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Doug's school prayer comments in the GL/BT thread(54 posts)

Doug's school prayer comments in the GL/BT threadkilimanjaro
Jul 29, 2003 3:54 PM
struck a nerve with me.

"How about a special school for students who have strong religious beliefs, want to pray in school, and are being persecuted or oppressed in the regular schools? Now *that* would cause a stir"

Doug, I think your comments mis-represent public school prayer, unintentionally I am sure. Students are free to pray as much as they like. Public schools frown uppon and are barred from organizing prayer clubs, and otherwise allowing or organizing religeous activity on school property and during school hours. And this is only up to the high school level. I think that the restrictions flow form the fact that religeous beleifs (or lack therof) are such strongly held and personal for we Americans. Hence we want to minimize our children's exposure to prosletizing from views that diverge from our own, specially at an impressionable age. That explains to me why there are religeous clubs applenty on college campusus.

I for one see things from the opposite spectrum and appreciate this "protection". I also belong to a religeous minority so likey that affects my views. My wife works at a Middle school and after Thanksgiving the main office is lit up like a Christmas tree. It smacks of official sponsorship of a Christian holiday (at least in origin). Similar story around Easter.
I wasn't seriousDougSloan
Jul 29, 2003 4:14 PM
I was just using that as an example of a scenario that would certainly be almost universally doomed, particularly by the same people who likely support the idea at issue.

In my view, if you want religion in school, go to a private school. However, anyone should still be free to say what they want in public school, too. Religious speech (vocalized prayer) should be tolerated as much as any other.

I apologize Dougkilimanjaro
Jul 30, 2003 10:06 AM
for implying that you might have purposely mis-represented somthing, and mostly for taking you seriously! Wait, you did mis-represent the issue on purpose...

I am rather sensitive on this subject, and I wanted to take the opportunity to sound off a bit.
Jul 30, 2003 10:23 AM
Thanks, but no need. Didn't take anything personally. Sometimes arguments are made purely for illustration purposes.

It also seems worth mentioning. . .czardonic
Jul 29, 2003 4:23 PM
. . .that the school prayer ban rarely protects unpopular minority from being singled out for (possibly illegal) harassment. On the contrary, it prevents a popular majority from creating an intimidating or ostracizing environment for religious minorities.

So, is Doug equating proselytizing Christians with gay bashers and bullies? Unlikely, but if so, maybe we should have special reform schools for those who can't keep their personal beliefs personal.
got it backwardsDougSloan
Jul 30, 2003 6:19 AM
I actually, by analogy, was equating proselytizing Christians with gays themselves.

Are you implying that gays should "keep their personal beliefs personal", too?

Don't know about that, but as a public matter (public money)OldEdScott
Jul 30, 2003 8:59 AM
I don't think prayer should be organized by teachers in schools and I equally don't think teachers should begin each day by playing Barbara Streisand for the class.

Uh oh. Now the LEFT is gonna jump me.
I don't consider being gay a "personal belief".czardonic
Jul 30, 2003 10:03 AM
And neither do I think that gays are harassed at schools for proselytizing.

However much you may wish to confer victimhood onto our poor, repressed Christian community, they are the majority.
Jul 30, 2003 10:22 AM
Of course "being" anything isn't a belief. Expression is the issue, I assume. My point is that anyone potentially can be victimized for what they look like, say, do, etc., including vocal Christians.

Also, you imply that larger groups, even a majority, cannot be victimized, almost by definition. What would you say about South African apartheid? Yes, sometimes I think members of a majority can be victimized or oppressed by the minority, particularly with the help of courts, in this instance (sort of reverse-oppression).

Point taken, but I think it cheapens the injustice. . .czardonic
Jul 30, 2003 10:56 AM
. . .of Apartheid or gay bashing to hold up American Christians as a victimized group.

Christians are not being "victimized" for who they are or what they believe in, unless foisting their beleifs on others is integral to those beleifs. But even if it is, they are no more SOL than any other religious group. Christians are not subject to any restriction that is not placed on every other religion. As far as I know, the courts enforce seperation equally.

