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ETHICS: Separation of Church and State

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posted on Aug, 31 2004 @ 05:40 PM
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Rather than argue about what dead people thought we should be, why not look at what we've become. A nation divided harshly into three camps regarding the seperation of church and state issue. And all points are valid as far as opinions go. All that's left is choosing your camp and voting accordingly.

To the best of my estimation we have:

Strict seperationists also known as secularists. This position does not exclude the religious or devout as it merely asserts that government has zero business promoting or endorsing religion of any kind. I'd consider this consistent with Democrat, Libertarian and Green Party values and platforms, though not the values of MOST Americans.

Moderate Seperationists which basically agree that a compromise of non-specific monotheistic values should be recognized in public areas of government, as well as somewhat endorsed via tax vouchers. Most polling indicates this is basically what MOST Americans suport, though no party platform really speaks to them entirely.

And Strict Christian Adherents to the unification of Church AND State. Without doubt this is where the Constitution Party stands, as well as one may argue the Republican Party in increasing severity.

That George Bush has led the National Republican Party toward this position is no secret. And where he draws his inspiration even less so. And no it's not Jesus, it's the Texas Republican Party Platform.

"The Republican Party of Texas affirms
the United States of America is a Christian Nation ..."

State of Texas GOP Platform, 2004

As analyzed by the watch dog group TheocracyWatch.org:

The Texas Republican Party Platform can be read as a blueprint for Bush administration policies, and reflects the values of Dominion Theology.

Dominionists believe the federal government should recede into the background. This would be achieved through massive tax cuts. Then the Church would assume responsibliltly for welfare and education. Tax cuts, Faith-based initiatives and school vouchers are the cornerstone of Bush administration domestic policies and recommended in the Texas GOP Platform. These policies are putting the U.S. on the path toward becoming what the Platform calls a "Christian" nation.


The implications of applying Dominion Theology in Government are evident in both the Texas GOP platform and Bush rhetoric and legislative efforts as President. Remember the goal is to eradicate government power while strengthening Religious Control...specifically Christian dominance.


Tax Cuts, p. 17 - "The Party urges the IRS be abolished," and the following taxes eliminated:

"income tax, inheritance tax, gift tax, capital gains, corporate income tax, payroll tax and property tax."

Tax cuts are accompanied by Downsizing the Federal Government on p. 19 -
We support the abolition of ... the Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms, the position of Surgeon General, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Departments of Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Education, Commerce and Labor. We also call for the de-funding or abolition of the National Endowment for the Arts, and Public Broadcasting System.



Step one accomplished, the gutting of all "secular" government authority, sympathetic industries that support the goals will be rewarded with deregulation, the encouragement of monopolies and economic validation of man's dominion over property and nature. This allows corporate entities, which would have every right to discriminate and promote particular religions more control and influence over individual's with little to no recourse from protective agencies.


Deregulation - Dominion Theologists support deregulation of industry. They use terms such as "unfettered" or "unhampered" by regulation. The first three agencies listed in the above paragraph are all regulatory agencies. The Texas GOP Platform calls for business to be "unencumbered by excessive government regulation." (p.1, preamble)

The Washington Post has published a three-part series analyzing the devastating impact of Bush administration deregulatory policies on the environment and public health. The first article from the Post is called Bush Forces a Shift In Regulatory Thrust, OSHA Made More Business-Friendly, August 15, 2004. The second article, August 16, 'Data Quality' Law Is Nemesis Of Regulation talks about the health threat of a law to deregulate chemicals. The third article, August 17, Appalachia Is Paying Price for White House Rule Change explains how Bush administration rule changes are devastating the environment.


Any remaining "governmental" influence left on an individual then in this Christo-Capitalist Utopia would be influenced thusly:


Biblical Law - Dominion theology calls for a government based on Biblical Law, relying on the Ten Commandments as its guiding source. Therefore, posting of the Ten Commandments in public buildings has great symbolic value.


