Separation of Church and State

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by StarFire, Jan 6, 2003.

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  1. bedada3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 2002
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    Okay, religion is the belief or denial of divinity or supernatural, which can include a unique set of practices and ethics.
  2. bobilll Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 8, 2002
    star 4
    For Moment of Silence, I personally just like the idea of silence. It's usually shown in the midst of others suffering or dying, and I personally think that whether you are praying or twiddling your thumbs, those two minutes of just shutting your mouth shows the greatest respect to the person who is suffering/dying.

    For secular/church:

    You can't seperate Christian morals from State, but Christians don't JUST believe in morals, Christians believe in God, and that's what seperates Church from State. The state stops people from stealing not because the Bible said so, but because stealing hurts people. True, the feeling of right and wrong comes from Church, but as there are people other than Christians who influence the State, the State is reasonably seperated from Church.
  3. bedada3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 2002
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    Again, what is meant by Church?

    (I thought I posted this earlier, but it didn't show up!)
  4. bedada3 Force Ghost

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    Jul 9, 2002
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  5. Darth_Viper81 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2003
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    Sorry, I've entered this discussion kind of late and have only read the first page. But I thought I'd give my opinion on what "Seperation of Church and State" means, because I think people have grossly misinterpretted it.

    It is my opinion that the phrase has nothing to do with keeping religion out of public and federal offices. Think from the viewpoint of our founding fathers, who were for the most part of the Christian faith or at least had roots in the Christian faith.

    Why would they willing say to keep religion out of public and federal offices if they themselves claimed religion??

    Simple, I think this statement means that the government cannot forcefully tell us what we are to believe. It is the seperation more of the state from the church, rather than the church from the state.

    I think that that is widely misinterpretted and I thought I'd throw that out there for discussion.
  6. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    If you read the first amendment, it's easy to see that the framers were talking about both protecting people's "free exercise" and prohibiting the government from getting involved in religious matters, although it's expressed in the opposite way:

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

    That first part is the issue that concerns issues like can Congress distribute federal money to religious charities, or can Congress provide money for the upkeep of a historically significant building if, for example, that building is a church, or can Congress demand that schools set aside a "moment of silence" for students each day, etc.

    This provision of the first amendment also applies to the states through the "privileges and immunities clause" of the fourteenth amendment, which is why your state's capital building can't hang a giant crucifix over the doorway.
  7. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Why would they willing say to keep religion out of public and federal offices if they themselves claimed religion??

    You're forgetting that a lot of the founding fathers were Deists. Most americans would not want deism in our laws.

    Peace,

    V-03
  8. bedada3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 2002
    star 4
    Vaderise03, would you explain that further?
    How do you define deism and how do we know if deism is in our laws?

    edit: Darth Viper81 is correct.

    There would be no official religion. There were many different religions practiced among the population at the time of the revolution, and people were free to practice their own religions peacefully. But the Biblical worldview was the foundation of the United States. I think one can live by that worldview without being Christian.
  9. Bubba_the_Genius Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2002
    star 4
    I've more than said my peace on this subject in its various incarnations on this forum, but I will restate one point that I made:

    The American government asserts certain beliefs -- such as the inalienable nature of rights and equality before the law -- but that doesn't mean that every American must agree with those beliefs. A person could deny the existence of rights altogether, or a racist could hold that some groups should not have the same legal rights.

    Likewise, the fact that the government asserts the existence of the Almighty doesn't mean that individuals are forced to agree.

    We don't have to unanimously hold the belief that "all men are created equal," or any other basic belief of our government. Why must "In God We Trust" be held unanimously?
  10. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    How do you define deism and how do we know if deism is in our laws?

    I don't know that much about it, actually, it was just something I read awhile back :). From what I understand, Deism is much different on social policy than judeo-christianity (for example, a deist-based abortion policy would hold that life begins at birth).

    Like I said, I don't much about it, so anybody who does, please forgive me if I am talking out of my patootie :).