As I hope you would agree, simply being upset because you don't get your way does not make you a victim.
demonstrating logical consistency isn't cheapening anything nmDougSloan
Jul 30, 2003 10:59 AM
If it is logical. I don't think it was and explained why.czardonic
Jul 30, 2003 11:11 AM
Christians are neither a numerical nor a political nor legal minority. They are in no way singled out or subject to laws that do not apply equally to other religions.
I don't consider being gay a "personal belief".Duane Gran
Jul 30, 2003 10:32 AM
However much you may wish to confer victimhood onto our poor, repressed Christian community, they are the majority.

I don't know if Doug was trying to do anything, so I won't comment on that, but I find it interesting that you view Christians in the majority. At one time in this nation it was common for Christians to speak openly about faith, but in these times it is severely shunned. If anything, Christians may be a silent majority.

In mixed company I'm sure I could quote and discuss any controversial figure, from Neitzche, Marx or Buchanan, but if I mention Jesus people get freaked out and scared because it is taboo. I find that very strange. Usually the majority speaks about their core beliefs and their leadership without concern.
Numerical majority.czardonic
Jul 30, 2003 11:08 AM
It think it is consitently established that the vast majority of Americans identify themselves as Christian in some shape or form. However, I think it is also established that for most, religion is a personal matter.
I don't consider being gay a "personal belief".BikeViking at home
Jul 31, 2003 4:19 AM
I have no problem with ANY religion proselytizing as it is their right. If I don't care to participate in their discussion, I have the right to politley disengage and go about my business.

Kids can pray in scholl, read their Upanishads and have Buddhist meditations at lunch, I don't believe the school administration has the right to participate in any of that while at school. Teachers should eb allowed to wear what a reasonable person would think, symbols of their religion, without proseltyzing to their students. Also, teacher's sexuality should not be a discussion for ANY student. Teachers teach, student's learn, those are their roles.
Many fail to acknowledge that this country ...Live Steam
Jul 29, 2003 5:06 PM
was colonized by Euro/Anglo Christians. Unless we decide that the American Indian has the claim to all of the land and customs that came before the "New World" was revealed, this country was founded in the name of Christian principles and beliefs by Christian explorers. It was colonized mostly by Christians, for many decades. The "Founding Fathers" were pretty much all Christian (I don't know of any that were not, though many say Benjamin Franklin was an Agnostic). Though not directly referenced, many of our government institutions cite God in some form or another (I think the authors of our laws and doctrines must have intended it to be a Christian god, they being Christians). The Bible is used in ceremony for swearing in Presidents and for taking other oaths of office. The majority of the population is Christian. With this in mind, why does the presence of traditional "Christian" decorations surprise or offend you?
Nonetheless. . .czardonic
Jul 29, 2003 5:23 PM
. . . those pioneering Christians were driven from their homeland by other Christians and governments that purported to rule in Christ's name.

Moreover, the Founding (Christian) Fathers knew the evils of religious persecution and the corrupting power of religion over government (and vice versa), and thus made it clear that Church and State should should be separate.
Not all of the people that ventured here ...Live Steam
Jul 29, 2003 6:00 PM
during the early years of this country left their homeland because of religious persecution. Some came because of that, but others came because they believed it was their duty to spread Christianity.

I agree that they should be separate on many levels, but it is undeniable that it was intentionally not separated on many levels too. Take some greenbacks out of your pocket and tell me what you see. The Founding Fathers very clearly wanted us to keep God in mind on a daily basis.
The Founding Fathers did not design our currency. . .czardonic
Jul 29, 2003 6:18 PM
. . .as far as I know. (They didn't coin the Pledge of Allegiance either, FYI.)

Neither of these reflect the expressed sentiment of the Founding Fathers. "In God We Trust" did not appear on currency until 1908.
Not disagreeing with the sound ...Live Steam
Jul 29, 2003 7:15 PM
principle of separation of church and state. However through the years of the development of this country, God and country have been united in many ways. There have been traditions established too such as the "National" Christmas Tree at the White House and the Easter Egg Roll on the lawn of the White House. God and country have been the sounding cry of many who have served this country. Our money has it engraved on it.

The link provides a glimpse of the religious views held by most of the Founding Fathers and many of our presidents and vice presidents. I think you will find many held deep religious beliefs and many had some direct connection to church and clergy.