The Texas GOP puts it this way.


On p.7 of the Platform: Ten Commandments - "We ... oppose any governmental action to restrict prohibit, or remove public display of the [Ten Commandments]..."

The Platform goes on to say "or any other religious symbols." The words "any other" probably mean "any other Christian symbols," for the religious right does not accept religions that aren't monotheistic. The Family Research Council, the most powerful lobbying organization of the religious right, spoke strongly against religious pluralism when a Hindu priest offered an invocation for Congress. They wrote:

"(W)hile it is true that the United States of America was founded on the sacred principle of religious freedom for all, that liberty was never intended to exalt other religions to the level that Christianity holds in our country's heritage."


Further relying on the thinking of ghosts to not only promote Christianity, but suppress other religions.


"Our Founders expected that Christianity -- and no other religion -- would receive support from the government as long as that support did not violate peoples' consciences and their right to worship. They would have found utterly incredible the idea that all religions, including paganism, be treated with equal deference."

The "wall" of separation between church and state would need to come down to establish Biblical Law. On p.8, Free Exercise of Religion:

"Our party pledges to exert its influence to ... dispel the "myth" of the separation of church and state."


You can take the cowboy out of Texas, but you cant take the Texas out of a cowboy.


The Bush administration has been consistently nominating federal court judges who would support Biblical Law and don't believe in a separatioin of church and state.


More Highlights of the Texas GOP Platform, 2004 you can expect coming to a White House near you.



Religious "Freedom"
(pps.4-8)
P.4: Free Speech for Clergy - Clergy should not risk losing tax-empt status for political activity (See the Houses of Worship Political Speech Protection Act); (New York Times, A Bill Eases Vote Curb on Churches By David Kirkpatrick, June 8, 2004)

p.8: "We reclaim freedom of religious expression in public on government property, and freedom from governmental interference."

p.8, Christian Nation: "The Republican Party of Texas affirms the United States of America is a Christian Nation ..."

p. 8: Faith-Based opportunites should be increased. Until that time, "Faith-based Initiatives as proposed by President George W. Bush and currently implemented, should continue to be funded by federal monies. (In other words, the Church should assume responsibility for welfare and education. These programs would be funded through tithing -- collecting 10% of church members' income, and through community, and business contributions. Until the churches have taken over welfare, the government would fund these programs.)

Until such time as such unconstitutional spending programs are repealed, we believe that the faith-based initiative as proposed by President George W. Bush, and currently implemented, should continue to receive federal monies.

From America's Providential History, a popular text book in Christian schools and the Christian homeschool movement, "Scripture makes it clear that God is the provider, not the state, and that needy individuals are to be cared for by private acts of charity." (p.187)

The Environment, (p.2)
p.2 #17: "We reaffirm belief in the fundamental constitutional right of an individual to use property without governmental interference."

p.2 #10: "We oppose conservation easements on our natural resources administered by organizations unaccountable to tax payers and voters." (That means land trusts and conservation groups would be declared unconstitutional.)

p. 2 #18: "We oppose the Endangered Species Act."

p.2 #7: "We believe that groundwater is an absolute, vested right of the landowner."

P. 2 #13: "We oppose passage of any international treaty that overrides United States sovereignty including the Kyoto agreement and Biodiversity Treaty."

Gun Control (pp. 7-8)
pp. 7 and 8: Opposes all forms of gun control including law suits against gun manufacturers.

“We reject the establishment of any mechanism to process, license, record, register or monitor the ownership of guns.”

