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Did the founders intend this to be a Christian nation?

Stray Pooch

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PatriotSon said:
Take Patrick Henry for example, when he said, "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here."

Here, Patrick Henry emphasizes the fact that although all religions have been afforded asylum to worship, it is the Christian principles and religious teachings of Jesus that provide for the foundation of the Rule of Law.

John Adams was quite fond of making religious inferences when both speaking and writing. “Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.”

With this quote, again we see that it was not only the founder’s intent to create a nation based in religious principles, but that they felt is was wholly necessary to do so in order to ensure the success of the nation. This is evidenced again by James Madison, "Religion [is] the basis and Foundation of Government." I could continue but will allow this as sufficient evidence with which to make my case.

The founder's intent is the shadow of a shade. It depends on which founder you cite. The question of religious liberty, establishment and practice was not a matter of unanimity. That's why the disestablishment clause was included in the bill of rights. I personally believe the Constitution to be a God-inspired document, but I believe part of that inspiration included separating the fallible governments of men from the administration of God's kingdom. That administration is the responsibility of the church, not the government. We are not a Christian nation. We are a free nation. That means we are free to choose - and accept the consequences for - whatever course of action we will.
 

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When I was looking into what Deism was (My belief), the websites advertised that the founding fathers were Deists (At least some of them). Some of them made statements both ways. My feeling is that if they were really true Christians, they wouldn't have Deist statements. However, because at the time pretty much everybody in America was Christian, they had to, as politicians, play on and use the dominant faith. Jefferson's Bible took out all references to mysticism in the Bible. Most of them I think, based on their conflicting statements felt Christianity was a good moral guide, but didn't truly believe in the mysticism and they talked highly of Christ because this was a time when most everybody in the country was Christian. When everybody is one faith, you can't really get away from that.
 

PatriotSon

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The founder's intent is the shadow of a shade. It depends on which founder you cite. The question of religious liberty, establishment and practice was not a matter of unanimity. That's why the disestablishment clause was included in the bill of rights. I personally believe the Constitution to be a God-inspired document, but I believe part of that inspiration included separating the fallible governments of men from the administration of God's kingdom. That administration is the responsibility of the church, not the government. We are not a Christian nation. We are a free nation. That means we are free to choose - and accept the consequences for - whatever course of action we will.[/QUOTE]

The real "founders" of the constitution were Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Washington, and Adams. These men had more to do with the Constitution than anyone. And there wasn’t one of them that didn’t believe they were building a country based on Christian principles.
 

Pacridge

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PatriotSon said:
The founder's intent is the shadow of a shade. It depends on which founder you cite. The question of religious liberty, establishment and practice was not a matter of unanimity. That's why the disestablishment clause was included in the bill of rights. I personally believe the Constitution to be a God-inspired document, but I believe part of that inspiration included separating the fallible governments of men from the administration of God's kingdom. That administration is the responsibility of the church, not the government. We are not a Christian nation. We are a free nation. That means we are free to choose - and accept the consequences for - whatever course of action we will.

The real "founders" of the constitution were Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Washington, and Adams. These men had more to do with the Constitution than anyone. And there wasn’t one of them that didn’t believe they were building a country based on Christian principles.[/QUOTE]

Welcome to Debate Politics!
 

Stray Pooch

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PatriotSon said:
The real "founders" of the constitution were Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Washington, and Adams. These men had more to do with the Constitution than anyone. And there wasn’t one of them that didn’t believe they were building a country based on Christian principles.

I disagree with that. In fact, Jefferson, while he certainly influenced the Constitution, was in France during the national convention and was not a signer. Washington presided over the national convention (which later became known as the Constitutional Convention) but was very wary of adding much to it, because he felt it was his duty to preside, not direct. Franklin was very clear in his religious belief. He was not a Christian. He believed in a God, the "Supreme Architect of the Universe" but did not necessarily accept that Jesus was that god. Jefferson and Madison had previously collaberated on Virginia's Statute on Religious Freedom which earned Jefferson a reputation as an enemy of the faith.

