Minorities will get the short end of the stick, as long as politicians exist

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by StickyFingaz, Jul 11, 2002.

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  1. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    We don't need socialism... We have the ideal form of government... as long as we keep our checks and balances checked and balanced... When Congress or the President tries to step in and virtually alter our Constitutional rights, we are the ones with the power to disallow it. The problem is that we do not accept the responsibility with which we have been charged... the operation, maintenance and policing of our own government. We are rather passive about it, and elect politicians as fire-and-forget officials...taking them at their word that they will deliver what they promise, so why constantly police them? We don't manage them like we should because we foolishly assume they'll look out for us if left to their own devices.

    As a result, we have to rely on good faith that every American does their part to speak their voice. When the majority, however, seeks to silence the minority by systematically destroying their civil and constitutional rights, we are on dangerous ground. If the Constitution is to be respected and remain valid as law binding upon the people of this nation, we must adhere to its most basic principle... that any freedom afforded to the majority must also be afforded to the minority. Some would term this a paraphrasing of the "Golden Rule". It is represented by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments... in that nowhere in the Ninth or Ten Amendments are those powers and rights reserved by the people delegated to a particular group of people.

    Amendment IX

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


    Amendment X

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.


    If a minority responds to government by claiming that a freedom is not being afforded them, it deserves investigation. The checks and balances of our Constitution then put the burden of proof on the majority... to demonstrate that the freedom being refused to the minority is also being refused to the majority.

    For example: If the minority claims that "In God We Trust" is excluding their beliefs, then the majority should prove that "In God We Trust" excludes their beliefs as well.

    This is the ultimate test of our freedoms.
  2. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    So why not include all deities in the pledge? After all, exclusive preference of religion is what the Establishment Clause seeks to prevent... in which case the easiest way to avoid preference to religion is to avoid introducing religion into state matters at all.

    God is the English word which denotes a universal supreme being. This covers most of the world's religions, not just Christianity. If it were "Jehovah" or "Jesus" it would be a different story. Muslims who speak English use "God" and "Allah" interchangeably.

    What is so harmful about being responsible for your faith on your terms? Let's put it this way... how would you feel about your religious freedoms if you lived in Saudi Arabia? Sure, everyone's welcome there, but try being overtly Christian and see what happens.



    This argues against your point.

    We like our minority colors, religions, beliefs and lifestyles as long as they're kept in the closet and don't get "in the face of" the white Christian majority? Is that it? Why isn't the right to not be bombarded by Christianity afforded to all non-Christians, then? Where is the equal distribution of freedoms and rights?

    If you lived in an Islamic nation and tried to preach Christianity, or your wife went out in public without a Burqua, or you did not pray to Mecca five times a day, or you had any complaints whatsoever about the overt exposure to Islamic symbology... what would you do?


    This also argues against your point. In the both cases, you cite a country which is less accepting of religious minorities than America is. In the second case, you criticize America for supposedly not wanting to have religious minorities freely express their beliefs, then you yourself complain about having to be exposed to Christianity.

    The reality is that religious minorities are not expected to be "silent" at all. As with everything else, when you leave everyone free to express their beliefs, if the overwhelming majority is Christian, that's most of what you're going to hear. I'm sorry if it bothers you to have Christmas specials on TV and so forth, but any time you choose to live in a country, you have to weigh the benefits vs. the things that may not be exactly to your liking.


    It's bigotry, sometimes bordering on racism and anti-culturalism. Funny how many Congressmen and women couldn't seem to remember half the words when they recited it during their Joint Session supporting the pledge.

    Quite frankly, from your comments, you are every bit, indeed more bigoted than the people you're complaining about. The only difference is that someone has convinced you that since you're part of a minority you can get away with it.

    The fact that you fail to see how arrogant, how selfish, and how fundamemtally unfair it is to voluntarily choose to move to a country you know to be culturally different from yours and then demand that the people there change their entire culture to suit your individual tastes speaks poorly for your personal sense of equity.
  3. 800-pound_ewok Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2002
    star 2
    "...The problem is that we do not accept the responsibility with which we have been charged... the operation, maintenance and policing of our own government. We are rather passive about it, and elect politicians as fire-and-forget officials...taking them at their word that they will deliver what they promise, so why constantly police them? We don't manage them like we should because we foolishly assume they'll look out for us if left to their own devices.