    Look, this issue is a simple one, at least for me: you are free to practice your religion as long as it does not infringe upon the liberty of others. That is what the whole debate is about.

    What constitutes such infringement? Is it being forced to say "under G-d" in the pledge? Is it the legislation of morality? Or laws that intrude into the bedroom and tell people how to behave between consenting adults? That's where we all argue.

    From my standpoint, your rights should end at my skin. I'm a big fan of choice, which means that I do not support morality legislation or restrictive sexual laws between consenting adults. I do support allowing a town to put up the ten commandments, or a christmas tree in the town square, or saying prayers at football games, or using after-school time for religious clubs, as long as it is done fairly. If a wiccan group wants to form a club at school, so be it. If a buddhist organization wants to say a prayer at a football game, they should be allowed, too.

    If a town votes not to have any of the above, their choice as well

    Equal respect is what I'm getting at here. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. As long as "freedom of religion" doesn't mean "freedom for christians only", then I have no problem with it.

    Vouchers however, are another story ;)

    Peace,

    V-03

  11. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    "The American government asserts certain beliefs -- such as the inalienable nature of rights and equality before the law -- but that doesn't mean that every American must agree with those beliefs. A person could deny the existence of rights altogether, or a racist could hold that some groups should not have the same legal rights."

    And that's exactly why we have a system of independent judicial review of constitutional law. Understanding that no one would ever agree, the framers of the constitution put in place a system for determining what's permissible or not under our constitution.

    And we also have a system for amending the constitution.

    Basically, federal, state, and local governments enact whatever laws they want, but they try to make an educated guess about what they can and can't get away with on issues like separation of church and state and freedom of speech. And the interesting issues at the margins get sent up to the Supreme Court.
  12. Kuna_Tiori Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2002
    star 4
    Bubba_the_Genius:
    We don't have to unanimously hold the belief that "all men are created equal," or any other basic belief of our government. Why must "In God We Trust" be held unanimously?

    No one said it must. But the big deal is that the government upholds this motto. And government's not supposed to recognize God.
  13. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    And government's not supposed to recognize God.

    Who says this?
  14. Epicauthor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2002
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    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    The government can't recognize one deity over another. It can't recognize all of them, so, by default, it must recognize none

  15. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    The government can recognize one deity over another. It can't recognize all of them, so, by default, it must recognise none

    I didn't quite follow that.

    Government recognition of [a] God does not in any way establish a state religion, nor does it discriminate against religions, and neither does it interfere with any individual's practice of religion. The United States Congress starts sessions with a prayer, if I'm not mistaken, as do many other legislatures around the country. The Supreme Court has ruled that this is not unconstitutional.
  16. Special_Fred Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2003
    star 4
    Regarding that question about deism:

    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I'm pretty sure (if I remember my high school history class correctly) that deism is the belief that God created the universe and then he just "left" it. Basically, he created us, but his influence is no longer in the world, he's just "sitting back and enjoying the show," so to speak.

    And I agree that God should play a part in American society (as far as "In God We Trust" or saying "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance goes). Even though I'm a strong believer in Christianity, I wouldn't support the government saying "In Jesus We Trust" or something like that. The ambiguous term "God" is enough to cover most of the world's religions. Bubba's earlier post mirrors my thoughts exactly.
  17. Epicauthor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2002
    star 4
    But it's not ambiguous enough. God usually refers to the Christian God and by putting "In God we Trust" or "under God" we are picking one God over another to a great many people.

    Religion has no place in government. Even the Constitution doesn't mention God, but a Creator.
  18. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    But it's not ambiguous enough. God usually refers to the Christian God and by putting "In God we Trust" or "under God" we are picking one God over another to a great many people.

    God is simply the English word for the deity. It has nothing specifically to do with Christianity, and Christianity has no claim on it.


    Even the Constitution doesn't mention God, but a Creator.