As the ban on assault weapons is due to expire in September, 2004, police departments all over the country are prodding Congress and the President to renew the ban. House Majority Tom DeLay has said that he wouldn't bring a bill to renew the ban to a vote in Congress, and the President is remaining silent on the subject. (New York Times, July 17, 2004)

The Family (pp 9-12)
p.9:Child Abuse - "The Party recognises that the family is a sovereign sphere of authority over which the state has no right to intervene unless the parent or guardian has committed criminal abuse." (Emphasis mine)

p.12 affirms the rights of parents.

p.9 Supports the Unborn Victims of Violence Act

p.10: Celebrating Traditional Marriage calls for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and opposes the legalization of "sodomy" ie homosexuality.

p.11 - Right to Life includes suspending use of RU 486 and commends President Bush for "banning the government funding of human embryo stem cell harvesting."

pp.14 -17: Education
p.14: Supports school vouchers.

p.15: "We call for the abolition of the U.S. Department of Education and the prohibition of the transfer of any of its functions to any other federal agency."

p.15: Supports abstinence only sex education which is strongly supported by the Bush administration.

p.15:"The Party urges Congress to repeal government-sponsored programs that deal with early childhood development, and phase them out as soon as possible." (Programs like Headstart have been facing heavy cuts).

P.16: Multiculturism - "We favor strengthening our common American identity and loyalty over the ideology of multiculturism that emphasizes the differences between racial and ethnic groups."

p.17: "The Party supports the termination of bilingual education programs..."

p.17: supports teaching of intelligent design (a form of creationism) and teaching evolution as merely a theory rather than scientific fact.

p.17: prohibits reproductive health care services in high schools.

The Economy (pp, 13, 17-19)
Preamble, p.1 - "We believe that the future of our country depends upon a strong and vibrant public sector unencumbered by excessive government regulation." ("Excessive government regulation" refers to protections for the environment, for workers, for consummers, and for investors.)

p.13 " ... gradually phase out Social Security tax for a system of "private pensions.."

p. 19 - Make President Bush's tax cuts permanent.

p.19: Privatize government services such as high-speed rail, sports stadiums, or space exploration.

p.19: Downsizing the Federal Government - Abolish the Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms, the position of Surgeon General, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Departments of Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Education, Commerce and Labor. "We also call for the de-funding or abolition of the National Endowment for the Arts, and Public Broadcasting System."

The United Nations
p.26: "The Party believes it is in the best interest of the citizens of the United States that we immediately rescind our membership, as well as financial and military contributions to, the United Nations... The Party urges Congress to evict the United Nations from U.S. soil." (While President Bush has certainly not been this extreme, he did indicate that the UN had become irrelevant when it didn't support the U.S. war in Iraq. Since that time he seems to have learned that the U.S. can't act alone, and that he does in fact need the United Nations for his war on terror.)


All of which are relevant to this discussion as they are claimed to be inspired by Jesus. Specifically. Who knew how opinionated that guy was?

Note: This is NOT moderation or simple monotheism. Jews aren't Christian, and neither am I. But I assure you I'd feel pretty second class under any regime that endorsed Christianty over all, as Texas and Bush clearly do.




posted on Aug, 31 2004 @ 08:38 PM
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Thank you Rant for bringing published policy to light. I care not what denomination any member of this board might enamore him/herself with, I cannot see how any American can accept the precepts of this dogma. How could any non-schizoid tout the ultimate American ideal: FREEDOM and still accept this Christian heirarchy as an accepted dicipline for all Americans???

What has become of compromise? Where has tolerance gone? Acceptance of other cultures(other than White, Christian, Western), is no longer an option, at least not within our borders. How is the expressed dogma of the Republican party in Texas, as denoted in the last post, different from that of the Klu Klux Klan??? I see very little difference. www.kkk.bz...



posted on Sep, 1 2004 @ 12:40 AM
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Originally posted by scottsquared
What has become of compromise? Where has tolerance gone? Acceptance of other cultures(other than White, Christian, Western), is no longer an option, at least not within our borders. How is the expressed dogma of the Republican party in Texas, as denoted in the last post, different from that of the Klu Klux Klan??? I see very little difference. www.kkk.bz...


