Religion in the Public Square: All or Nothing

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by silverback66, Jan 11, 2006.

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  1. silverback66 macrumors regular

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    #1
    Clearly there's been a great deal of lawsuits over the past few years to remove any elements of faith and religion from the public square. This of course is spearheaded by the ACLU. What I'm wondering is why rather than allowing the full expression of our cultural and spiritual diversity that we allow groups like the ACLU to rape America of the very civil liberties they proclaim to protect? Why is something that brings hope and comfort to millions around the world the subject of attack in America? Do we still have our right to free speech and freedom of expression? Do we truly have the feedom from religious persecution? Who is supressing who here?
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

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    #2
    wow, tons of loaded questions there. to which cases do you refer? what does it mean for the ACLU to "spearhead" something? do you have evidence of that? do you make any distinction between cases that involve separation of church and state and any perceived "attack" on christianity?

    i'm not seeing anything in your operning salvo which would lead me to believe you're willing to have a resonable discussion on the matter.
     
  3. silverback66 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    I didn't mention Christianity. I spoke of religious diversity which I think you'd agree is a pretty inclusive statement. You assumed I was speaking of Christianity which says something doesn't it? To me it (could but not neccessarily does) say you recognize that groups like the ACLU are in fact trying to silence people of faith because it doesn't fit within the framework of the secular progressive society they want to create. Perhaps you agree with the idea of a secular progressive society in which case your views would be in line with those of the ACLU, BUT in so doing are you protecting the rights of those of faith to express their faith freely as is afforded them by the constitution?

    I love Jesus Christ and He is my Savior and Lord.

    Did that make you cringe a bit? Maybe roll your eyes? Why is that? What's behind your reaction to my expression of love for a God that I believe in and yet am not trying to impose on you in anyway? I haven't infringed on your rights in anyway but merely expressed my own within the limits of what the constitution says I am permitted. So then, in light of this do you truly support the constitution and free speech, or does it only extend so far as it is in line with a certain agenda you may or may not have?

    And just as a note, I'm not neccessarily refering to YOU specifically, but rather am writing in a way that will hopefully speak more personally to any who might read it. I'm not trying to offend, merely trying to make a point.
     
  4. aquajet macrumors 68020

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    #4
    link

    Perhaps this is an example, silverback?

    I'm especially interested in the opinions of those who embraced the Dover decision, but suggested that ID be taught in a philosophy class.
     
  5. mactastic macrumors 68040

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    #5
    Judeo-Christian religions are the only ones in 'the public square'. :confused:
     
  6. zimv20 macrumors 601

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    #6
    neat how you turned that into an attack on me.

    since you're unable to frame your argument, perhaps i can help. the aclu takes cases, and when someone brings them a potential case whereby some government institution has indicated an endorsement of a particular religion (and i've only seen cases where that religion is christianity), then the aclu may lobby for the removal of that endorsement. helping, as you say, to foster diversity and inclusion.

    so the basic question to you is: is separation of church and state a good thing? and if you say it is, then the onus is on you to present evidence of the aclu hindering that effort.
     
  7. mactastic macrumors 68040

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    #7
    I'd actually support it if it's not just ramming Christianity down the kids throats. But it sounds like just an attack on evolution to me. Just saying evolution is wrong isn't a good basis for an educational class -- particularly when so many other areas of the educational system are sucking. The school probably needs an expanded AP program or more supplies for their teachers or after-school tutors for at-risk kids more than they need a class on ID.

    If it was in the context of a 'creation myths' literature class I'd say go for it. Make it a tough, college prep class. This implementation just sounds like a lame waste of badly needed money to me though. And that's from someone who's married to a public HS teacher.
     
  8. silverback66 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    That is an example of something Mac, but not really what I was referring too. Give me a few moments to think of the most appropriate example because I want to communicate as clearly as possible with this. I don't want it to be about mudslinging between one side or the other.

    With regards to you comment about judeo Christian religions being the only religions in the public square, that's only true from a certain point of view and one thats based more so in statistics than anything else.