    "As a result, we have to rely on good faith that every American does their part to speak their voice. When the majority, however, seeks to silence the minority by systematically destroying their civil and constitutional rights, we are on dangerous ground. If the Constitution is to be respected and remain valid as law binding upon the people of this nation, we must adhere to its most basic principle... that any freedom afforded to the majority must also be afforded to the minority. Some would term this a paraphrasing of the "Golden Rule". It is represented by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments... in that nowhere in the Ninth or Ten Amendments are those powers and rights reserved by the people delegated to a particular group of people..."

    you nailed it right on the mark here! the majority of the masses are very passive about using the power they have acquired by being an american citizen. people should really practice their rights that can make differences.

    cheers!

  4. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    Here are a few quotes from Thomas Jefferson which illustrate the point here:



    "Absolute acquiescence in the decision of the majority, the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism, I deem [one of] the principles of our Government, and consequently [one of] those which ought to shape its administration." --Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural, 1801. ME 3:321

    "[A faction's] newspapers say rebellion, and that they will not remain united with us unless we will permit them to govern the majority. If this be their purpose, their anti-republican spirit, it ought to be met at once. But a government like ours should be slow in believing this, should put forth its whole might when necessary to suppress it, and promptly return to the paths of reconciliation. The extent of our country secures it, I hope, from the vindictive passions of the petty incorporations of Greece." --Thomas Jefferson to Elbridge Gerry, 1812. ME 13:162

    "If this avenue [i.e., the expression of the voice of the whole people] be shut to the call of sufferance, it will make itself heard through that of force, and we shall go on as other nations are doing in the endless circle of oppression, rebellion, reformation; and oppression, rebellion, reformation again; and so on forever." --Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816. ME 15:43

    "We are sensible of the duty and expediency of submitting our opinions to the will of the majority, and can wait with patience till they get right if they happen to be at any time wrong." --Thomas Jefferson to John Breckenridge, 1800.

    "If the measures which have been pursued are approved by the majority, it is the duty of the minority to acquiesce and conform." --Thomas Jefferson to William Duane, 1811. ME 13:51

    "Laws made by common consent must not be trampled on by individuals." --Thomas Jefferson to Garret Vanmeter, 1781. ME 4:417, Papers 5:566

    "The first principle of republicanism is that the lex majoris partis is the fundamental law of every society of individuals of equal rights; to consider the will of the society enounced by the majority of a single vote as sacred as if unanimous is the first of all lessons in importance, yet the last which is thoroughly learnt. This law once disregarded, no other remains but that of force, which ends necessarily in military despotism." --Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, 1817. ME 15:127

    "Where the law of the majority ceases to be acknowledged, there government ends, the law of the strongest takes its place, and life and property are his who can take them." --Thomas Jefferson to Annapolis Citizens, 1809. ME 16:337


  5. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    AJA: First, quoting an opinion Jefferson wrote doesn't legally supersede the rights that have been established in the Constitution and Bill of Rights--ratified by the majority.

    Don't confuse the separation of church and state with the equal distribution f rights. I was never stating that I'm offended by people individually expressing themselves. That is their right and their freedom to do so, and I would defend those individual rights.

    As a matter of fact, I am defending those rights at this very moment. Incidentally, my example of an Islamic majority was intended to put you in the shoes of a minority. If you keep looking at the issue from the perspective of the majority, you cannot understand how a minority feels wronged... nor have I ever seen you in this thread or any other actually demonstrate sincere and active interest in understanding the concerns of minorities. What I do see in these threads often is a simple, "Oh, it doesn't affect you!" What, are we lying? Is only the majority telling the truth every time they complain?

    I am exercising my right to criticize the government for their failure to adhere to the principles of the Constitution by maintaining religious neutrality. You cannot understand that "God", aside from its being capitalized to indicate a particular deity and not once being denoted as a pronoun in those instances, how polytheists and atheists feel about their exclusion of their beliefs inherent in those mottos and pledges. Aside from that, the Acts which established religion by adding "God" to the pledge and creating a new national motto are themselves unconstitutional.