True, you don’t see much of a difference if you buy rant’s spin and contortion of the platform. As for rant’s post I didn’t get to much past the first failed illustration. After struggling through the simplification of the world, and then the talking points about how I should interpret the following. I concluded I disliked his interpretation of the Texas republican platform as much as he did….and I’m sure that given the chance so too would the Texas republican party. So, I would be reading about a fictitious platform that just about universally everyone would condemn. However if you look at the true Texas republican platform there are actually a lot of very good positions, you should read it for yourself.


Originally posted by Rant
Step one accomplished, the gutting of all "secular" government authority, sympathetic industries that support the goals will be rewarded with deregulation, the encouragement of monopolies and economic validation of man's dominion over property and nature. This allows corporate entities, which would have every right to discriminate and promote particular religions more control and influence over individual's with little to no recourse from protective agencies.


As for deregulation, of course disregarding the theoretical spin, the claim is that we would all of a sudden be at risk for all of these dark things like monopolies and corporations out of control. Let’s see do Microsoft and Enron ring a bell. Further the last sentence is just plain false the platform actually calls pretty specifically for the opposite.



posted on Sep, 1 2004 @ 01:54 AM
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What is your post supposed to mean Keholmes?

[EDIT: Any why are you supporting the Republican platform and disagreeing with the Dem/Green/Libertarian position you're supposed to be supporting on this?
Just caught that.
Changing teams?]

Are you saying that the link I posted to the Texas GOP platform isn't real? That the huge section in quotes with specific page numbers to the Republican platform is "spin." Why are you avoiding the points in the GOP platform?

While you may disagree with some of my independent assertions you can't disagree that there are two politcal ideologies we have to choose from:

1) Strict Secularism

or 2) Promoting Christianty over all, fusing Church and State

The vast majority of Americans that want some compromise aren't being offered that choice. And in my opinion they shouldn't be as it's bogus.

There's good reason to either base your ideology on the US being a CHRISTIAN nation or a secular one. So that's the choice offered.

Either Republicans or everyone else. Like they say, you're either with them or against them...and it's really true! They say Christian nation and government. Everyone else says secular, then worship how you want.

The Texas-acation of our nation by Bush is relevant. That's exactly what's happening. I'll spare you the rhetoric about the Texas Taliban, but that's who's running the world right now.

So are you with him or against him? The issue is seperation or fusion of Church and State. There are no right or wrong answers. It's a choice, I humbly submit isn't being fully explained honestly by some parties.

If my disclosure on the Republican agenda is disturbing or in any way incorrect, I suggest someone correct me.

[edit on 1-9-2004 by RANT]

[edit on 1-9-2004 by RANT]



posted on Sep, 1 2004 @ 08:52 AM
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And the majority of the Supreme Court. "Fat Tony" Scalia has come down as such on numerous rulings.
The Ethical question posed by this thread is of extreme relevance, the Texas GOP 2004 verbatim platform of a "Christian Nation", and how it's been put into action by the aforementioned government officials is of absolute consequence as to the structure of our tax & education systems. It being laid out the way it has, I don't see the disconnect or assertions of "spin" being anything except a deflection from the truth on the variables at play here.

School vouchers play a prominent role in the Dominionist/Bush vision on the Church/State issue, let's explore that. Whereas the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was a good idea, particularly since it was plagierized from Senator Kennedy, it's done zero good to cut it off at th knees via underfunding by $27 BILLION DOLLARS. A classic strategy of "starving the BEAST" = handicapp it so severely that it's ineffectual, thus making the GOP option seem reasonable by default.

Kerry will fully fund NCLB and offer a new bargain for America’s children and teachers. His plan will recruit teachers for high-need schools and for shortage subject areas like math and science. It will also offer teachers professional support, like mentoring programs and parental involvement initiatives. In return, Kerry will ask school districts to implement new tests for teachers, establish new systems that reward teachers for excellence in the classroom and ensure fast, fair procedures for improving or replacing teachers who do not perform.



posted on Sep, 1 2004 @ 11:03 AM
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A call to win this "Culture War"

At a closed, invitation-only Bush campaign rally for Christian conservatives yesterday, Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas called for a broad social conservative agenda notably different from the televised presentations at the Republican convention.