    Here's how I see it and I'd love to have your opinions. I think organizations like the ACLU see that the majority of American's are Christian (and naturally thats why it's the most commonly seen and expressed faith in America and in fact in the world at large) and similarly to what we see with colleges and workplaces seeking to meet racial quota's, we also see with secular organizations and Christianity. However the form it takes is this...It's perceived that because of Christianities pervasiveness in society it's influence must be diminished for the sake of creating a status quo of ideas. However, if the majority do in fact believe in Jesus as their God then is it morally, ethically, or constitutionally right to seek to suppress those ideas?

    With regards to ID, I think it's a valid theory that ought to be taught but not in a science class. A philosophy class would be perfect and it'd be great for such a class to cover the belief systems of all major religions in the world! A lot of hate stems from a lack of understanding. We're all too willing to label those who believe differently than us (as I confess I've been guilty of on here). We need more understanding and a broader exchange of ideas rather than rhetoric and blind devotion to idealogies that do nothing but make our hearts bitter.
     
  9. zimv20 macrumors 601

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    #9
    iow, the aclu has an agenda to promote religions other christianity? please cite any specific cases the aclu has taken to promote such an agenda. we'll need links.
     
  10. silverback66 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10

    Again, it was not intended as an attack, merely a means of making a point. I apologize if I went too far with it.

    You're quite right about the burden of proof being on me and I'll do my best. The seperation of Church and state is not constitutional. Let me explain. That wording is nowhere to be found in the constition. It comes from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to a Baptist organization which was concerned about the govenment limiting their rights. It wasn't until the 1940's I believe that a supreme court justice who also happened to be a member of the Ku Klux klan wrote a judgement that included those words. This of course was because of his own personal hatred for Irish catholics and the fear that the Vatican would somehow exert it's influence on the American government thus edging out protestants. So, in essence, the concept of the seperation of church and state was meant as a protection for reigious freedom in it's original phrasing and later manipulated as as a weapon in order to supress Irish Catholics. I think we need to be very careful about how liberally (no pun intended) we throw around that phrase.

    No the constitution does say the government shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion (paraphrasing here, my wording may be a little off), but what does that mean? Just look at it. It basically says The government shall not establish a national church and/or religion. No where does it say that religion ought to be kept out of the public square. It fact, congressional meetings were and still are opened in prayer. Why then should it not be allowed for students (and this is my example by the way) to read their bibles in school and pray in school? Do those thing not fall under their rights of freedom of expression and freedom of speech?
     
  11. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

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    #11
    The role of civil rights defenders is to ensure that the majority do not use their weight to suppress the minorities. It is dangerous to assume that 'democracy' takes precedence in all areas of life and Majority Rules in all decisions. If it were so, then the majority of right handed people could vote that all left handed people had to take a 50% cut in pay. Clearly, that's an absurd example, but it illustrates the fallacy of the majority.

    Religion's place is with peoples choice of faith. Government and the education system's role is to govern and educate without reliance on one or another faith. It would be as wrong to teach Hindi or West Coast Salish creation stories in science class as it is to teach Christian creation.
     
  12. silverback66 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12

    No, no no, that's not what I was saying. The ACLU never touches any other religions but Christianity so I can only speculate as to their true motives. What I BELIEVE however is that the ACLU sees Christians being in the majority as being a threat since it's seemeingly not inclusive. Many people allow their perceptions of Christians to be shaped by bad experiences they've had or heard about. Here's the thing though...I've had a few bad experiences with black people, does that mean I'm justified in becoming a rascist? No, certainly not. Similarly so, I don't think those who base their perceptions of Christians on isolated experiences or heresay to have any right to discriminate against them based upon such factors. Sensible people ought not to pass judgment on groups based on the actions of individuals.

    I may have said too little, but I'm thirsty and need some water. Let me know if I've fallen short of what you expected.
     
  13. silverback66 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    What of it when the minority use their weight and finances and the court system to suppress the majority? Is that appropriate? I think I understand your example, but if you could think of one that's perhaps more clear I would appreciate it. It's not that it's bad, just not something that can be worked with as it's basis isn't in the confines of what the populace would deem moral.