This is not to negate the faith of these great men, nor to deny Christian influence in their thought processes. But it is simplistic to take six men, whose opinions were diverse in themselves, and ascribe to them the credit for founding the nation. There were some fifty or more men involved in the convention itself, though some came late, some left early when they found that the original purpose of the convention had been expanded without authority to the creation of a new government, and some were in and out. These many men from the several states argued about numerous issues. The compromises they arrived at were described by Washington as a "miracle." There is no question that Christian thought went into the process - it could not have been otherwise in that time. But the founders - even and especially those you cite - understood the evils of establishment. Jefferson wrote: (Well aware that the opinions and belief of men depend not on their own will, but follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to their minds; that) Almighty God hath created the mind free, (and manifested his supreme will that free it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint) (Sections in parenthesis were stricken by the assembly). He went on to say that "the impious presumption of legislators...[who] have assumed dominion over the faith of others...hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world;...(that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction).1

Jefferson understood that this nation should not be a nation ruled by religion. But he also understood that the people themselves should be, but even then only by their own choice. I do not deny Christian influence on this nation's founding. But I assert that there was a strong English influence as well - and by extension a strong Anglican influence. We are not an English nation, we are not an Anglican nation and we are not a Christian nation.

1. Source: http://www.pbs.org/jefferson/enlight/religi.htm
 
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JustineCredible

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PatriotSon said:
The founder's intent is the shadow of a shade. It depends on which founder you cite. The question of religious liberty, establishment and practice was not a matter of unanimity. That's why the disestablishment clause was included in the bill of rights. I personally believe the Constitution to be a God-inspired document, but I believe part of that inspiration included separating the fallible governments of men from the administration of God's kingdom. That administration is the responsibility of the church, not the government. We are not a Christian nation. We are a free nation. That means we are free to choose - and accept the consequences for - whatever course of action we will.

Here are a few quotes by those framers of our Constitution and what they had to say about religion...as well as a blurb about the Constitution itself.

The U.S. Constitution


The most convincing evidence that our government did not ground itself upon Christianity comes from the very document that defines it-- the United States Constitution.

If indeed our Framers had aimed to found a Christian republic, it would seem highly unlikely that they would have forgotten to leave out their Christian intentions in the
Supreme law of the land. In fact, nowhere in the Constitution do we have a single mention of Christianity, God, Jesus, or any Supreme Being. There occurs only two references to religion and they both use exclusionary wording. The 1st Amendment's says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. . ." and in Article VI, Section 3, ". . . no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

Benjamin Franklin


Although Franklin received religious training, his nature forced him to rebel against the irrational tenets of his parents Christianity. His Autobiography revels his skepticism, "My parents had given me betimes religions impressions, and I received from my infancy a pious education in the principles of Calvinism. But scarcely was I arrived at fifteen years of age, when, after having doubted in turn of different tenets, according as I found them combated in the different books that I read, I began to doubt of Revelation itself.

James Madison


Called the father of the Constitution, Madison had no conventional sense of Christianity. In 1785, Madison wrote in his Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments:


"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."

John Adams


In his, "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America" [1787-1788], John Adams wrote:


"The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.

George Washington


Much of the myth of Washington's alleged Christianity came from Mason Weems influential book, "Life of Washington." The story of the cherry tree comes from this book and it has no historical basis. Weems, a Christian minister portrayed Washington as a devout Christian, yet Washington's own diaries show that he rarely attended Church.

Washington revealed almost nothing to indicate his spiritual frame of mind, hardly a mark of a devout Christian. In his thousands of letters, the name of Jesus Christ never appears. He rarely spoke about his religion, but his Freemasonry experience points to a belief in deism. Washington's initiation occurred at the Fredericksburg Lodge on 4 November 1752, later becoming a Master mason in 1799, and remained a freemason until he died.

Something everyone claiming the Costitution was founded on "Christianity" needs to read; The Treaty of Tripoli.