    I am a US Citizen and I have every right to voice my opinion about the operations of our government. Who are you to deny or disparage my rights? Furthermore, if you have a complaint to lodge with someone about the minorities whose opinions and entitlement to the same freedoms enjoyed by the majority seem so consistently irrelevant to you, I suggest you lodge that complaint with the founders of our Constitution and Bill of Rights... not me. I did not make, pass or interpret those laws which were, in fact, ratified by the majority.

    I have every right to be concerned that my freedoms aren't being protected. Regardless of where one comes from, they should not be denied or disparaged rights guaranteed by our government when they establish residency or citizenship here... and it wreaks of xenophobia for you to suggest otherwise in the assaulting manner which you have chosen to do so.

    I'm not offended by looking at a Christian cross that wasn't paid for with my tax dollars... but I find it funny that you've managed to dodge my most basic question in its entirety by debating on the semantics of my post... That question being: If a right is enjoyed by the majority, should that right not also be enjoyed by the minority?

    My commentary has nothing to do with individuals expressing their views or practicing their beliefs, whatever they may be... it has to do with government assuring the protection of the rights of all people... regardless of demographic status.

    If the minority so feels it has been excluded in this regard, then logically the majority, if it claims that the minority is not being wronged, should be able to easily prove that they have also been excluded.
  6. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    "Laws made by common consent must not be trampled on by individuals." --Thomas Jefferson to Garret Vanmeter, 1781. ME 4:417, Papers 5:566

    To what do you think I'm referring? Laws that were decided by a minority? The rights to which I refer are established in the Constitution and have been interpreted repeatedly by the courts... If the majority has a problem with the minority wanting the rights already granted to them by the majority... well, isn't it obvious?
  7. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    I'm not unconcerned about the rights of minority groups, but where that view would be one extreme, there is another on the other side- which is to have every wish of the majority blocked because one individual or group has a problem with it.

    With respect to the issue of the Pledge of Allegience, it is already resolved, and the recent decision will be overturned after review by higher courts. The Supreme Court decided many years ago that an individual cannot be forced to recite the pledge, which covers the First Amendment with regard to speech.

    With regard to the Establishment clause, it seems clear that the term "God" does not represent, by any stretch of the imagination, an establishment of religion. Only the most narrow, agenda-driven interpretation of the First Amendment could suggest otherwise.

    The word "God" covers 90% of the population. The other 10% have a right not recite the Pledge. I don't see a problem with that, and it is certainly not a violation of anyone's rights. It respects the will of the majority, while protecting the rights of the minority, and as such it's the right kind of scenario under the Constitution. You don't block the will of the majority, but you respect the right of the minoirty to opt out.
  8. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    With regard to the Establishment clause, it seems clear that the term "God" does not represent, by any stretch of the imagination, an establishment of religion. Only the most narrow, agenda-driven interpretation of the First Amendment could suggest that the simple use of the word "God" represents an establishment of religion.

    What is "God", a social construct? A political construct? Economic? Mathematical? Scientific? Philosophical? Legal? No... it's a religious construct, isn't it? The Establishment Clause does not read "with respect to an establishment of a particular religion." It applies to establishment of religion, period... The 1954 Act itself was unconstitutional because it establishes religion... it doesn't matter which. Those who are nonreligious, or non-monotheistic, are left out. Why not then amend the pledge to read "any god", "many gods", "no god", or even "a god, but we're not certain which one."?? Would you oppose these suggestions and, if so, why? I'll tell you why... because you don't know what it's like to be atheistic or polytheistic, do you? I don't either, but then just because I don't know what it's like to be a Taoist doesn't mean we shouldn't respect the rights of Taoists.

    The 1954 Act itself deals with the word god, whch last I checked, is a religious construct... that is precisely why it is unconstitutional. It is a Congressionally established law establishing a precedent for religion... which is expressly forbidden by the Constitution.

    I'm not bothered by the mention of "God" on our currency and in our pledge anywhere near as much as I'm bothered by our nation's blatant ignorance of our own legal history and established freedoms.
  9. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    Your interpretation is different from what is generally understood by the clause. An establishment of religion means that the government declares and creates a national Church and clergy, funded by taxes. To see an example of this, look to the Church of England. Allowing the words "under God", which are not only not denomination-specific, but not even religion-specific, to be inserted into a patriotic pledge does not begin to approach the establishment of a State Church. Stretching the Establishment Clause to include something like the pledge is a monumental reach.
  10. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    Your interpretation is different from what is generally understood by the clause.