    And again with regards to the education system, as I said before I think a philosophy class that taught world religions would be entirely appropriate. Think of the diversity of ideas that kids could be exposed to! I wish they had that class when I was in high school. I would love to hear a budhist come in and speak on budhism. I'd love to hear more about Islam and Judaism and shitonism even! Those aren't threatening ideas to me. They are wonderful ideas that are representative of our world culture but unfortunatley are taboo in schools for reasons that I believe are unconstitutional.
     
  14. mactastic macrumors 68040

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    #14
    Christianity isn't being suppressed. It just runs into the limits of where religion is allowed so often because of the sheer number of adherents. I don't want anyone's religion into the public square. It's bad for government. Do whatever you want in your private life, and in your churches.

    Maybe you can explain to me why a group that is in the majority, claims most office-holders of the nation as members, lays claim to the heritage of our nation, feels so oppressed so much of the time?
     
  15. aquajet macrumors 68020

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    #15
    What do you think of this take on the matter?
     
  16. atszyman macrumors 68020

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    #16
    I have no problem with religion in the public square as long as it follows these two rules:

    1. No tax money was spend on the display.
    2. An equal amount of time/space is available for any other religion to set up a display of their faith.

    If a group of Christians wants to sponsor putting up a 20' cross in the park then there has to be room for a group of Jewish people to put up a Star of David, and the Satanists to put up a pentagram, etc...

    Since mobs of people can very easily get rowdy and violent very quickly it is probably easiest to keep religion out of the public square to avoid potential conflicts. If no religion is allowed in the public square then no religion is shown a preference since they all have equal access.

    Keep in mind what Jesus said about prayer in Matthew 6:5-6:7

    Even Jesus believed that prayer should be between a person and God and not out on public display....
     
  17. zimv20 macrumors 601

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    #17
    ah, now we're getting somewhere. you disagree w/ the separation of church and state, at least how it's used in the vernacular. by that, i mean that no government institution, nor institution funded by the public, should in any way endorse religion or its practices, explicitly or implicitly. that's a vernacular w/ which i agree.

    regarding the wording of the 1st amendment, remember that it's not just the original document and amendments which are the consitution. it's also effectively the decisions of supreme courts on related matters. this is why being a constitutional constructionist is so difficult, logistically and, imo, idealogically.

    what exactly do you mean by the 'public square'?

    so now that we're into the meat of the matter, i.e. your issue w/ the separation, why the obfuscation? why the attack on the aclu?
     
  18. belvdr macrumors 601

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    #18
    I always took those verses to mean you shouldn't pray to impress others with your prayer, such as using large words or something similar just to show you are better. I also believe it is meant to state that praying a memorized verse, that doesn't really come from your heart, is not pleasing to God. So, praying in public isn't bad, but praying so you can become a public display, as you said, is not right.
     
  19. silverback66 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #19
    LOL, sorry, you''ll hate me for this one after what you just said, but George Washinton believed that the belief in God was essential to maitaining morality and decency in any society.

    This is too big off an issue to expand off in this direction very far, but I do want to touch on it breifly. If you understood what being a Christian is all about then you'd know that this statement is representative of an unrealistic expectation, "Do whatever you want in your private life, and in your churches." Christianity at it's core is about a relationship with Christ. Imagine if someone told you that you could express your love for your wife at home but it's innappropriate to do so in public. So if you wanted to kiss your wife....sorry, not allowed. You wanted to tell your wife you loved her? Sorry, can't do that either. I'll try to keep this simple and straightforward, but the bible refers to Christians as the bride of Christ which is meant to signify our relationship towards him. shooting back to the other example, what if someone did not know your wife and how wonderful she is and what a wonderful and amazing person she was? Would that change the way you felt about her or your desire to express your love towards her? The point I'm getting to is, how do you think it feels for a Christian to be told that they can't express themselves towards someone they love even if others don't know or believe in Him?
     
  20. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

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    #20
    Unclear on what you are saying.
    The court system is a presumedly impartial system with checks and balances (laws, judges, juries, right of appeal, etc.). It works equally for both sides of an actions. In the absence of an example where are majority right has been suppressed by a minority through the courts... I don't know what to tell you.

    Now if you are saying that a majority wants to do X, and X isn't a right protected by law, or is limited in some way by law, and a minority can demonstrate through a court action that they have a legitimate cause to ask that activity X be limited... wouldn't that be an example of the system working correctly?