My initial point was to try to understand why kilimanjaro was shocked, dismayed or whatever, by the appearance of Christian decorations and or images in a country founded by Christians and still mostly Christian. I wouldn't be surprised to find Buddhist decorations in India, Muslim decorations in Egypt or Jewish decorations in Israel though those countries are certainly as diverse in religion as the US is.
Oops ...Live Steam
Jul 29, 2003 7:38 PM
here's the link!
None of this religiousity makes this a Christian Nation.czardonic
Jul 29, 2003 8:22 PM
It makes it a nation of (mostly) Christians. That is a vital disctinction that seems to escape many.

If I'm not mistaken, there is also a Whitehouse Menorah.
I think your in d'NileLive Steam
Jul 30, 2003 11:36 AM
If you don't think that this country is viewed as a Christian nation by the rest of the world you have your head in the sand. And if you don't believe that this country was founded on Christian values, you are wrong. How many Presidents were not Christian? There are many more example of Christian influence in our culture and government than the two items I cited.

What the heck do you think all the stink is about Bush appointing new justices? What was Roe v. Wade about? How about Gay and lesbian marriage rights?

Also, if you read the information from the link I posted, you would not come to the conclusion that the FF were Agnostic in any way. Even Jefferson was a believer in the teachings of Christ. He may have professed that he didn't necessarily believe that Christ was the son of God, but he may have taken a less parochial stance based on his philandering lifestyle. Most of the bios in the link show that many of the FF had direct ties to clergy and many were also ministers in their own rite. You might say we are a Judeo/Christian country. That is why were are having the difficulties we are, with the Islamic terrorists.
Jul 30, 2003 12:08 PM
So now we care about the rest of the world's view of us? Then I guess we are also offically a fat, ignorant, gullible and violent country.

I already stipluated to the fact that this is a nation of mostly Christians (by a wide margin, I'll add). It stands to reason that our Presidents would be Christian. It also stands to reason that much of our customs and values would stem from Christianity. I never stated that the FF were agnostics. They weren't bible thumpers either, but whatever religious views they had were undoubtably founded in Christianity.

Where your argument falls apart is in the assumption that because they FF where Christian, they could not have wanted to establish a secular nation. We are a primarily Judeo/Christian society organized in a secular state which is proscribed from making any "law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." True, that state has been under constant seige by people incapable of grasping the wisdom of the FF and determined to insinuate their beliefs illegitimately into our laws and institutions. We also have a high rate of violent crime. Does that legitimize violence?

Incidentally, we also have difficulties with Christian terrorists. How does that fit into your inductive paradigm?
Never said I caredLive Steam
Jul 30, 2003 12:35 PM
All I said was that is just the way other nations view us. Please let me know where the Christian "terrorists" are. The IRA and the Serbs are all I can think of. How do they effect us on a day to day basis?

I have not said anywhere that the FF wanted anything other than a secular nation. All I stated in response to the initial post was why would anyone be surprised, bother or other by seeing Christmas decorations or anything similar, here in this country? The founding principles, as you stated, are of Christian foundation. Not just the ideals behind them, but also in some practice as I illustrated - swearing on the Bible and "so help you God" ceremonial stuff. The larger issues of personal responsibility, etc. are core issues that from time to time become issues before the court because of their relevance to constitutionality.
American Christian terrorist groups abound. . .czardonic
Jul 30, 2003 12:50 PM
. . .and they are out there busily spreading the Good News about Jesus Christ by assaulting and murdering homosexuals, torching Synagogs, blowing up Women's Health Clinics, mailing out Anthrax hoaxes etc. Surely you have heard of the Army of God (guess which god), Aryan Nation, and the multitude backwoods militias out there plotting to make this country safe for White Christian values again by murdering cops and robbing banks (this is not meant to characterize all militias).

