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#41 Hemidakota

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 07:12 AM

And you know why we have the constitutional amendment separation of state and church.

#42 christmasvalleyfarms

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 08:24 AM

You're kidding, right, Hemi? Sometimes I have trouble discerning people's humorous remarks. :-)

You do know there's no such amendment - you do know where that phrase comes from? A letter written by Thomas Jefferson - even a recent Circuit Court of Appeals decision called that phrase ("separation of church and state") a "tired extra-constitutional construct" that really needs to be gone.

6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals:
“The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state.”

from the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER — In an astounding return to judicial interpretation of the actual text of the United States Constitution, a unanimous panel of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Tuesday issued an historic decision declaring that “the First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state.”

In upholding a Kentucky county’s right to display the Ten Commandments, the panel called the American Civil Liberties Union’s repeated claims to the contrary “extra-constitutional” and “tiresome." 6th Circuit Judge Richard Suhrheinrich wrote in the unanimous decision: “The ACLU makes repeated reference to the ’separation of church and state.’ This extra-constitutional construct has grown tiresome. The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state. Our nation’s history is replete with governmental acknowledgment and in some cases, accommodation of religion.”

The words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the U.S. Constitution, though according to polls, a majority of Americans have been misled to believe that they do... For background information, see: Separation of church and state in the United States: Information from Answers.com

Edited by christmasvalleyfarms, 11 December 2008 - 08:31 AM.
add citation - people like citations!


#43 MarginOfError

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 08:29 AM

"A tired extra-constitutional construct." Good description. I also like this descriptioin:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


I just wish I could remember where that quote came from.

Dude. When both Vort and MOE are in agreement, the thinking has been done. :D


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#44 Hemidakota

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 08:29 AM

Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

#45 Hemidakota

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 08:29 AM

Contructs is part of life now....get over it. :lol:

#46 Hemidakota

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 08:32 AM

You're kidding, right, Hemi? Sometimes I have trouble discerning people's humorous remarks. :-)

You do know there's no such amendment - you do know where that phrase comes from? A letter written by Thomas Jefferson - even a recent Circuit Court of Appeals decision called that phrase ("separation of church and state") a "tired extra-constitutional construct" that really needs to be gone.

6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals:
“The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state.”

from the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER — In an astounding return to judicial interpretation of the actual text of the United States Constitution, a unanimous panel of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Tuesday issued an historic decision declaring that “the First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state.”

In upholding a Kentucky county’s right to display the Ten Commandments, the panel called the American Civil Liberties Union’s repeated claims to the contrary “extra-constitutional” and “tiresome." 6th Circuit Judge Richard Suhrheinrich wrote in the unanimous decision: “The ACLU makes repeated reference to the ’separation of church and state.’ This extra-constitutional construct has grown tiresome. The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state. Our nation’s history is replete with governmental acknowledgment and in some cases, accommodation of religion.”

The words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the U.S. Constitution, though according to polls, a majority of Americans have been misled to believe that they do... For background information, see: Separation of church and state in the United States: Information from Answers.com


[Same contents...] thanks for the correction.

By Barbara A. Simon, Esq.
Freedom Writer, January/February 1996

* Index: The Politics of Religion (Editorials)
* Home to Positive Atheism

There are those who say that the phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear in the Constitution. They are correct. The words "a wall of separation between church and state" are not found in our Constitution. Neither are the words "separation of powers"; "right to travel"; "freedom of association": or "religious liberty" found in our Constitution. This does not mean that those concepts are not embodied in our Constitution. The words "wall of separation between church and state" are the words of Thomas Jefferson.

The First Amendment to the Constitution reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion [government neutrality toward religion], or prohibiting the free exercise thereof [religious freedom]." The 14th Amendment extended this requirement beyond the Federal government to all the state governments.

In Reynolds v. United States (1878), the Supreme Court stated, "In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between church and state.'" This was further emphasized in Everson v. Board of Education (1947), as expressed in the opinion for the majority written by Associate Justice Hugo Black. He wrote, "The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach."

In Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), the Court established a three-prong test to determine if a governmental action is neutral toward religion. First, government institutions or legislation must have a secular purpose; second, the primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion; and third, there must not be an excessive government entanglement with religion. This principle was further clarified by Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in Lynch v. Donnelly (1984). She said, "What is crucial is that a governmental practice not have the effect of communicating a message of government endorsement or disapproval of religion."

The Supreme Court decisions provide an explanation of the rights and responsibilities granted by our Constitution. "Separation of church and state" is a constitutional principle that has been embraced by Supreme Court jurisprudence for more than one hundred years.

