In God do you trust?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Stridarious, Dec 4, 2002.

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  1. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    One quick thought about Thanksgiving Day: Can you show me where it is (and forever has been) considered a religious holiday? I was raised (both in home and at public school) that it is a day to give thanks, not a day to give thanks to God. The act of thanking is not considered to be one of a religious nature.
  2. womberty Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2002
    star 4
    The term "God" is in no way limited to Christianity. Even if it were limited to the Christian God, He is the same God as in Judaism and Islam. The statement itself has nothing to do with us being a Christian nation or not.

    Even if it doesn't (although that was the original intent), it still proclaims us as a godly nation - and doesn't that single out monotheistic religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam over other religions like atheism, Buddhism, and Hinduism?


    Note that it doesn't state that "In Christ We Trust".

    And you don't see that as an attempt to be all-inclusive? The religious makeup of our country is very different from what it was 200, or even 100 years ago. I still think that the Congress, when proclaiming a national day of thanksgiving, assumed that there were no religions that did not acknowledge an almighty God. That assumption cannot be made today.


    However, since we both seem to be decided that this is not really a constitutional issue, nor is it illegal, then the debate should be finished.

    You still haven't answered my question - can our definition of "religion" change over time?
  3. Kuna_Tiori Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2002
    star 4
    Kimball_Kinnison:
    You overlook the importance of the proclamation of a National Day of Thanksgiving (NDT) passed the same day as the acceptance of the Bill of Rights. Obviously, if their intent was to keep something of a religious nature out of government, they would not have done both practically at the same time. The NDT had the express purpose of having the country give thanks to "God Almighty". That is far more of a religious endorsement than "In God We Trust", and yet they passed it amlost simultaneous with the First Amendment.

    I'd call that a very clear indication of both intent and meaning.


    What does Thanksgiving have to do with religion?

    Besides, even if there's a connection, it'd be an oversight on the legislators' part. To say that our government is or was not corrupt is to say something utterly naive.

    No, it does not. The Constitution only prohibits two things: laws concerning an establishment of religion (i.e. a religious organization like a church) and laws interfering with the free exercise of religion. Anything beyond that is beyond the scope of the Constitution, and is left to Congress or the states to decide.

    Well, looks like it's down to strict vs. loose interpretation again.

    So tell me, what does "establishment" mean? Why can't it refer to the religion itself?

    The term "God" is in no way limited to Christianity. Even if it were limited to the Christian God, He is the same God as in Judaism and Islam. The statement itself has nothing to do with us being a Christian nation or not. (Note that it doesn't state that "In Christ We Trust". Not all Christians accept the doctrine of the Trinity and believe that God the Father (God) and Christ are the same being. My church doesn't, but I am most definitely a Christian.)

    Ok, what about all the other religions besides Christianity, Judaism, and Islam?

    However, since we both seem to be decided that this is not really a constitutional issue, nor is it illegal, then the debate should be finished.

    You misunderstand me. I'm not done with the Constitutional debate yet.

    I was just saying that that PARTICULAR argument I was making had little to do with the Constitution. I didn't mean that I thought IGWT was indeed constitutional.

    I made no such comment. I simply pointed out that it was no more insulting than any other constitutional act of Congress that a person might disagree with. I never called anything "stupid" or "trivial", did I? You are the only person I've seen use the term "trivial" so far.

    My apologies. I said that to forestall any such arguments you might make, not to contest any arguments you already made.

    That right is only protected as far as the Constitution allows it to be. Tell me, if it hadn't been for this thread, how much thought would you have given to "In God We Trust"? How much "intrusion" in your life would it be? If it were so intrusive, why aren't you the one filing suit against it?

    How do you know I'm not the one? ;)

    I'm not, but it's mainly because I don't have the time or will. Plus I know it's already been shot down in court.

    And is this a "IGWT is so trivial" argument? I should hope not.

    As I said, it's a matter of principle. The principle being that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. To me, "establishment" = THE religion(s).
  4. womberty Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2002
    star 4
    What does Thanksgiving have to do with religion?