Little-Known U.S. Document Signed by President Adams Proclaims America's Government Is Secular



The real "founders" of the constitution were Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Washington, and Adams. These men had more to do with the Constitution than anyone. And there wasn’t one of them that didn’t believe they were building a country based on Christian principles.[/QUOTE]
 

Montalban

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Pacridge said:
The real "founders" of the constitution were Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Washington, and Adams. These men had more to do with the Constitution than anyone. And there wasn’t one of them that didn’t believe they were building a country based on Christian principles.

Welcome to Debate Politics!
Jefferson believed in the inferiority of Africans
“Inferiority was assumed by Thomas Jefferson, Voltaire, and even John Locke ...(who) did not hesitate to defend slavery in his draft of the Fundamental Constitution of Carolina.”, Carroll, V & Shiflett, D “Christianity on Trial: Arguments against anti-religious Bigotry”, p31.
The atheist liberal; Locke who helped draft a constitution too, established slavery. “ he wrote the “Fundamental Constitutions for the Government of Carolina” in 1669”... “Black chattel slavery received particular sanction and protection under Locke's law: “
http://users.cyberone.com.au/myers/locke.html
 

PatriotSon

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Montalban said:
Jefferson believed in the inferiority of Africans
“Inferiority was assumed by Thomas Jefferson, Voltaire, and even John Locke ...(who) did not hesitate to defend slavery in his draft of the Fundamental Constitution of Carolina.”, Carroll, V & Shiflett, D “Christianity on Trial: Arguments against anti-religious Bigotry”, p31.
The atheist liberal; Locke who helped draft a constitution too, established slavery. “ he wrote the “Fundamental Constitutions for the Government of Carolina” in 1669”... “Black chattel slavery received particular sanction and protection under Locke's law: “
http://users.cyberone.com.au/myers/locke.html

I think you are looking at the slavery issue through the prism of today’s standards. You have to understand how complicated an issue slavery was back in the 16 and 1700’s. Jefferson, by 1790 by no means approved of the slavery issue. The problem he and others in congress faced was what to do about slavery. The census of 1790 shows that in North Carolina there were 140,000 Whites, and 104,000 slaves. The institution of slavery was so ingrained into southern society at that point that when the Quakers tried a move to abolish it once and for all, it actually threatened the newly formed union. Jefferson was left in a difficult situation. He determined that the Sectional Compromise of 1787, forbad the abolishment of slavery until at least 1808. The new constitution was still fragile. With 90% of the slaves living in the south, the defining issue of post revolutionary America was the issue of slavery. The north, proposing adherence to the “spirit of ‘76” while the south condoning slavery as a “necessary evil” In the end, it was simply determined that in the interest of keeping the union solvent, the issue of slavery would be put aside.

But this did not mean that men like Jefferson were hypocrites, or that they weren’t Christians. It simply means that as Statesmen, they had to make a decision to keep the union together. On a separate note, Benjamin Franklin, in his final days set out on a campaign to end slavery. It of course failed, but in his writings it is apparent that he wholly disapproves of the slavery issue.
 

Kenneth T. Cornelius

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Kenneth T. Cornelius said:
In regard to the characteristics of the people, notice that what is stressed here is the lack of reasons for disagreement rather than the virtue of being English and speaking English and so forth. Jay would doubtless have written much the same had the country's inhabitants been Turks, except that the proposed form of the new government would certainly have been different. The key words here are same and similar. Therefore when Jay writes of the people professing the same religion he is not expressing any value judgement on religion, its necessity or irrelevance. He is merely eliminating it as a source of contention. There is nothing here to indicate that he thinks America should be governed by Christian principles.
:drink
I started off here by re-presenting my material with proper attribution. I do this, because I almost missed that it was me you were asking for a response.


PatriotSon said:
While you present an interesting, and well spoken point of view, I feel your scope of your assertion is rather narrow. While I will concede to you the fact that our nation was not formed with intent to specify Christian religion as dominant, there is plenty of evidence to support the idea that we are a nation founded out of Christian ideals, and with intent to build the nation on a foundation of religious principles.
Christianity or more generally religion, can be either a source of unity or dissent. Jay seemed to regard it as the later, as do I.