    Tell me how a "Creator" is different from God.
  19. Epicauthor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2002
    star 4
    I think teh confusion lies the simple fact that while "god" is the English word for deity, it is ALSO the name of teh Christian Deity. I see it as teh US picking one deity over any other. But even if tey picked, Allah, Jesus, or Shiva, it's still wrong. A free government can't exist when there are religious restrictions.

    Creator is an ambigous, agnostic view which is the only time it is mentioned in teh Constitution. Why did Madison do that? Simple...one of the basic tenants of this country was freedom to practice any religion you want. Since thre can be an infinite number of religions, teh government can NOT choose one over the others or else it falls victim to one of teh basic evils it was trying to fix 200+ years ago.
  20. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    I think teh confusion lies the simple fact that while "god" is the English word for deity, it is ALSO the name of teh Christian Deity.

    The Christian deity is the same as the Jewish deity, the difference being that Jews don't recognize Jesus as either a Messiah or as God himself. The Islamic deity is the same as the Christian deity is the same as the Jewish deity, with the difference that Muslims believe that Jesus was a prophet of God, and not God himself. I could use the term 'God' to describe the figurehead of any of these religions, and in the looser sense, it would be applicable to Eastern religions too.

    God is simply an English word, and does not imply a Christian deity in the least.


    A free government can't exist when there are religious restrictions.

    I don't follow... 'free government'?


    Creator is an ambigous, agnostic view which is the only time it is mentioned in teh Constitution.

    Purposeful creation requires intelligence, so a 'Creator' (ie, one who creates) is implied to be an intelligent being; in the sense it is used, it means the ultimate being--God. The terms are used interchangeably. And 'Creator' is by no means an agnostic term.
  21. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    God is simply an English word, and does not imply a Christian deity in the least.

    You don't really believe that in the US, do you?

    It would be like calling Him "Yahweh" in Israel and claiming that it was just a "Hebrew" word. I also notice that those who want more religion in our public lives do not seem to fret as much when a non-christian right/icon is challenged in court. You would think that they would be out there defending freedom for all religions if they want more freedom for their own.

    I mean, that's what the US is about, isn't it? Freedom and equality for all?

    Peace,

    V-03
  22. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    Vaderize I met some Coptic Christians from Egypt.

    Do you know what word they used to refer to their Christian deity?


    Allah.

    Does that make them Muslim?
  23. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    It would be like calling Him "Yahweh" in Israel and claiming that it was just a "Hebrew" word.

    He·brew (hbr)
    n.
    - A member or descendant of a Semitic people claiming descent from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; an Israelite; a Jew.
    - The Semitic language of the ancient Hebrews.
    Any of the various later forms of this language, especially the language of the Israelis.

    Both historically and pragmatically, Hebrew is the language of the Jewish people. English is spoken by people from all cultures and religious ideologies; words express ideas, and the word 'God' in the English language expresses the idea of a deity. Yahweh and Jehovah are terms rarely expressed outside of discussion of a Jewish deity, so it's natural that the words begin to imply the god that Judaism worships.
    'God', the English word expresses an idea common to a vast majority of religions, that of a singular deity. This is not a Christian concept, and the word is not a Christian word. It is an English word, and when discussing religion in English it is the word used to refer to the Deity, whether the discussion concerns Christianity or Islam (for instance).
  24. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Good info, but I never said it was exclusively a "Christian" word, I simply said it generally meant "christian" in the US ;). I still stand by that position. When americans, especially american politicians, refer to "God" nowadays, they are moreoftentimes than not referring to the "Christian" God.

    By the way, that's really interesting, farraday, although in that case, it strikes me as more of a cultural than a religious thing.

    Peace,

    V-03
  25. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    Vaderize your counter arguments seems to be that English is incapable of using God to mean anything excpet the Judeo Chrstian view.

    However, since religions straddle language barriers to say that in a certain language a certain word can only be used by one religion is very narrowminded.

    Are Hindu couples not married because they weren't wed in a Christian ceremony?
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