Those who insist upon denying the constitutional principle of "separation of church and state" are engaging in revisionist history. "Separation of church and state" is the prerequisite for religious and political liberty.

#47 christmasvalleyfarms

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 08:43 AM

[Same contents...] thanks for the correction.

The Supreme Court decisions provide an explanation of the rights and responsibilities granted by our Constitution. "Separation of church and state" is a constitutional principle that has been embraced by Supreme Court jurisprudence for more than one hundred years.

Those who insist upon denying the constitutional principle of "separation of church and state" are engaging in revisionist history. "Separation of church and state" is the prerequisite for religious and political liberty.


I would take issue with her interpretation. The prerequisite for religious and political liberty is the text of the First Amendment. I would agree with the 6th Circuit Court in their calling a spade a spade - it is an extra-constitutional phrase (not truly a "constitutional principle" - it seems to me that those trying to call it constitutional are doing the revising) and we need to get out from behind it and back to the original intent.

That phrase has been used to attempt to in fact deny religious liberty for years. Let's weigh issues of government involvement/endorsement/protection of a particular religion on their own merits, and not continue to use this phrase to promote a belief that the only good American government is a government without mention or acknowledgement of God in any way, shape, or form, (not just endorsement of a particular faith, as it was intended) and the only free society is one in which noone need ever be "offended" by the mention of religion or God.

Kind of off-topic here, but....we can be a country unashamedly founded on Judeo-Christian principles and yet be welcoming to those of all faiths. Maybe we've not done that well enough in the past but it is a sad mistake to abandon our heritage and principles just because we have failed them in the past. OR to allow others to bully us into feeling like we need to apologize for who we are and how we got here. For example - when I go to the local Jewish Community Center to take a class or attend an event I sure don't feel unwelcome or offended cause it's called the Jewish Community Center. I feel appreciative of who they are and their sharing their resources and heritage and facilities with all. Yet the YW/YMCA has removed the expansion of the acronym because they feel it would be limiting and exclusionary to identify themselves with Christianity. ????

I just think this phrase has been responsible for the development of an incredibly unconstitutional forcing of any semblance of God, specifically a Christian God, out of the public square and public consciousness and relevance in this country. And that's more than unfortunate.

Edited by christmasvalleyfarms, 11 December 2008 - 09:02 AM.


#48 MarginOfError

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 08:46 AM

I would take issue with her interpretation. The prerequisite for religious and political liberty is the text of the First Amendment. I would agree with the 6th Circuit Court in their calling a spade a spade - it is an extra-constitutional phrase and we need to get out from behind it and back to the original intent.

That phrase has been used to attempt to in fact deny religious liberty for years. Let's weigh issues of government involvement/endorsement/protection of religion on their own merits, and not use this phrase to continue to promote a belief that the only good American government is a government without mention or acknowledgement of God in any way, shape, or form, and the only free society is one in which noone need ever be "offended" by the mention of religion or God.


What religious liberties have you been denied?

Dude. When both Vort and MOE are in agreement, the thinking has been done. :D


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#49 christmasvalleyfarms

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 09:28 AM

Read my last two paragraphs? It's about free expression - look around you and whether it's the school kid being criminalized for bringing a Christmas gift to his classmates that mentions Jesus (most extreme is the recent court challenge, which failed, fortunately, against including the Rudolph song in a school "holiday" pageant because it mentioned the word "Christmas" and "Santa" which were too Christian and thus offensive), or the attempts to remove the mention of "God" from any national expression or monument - to allow any sort of perversion or immorality to fill the airwaves in the name of free speech, but to censor a church's preaching against homosexuality which their faith demands they do - I know, MOE, you will probably just write me off as a histrionic fanatic. But I really do cry about this - I did just this morning as I had a talk with my son, and am doing so again as I write this. I don't know if you're LDS. But here's my heart - trample it if you will. Basically, I love my Heavenly Father so so much. I owe to Him all that I have and I am. He gave me (us) my life, my liberty, the gospel and prophets to keep me safe and headed in the right direction in the midst of the world's increasing insanity - the Savior gave me His life. And I think of the proverb that says "how sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child." And it breaks my heart to see my Father, and my Savior, mocked, and derided, and excluded from our national consciousness in the name of including every other special interest group that squeals the loudest. My heart breaks for the hate, for the misunderstanding that the adversary exploits... and all the hurt. There is no room in the inn anymore. In the very nation He led us to and inspired the founding of so that we could worship Him freely and honor Him in our daily lives. I am old enough to remember going downtown with my family to enjoy the beautiful Nativity display in front of the County Courthouse - we weren't the worse society for it - we all, Christian, Jew, Muslim, atheist alike, that we knew-and our family knew some of each - were able to share in a unique season of goodwill to all regardless of who or what we worshiped. To me Christmas is the ultimate expression of inclusivity - the message that God loves us all, whomever, Jewish, Muslim, atheists too(!), equally and that at least for that season we could put aside those differences and come together in the almost magical spirit of love and brotherhood. And the exclusion of the beautiful influence of that unifying spirit, that I remember experiencing at this time of year, is something I feel very sorely denied - and that my children will never know.