    Just to be clear: we're not talking about the Thanksgiving holiday (officially declared by Lincoln, I believe). The "national day of thanksgiving" referred to in many of the previous posts is from a resolution passed by the first Congress. Bubba claims that, since the first Congress wrote/passed the First Amendment, the fact that they called on the president to proclaim a day for giving thanks to "almighty God" shows that they in no way intended the government to be free of religious references.

    I contend that, at the time, it was pretty safe for Congress to assume that nearly every American believed in some form of the Judeo-Christian God, so an "almighty God" would not be specific to any religion or exclude anyone's religion. Notice that they never went so far as to proclaim a day of thanks to Jesus Christ, because they were aware that not all religions acknowledged Christ as Lord.

    Today, however, we have many more religions represented within our population. Are we to pretend that our coutry is the same as it was 200 years ago, or are we to extend the same respect to all religions?
  5. Kuna_Tiori Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2002
    star 4
    Well, as I've said before, any religious acts committed by Congress or any government body were misdemeanors on the government's part - ones that were not used against them because most of the United States was Judeo-Christian, so no one cared.

    Even if every American except I were Christian, I still shouldn't have to tolerate IGWT, do I?

    Besides, the US currency is basically a monopoly. If the US Treasury offered two versions of money - one with IGWT and one without - I don't think I'd be complaining as much.
  6. Loka Hask Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 1999
    star 3
    I'd like to clarify something here. Saying "In God We Trust" is different from saying "In Gods We Trust" or "In A God We Trust".

    God is the name of a specific god, not just any deity.

    But, even so, none of that is right. If the constitution did take all gods into account, it would still be discriminating.

    Athiests and other groups who believe in no god would not be included, would they?

    The fact of the matter is that the US simply can't have one sentence describing the entire nation. You are too diverse, too large, to be summed up by four words. I think people have to realize that not everyone will be happy with the decisions made by their government, and should learn to calm down and realize that they are just words. If someone wants to find something profound in such a generalized sentence, then fine. The fact still remains, though, that you will never be able to clump the US into one group. But, that's what brings you guys together as a country.

    I swear, people worry about the little things far too much.
  7. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    Today, however, we have many more religions represented within our population. Are we to pretend that our coutry is the same as it was 200 years ago, or are we to extend the same respect to all religions?

    Yes! That is exactly it. You see, the United States was created for the benefit of the white male Christian settlers. This idealogy is seen throughout history (Salem witch hunts, the Native American wars, Manifest Destiny, etc etc). As the world progressed, sadly, the US was forced to progress as well, eventually abolishing slavery, giving women the right to vote, and other civil liberties to various culture and ethnicities. Where ever possible, though, the White Christian male-dominated powers that run the country (both politically and privately) still enjoy some of they're rights, like the right to ignore other cultures, the right to inundate society with the teachngs and wordings of their god, the right to condemn to Hell anyone that does not follow their god (okay, that one is only for Reverend Falwell ;)), and the right to decide what is in everyone's best interests... because we all know we can't take care of ourselves without their God.

    God bless this virtuous land of freedom. Not my god, not your god... just God.





    pffft.
  8. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    Excellent post Cheveyo. A point well made. Wealp since all the white Christians get millions. *converts* Now where is my cash? :p
  9. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    Ed McMahan should be knocking on your door with your check any minute, F_I_D. ;)
  10. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    Ooooohh....Ed McMahon? *readies brass knuckles*
  11. Stridarious Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 27, 2002
    star 6
    *sighs* I can't believe this thread had turned out this way, where is Bubba_The_Genuis?
  12. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    *Ross* In a land of happy little trees and happy little flowers and happy little mountains.
  13. Bubba_the_Genius Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2002
    star 4
    Haven't seen a good argument against my belief that "In God We Trust" is constitutionally permissible. (And a mere rehash of what's gone on before won't bring me back in.)

    Like I've said, I'm fairly ambivalent to whether IGWT should actually be on the coin. I just think it's Congress' decision to make.