The idea that this country is founded on peculiarly Christion ideals has been discussed extensively on this forum and pretty well discounted. It turns out that ideals now designated as Christian actually predate Christianity (or the concept of a single god, for that matter)by millenia.

Yes, a universally accepted moral code is necessary for a acceptably functioning polity. The key there is "universal". It doesn't have to be Christian.
 
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PatriotSon

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[/QUOTE]Yes, a universally accepted moral code is necessary for a acceptably functioning polity. The key there is "universal". It doesn't have to be Christian.[/QUOTE]

I can agree with you here. In the original question, “Did the founders intend this to be a Christian nation?” You make an assumption that the framers considered Christianity as opposed to other religions (or no religion) as a foundation of government. I wonder, and this is speculation, if the framers considered any of this when drafting the constitution.

I have read all the posts, and have done much of my own research on this subject. It seams that for every quote you can find refute a Christian design, I can find one in support of it. You along with others on this forum make strong arguments. However, with the Christian faith being almost exclusive in early colonial America, I think it would be foolish to believe the framers set out to remove faith or Christian belief from government. It would require they abandon foundational principals and concepts of the time.

What I believe is the framers had a serious problem with the Catholic Church in England. Many of them, sought relief from religious persecution in America. Realizing the danger of having strong religious influence in government, they sought to protect the new government, by limiting its ability to adopt any one religion as dominant. They did this by telling the government they could not pass any laws concerning religion. This in effect protected the government from itself. I do not believe the framers intended for this to be interpreted as a “separation of church and state” the way we understand it today. Had they believed this, it would have eliminated such practices as, formal prayer before session, placing the Ten Commandments in government offices and Buildings, placing religious symbols on city charters, and even referring to a belief in God on our currency.

It is clear, if not by their words, then by their actions, that the framers intended God and religious principals to play in integral part in government. Whether or not they infer Christianity or not, I leave that discussion for someone else. I believe they just assumed Christianity, because it was what they knew, and because of it’s dominance in the colonies.
 

Stray Pooch

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PatriotSon said:
with the Christian faith being almost exclusive in early colonial America, I think it would be foolish to believe the framers set out to remove faith or Christian belief from government. It would require they abandon foundational principals and concepts of the time.

What I believe is the framers had a serious problem with the Catholic Church in England. Many of them, sought relief from religious persecution in America. Realizing the danger of having strong religious influence in government, they sought to protect the new government, by limiting its ability to adopt any one religion as dominant. They did this by telling the government they could not pass any laws concerning religion. This in effect protected the government from itself. I do not believe the framers intended for this to be interpreted as a “separation of church and state” the way we understand it today. Had they believed this, it would have eliminated such practices as, formal prayer before session, placing the Ten Commandments in government offices and Buildings, placing religious symbols on city charters, and even referring to a belief in God on our currency.

It is clear, if not by their words, then by their actions, that the framers intended God and religious principals to play in integral part in government. .

Your points here are well made. I think the issue for most of the framers in terms of religious faith was not Catholicism (which had been all but stamped out in English discourse a century or more before) nor even the dominant Anglican church, but rather a singular favoritism for any one sect or faith. Being given a chance to start a new system of government, the framers wanted to get it right. They understood that civil wars had been fought, persecutions had been wrought and people had died at the stake simply for believing something different from what the party in power believed. Think back to the time of Henry VIII, his daughters Mary and Elizabeth and on through the English civil war. The latter days of the Tudor dynasty and the entirety of the Stuarts had been one of continuing shifts in the prevailing religious faith. Those who were not in power and persecuting the masses were plotting to assassinate those who were. The average person - noble or commoner - was constantly in fear that a new monarch might change religions (as was often the case) and cause them to have to decide whether to please God or stay alive.

But this does not negate the fact that the prevailing faith was Christian. Just like today, the issue within Christianity wasn't WHETHER to worship Christ but HOW to do so. To avoid the HOW becoming a matter of life or death, the founders chose to leave the issue to individual conscience. The more open-minded among them further recognized that even favoring Christianity as a whole was potentially dangerous. So they instructed the government to stay out of religion entirely. It was never intended, as you correctly point out, that religious expression should be stifled - just that one faith should not be favored over another by the government.