#50 MarginOfError

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 09:49 AM

[quote name='christmasvalleyfarms']Read my last two paragraphs? It's about free expression - look around you and whether it's the school kid being criminalized for bringing a Christmas gift to his classmates that mentions Jesus (most extreme is the recent court challenge, which failed, fortunately, against including the Rudolph song in a school "holiday" pageant because it mentioned the word "Christmas" and "Santa" which were too Christian and thus offensive), or the attempts to remove the mention of "God" from any national expression or monument - to allow any sort of perversion or immorality to fill the airwaves in the name of free speech, but to censor a church's preaching against homosexuality which their faith demands they do - I know, MOE, you will probably just write me off as a histrionic fanatic. But I really do cry about this - I did just this morning as I had a talk with my son, and am doing so again as I write this. I don't know if you're LDS. But here's my heart - trample it if you will.[QUOTE]

Nobody's religious freedoms were restricted in these instances. The First Amendment defines the government's role in religion, and that role is that it should remain neutral. A lot of that gets determined at the community level. You speak of a kid being criminalized for bringing a Christmas gift to his classmates (a source would be nice here), but yet, the ACLU defended the right of a Christian group in Massachusetts to distribute candy canes with a Christian message in school. If you look at the cases that are building instead of the cases that terrify you, you might find that the level of tolerance for Christianity is higher than perceived.

In some communities, school choirs are discouraged from singing religious songs. In other communities, the choirs sing songs from multiple religions. The question is about neutrality and fair representation. Some communities achieve that by not presenting any, others try it by presenting them all. In Washington state, there's a community that said, "we're putting up a nativity scene, any other religious groups may share the space to put up emblems and tokens of their religion." This is perhaps most fair as it allows representation of all groups in proportion to their numbers.

[QUOTE]Basically, I love my Heavenly Father so so much. I owe to Him all that I have and I am. He gave me (us) my life, my liberty, the gospel and prophets to keep me safe and headed in the right direction in the midst of the world's increasing insanity - the Savior gave me His life. And I think of the proverb that says "how sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child." And it breaks my heart to see my Father, and my Savior, mocked, and derided, and excluded from our national consciousness in the name of including every other special interest group that squeals the loudest. My heart breaks for the hate, for the misunderstanding that the adversary exploits... and all the hurt. [/QUOTE]

So do everything you can not to perpetuate it. Saying things like, "they won't be happy until all the Christians are locked in a closet" only increases tensions and animosities.

[QUOTE]There is no room in the inn anymore. In the very nation He led us to and inspired the founding of so that we could worship Him freely and honor Him in our daily lives. I am old enough to remember going downtown with my family to enjoy the beautiful Nativity display in front of the County Courthouse - we weren't the worse society for it - we all, Christian, Jew, Muslim, atheist alike, that we knew-and our family knew some of each - were able to share in a unique season of goodwill to all regardless of who or what we worshiped. To me Christmas is the ultimate expression of inclusivity - the message that God loves us all, whomever, Jewish, Muslim, atheists too(!), equally and that at least for that season we could put aside those differences and come together in the almost magical spirit of love and brotherhood. And the exclusion of the beautiful influence of that unifying spirit, that I remember experiencing at this time of year, is something I feel very sorely denied - and that my children will never know.[/QUOTE]

Ending Christmas displays at public venues is not the same as limiting one's self expression. You are free to put up any Christian symbol on your property you like. You are free to wear whatever religious clothing you like. You are free to proselyte in any forum where people freely gather (note, public schools are not such a place, which is why administrators go to such lengths, sometimes over-zealously, to avoid the appearance of such activity).

Eliminating religious expressions in government is not the same as trampling the right to religious expression. I know that can hurt sometimes, but it is the price you pay for living in a society where you are free to express yourself.

Dude. When both Vort and MOE are in agreement, the thinking has been done. :D


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#51 DigitalShadow

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 11:35 AM

What do your tax dollars go to that you consider "religious brainwashing?" I would be okay with removing tax exempt status if I also didn't have to fund Planned Parenthood, ACLU, and other such organizations that taxpayers should not be funding. I would like to see us move to a fair tax system.