    EDIT: Grammar.
  14. Kuna_Tiori Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2002
    star 4
    Bubba:
    Haven't seen a good argument against my belief that "In God We Trust" is constitutionally permissible. (And a mere rehash of what's gone on before won't bring me back in.)

    I think it's really a matter of opinion. Like how you interpret the Constitution. To me, "establishment of religion" = THE religion.

    And yes, all those religious words/symbols the government have ever used are either just semantic sugar or personal customs, and I consider them misdemeanors that ought to be corrected.

    Sorta how like President Clinton lied under oath. You can't say that it's justified just b/c government leaders (in your example, Congress) did it.

    Like I've said, I'm fairly ambivalent to whether IGWT should actually be on the coin.

    Good. Then you won't mind if it is removed. :D

    I just think it's Congress' decision to make.

    Then may Congress decide......












    ....to remove IGWT. :)
  15. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    Yep, it's all interpretration. And it's been interpreted throughout American history by those of a Christian faith. Do you disagree with that?

    Therefor, I suggest bias has as much to play as anything. There is no longer a Constitutional debate, because a precedent has already been set by those who believed a little religion couldn't hurt anyone.


  16. Kuna_Tiori Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2002
    star 4
    Yep, it's all interpretration. And it's been interpreted throughout American history by those of a Christian faith. Do you disagree with that?

    Not really. I don't know the precise faiths of the judges who ruled in favor of IGWT, but I suspect they're Christian.

    Therefor, I suggest bias has as much to play as anything. There is no longer a Constitutional debate, because a precedent has already been set by those who believed a little religion couldn't hurt anyone.

    Yup, totally agree.

    Damn these Christian zealots!
  17. womberty Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2002
    star 4
    Haven't seen a good argument against my belief that "In God We Trust" is constitutionally permissible. (And a mere rehash of what's gone on before won't bring me back in.)

    I still wonder whether you can safely say that the precedent set by the First Congress guarantees that similar religious proclamations will always be permissible.

    Consider the following example:


    A man is walking in a public park. It is a hot day, so he pauses in the shade of a tree. As he is standing there, suddenly a large group of men enter the park, marching in formation. When they come to a stop, one of them is standing on the first man's foot.

    "Excuse me," he says, "but I believe you're standing on my foot."

    But rather than glance down to determine the veracity of the first man's claim, the second man looks him in the eye and says, "No, I can't possibly be standing on your foot."

    Now, the first man finds this a bit surprising, because he thinks the second man should be able to tell he's not standing fully on the ground - and even more surprising, he refuses to even look down to make sure!

    "How can you say that?" asks the first man.

    "It's simple," says the second man. "Every day at this time we walk to the park, and I always stand in this exact spot. I've never stood on anyone's foot here before, so I can't possibly be standing on anyone's foot now. You must be mistaken."


    Now, tell me: isn't it possible that some actions may be constitutional in certain settings but unconstitutional in others? Isn't it possible that the time that has passed, and the vast difference in the religious composition of our population, have rendered certain religious proclamations unconstitutional? (Or perhaps, more clearly unconstitutional, as I believe the original should have been considered unconstitutional as well - I just think no one thought to question it.)
  18. Bubba_the_Genius Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2002
    star 4
    Now, tell me: isn't it possible that some actions may be constitutional in certain settings but unconstitutional in others?

    Yes. A quick example: FDR did not violate the Constitution when, in 1940, he ran for a third term. Bill Clinton WOULD HAVE violated the Constitution had he ran for a third term in 2000.

    What happened? The Twenty-Second Amendment, which created a two-term presidential limit, was ratified on February 27th, 1951.

    The Constitution DOES change - through the amendment process, and that process ALONE.

    The ONLY possible exception to the rigidity of the amendment process is the reality of changing technologies. The advent of the Internet forced the courts to decide whether the First Amendment covered this new domain, but notice this: the courts still had no business to change the protections of the free press, an EXISTING condition.

    Likewise, the government making proclamations is a VERY OLD practice, predating our own form of government. IF the Constitution protected governmental invocations of God THEN, it does so NOW, and it will continue to do so barring an amendment.