It is through development of that ideal over the past two centuries that we have reached the situation we face today. The framers did not intend - as a collective body - that this should be a Christian nation. But they clearly also did not intend that Christian expression should be outlawed. We are comparatively spoiled today. Our religious conscience is no longer a matter of lethal consequence. Now we need only be concerned about annoying litigation. It's easy to debate whether a Wiccan should be allowed to say a prayer in an assembly meeting or a Mormon can be elected president when neither is going to be burned at the stake - or order someone else to be.
 
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PopeyeAtheist

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[Had they believed this, it would have eliminated such practices as, formal prayer before session, placing the Ten Commandments in government offices and Buildings, placing religious symbols on city charters, and even referring to a belief in God on our currency.

It is clear, if not by their words, then by their actions, that the framers intended God and religious principals to play in integral part in government. Whether or not they infer Christianity or not, I leave that discussion for someone else. I believe they just assumed Christianity, because it was what they knew, and because of it’s dominance in the colonies.

You called "THEY" the framers of The Constitution. The framers of the constitution DID NOT place the ten commandments in any government offices or buildings, they DID NOT place religious symbols on city charters and they DID NOT put a belief in any gods on the currency.
 

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Indeed - the founding fathers could not take as rigid of a stance as they probably wished to, their absolute cooperation and occasional lenience was done only to hold the nation together during a period of time in which radicalism was seen as a justification for political isolation, something which the founding fathers agreed needed to be suppressed, thus explaining their rather unusual stance on slavery, something which contradicts most of their other beliefs as well.
 

Kenneth T. Cornelius

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Stray Pooch said:
Your points here are well made. I think the issue for most of the framers in terms of religious faith was not Catholicism (which had been all but stamped out in English discourse a century or more before) nor even the dominant Anglican church, but rather a singular favoritism for any one sect or faith. etc...
Thanks for writing that, pooch.

Think what it would be like in this country if, say, the "Church of Scientology" were to have any authority at all in its governance. All by itself this is a strong argument for keeping State and Religion separate. Hey, we might wind up with the science fiction of Elron embedded as holy writ in the courthouses of the land. :2wave:

This works both ways, of course. The Mormons may be duly grateful that the government itself did not participate in their persecution during their early days.
 

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PatriotSon said:
...I think it would be foolish to believe the framers set out to remove faith or Christian belief from government.

Then where is it in our Constitution? If the framers did not set out to remove Christian belief from our government, then where is it?

PatriotSon said:
...placing the Ten Commandments in government offices and Buildings, placing religious symbols on city charters, and even referring to a belief in God on our currency.

These things happened long after the founding of our Constitution.
 
L

lamaror

most of the framers of the constitution we certainly christian. No where in our constitution did our reps to the constitutional Convention state they intended to form a Christian state. The record of the convention and numerous writing by well known representative to the convention exist.

Take a look at the world of 1780s. Europe had just barely finished hundreds of years of religious warfare. Protestant against Protestant, and Protestant against Catholic. The world was full of the result these wars. It was real lesson that shined daily right before their eyes. The goal became one of stopping the spread of religious warfare, confusion, and chaos in our Nation.

here was the result. The Bill of Rights - Proud to be an American

Amendment I

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.

4


Freedom of Speech gives us the right deny, ignore, or participate in Religion.

The Seperation of church and state is intragal to our practice of religion.

I am a Christian, and accept Christ as my savior. We don't need Christ in our government. We need Christ in our hearts.

:cool:
 

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alex said:
Then where is it in our Constitution? If the framers did not set out to remove Christian belief from our government, then where is it?


The constitution, by design, is a work left open for interpretation. I believe this was done in order to limit government. The fact that the constitution does not expressly mention a divine influence, in no way implies the founders did not have one. In order to determine the founders true intent, one must study their individual writings, and understand the complex and fragile world in which the authors lived. I believe, after careful and diligent study, that the majority of the founders (50 of the 54) indeed held a principle of Christian belief. And the values expressed by their religion, they sought to place as pillars of their new democracy. This does not mean that they intended for this to be a Christian nation, but it does mean they believed a set of core values, such as those expressed in the Christian faith, were necessary for a sound government.