***********
Called "the Family, Faith and Freedom Rally" in e-mail invitations sent to Christian conservatives in New York for the convention, the event was organized by the Bush-Cheney campaign "to celebrate America and President George W. Bush."

************
Mr. Reed also addressed the crowd, recalling Mr. Bush's response to a question about his favorite philosopher during the 2000 Republican primary. "The President said, 'Jesus Christ,' " Mr. Reed recalled. And amid rousing applause, he repeated Mr. Bush's distinctively evangelical follow-up: "The president said, as only he can say, 'If I have to explain it to you, then you don't understand it.' "


I thought a convention was a get together of multiple platform ideas to determine which way a party is going on key issues? No other group is on record as having a private invitation to an event from the Bush White House, correct?
Besides Gulliani & McCain mentioning 9/11 about 50 times each in their speeches, are the Republican delegations also aware of this concurrent "WAR"?
I guess if fear is the motivational factor being employed, again by virtue of the sole focus, to date, by convention speakers, it would stand to reason that Christian Republicans are double the fear level?

I know John Kerry is not or has ever planned to seperate out a religious group for seperate counsel. It's true that Nader & Badnarik have not either, correct?


[edit on 1-9-2004 by Bout Time]



posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 11:41 PM
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Originally posted by RANT
What is your post supposed to mean Keholmes?

Rant, what I meant is that you spun much of what the Texas republican parties platform actually claims. You accomplished this by concatenating your positions onto the carefully selected quotes sometimes identifying that and sometimes not. Further, you implied or suggested they say something they don’t. Also you ignored sections were they specifically rule out your independent assertions.


Originally posted by RANT
[EDIT: Any why are you supporting the Republican platform and disagreeing with the Dem/Green/Libertarian position you're supposed to be supporting on this?
Just caught that.
Changing teams?]


No, I’m not changing teams. If you read the actual platform of the libertarian party you will see that you actually were spinning many of the planks. So as you can see I was defending the positions of the libertarian party, as opposed to spinning the platform of another.
Libertarian positions:
Elimination or reduction of the federal government to it’s proper size.
Free speech for all..not just those who some particular group likes at the time. Taxes should be at a minimum limited, and should not be used to bludgeon some to silence.
Lack of governmental interference sounds good, I’m unsure as to why you oppose it.
Let’s see, we are forced to pay taxes and then the property is given to organizations that are not accountable to the voters who paid for it…and that is not bad?
We oppose U.S. government participation in any world or international government. We oppose any treaty under which individual rights would be violated.
We affirm the right to keep and bear arms and oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, regulating, or requiring the ownership, manufacture, transfer, or sale of firearms or ammunition.
School vouchers….good start.


Originally posted by RANT
Why are you avoiding the points in the GOP platform?

I wasn’t avoiding the points…it’s just that you buried your opinion into the quotes and it makes the points appear to say something that they don’t. as I said previously you chose to spin many of the planks that the republican and libertarian parties share.


Originally posted by RANT
While you may disagree with some of my independent assertions you can't disagree that there are two politcal ideologies we have to choose from:

a. your assertions are not independent you and I both support the opposition….that would rule out independent.
b. I suspect that I do disagree. In your definition of secular you would probably like the federal government to ensure that Texas does not “officially” call it self or the federal government a Christian government. In my definition of secular the federal government would mind its own business. (If I misstated you then my apologies in advance)



Originally posted by RANT
It's a choice, I humbly submit isn't being fully explained honestly by some parties.

I agree.
However, your implication that to disagree with the republican platform, one must agree with the liberal platform is ironically the same thing that you falsely accuse the republicans of. Simply put, the fact that I disagree with a portion of a platform doesn’t require demagoguery and spin of their positions. I believe that is a position that is wholly consistent with the spirit of the libertarian platform.



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