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Seperation of Church & State

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Phydeaux, Sep 5, 2003.

  1. Phydeaux

    Phydeaux Chieftain

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    Ok who said that and do you think it means we should remove the ten commandments off of state land?
    Is the ten commandments realy the church?
    Could it be that who ever said that ment that the state can't tell the church what to do?:D Hehe

    Thanks.
     
  2. G-Man

    G-Man A One Man's War

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    I don't know who invented it, I think the more wiedly used term is one of "seperation of state and religion", as few of those believing in it will want the church to go away just to be replaced by some otherreligion or religious institute.
    As to if the ten commandments should be off of a state's land, that's (in a democracy atleast) not something absolute. If the majority of people believe the non religious laws in them should be implemented the country should do so. However if a country adopts them as a religious symbol I think that would be anti democratic, as people who don't believe in them would feel like second grade citizens.
    The ten commandments are definately a term symbolizing christianity and judeism, though some of the laws written there represent global values.
     
  3. Phydeaux

    Phydeaux Chieftain

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    So if the majority wanted the ten cammandments in there city then it should be put there right? Dose that mean that they should not teach evolution in school because people who don't believe in evolution would feel like second grade citizens? Sorry for get a little off subjet but lol.
     
  4. Vrylakas

    Vrylakas The Verbose Lord

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    *Sigh* :rolleyes:

    This is one of those debates that seems to come up every few months on the CFC forums. Against my better judgement I'll step into this one.

    In the wider Western context the separation of Church and State dates back to Friedrich Barbarossa's "Drang nach Südden" and his struggles with Pope Alexander III over primacy in Europe. Effectively, the post-Roman collapse Europeans had been trying since Charlemagne to re-establish a Christian empire, Roman-style, in Europe but hadn't quite gotten it right. One of the biting questions about this empire was who should ultimately be supreme ruler of it - the secular emperor who achieved his position through conquest and blood lines, or the Pope? In other words, should ultimate power rest with the church or the state? Should there be a difference between the two? With Friedrich's failed attempts to bring Italy under his sway, the two remained separate. The Protestant reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries led to two centuries of warfare between Catholics and Protestants, culminating in the big finale of the Thirty Years War, leaving a lot of people in Europe wondering if religion was all it's cracked up to be.

    This was the mindset of the first English settlers to the Americas. The English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell's tyranny and the so-called "Bloodless Revolution" of 1688 left a deep impression on English colonists, who created a movement called "Deism" in the Enlightenment. American Deists' beliefs were simply that though they believed strongly in God, they distrusted religions as imperfect human attempts to define and understand God. They looked at the Catholic Church of their day as a bloated, corrupt bureaucracy that wanted power and Earthly wealth. They were committed Protestants who believed Henry VIII's separation from the Catholic Church was absolutely necessary but they also saw the resulting Church of England - the Anglicans - as having become just as corrupt as the Catholics had been. The lesson they drew from the Anglican experience was that when religion is mixed with government, the inevitable result is corruption of/by both. This is a source of confusion for many modern American religious extremists, who can't seem to bridge that understanding between the American Founding Fathers' being quite devoted to God (except for atheists like Ben Franklin) but yet distrusting religion. Modern American Christian fundamentalists love to quote ad nauseum religious citations from the Founding Fathers without reading the context in which those remarks were made.

    The American Constitution was framed therefore with a strict division between state and religion, quite simply. It was not intended to be anti-religious, but it was saying simply that while religion has its place in society, that place is not in the government. Anyone can practice whatever religion they want in the country, but they do not have the right to force anyone else to practice that religion, and especially commensurate with that aspect the government is not allowed to endorse or in any way support any particular religion. This is why, in rather clear form, putting a religious monument on government property in the U.S. is unconstitutional. One can erect a monument to the Ten Commandments on private property, on a church, on a private organization's property - anywhere (abiding by local building codes) except government property. This is an aspect of American society that mystifies me; American religious zealots have this convoluted logic that says they should be able to put their religious symbols anywhere and everywhere they want, disregarding the Constitution and local laws, and if they can't impose their religious views in this way on others then it is an abridgement of their religious rights. Since their religion says they must prosyletize, any attempt to stop them from doing so, all laws be damned, is against their rights. WTF? That's circular logic.

    The aspect of Separation of Church and State you seem to be missing is that it is not about majorities, it's about all of society. Clearly, even if they are a minority, there are some people in that town who do not want such religious symbols on their public property - and it is their public property as much as it is those who want it there. This would be a clear case of a majority enforcing their religious beliefs on a community against the will of some in that community. This is taking place in a microcosm of small-town Alabama and makes much more sense in a place like New York or California where diversity is extreme, but the law is universal within the United States and is clear: a government cannot support or endorse any religion. Putting a religious monument on government property is a de facto tacit endorsement for that religion. Again, the Constitution is not anti-religion, it simply makes a clear distinction between the public (government) and private (non-government) practice of it.