But, I guess if you are a white, Christian male who is not particularly preturbed by this kind of behavior, they would not have any effect on your day to day life.
maybe we should have "separation of sex and state"? nmDougSloan
Jul 30, 2003 6:20 AM
Sure, but then who ya gonna screw?? nm128
Jul 30, 2003 6:35 AM
Another view: Political economy,the religious foil, pre-Plymouth128
Jul 30, 2003 4:38 AM
Not that that European/Asian global spread of trade is a bad thing (there is good and bad in that). Let's just keep trying to see the whole awesome picture insted of some idealized, stylized, duplicitous, simple minded, narrow version. The whole story, as it unfolds and we learn is so much richer and valuable than the readers digest version. Not saying my references below are infallable, just via example:

On April 10, 1606 Sir Ferdinando Gorges founded two stock companies for the colonization of North America, the London Company (also known as the Virginia Company), and with George Popham the Plymouth Company (which would later change its name to the Council for New England). They immediately dispatched colonists to America, but they were captured at sea by the Spaniards

3. The Puritans came to America, not because the King of England allowed only his faith to be practiced and that faith was too restrictive for the Puritans' taste, but because his faith was not restrictive and doctrinaire enough to suit their ideas. The term "Puritan" was first applied in 1563 to English Protestants who left the King's church because it was not narrow and doctrinaire enough for them! The word "Puritan" came about because of their incessant speaking of "purifying" the King's Protestant church, accusing it of "corruption" in not being narrow, doctrinaire, and zealous enough!
And the core fact of the matter, as we will now show, was that the Puritans came to America, not for the sake of generic "religious freedom," but to establish a society in which everybody would be forced to observe and practice their narrow, dictatorial brand of religious zealotry! They wanted an extreme theocratic dictatorship over everybody, not "religious freedom, religious tolerance" for themselves.
Congrats, Czar. On the "arat" that is. However,94Nole
Jul 30, 2003 7:27 AM
While I agree with your post, the left tries to make all religion bad, or at least that is my perception.

I think the problem that many of us (those that profess to be religious) have is that the powers that be, especially on the left, are trying to remove all influence of religion from all aspects of life. I know the use of the word "all" implies a lot, but religion has no good name anywhere on the left and many would profess no need for traditional religious influence anywhere. Some will use "religion" to perpetuate their lifestyles, etc.

I will say this. If I get to that judgement day, assuming that it will ever happen (I believe it will), and it is discovered that all of the commitment that I have made was not necessary to achieve whatever the rewards (or whatever the reason we choose to be religious and its lifestyle), I know that with this religion I will have lived my life much better, treated people much nicer, etc. than I would have without it.
What you perceive as the Left's antipathy towardOldEdScott
Jul 30, 2003 8:40 AM
religion is a hangover from the days when the Church meddled in secular affairs, actually ran many governments, and caused much, much misery. We're talking pre-Enlightenment. Jefferson, the French Revolution, and other liberals/liberal movements arising from the Enlightenment were anti-cleric for that reason, and because the Church, in trying to preserve its secular powers, stood in the way of Progress. It was necessary to drive them from the temple, as it were.

Marx had his own reasons for being anti-cleric, including his conviction that religiosity distracted folks from totally realizing their economic misery. Opium of the masses or whatever.

It's a historic opposition rooted in good cause. Has much less relevance today, and in fact I doubt the Left is nearly as anti-religious or unreligious as you suppose. I think that's your own little untested prejudice. Certainly no one I know is, as you say, 'trying to remove all influence of religion from all aspects of life.' That's preposterous. I haven't see any leftist goon squads going around burning churches, have you? And your statement that 'religion has no good name anywhere on the left' simply betrays ignorance. Many, many on the left are good Catholics, good Jews, good Protestants, good Muslims ... If you want to qualify that by specifying 'intolerant fundamentalist Christianity has no good name anywhere on the left,' well, you might have something there.

It's amazing how these little smears repeated often enough get internalized as truth by the gullible.
I will admit to my ignorance and my inability to debate...94Nole
Jul 30, 2003 9:12 AM
as effectively as you, obviously learned and very well read, folks. I say that honestly. I wish I had a greater interest in reading.

I guess I was talking more about the influence of religion and what, in most cases, it teaches us.

I guess I also lament the fact that so much of the country's innocence has been lost just in my life time and, in my perception, continues moving so far away from anything that is wholesome. We've all heard of Jeanie's inability to show her navel and Lucy not being able to utter the word pregnant. I am more concerned about my children and what they face each day. What some would label as evil influences are coming at a rate never before seen facilitated by advances in technology. Others may perceive this as an age or evolution of enlightenment where nothing is hidden from the world or those in it.

I really wish my kids could watch tv without the concerns of what they might hear or see, the way we could. Not that we are big fans of the tv, we certainly are not, we can proudly admit that my kids probably watch less than an hour of tv per day, I was just using that as an example.