    Show me a court precedent that explicitly defines the "correct" interpretation of this clause, then.
  11. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    There have unfortunately been court decisions in the past 50 years which have used precisely the same logic you're attempting to impose. However, if recent decisions are any indication, the idea of the "separation of church and state" as Constitutional Law, which it is not, is in the process of being corrected. From a historical perspective, the meaning and intent of the clause is self-evident.
  12. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    There have unfortunately been court decisions in the past 50 years which have used precisely the same logic you're attempting to impose.

    Why "unfortunately"? Simply because you disagree with them? Are the courts somehow preventing the majority from introducing legislation to amend the First Amendment so it would specifically read "Congress shall make no law creating a particular state-sponsored religion"? Why hasn't such a clarification, if the people are in as unanimous agreement as you suppose they are, been added to our Constitution if it is so obviously in favor of protecting religious freedoms? What you want religious freedom to mean doesn't necessarily make it so.

    However, if recent decisions are any indication, the idea of the "separation of church and state" as Constitutional Law, which it is not, is in the process of being corrected. From a historical perspective, the meaning and intent of the clause is self-evident.

    Which recent decisions?

    I'm not as concerned with the specifics of the definition as I am curious as to why you, or anyone, would specifically want the scope of our freedom from state endorsement of religion and/or religious constructs, institutions, concepts, etc., as declared by the Constitution, to be more limited, rather than broad? What is it that State-sponsored theological propaganda does for you that your Church and/or home copy of the Bible cannot?

    Isn't it rather interesting that I find no followers of non-proselytizing religions pushing for a more limited definition of our religious freedoms? Very interesting, indeed... Why must we fuse religious symbology of any kind with our government at all?
  13. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    School vouchers, most recently. It seems to suggest that the current Court may be ready to strike down the "separation" doctrine manufactured by some very activist courts in the past.

    BTW, I thinkwe should avoid turning this into another Pledge of Allegience discussion. There are already several threads on that specific topic.
  14. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    School vouchers, most recently. It seems to suggest that the current Court may be ready to strike down the "separation" doctrine manufactured by some very activist courts in the past.

    The courts decided in favor of them precisely because they believe not all private schools are religious... even though I find that most private schools are religious. I disagree with their ruling, but not on this basis. That, however, is another discussion.

    Furthermore, could you actually post an example of where they defined the Establishment Clause, explicitly? And if they did not define it explicitly to mean only that state-sponsored religion cannot be established, then the Ninth and Tenth Amendments guarantee the preservation of thpse rights not explicitly defined or denied by the Constitution.
  15. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    The school voucher decision doesn't breach separation of church and state. It WOULD breach seperation of church and state if the fact that some government money would reach religious institutions played any role in the decision (which would have been the case if the decision had gone the other way).
  16. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    Are the courts somehow preventing the majority from introducing legislation to amend the First Amendment so it would specifically read "Congress shall make no law creating a particular state-sponsored religion"?

    It doesn't need to, because that's what it a;ready says.

    I'm not as concerned with the specifics of the definition as I am curious as to why you, or anyone, would specifically want the scope of our freedom from state endorsement of religion and/or religious constructs, institutions, concepts, etc., as declared by the Constitution, to be more limited, rather than broad?

    Because it has come to be interpreted so broadly by the left that it in fact threatens to restrict the very freedoms it was intended to secure.

    Isn't it rather interesting that I find no followers of non-proselytizing religions pushing for a more limited definition of our religious freedoms?

    Again, your intolerence is showing.
  17. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    The school voucher decision doesn't breach separation of church and state. It WOULD breach seperation of church and state if the fact that some government money would reach religious institutions played any role in the decision (which would have been the case if the decision had gone the other way).

    ?? Where in the Constitution does it say that the breach has to be upon willful intent? That is beside the point anyway... read my previous post... I added a section regarding the lack of specificity in the Constitution and how the 9th and 10th amendments address it. If you have problems with the 9th and 10th amendments, write your Senator.
  18. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
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    If the Supreme Court discriminated against religious institutions for the mere reason that they were religious institutions, then religion would be discriminated against by the state, which would in turn violate separation of church and state. So by even considering an establishment's religious ties it violates separation.