Many here on this forum, have expressed disagreement with my opinion, they have provided, in my opinion, a sound argument based on their own factual understanding of the time. I respect their opinion, and will continue to research and study. However, I give very little weight to these “one sentence” rebuttals that plague this forum. I show a lack of learned understanding of the topic. And I end up wasting time explaining my opinion to someone who could not possibly understand the level of understanding I, or others on the forum have on this subject.
 

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Amendment I

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.


Congress has never made a law respecting an establishment of religion. This point has, quite clearly, been observed.

....or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. With respect to Congress, this point has, also quite clearly, been observed.

The courts, on the other hand, have frequently held that the free exercise of religion by one group in public may be found to be objectionable by another group, and have thereby prohibited the free exercise of religion by the one so as not to offend the other.

It would seem that many who seek tolerance for themselves refuse to be tolerant where others are concerned and rush to the courts seeking balm for their imagined wounds.
 

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Fantasea said:
Amendment I

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.


Congress has never made a law respecting an establishment of religion. This point has, quite clearly, been observed.

Perhaps by you. There have been many laws enacted throughout our history which stem exclusively from the religious beliefs of the majority. (proscriptions against certain consentual sex acts, prostitution, gay marriage, Sunday blue laws, etc.) By passing such laws, government has established religion.

....or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. With respect to Congress, this point has, also quite clearly, been observed.

Again, not so. There have been laws against the religious drug use of Native Americans, Laws against sacrifices of the Santa Ria (sp?) sect, etc.

The courts, on the other hand, have frequently held that the free exercise of religion by one group in public may be found to be objectionable by another group, and have thereby prohibited the free exercise of religion by the one so as not to offend the other.

Actually, the courts have ruled (not often enough for me) that if the public expression can be seen to be government sponsored, then it is unconstitutional. ( for instance - A child can pray privately in school, but if that prayer is guided or encouraged by the school, it is not permitted.) Where's the problem?


Two questions -
1. Can anyone tell me exactly which Christian values from the Bible are enshrined in the Constitution? I've never seen any. On the contrary, I find many things in the Constitution to be quite the opposite of biblical teachings.

2. I often hear religious people say that the government can establish and recognize religion itself as long as it doesn't give preference to one faith over others. If that is so, shouldn't the founders have put "a" between the words "of" and "religion" in the text of the 1st Amendment?
 

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9TH said:
Originally Posted by Fantasea
Amendment I

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.

Congress has never made a law respecting an establishment of religion. This point has, quite clearly, been observed.
Perhaps by you. There have been many laws enacted throughout our history which stem exclusively from the religious beliefs of the majority. (proscriptions against certain consentual sex acts, prostitution, gay marriage, Sunday blue laws, etc.) By passing such laws, government has established religion.
The conduct you describe has been regulated by individual states according to the will of the people. The courts have long held that community standards may vary and states may accommodate the wishes of its residents
.
Quote:
....or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. With respect to Congress, this point has, also quite clearly, been observed.
Again, not so. There have been laws against the religious drug use of Native Americans, Laws against sacrifices of the Santa Ria (sp?) sect, etc.
Once more, you make reference to state regulations. And, yes, the states also regulate against against human sacrifices, polygamy, and numerous voodoo practices.
Quote:
The courts, on the other hand, have frequently held that the free exercise of religion by one group in public may be found to be objectionable by another group, and have thereby prohibited the free exercise of religion by the one so as not to offend the other
.Actually, the courts have ruled (not often enough for me) that if the public expression can be seen to be government sponsored, then it is unconstitutional. ( for instance - A child can pray privately in school, but if that prayer is guided or encouraged by the school, it is not permitted.) Where's the problem?
When the starting five can't kneel on the gym floor before the game, join hands and offer a prayer that neither they nor their opponents will suffer injury, there's a problem.
Two questions -
1. Can anyone tell me exactly which Christian values from the Bible are enshrined in the Constitution? I've never seen any. On the contrary, I find many things in the Constitution to be quite the opposite of biblical teachings.
Nowhere. However, Section 8 of Article 1 contains this clause:

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into
Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this
Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or
Officer thereof.