    Even if EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN was a rigid atheist - again, barring an amendment - the government would STILL have the Constitutional protection to put "In God We Trust" on the money.

    Notice this: it probably WOULDN'T continue doing so. Under enough political pressure, Congress would change our national motto. They're not constitutionally REQUIRED to invoke the name of God, only PERMITTED - and there's a huge, obvious difference.

    This is what is most infuriating about the Michael Newdow's of the world: they want something changed, and there are rules that allow for change, but they are in no way willing to FOLLOW THESE RULES to get what they want. They have a complete contempt for the rule of law and a complete disregard for the will of the people. Thus, they DO NOT try to pursuade Congress to remove the motto; thus, they DO NOT try to pursuade the people that an amendment is necessary. They try to circumvent both Congress and the people by going directly through the courts.

    If this REALLY such an important issue to so many people, why not go through the democratic process?
  19. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    So, Bubba, are you saying that we are wrong to say God doesn't belong on US currency until such a time as the Constitution is amended to say otherwise?

    How else does change come around if no one points it out?

    Constitutionally, I agree... Right now there is no constitutional ground for deleting God from money, because precedents have already been set by previous, religiosly biased government officials, and upheld by equally biased Supreme Court rulings--Can you name a Supreme Ct Justice before 1980 who is not Protestant or some other Christian denomination?

    With rising public awareness that the US is made up of far more than just Christians, it is past time to correct an interpreted ruling set back in an era where "if you weren't Christian, you were a Communist".
  20. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    So, Bubba, are you saying that we are wrong to say God doesn't belong on US currency until such a time as the Constitution is amended to say otherwise?

    You are not wrong to say it. You are only wrong to go through the courts (instead of the legislature) to enact it.

    Constitutionally, I agree... Right now there is no constitutional ground for deleting God from money, because precedents have already been set by previous, religiosly biased government officials, and upheld by equally biased Supreme Court rulings--Can you name a Supreme Ct Justice before 1980 who is not Protestant or some other Christian denomination?

    If you agree on the constitutional issue, why do you support using the courts to enact change. What you wish falls outside the scope of their power.

    How else does change come around if no one points it out?

    How about the way the Constitution itself provides?
    Article. V.
    The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
    Or, since the Constitution does not require religious references, you could simply go through Congress itself to enact the changes you want. Either of these options could accomplish your goals.

    With rising public awareness that the US is made up of far more than just Christians, it is past time to correct an interpreted ruling set back in an era where "if you weren't Christian, you were a Communist".

    The proper way to change interpretation is through amendment. The Dred Scot decision ruled that slaves could not be citizens of the United States. That was not corrected until the 13th and 14th Amendments ended slavery and bestowed citizenship on all people born here. If you have a problem with the interpretation that is historically accurate, it requires an amendment to correct, not reinterpretation.

    Kimball Kinnison
  21. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    If you agree on the constitutional issue, why do you support using the courts to enact change. What you wish falls outside the scope of their power.

    Sorry, never said that, personally. I am full aware that the SC's job is to interpret the Constitution to verify the legality of laws. It is up to the Legislative Branch of government to create said laws. 7th grade US Government class told me that!

    So, as I said in the other thread, the issue as I represent it is not constitutionality. It is about effecting much needed change to incorporate ALL America's citizenry.
  22. Bubba_the_Genius Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2002
    star 4
    BRILLIANT post, Kimball. Brevity is truly the soul of wit.
  23. womberty Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2002
    star 4
    Quick question:

    Would a law preventing women from running for President be unconstitutional? Why or why not?
  24. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Would a law preventing women from running for President be unconstitutional? Why or why not?

    It would clearly be unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment, because it would violate the principle of "equal protection", by placing a limitation on one group of citizens in an unequal manner.

    Kimball Kinnison
  25. womberty Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2002
    star 4
    Well, it's odd that you should say that, because apparently the right to vote didn't fall under the "equal protection" of the law. The 14th Amendment didn't extend the vote to women; the 19th did.

    So what makes running for President different from voting?
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