First of all, I was not being literal, a point which you and what seems like everyone but MoE have not picked up on despite my attempting to clear that up 3 times in this thread. Second, what would a "fair" tax system be? You contribute a miniscule fraction of the total tax money collected, yet you wish to make far reaching demands about how ALL taxes are spent, how do you consider that remotely fair?

I think one thing that many are forgetting is that this great nation that has allowed us more freedoms and a higher standard of living than any nation in history was founded on Judeo-Christian values. While it is not perfect, it has worked better than any other system on the planet and has made the United States the envy of the world. Why would we want to turn our back on this?


The people who founded it were mostly Judeo-Christian, but that does not mean this country was founded exclusively on "Judeo-Christian values." This country was founded on freedom. Freedom of thought, freedom to criticize, freedom of religion and freedom from religion. The real question is why would you want to turn your back on this.

"Separation of Church and State" is not part of the Constitution and does not mean there should be no mingling of government and churches. It really is impossible to completely separate the two as our values tend to be based on religion and our laws reflect these values. If we read our American history (which unfortunately most of us don't and it is not being taught in our public schools) we know that the framers opposed a national enforced religion ... like they had in England ... not the removal of all religion and acknowledgment of God from the public forum. Madison and Jefferson probably had the most secular or "liberal" view but also acknowledged that faith was a predicate to liberty. Jefferson wrote, "that human beings have certain unalienable rights endowed by God. Rights are not conferred on us by a monarch or the state". He also wrote, "can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?"

So the framers thought that we should acknowledge God, but not be forced into a state religion or be punished for the way we worship.


As you pointed out, the framers knew all too well the tyranny that religion can bring when it is allowed to mingle with government and that people should be free to worship whatever God (if any) they please. No one I know (including me) wants to take God out of the public forum, but religion has no place in government and government has no place in religion.

I do have some questions for you from an Atheist perspective. I mean no disrespect, but really want to know your opinion.


No disrespect taken. I would be happy to answer your questions to the best of my ability and hopefully clear up a few misconceptions you may have about atheists.

I believe that my values are based on my faith and belief in God. If you don't believe in God, on what do you base your values?


My values are mostly based on my culture and my upbringing just as yours are. Religion happens to be a main part of your culture and upbringing, but not a part of mine, that is the only difference.

What do you value?


I value life. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to experience it for whatever reason and I wouldn't want to take away that experience from anyone else. I also value my freedom and when people treat me with respect. Likewise, I would not want to take away anyone else's freedom and treat people with the respect and kindness I would like them to give me. I don't have any hopes that I will be rewarded for my good deeds after I die, or be judged for all the bad deeds. I am not kind to people out of fear of going to hell or promises of going to heaven, I find that it is often its own reward.

In your life, what evidence have you seen to make you believe there is no God?


Interesting question, but to me the more important question is "In my life, what evidence have I seen to make me believe there is a God?" After all, you wouldn't incredulously ask someone "What evidence have you seen to make you believe there are no unicorns in this world?" Obviously no one can see every spot on the planet and be certain that unicorns are no where to be found, so it is usually far more useful to define your beliefs based on what you have evidence for, not simply believe in anything you can't find enough evidence against.

Going back to the question, I would answer by saying that I simply haven't found evidence for the existence of any God or Gods.

Have you ever gone looking for God, just to see if you can find him?


Yes, quite honestly and seriously I have. I think anyone who is familiar with my early posts at this forum would tell you that I am honestly seeking the truth in the best way I know how.

Do you think our country would be a better place if the majority did not believe in God? If so, how? Just curious.


That is a difficult question to answer and depending on the circumstances would have very different answers. I don't think the country would be a better place if the majority suddenly stopped believing in God, but I don't believe it would be a worse place either. I also don't think that belief in God was critical to the success of our country (let's just agree to disagree on this, we can argue all day but no one can know for sure so it's rather pointless).

I hope I answered your questions to your satisfaction, if not perhaps we should start another thread on atheism and morality? I'm sure Godless and Elphaba would be happy to jump in and offer opinions as well.

Edited by DigitalShadow, 11 December 2008 - 01:18 PM.


#52 Maya

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 07:30 AM

If I were and american would I have a constitutional right to have my kids in a reedligiopus sxchool?? Would I have to bad out a lot of $ for this right?
Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning,Satan shudders and says .... "Oh crap,.... she`s awake!!"[/url] .




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