posted by davion
So if say, tomorrow, another religion besides Christianity was the majority religion in the United States would you still defend religion and government being together?


That's basically my point.

Now that I think about it, it also prevents herd mentality.
If you have one powerful dominant religion, people could flock to it out of fear of persecution.

Once again, corrupting the very message of said religion.
The system as it is, for the most part, allows people to worship through choice.

I mean, there will always be people who take up a religion for motives that are far from spiritual, but this will increase the amount of people that do so.

Haha, I guess this issue is a lot more complex than I originally thought. I like that.



posted on Dec, 6 2008 @ 04:46 PM
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Originally posted by kettlebellysmith
Like it or not, our constitution, and our resulting laws are based on the JudeaoChristian ethic of the people who founded this country.



Absolutely INCORRECT.

I refer you to the Treaty of Tripoli, dated 1796


Article 11 in the treaty states

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.


See that? And this treaty was unanimously voted by the congress, and signed by John Adams.


The fact that some items in the constitution, etc resemble the judeo-christian beliefs has no more bearing than the fact that the judeo-christian beliefs/laws are descended from the Codes of Hammurabi from Sumeria, or the Egyptian Book of Coming and Going Forth By Day (also known as the Book of the Dead)



posted on Dec, 6 2008 @ 04:53 PM
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Originally posted by Jim Scott

Originally posted by asmeone2
OP I think your premise is flawed anyway.

If the government is involved in religion, then religion is also involved in the government.

It isn't one or the other.

If one of these thigns is forbidden by the Constitution, then the other should be, too.


I strongly disagree. For example, a religion has freedom to worship. The government cannot forbid that freedom. The religion cannot forbid the government, however, from performing any action. It can only influence the populace to vote in a particular way.


Two points I might bring up. The Government has attempted to restrict the freedom of religions on its "black list." For example, for a while it was severely punishable for Native Americans to perform certain parts of their religious ceremonies, like the Ghost Dance, and I'm sure you could find many modern Christians on this board who feel that the government is actively restricting their rights.

And technically, a religion can stop the goverment from doing something. THe members of that religion are voting citizens, some of them may even run for public office, so if it gains enough influence it *can.*

Currently the Christian faith is the US government's favorite bed fellow. I give you the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. , a blatant example I can think of of church and government entertwining. Not church telling the government what to do, but in this case involved in supporting it, which would still be unconstitutional I beleive. There is a thin line between "involved" and "interfering."

I maintain my original post.

Let me draw a comparison with modern terrorism, which is largely faith-based. If a certain government is involved in supporting or sheilding terrorists we wouldn't pander around and say "Well, the terrorists are not involved in running the government." That government is still giving its tacit approval to the terrorist group in question. It is the same way with religion.

[edit on 6-12-2008 by asmeone2]



posted on Dec, 6 2008 @ 06:28 PM
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reply to post by asmeone2
 

Originally posted by davion

So if say, tomorrow, another religion besides Christianity was the majority religion in the United States would you still defend religion and government being together?


Sure. There are, for example, many religions in the US military forces. It's the way our country functions, so you have nothing to fear.

"After a bloody and costly civil war and the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment determined that citizens of the United States cannot have their rights abridged by state or local governments either, religious liberty for all was established. Governmental neutrality in matters of religion remains the enduring basis for that liberty."
www.stephenjaygould.org...


from asmeone2
it was severely punishable for Native Americans to perform certain parts of their religious ceremonies, like the Ghost Dance,


Good example, and one would expect the government to intervene in a religion when the religion is disobeying the law. In this case, as with your terrorist example, the Indians were advocating, in the dance, the end of the US government. Recent examples include arrests for polygamy.

"While many millennial groups are pacifist, millenarian beliefs have been claimed as causes for people to ignore conventional rules of behavour, which can result in violence directed inwards (such as mass suicides) and/or outwards (such as terrorist acts). It sometimes includes a belief in supernatural powers or predetermined victory. In some cases, millenarians withdraw from society to await the intervention of God or another metaphysical force."
en.wikipedia.org...
Sounds like some of those groups hiding up in Montana.


[edit on 6-12-2008 by Jim Scott]



posted on Dec, 6 2008 @ 08:02 PM
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Originally posted by Jim Scott
reply to post by asmeone2



it was severely punishable for Native Americans to perform certain parts of their religious ceremonies, like the Ghost Dance,


Good example, and one would expect the government to intervene in a religion when the religion is disobeying the law. In this case, as with your terrorist example, the Indians were advocating, in the dance, the end of the US government. Recent examples include arrests for polygamy.

[edit on 6-12-2008 by Jim Scott]


But here is another point we have to address.

When does a religion cross the line from practicing free speech into being a legitimate threat?

It is easy for a government to say that a religion has become "militant" if they feel they pose a threat to their regime. THe Ghost Dance practitioners might have been calling for the downfal of the US, but they had some very legitimate reasons to do so.

I think that is why some churches are "persecuted" today, not because they happen to be Christian but because they are criticising the government a little bit too loudly.

So where do we draw the line?

Edit: The polygamy is a bad example. Many of these men aren't *legally* married to more than one woman so the government has no right to actually arrest them. As for the case here in Texas, which was horribly handled and shouldn't have happened, the arrests were made on the suspicion of child sexual abuse, not specifically polygamy.

[edit on 6-12-2008 by asmeone2]



posted on Dec, 6 2008 @ 08:55 PM
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You contradict yourself sir, or madam ( I can't tell by your name.) You quote the Treaty of Tripoli, then state that the Constitution appears to be based on the Judeao-Christian ethic. It would appear to me that political expediency was taking the place of fact in this case.
The references to taken from the Bible that are CARVED IN STONE in many buildings and monuments in Washington and around the country further support my case.
(The Supreme Court has the Ten Commandments carved into the building.)
What's the problem? Ths country was founded by people who called them selves Chrstans. Relgouos freedom happens to be guarenteed by our government, but our laws are based on what we commonly call "The Good Book."
(A couple of my keys have stopped workng, so had to get creatve wth phrasng.)

[edit on 6-12-2008 by kettlebellysmith]



posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 03:30 AM
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IMHO, the founding fathers were careful to appear neutral and indifferent when drawing up the most important documents of all time so as to offend few and please many.

In their day, there were various levels of belief or disbelief in Christianity, and although we know that Washington and others were prayerful and worshiped God (the Bible God), they did not prejudice their writ with their personal points of view. This was a country to welcome all, regardless of religion, and it is today. Compare our tolerance with that of the country of Iran or India, for example.

While it is true that these founding documents are rather neutral, God is mentioned somewhat in all of them. Even the Constitution mentions "the year of our Lord," for what it's worth (tho you may only consider that a conventional statement). I suppose they could have just given the date. I would not read into this conspicuous neutrality with regards to religion as found in these primary writs as an endorsement of removing religion from the government altogether. The talents of these original men were great, and their perception of the future use of the documents was extraordinary.



posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 10:50 AM
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JS:

The Founding Fathers were bright enough to leave specific instructions on how thwy intended laws to be carried out. I imagine they woudl have had the gray matter to also dictate how we were to involve religion and government if they were to be enteined. Since there are NO instructions or endoresement of a particular faith I do not think they meant for one to be followed.



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