Guess I'll just have to learn to deal with it.
The Right's embrace of religion is a mile deep and an inch wide.czardonic
Jul 30, 2003 10:28 AM
They are all for the "influence of religion on all aspects of life", as long as "religion" is defined as Christianity. They certainly are not advocates for the right of Muslims or Buddhists to insinuate their beliefs into public and civic life.
Czar, you are in America, where, as you admitted earlier,94Nole
Jul 30, 2003 10:58 AM
is predominately Christian. What the heck would you expect? Nor do the Muslims or Buddhists or virtually any other religion, in their own coutries, lands, etc. advocate the rights of other religions, especially Christians.

Christians believe that Jesus was the Christ. The Saviour of the world. Therefore, Buddha, Allah, or any other "God" will likely not get the respect that the Christians give Christ.

Again, why is tolerance so narrow from the left? You are doing exactly what you accuse the religious right (RR) of doing. The RR must be tolerant and accepting while the left remains viciously focused on attacking the RR.

I must have been dropped at birth. Sorry, Czar, but that was one of the lamest posts I've ever read of yours.
America is a unique country.czardonic
Jul 30, 2003 11:27 AM
We have clear laws dating back to our founding that establish a separation between Church and State. The RR does not oppose this on principle, it opposes this as a matter of narrow self interest.

How is tolerance narrow on the Left? I would say that the Left's tolerance is exactly opposite to the Right's tolerance, as I described it earlier: the Left's tolerance is broad but shallow. The Left tolerates a diversity of personal belief, as long as the believers keep their personal beliefs personal.

The Left's tolerance for the RR runs out not because of its personal beliefs, but because of its authoritarian and totalitarian political ambition. When the RR stops trying to undermine the Constitution and impose their beliefs on others, I think you'll find that the Left has no issue. As it stands, anyone who does not believe as the RR does must be viciously opposed to the RR for the sake of their own beliefs.
Very poor argumentLive Steam
Jul 30, 2003 11:49 AM
How has the RR tried to undermine the Constitution? Name some specifics. Roe V Wade was brought before the Federal Courts and it was debated from both sides. Abotion was originally not an issue. First it was believed by everyone to be immoral no matter what religion you want to use. Second it was illegal. If anyone was testing the bounds of the Constitution, it was those on the left. The RR sees itself as protectors of the Constitution. The left are the ones looking to re-write it.
You'd know.czardonic
Jul 30, 2003 12:14 PM
First, Abortion is hardly an emblematic case. Second, you've failed to show how it undermines the constitution by expanding the Contitution's powers to protect the indivudual from the State.

Meanwhile, the RR is determined to pervert the Constitution into a tool for enforcing their narrow world-view onto others by expanding the power of the State to regulate our personal business.
Abortion is hardly and emblematic case?Live Steam
Jul 30, 2003 12:43 PM
If you say so, but I don't think you will find many that will agree with that. The core issue is life and death. Opponent to it believe it is morally and spiritually wrong. I also never tried to make any case, so I don't know what the heck you are talking about.

From my outside perspective, I see the RR as trying to preserve the essence of the Constitution. Again an issue like abortion or same sex marriage was originally taboo according to most any religion and also "illegal". The Constitution must be "amended" to allow either to be legal and accepted from a civic perspective.
Same-sex marriage is not currently unconstitutional.czardonic
Jul 30, 2003 1:00 PM
You clearly have some homework to do.

If a state such as Hawaii wants to make it legal, the Contstitution does not stop them. (Incidentally, as far as I know, Hawaiian society is not traditionally or historically Christian).

The Constitution need not be ammended to make same-sex marriage legal or accepted. The RR wants to ammend it to prevent states from making their own decisions to legalize it. The RR is not trying to preserve the essence of the Constitution, they are trying to pervert the Constitution into a tool to preserve the essence of their own totalitarian view of society.
You'd know.Duane Gran
Jul 30, 2003 3:12 PM
the RR is determined to pervert the Constitution into a tool for enforcing their narrow world-view onto others by expanding the power of the State to regulate our personal business.