    On the other hand, if the SC doesn't concern itself at all with the fact that religious establishments are involved then religion will not play a factor in their ruling and seperation will not be breached.
  19. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    I'm only going on what I've heard as the consensus of "court watchers", which is that the decision was a significant step away from the separationist doctrine established by previous courts, and signals a likely future rejection of the notion that "separation of church and state", which comes from a letter written by Jefferson much like the quotes I posted above, is somehow a part of the First Amendment text, which it is not. It forbids the establishment of a religion, and it forbids any law which prohibits the free exercise of religion. That's it. No "separation of church and state" anywhere to be found.
  20. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
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    It doesn't need to, because that's what it a;ready says.

    No, it doesn't specifically say that. It says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

    My question was, if everyone believes it's meant to say what you said, why hasn't that clarification been written into law specifically? We repealed prohibition to make it clear that we no longer want alcohol to be illegal, so why not establish an amendment that severely limits the powers of the First Amendment?

    As you can tell, it's not that I don't know the answers... I'm trying to get you to think about the obvious problems with limiting the definitions of certain freedoms... and the ubiquitous irony that the majority should ever complain about rights afforded to the minority when the majority are the ones who establish them into law in the first place.

    If the Supreme Court discriminated against religious institutions for the mere reason that they were religious institutions, then religion would be discriminated against by the state, which would in turn violate separation of church and state. So by even considering an establishment's religious ties it violates separation.

    I never claimed they were being selective in terms of which religious schools would get funding. I only said I disagree with the ruling... but not on the basis of religion, because that had, as you say and I agree, nothing to do with their decision.
  21. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    It clearly comes down to how you interpret the First Amendment. However, the interpretation that has been given to it by courts which had an aggressively anti-religious left-wing slant is not supported by any form of logic or by history. It is abundantly clear that what they were thinking of when they wrote the First Amendment was the Church of England. They were simply saying, "we will not do that". The question then, if we were all dealing honestly, which unfortunately the left never does, would be whether or not having the words "under God" in a pledge which anyone who wishes to can opt out of is comparable to having an established religion. The answer is no.

    I don't dispute that courts in the past have ruled differently, but they were clearly attempting to write their own law instead of interpreting it as it was written, which is their job.
  22. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    If I may ask, Darth_SnowDog, why do you disagree?
  23. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
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    In addition, AJA and StarFire, you haven't answered my question... why would we want a more limited interpretation of religious freedoms in the first place?

    Why should the state be a billboard for any type of religion at all? Why does religion need a marketing machine, anyway? I have never understood proselytization, and I never will. Having had an education in marketing myself, I can't understand the appeal of religious advertisement to those who employ it.... it's like openly admitting that your faith does not have enough substance to be discovered, appreciated and accepted solely on the basis of its own merits.

    Star_Fire: I disagree with the vouchers on the basis of the fact that everyone, even those without children, benefits from the social gains of public education. A more educated workforce has a positive and lasting impact on our economy, our society, our welfare, our GDP/GNP, our crime rate, and many other factors... a more educated workforce increases the average standard of living... which affects the entire society.

    To pay out these vouchers as a sort of "refund" to those who assume that the portion of their taxes that contribute to public schools is exactly proportional to only the economic benefit their child and family receives is a false assumption.

    I believe that the cost of public education should be borne by all of our society, because society as a whole benefits from it.
  24. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    I'm sorry, but I don't quite understand your question. How is the state a billboard for religion?
  25. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    In addition, AJA and StarFire, you haven't answered my question... why would we want a more limited interpretation of religious freedoms in the first place?

    Because a court is trying to use the interpretation you're endorsing to strike down a law that the American people passed through their elected representatives, and which 90% of the people currently support?

    Why should the state be a billboard for any type of religion at all? Why does religion need a marketing machine, anyway? I have never understood proselytization, and I never will. Having had an education in marketing myself, I can't understand the appeal of religious advertisement to those who employ it.... it's like openly admitting that your faith does not have enough substance to be discovered, appreciated and accepted solely on the basis of its own merits.

    Of course you realize that those who engage in proselytizing don't see it that way...and you could just as easily say that those who are against proselytizing are lacking in faith of their views, and are afraid if people are exposed to something else, they might change their beliefs.

    Nevertheless, I'm a Christian, and I'm not a fan of aggressive evangelism. I don't see anything wrong with promoting your religion, but I also don't think you should go beyond a certain point with it.
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