    The Alabama case you are alluding to is clear-cut. the Constitution says no; it's that simple. Move the monument somehwre else onto private property, or have local interested townspeople get a collection together and buy a small but prominent piece of land where it can be put on display. This the Constitution protects as religious expression. Putting it on government property was a no-brainer, obviously intended to provoke just such a national response in the same spirit as the John Scopes trial in Tennessee in 1925. The sight of an Alabama Supreme Court Justice refusing to uphold the law he is supposed to represent - i.e., refusal to do his job - seriously undermines the credibility of his court, and in almost any other country in the West he would have been drummed out of the court in disgrace. If he doesn't believe in the laws he is working for, then perhaps a career change is in order. He does not have the luxury of selectively upholding only the laws he likes. He should be fired. I have met some people from Alabama in my travels and they've seemed to me to be upright, intelligent and modern people, but unfortunately this kind of idiocy re-enforces old stereotypes about religion-bludgeoned school-deprived backwoods hicks. I am reminded of the last few lines of the Neil Young song:

     
  5. Titan2018

    Titan2018 Chieftain

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    The 1st amendment makies it clear that the government should stay out of religion. Several of the Founding Fathers (including Jefferson in the "Danberry Babtist Letter") make it clear that it was ment to form a "wall of seperation" between the two. Since the government can't provide space for an endorsement of ALL religions it shouldn't provide space for ANY. Posting the ten commandments make non-Judeo-Christians feel like second class citizens.
    As for teaching evolution, science IS NOT a democracy. The facts are the facts and support evolution no matter how many people don't want it taought is schools. Since evolution is science and "ID theory" (dressed up creationism) is not then acceptence of ID theory amounts to religion and teaching it in public schools amounts to proslityzing (sp?).
     
  6. Phydeaux

    Phydeaux Chieftain

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    :) Thanks Vrlakas.
     
  7. Phydeaux

    Phydeaux Chieftain

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    Ok what you just said was science is not a fact.:confused:
     
  8. Kryten

    Kryten Smeee heeeeed

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    What a clear, detailed, and informative post.
    Very well put Vrylakas. :)
    (I would say this post was more than worthy of addition to XIII's list)

    We just don't seem to have this kind of problem here in Britain.
    Over here, people who want religion have it, those that don't want it don't have it, and the two sides don't seem to try and force their views on each other.
    I don't know why this is. Maybe it's because we have already had our taste of 'Religious Governments' in our long history, what with Queen Mary burning the Protestants 1550's, and then the dour intolerant po-faced Puritans of the 1650's.
     
  9. Vrylakas

    Vrylakas The Verbose Lord

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    Thanks Kryten.

    We just don't seem to have this kind of problem here in Britain.

    A few years ago I recall reading in the New York Times' editorial page during one of these religious rights debates that constantly flair up in this country a comment by an Australian woman living temporarily in New York City:

    [paraphrase]"I am very thankful that we [Australians] got the criminals and you [Americans] got the Puritans...."[/paraphrase]
     
  10. Knight-Dragon

    Knight-Dragon Unhidden Dragon Retired Moderator

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    @Kryten - I think so too.

    Then instead of repeating his argument, Vrylakas can just link to his article, and say, 'Read this'. :) One reason for my project.
     
  11. Mongoloid Cow

    Mongoloid Cow Great Khan

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    ]"I am very thankful that we [Australians] got the criminals and you [Americans] got the Puritans...."

    Vrylakas, I like that quote :D I also reckon that post above was among the best ever that I've seen on any site.
     
  12. mrtn

    mrtn Shaven not stirred

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    I agree with the others; good post Vrylakas! :thumbsup:
    But I think I have to disagree with Kryten; I don't think it's as simple as saying "We've had our share" + "The religious went to America". (I'm not claiming this is the only thing you could say about it, just what's come up here in this thread. ;) )
    I'm thinking about Sweden here; here it wasn't religious "cultists" (not the word I want, but close) who went to America, but the poor. Sweden was as religious as other countries up to the 20th century, and had our part of religious sects (I'm thinking about the Laestadians here, if anyone has heard of them. :hmm: It was a strict religious sect in Northern Sweden, mostly among the Sami (aka Lapps).), but are now one of the most secular countries in the world.
    In the US you have to believe in God to be a politician, while the Swedish "Christian Democratic Party" are seen as slightly goofy. There must be some other reason why the US are so impregnated in religion. :hmm:
     
  13. Phydeaux

    Phydeaux Chieftain

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    :confused: I never heard that and I live in the U.S.:lol: I think you just have to have good records wich is good.:king:
     
  14. Kryten

    Kryten Smeee heeeeed

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    I think that what Vrylakas means is that in America you have to SAY that you believe in God if you want to be a politician. After all, you wouldn't want to drive away any potential voters would you (remember, image is everything ;) ).