I'm not necessarily defending everyone on the religious right, but could you offer a few specific examples?
Exhibit A: The hoped for same-sex marriage ban.czardonic
Jul 30, 2003 3:36 PM
They are trying to use the Consitution to enforce their narrow definition of what marriage should be.

Does that leave any doubt as to their aims and methods?
Nonetheless. . .Duane Gran
Jul 30, 2003 10:38 AM
made it clear that Church and State should should be separate

What you refer to is a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Quaker church administration. They were concerned that the United States would establish a "church of America" akin to the Church of England and persecute them. Jefferson wrote back to affirm that there is a wall of separation between the Church and State that prevents any such action.

It would surprise most to find out that the phrase "separation of church and state" occurs no where in the constitution or Declaration of Independence, but it does occur in the writings of the Supreme Court, which until 1963 affirmed on many occasions that the United States law is founded on Christian principles.

My point here is that the founders of the United States didn't see a separation of church and state implying that the state should be an atheist entity, but rather that the state wouldn't levy taxes for a church or endorse any particular sect.
The FF were nominally Christian butOldEdScott
Jul 29, 2003 5:50 PM
weren't very devout, generally speaking. Washington, for example, would quietly excuse himself before communion was passed out. Never took it. He mostly did church for show. Jefferson -- whew. Not much use for the Church. I'm sure there were some devout FFs, but my impression is, not many.

Not saying this to bash Xtianity, but as a student of the Revolution.
The FF were nominally Christian butBikeViking at home
Jul 30, 2003 4:13 AM
Very true...all one has to do is search atheism and anyof the FF names and you'll find a healthy skepticism of organized religion, at best and utter comtempt for it at worst.

a sample...Experience witnesseth that eccelsiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.
-- James Madison, A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, addressed to the Virginia General Assemby, June 20, 1785

Religion has NO place in anything related to the government. I think czardonic said it well that we are a nation of predominantly Christians, but not a Christian nation. We agnostics have no problem with people exercising their right to worship as they choose ot NOT to worship, but when the First Amendment says,

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.

Yet we have Congressional Christian chaplains paid for with taxpayer money. Is there an imam or a rabbi or a Buddhist monk or a Hindu cleric? No! Perhaps the President should be sworn into office on a Torah, Bible (pick a version), Koran and the Bhagavad-gita?

Kind of a conflict, the way I see it.
Are we reading the same document?DJB
Jul 30, 2003 6:21 AM
"Very true...all one has to do is search atheism and anyof the FF names and you'll find a healthy skepticism of organized religion, at best and utter comtempt for it at worst."

I think it's very misleading to say that Madison was writing about 'organized religion' in that statement. He was referring to religion 'established' or sanctioned by the government. Here's the entire article:

" 7. Because experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. Enquire of the Teachers of Christianity for the ages in which it appeared in its greatest lustre; those of every sect, point to the ages prior to its incorporation with Civil policy. Propose a restoration of this primitive State in which its Teachers depended on the voluntary rewards of their flocks, many of them predict its downfall. On which Side ought their testimony to have greatest weight, when for or when against their interest?"

Notice the next sentence after your quote.

Also, these articles:

"4. Because the Bill violates the equality which ought to be the basis of every law, and which is more indispensable, in proportion as the validity or expediency of any law is more liable to be impeached. If "all men are by nature equally free and independent," all men are to be considered as entering into Society on equal conditions; as relinquishing no more, and therefore retaining no less, one than another, of their natural rights. Above all are they to be considered as retaining an "equal title to the free exercise of Religion according to the dictates of Conscience." Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us. If this freedom be abused, it is an offence against God, not against man: To God, therefore, not to man, must an account of it be rendered. As the Bill violates equality by subjecting some to peculiar burdens, so it violates the same principle, by granting to others peculiar exemptions. Are the quakers and Menonists the only sects who think a compulsive support of their Religions unnecessary and unwarrantable? can their piety alone be entrusted with the care of public worship? Ought their Religions to be endowed above all others with extraordinary privileges by which proselytes may be enticed from all others? We think too favorably of the justice and good sense of these denominations to believe that they either covet pre-eminences over their fellow citizens or that they will be seduced by them from the common opposition to the measure."

A key line: "Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us."

That's hardly skepticism or contempt.