    There are the rights of freedom of assembly, faith and free speech. However these are not unrestricted rights; they exist along with every other citizen's rights (including thier rights to adhere to a different faith and free speech). So if 100 Disciples of the Solar Temple wish to gather at 2 AM on the sidewalk outside my home to chant that it is time to be taken up to the mothership, I (as a minority in this situation) may act to enforce the laws that enforce noise, public nuisance, and tresspass; and in this situation, my rights will probably trump theirs. Am I suppressing them? Am I wrong to enforce my minority rights?

    Schooling is a corecive situation... a child is compelled by the state to attend, no matter what the family's faith is. As such, the teaching of, or leading children in the rites of any particular faith is entirely inappropriate in a public school. The same goes for any public service.


    Actually, it doesn't matter. Really. It doesn't matter what you feel like if you are prohibited from acting in a certain way.

    I am not allowed to do many things in public, including expressing the adoration of my wife in public in the biblical sense of knowing. I am also prohibited from telling the world that one religion is inferior to another, and ought to be wiped out, that certain people should be hated, or killed. I am prohibited from following people down the street against their will to tell them how insanely great Macintoshes are. I am prohibited from demonstrating my fantasies in public while in a psychotic or hallucinogenic state. The law forbids these things because they trample other people's rights. It simply does not matter whether I feel frustrated or not by my inability to do these things in public.

    My faith can be celebrated in private, in my home, in my temple, by the symbols of faith that I wear or carry: the demonstration of my faith in public however intersects with your rights to your faith, privacy and freedom from harrassment. If I prostletize to you, you must have the ability to tell me to stop. If I prostletize to your children, you must have the ability to tell me to stop. In fact, you must have the state's assurance that you and your children will not be subjected to religious instruction or compelled to undergo religious rites at any governmental function.
     
  21. zimv20 macrumors 601

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    #21
    consider:
    1. it may only be the adherents of christianity pushing their religion into the public sector, or
    2. no one has brought a case to the aclu that deals w/ any other religion, or
    3. the aclu has taken on such cases, but you haven't heard of them

    ...before you conclude that the aclu has any kind of religious agenda.

    you're not doing any kind of research before reaching your conclusions.
     
  22. silverback66 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #22

    While that guy clearly has a strong felt faith, it's misdirected and taking the form of angry rhetoric. He has some reasonable ideas but they're negated by his presentation of them. No one but a Christian audience would be receptive to that article.
     
  23. zimv20 macrumors 601

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    #23
    silverback, you've brought up both washington and jefferson. do you believe that our constitution was based on christian principles?
     
  24. silverback66 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #24
    I admit I had to look up obfuscate, but I'm glad I did. That is one cool word!

    Clearly it appears that the main issue is what was meant by those words. I'm trying to keep up here, so forgive me for being breif on this response, but consider the character and faith of our founding fathers in light of what they wrote and I think it's gives you a clearer idea of what it meant. Also consider the times then versus the times now. There was no secular society then. It's wasn't even a blip on the radar. This is my opinion here, but I think it was pretty well assumed that the nation would continue to be a nation under God.

    As for my obfuscating (LOVE THAT WORD!!!) I ceratinly didn't intend too and perhaps I just wasn't clear minded myself on it. With regards to the ACLU, I think they are a meance that rarely does any good for anyone. I mean take the NAMBLA cases and the boyscouts and the town in New Mexico (or was it California?) They're bad for the country and their idea of civil rights has no room for what is morally right. To me, the ACLU symbolizes a select spiteful few that do in fact want to remove all facets of religion from American life.
     
  25. silverback66 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #25
    Quite right. Especially when you consider the breadth of prayer. God would never say, "You want to talk to me? GO TO YOUR CLOSET!!!" You can talk to God anytime anywhere and in virtually anyway. God's great at nonverbal communication! Dang I wish I could explain what I meant but you guys would just think I was nuts hahaha! But yes, Jesus was mainly speaking against the Pharisees in those particular versus and warning believers not to be like them and grand stand with their prayers in order to win public favor. It's something you have to be conscious of when praying in groups. You have to keep your mind on just who it is that you're praying to.
     
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