    Again, here in Britain (the only country I am qualified to talk about), it makes absolutely no difference....we all know that our politicians are liars, so nobody believes anything they say anyway. :lol:
     
  15. Phydeaux

    Phydeaux Chieftain

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    Thats tru. That because most ppl want a God believing man to do the work because they want some one who cares about the world and what they do.
    I think most evolution don't believe in right and rong as much as God believers.
     
  16. Xen

    Xen Magister

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    thats simply not true, ALL the Atheists I know (and I know more then a few) are FAR more moralistic then 9 out of 10 theists (but they are a bit... out there...)I know, and while that in its self is hardley qualified for all atheists, it dose say somthing about a president, I have come to the firm conclusion that Atheists do right, not because of a want to please a god, or gods they do not worship, but rather out of caring for there fellow man... and while that too cannot be applied to all, I think it can be applied to those who reached Atheism through there own "journey" of interpratation of the world around them....
     
  17. Phydeaux

    Phydeaux Chieftain

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    You are probly right. I didn't say they don't care at all just as much. ALL the Atheists I know (and I know more then a few) are FAR more moralistic then 9 out of 10 theists. How many God belvers do you know? How do you know Atheists are more moralistic then 9 out of 10 theists? I just said I think not that it's tru. The reson why is because to atheists think that humans are just monkeys and thats why most ppl would rather vote for God believers then atheists. I know that atheists reaspect other ppl because thats how they want to be treated.
    Not that I real think that way but that how other ppl act.
    AlsoI just wanted to see how an evolution peson would act if I said some thing about there fath.

    Also I don't just do it to plz God but I care for the fellow man. I want other ppl to be happy. That also is a reson why we want you to serve Him because we care.
     
  18. Oda Nobunaga

    Oda Nobunaga Chieftain

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    Oh, damn...not that tired old piece of anti-atheist propaganda...

    First off, believing in evolution does not preclude believing in one or more divine being, including the christian ones. It precludes believing in a LITERAL, ABSOLUTE reading of the bible, which the fundamentalist christians seems to like. That's a major difference. And given the number of known proven facts (not just "theories") which the bible openly defy in a literal reading anyway (such little proven fact as the non-flatness of the earth ; the fact that it's the earth that moves around the sun, that the moon has no light of its own ; the fact that there was NO roman custom to set free prisonners at passover, the fact that roman census were for tax purpose and thus would be concerned with place of WORK, not place of BIRTH, etc, the fact that the end of the world would come within the days of Jesus' apostles - which are sort of long past)...

    So, your comment about "evolution believers" vs "god believer" is completely out of place. There's no such division. The division you are talking about is between god believers and atheists (or christians and non-christians, but if you believe THAT one...meh)

    Secondly, even atheists believe in right and wrong. Not all have the same definition of it, but there's absolutely no truth to "atheists don't believe in right or wrong" point. Of course, what atheists consider right or wrong differ from what is in the bible, but then again MOST sane individuals today have a definition of right or wrong that doesn't exactly match some of the stuff in the bible...

    Example :
    -The Bible constantly put women as dependant to men, and inferiors. Yet most sane people today (including many religious people) would tend to consider that as WRONG, despite the bible being quite empathic that it is the RIGHT thing.
    -Similarly, the Bible sets out an institution of slavery. That would make slavey RIGHT by the bible. Again, most sane individuals see it as WRONG today, including many christians.

    Therefore, right and wrong do not derive from the bible. And obviously, some religious people have notion of "Right" that are QUITE at odd with our owns - Bin Laden seems to think its RIGHT to send planes to ram into building packed with civilians, and he's definitely religious, believing in a God (a god which, one may add, is pretty much the same god as the Judeo-Christian one). I think most sane individuals, including atheists, would agree that one is WRONG, too.

    NOTE : I am only adressing a literal interpretation of the bible above. Most christians are fortunately NOT literal these days, and therefore are not concerned by my points about how a literal reading of the bible does not agree with modern perceptions of right and wrong.
     
  19. mrtn

    mrtn Shaven not stirred

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    Here after it's Mr Mrtn to you, whatever your name was. ;) You where right in the interpretation, however. :)
     
  20. Shadylookin

    Shadylookin master debater

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    Separation of Church and State is good(i believe in God just so you know). If church and state is together and then they would make it so you have to believe the the world was made in 6 days(which it couldn't have been since the thing we measure days with "the sun" wasn't made until the fourth day or so) then i say i don't believe it so i get hung for treason because i went against the state. Besides Jesus didn't try and force people into religion he let the believers come to him of their own free will, this is what we should do becuase it is better to have someone come to God by their choice then to just pretend they do out of fear that we will kill them. The bible says we shouldn't condem people and judge them let God do it. also just because you dont' believe the world was made in 6 days doesn't mean your an atheist.

    Politics and God 2 words that should never be in the same sentence.
     

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