And lastly:

"12. Because the policy of the Bill is adverse to the diffusion of the light of Christianity. The first wish of those who enjoy this precious gift ought to be that it may be imparted to the whole race of mankind. Compare the number of those who have as yet received it with the number still remaining under the dominion of false Religions; and how small is the former! Does the policy of the Bill tend to lessen the disproportion? No; it at once discourages those who are strangers to the light of revelation from coming into the Region of it; and countenances by example the nations who continue in darkness, in shutting o
Are we reading the same document? Part 2DJB
Jul 30, 2003 6:40 AM
...No; it at once discourages those who are strangers to the light of revelation from coming into the Region of it; and countenances by example the nations who continue in darkness, in shutting out those who might convey it to them. Instead of Levelling as far as possible, every obstacle to the victorious progress of Truth, the Bill with an ignoble and unchristian timidity would circumscribe it with a wall of defence against the encroachments of error."

If you read "On Two Wings" by Michael Novak, I think you'll see that the last thing the FF wanted was a society scrubbed free of any public religious reference as the ACLU types would give us.
Society, perhaps not. But government is another matter. (nm)czardonic
Jul 30, 2003 12:34 PM
Are we reading the same document?BikeViking at home
Jul 31, 2003 4:07 AM
Thanks for the full quote it was a better read than the snippet I found...

From what I read of the fuller text, Madison was a firm believer in anyone worshiping in the way that we were convinced. That means all religions (Hindu Christian, Muslim, Zoroasriasts, etc) are equal under the law and when the Bill of Rights says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof", that means to me Congress is not permitted to show any favor of any of these religions over any of the others, but they do it. Senate and House Christian chaplains are paid for with taxpayer money. The money has "In God we trust on it" Public "civic" officials are sworn in with their hands on Bibles.

Religion is a very personal belief and the government has no place in picking one over the other, even if wee are predominantly a nation of Christians, that doesn't make us a CHristian nation.

Why so bitter? (nm)94Nole
Jul 30, 2003 7:31 AM
Speaking for myself. . .czardonic
Jul 30, 2003 12:39 PM
. . .some of us find the Christian determination to lead us from our wickedness to God's way, by rule of law if necessary, to be a pernicious threat to our privacy, freedom and even intelligence. That does not mean that Christians are not intelligent. I simply don't think that their interpretation of the universe is any more valid than mine.
The FF were nominally Christian butDuane Gran
Jul 30, 2003 10:45 AM
Washington, for example, would quietly excuse himself before communion was passed out. Never took it.

This is in stark contrast with my understanding. I will be glad to look this up, for the sake of expedience, let me relay my understanding from what I've read (and heard as well).

George Washington rode 10 miles by horseback to a church of a different denomination (he was Anglican) to ask the parishioner if it would be permitted for him to join in communion. He felt it proper to ask beforehand, so I tend to assume that he did take communion.

Washington wrote out his prayers, which are public now. They are some of the most devout prayers I have read. I have little doubt about his conviction.
Oh, and it was Jefferson who coined theOldEdScott
Jul 29, 2003 5:52 PM
phrase/concept "wall of separation between church and state."
Christian decorations in public schools do not surprise orkilimanjaro
Jul 30, 2003 9:59 AM
offend me. They annoy me, though I know people who find it offensive and understand why.

I don't beleive cultural/religeous customs/rituals are static. Rather it changes an morphs as the time and population change, often with elements that contradic each other. Even in colonial days the Christian community contained both Quakers who were relative accomodating to divergent views and Puritans who were not. Today we still have groups that beleive that this is a Christian country and groups that beleive we should accomodate all beliefs (and even non-beliefs). I fall under the later camp.

I have no problems with people decorating their desk, car, cloathing, car, home. I have religeous symbols in my house and I don't try to hide them when I have visitors. However, I don't think public space in public schools (Grade K-12) is the place for them, however comercialized some of these symbols have become. It is not like there aren't enough of them in other public spaces (office buildings, supermarkets).

I also would rather not have our government cite God, and have symbolic as well as actual seperation of church and state, but I know I am the "very" minority in this view, so there is not much to be done about it.
Christmas and EasterColnagoFE
Jul 30, 2003 7:03 AM
While these 2 holidays are based in Christian religion they have been secularized so much that celebrating them is no longer always has a religious significance.