It is this empowerment which enables Congress to establish laws. If one lays a copy of a law which regulates behavior beside a copy of the Ten Commandments, one will find that the heart of the law embodies the precepts of at least one of the Commandments. This usually results in a chicken or egg argument, or one of whether the similarity is intentional or coincidental.
2. I often hear religious people say that the government can establish and recognize religion itself as long as it doesn't give preference to one faith over others. If that is so, shouldn't the founders have put "a" between the words "of" and "religion" in the text of the 1st Amendment?
I prefer to think of the government's role as the guarantor of freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. So long as Congress does not establish a national religion, as for example, was done by Henry VIII when he formed The Church of England, then, as the late Clara Peller used to ask, "Where's the beef?"
 

9TH

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Fantasea said:
The conduct you describe has been regulated by individual states according to the will of the people. The courts have long held that community standards may vary and states may accommodate the wishes of its residents. Once more, you make reference to state regulations. And, yes, the states also regulate against against human sacrifices, polygamy, and numerous voodoo practices.
While it's true that many of these laws are at the State level, the courts have also long held that the will of the majority cannot be excercised if it tramples on the rights of the minority. The laws against Santa Ria (animal) sacrifices were, I believe, struck down precisely because there was no showing that the law served any purpose other than excluding the practice on religious grounds.
Fantasea said:
When the starting five can't kneel on the gym floor before the game, join hands and offer a prayer that neither they nor their opponents will suffer injury, there's a problem.
And those who complain about God being in the pledge and on our money are accused of worrying about nothing? Can there be any more irrelevent "problem" than praying at sporting events? Sporting envents, for God's sake! The point though is that religious rituals should not be at government sponsored events.
Fantasea said:
Nowhere. However, Section 8 of Article 1 contains this clause:
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into
Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this
Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or
Officer thereof.

It is this empowerment which enables Congress to establish laws. If one lays a copy of a law which regulates behavior beside a copy of the Ten Commandments, one will find that the heart of the law embodies the precepts of at least one of the Commandments. This usually results in a chicken or egg argument, or one of whether the similarity is intentional or coincidental.
Yes, and the Bill of Rights was intended to put limits on these powers. Is this not so?
And while many, if not most, laws may have roots in some religious morality, they also must be shown to have civil/secular justifications or they are simply the imposition of a certain faith on the whole of the nation. (re: Santa Ria) Would it be proper for the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 10th Commandments to become laws? I think not. They would serve no purpose other than religious indoctrination. (hope my count is right.)

Fantasea said:
I prefer to think of the government's role as the guarantor of freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. So long as Congress does not establish a national religion, as for example, was done by Henry VIII when he formed The Church of England, then, as the late Clara Peller used to ask, "Where's the beef?"

The "beef," like I said, is that the 1st prohibits the "establishment of religion" period, not just the "establishment of [a] religion". There's a big difference, one that I believe is intentional.
 

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9TH said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fantasea
The conduct you describe has been regulated by individual states according to the will of the people. The courts have long held that community standards may vary and states may accommodate the wishes of its residents. Once more, you make reference to state regulations. And, yes, the states also regulate against against human sacrifices, polygamy, and numerous voodoo practices.
While it's true that many of these laws are at the State level, the courts have also long held that the will of the majority cannot be excercised if it tramples on the rights of the minority. The laws against Santa Ria (animal) sacrifices were, I believe, struck down precisely because there was no showing that the law served any purpose other than excluding the practice on religious grounds.
If all groups have equal access, then no one's rights are being trampled.
.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fantasea
When the starting five can't kneel on the gym floor before the game, join hands and offer a prayer that neither they nor their opponents will suffer injury, there's a problem.
And those who complain about God being in the pledge and on our money are accused of worrying about nothing? Can there be any more irrelevent "problem" than praying at sporting events? Sporting envents, for God's sake! The point though is that religious rituals should not be at government sponsored events.
This flies in the face of your preceding complaint. Why should the rights of the minority group of five be trampled by a larger group in the audience who may find their public prayer offensive?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fantasea
Nowhere. However, Section 8 of Article 1 contains this clause:
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into
Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this
Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or
Officer thereof.

It is this empowerment which enables Congress to establish laws. If one lays a copy of a law which regulates behavior beside a copy of the Ten Commandments, one will find that the heart of the law embodies the precepts of at least one of the Commandments. This usually results in a chicken or egg argument, or one of whether the similarity is intentional or coincidental.
Yes, and the Bill of Rights was intended to put limits on these powers. Is this not so?

And while many, if not most, laws may have roots in some religious morality, they also must be shown to have civil/secular justifications or they are simply the imposition of a certain faith on the whole of the nation. (re: Santa Ria) Would it be proper for the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 10th Commandments to become laws? I think not. They would serve no purpose other than religious indoctrination. (hope my count is right.)
This is the first time I have ever come across a statement that the Bill of Rights imposes limitations.

You continue by writing that, at least in my interpretation, that the precepts of one or more of the Ten Commandments is excellent inspiration for legislators. In that context, how would one determine whether, in formulating a statute, the intention of the legislators was to remain entirely secular, or to secretly slip in some devious religious practice?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fantasea
I prefer to think of the government's role as the guarantor of freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. So long as Congress does not establish a national religion, as for example, was done by Henry VIII when he formed The Church of England, then, as the late Clara Peller used to ask, "Where's the beef?"
The "beef," like I said, is that the 1st prohibits the "establishment of religion" period, not just the "establishment of [a] religion". There's a big difference, one that I believe is intentional.
Religion is religion. So long as Congress ignores the matter of religion entirely, how can it go wrong?
 

Fantasea

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galenrox said:
Because if congress ignores it, but other government associated groups don't, that leads to problems.
So, then, are you saying that Congress SHOULD get involved and make some laws with respect to the regulation of religion?
 

PopeyeAtheist

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Fantasea said:
The conduct you describe has been regulated by individual states according to the will of the people. The courts have long held that community standards may vary and states may accommodate the wishes of its residentsOnce more, you make reference to state regulations. And, yes, the states also regulate against against human sacrifices, polygamy, and numerous voodoo practices.
When the starting five can't kneel on the gym floor before the game, join hands and offer a prayer that neither they nor their opponents will suffer injury, there's a problem.Nowhere. However, Section 8 of Article 1 contains this clause:

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into
Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this
Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or
Officer thereof.


It is this empowerment which enables Congress to establish laws. If one lays a copy of a law which regulates behavior beside a copy of the Ten Commandments, one will find that the heart of the law embodies the precepts of at least one of the Commandments. This usually results in a chicken or egg argument, or one of whether the similarity is intentional or coincidental.I prefer to think of the government's role as the guarantor of freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. So long as Congress does not establish a national religion, as for example, was done by Henry VIII when he formed The Church of England, then, as the late Clara Peller used to ask, "Where's the beef?"
It is this empowerment which enables Congress to establish laws. If one lays a copy of a law which regulates behavior beside a copy of the Ten Commandments, one will find that the heart of the law embodies the precepts of at least one of the Commandments. This usually results in a chicken or egg argument, or one of whether the similarity is intentional or coincidental.I prefer to think of the government's role as the guarantor of freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. So long as Congress does not establish a national religion, as for example, was done by Henry VIII when he formed The Church of England, then, as the late Clara Peller used to ask, "Where's the beef?"[/QUOTE]
Where is the beef? In "THE" Ten comandments it says "I" will only have ONE GOD. If you put tjis in a Goverment building or school "I" will tear it down because "WE" or THE govenment "OF" the "PEOPLE" and by "THE" people not just "SOME" of the people.
 

PopeyeAtheist

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...Sorry, I am still tryinmg to figure out this quote stuff. LOL :doh
 
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