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Separation of church and state

Peter Grimm

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The phrase "separation of church and state" has been repeatedly used by the Supreme Court.

The phrase itself does not appear in the United States Constitution.

The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." For the first 200 years of our country's existence, the Supreme Court did not consider the question of how this applied to the states.

In fact, before 1947, these provisions were not considered to apply at the state level; and in the 1870s and 1890s unsuccessful attempts were made to amend the constitution to add the language "separation of church and state." It failed legislatively. It had to be accomplished via judicial decision, where in unprecedented fashion, Justice Hugo Black wrote: "In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state."


So the question is.... do you think it is fair that the Supreme Court essentially gets to make up laws that they would like to be in the constitution, but which are actually not?
 

Rainman05

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I don't understand Grimm, do you suggest that the Church and the State should not be separated? Do you want to have church laws integrated in the code of law and have religious police?

because I can tell you a few countries who do that, but you're not very fond of them. Iran. Saudi Arabia. Now Libya and until recently Egypt (not under Mubarak, he was secular, but under Morsi). Yemen. and a lot more. They have religious legislation implemented and a religious police force to enforce those laws. Now that of course, is islam, not Christianity.

The other thing you need to understand is that this: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" means exactly secularism and if the federal constitution declares it, the states cannot make a constitution to invalidate that. That's just crazy talk. And the Supreme Court has the right to strike down stupid laws and enforce the current laws. that's the whole point of the judicial branch.
 

sbrettt

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The phrase "separation of church and state" has been repeatedly used by the Supreme Court.

The phrase itself does not appear in the United States Constitution.

The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." For the first 200 years of our country's existence, the Supreme Court did not consider the question of how this applied to the states.

In fact, before 1947, these provisions were not considered to apply at the state level; and in the 1870s and 1890s unsuccessful attempts were made to amend the constitution to add the language "separation of church and state." It failed legislatively. It had to be accomplished via judicial decision, where in unprecedented fashion, Justice Hugo Black wrote: "In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state."


So the question is.... do you think it is fair that the Supreme Court essentially gets to make up laws that they would like to be in the constitution, but which are actually not?
In practice, doesn't the phrase "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" mean the same thing as "separation of church and state"? I know I'm not the sharpest crayon in the box, but I don't see a difference.
 

RabidAlpaca

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Petey, if the US government decided to start enacting shariah law, you would be the first one crying about how wrong it is and how THAT religion shouldn't be involved in government. You want to have your cake and eat it too. I don't think you'd like the can of worms that would be opened by marrying religion and government.

The first amendment is pretty clear. You don't get to force your religion on others.
 

Gaugingcatenate

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Petey, if the US government decided to start enacting shariah law, you would be the first one crying about how wrong it is and how THAT religion shouldn't be involved in government. You want to have your cake and eat it too. I don't think you'd like the can of worms that would be opened by marrying religion and government.

The first amendment is pretty clear. You don't get to force your religion on others.
Yet, specifically, the Constitution does not exclude religion from the public square as we have seemed to have accomplished through persistent assaults made upon it. We have a general concept of that religion, having many denominations, that has been, proudly, a part of our heritage and should not have to been hidden away, put in the closet so to speak. That is not my religion but I understand it as part of our history, our common overwhelming predominant belief in the existence of a higher guiding power, and we should not be forced to ignore that... that would infringe upon the free exercise thereof.

And that is whether we like it or not, or think it would open up a can of worms or not... if one wants to change that, Amend the Constitution.
 

RabidAlpaca

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Yet, specifically, the Constitution does not exclude religion from the public square as we have seemed to have accomplished through persistent assaults made upon it. We have a general concept of that religion, having many denominations, that has been, proudly, a part of our heritage and should not have to been hidden away, put in the closet so to speak. That is not my religion but I understand it as part of our history, our common overwhelming predominant belief in the existence of a higher guiding power, and we should not be forced to ignore that... that would infringe upon the free exercise thereof.

And that is whether we like it or not, or think it would open up a can of worms or not... if one wants to change that, Amend the Constitution.
Exercising your own religion does not include using tax payer funding to erect christian monuments on public property. You can not use taxpayer funding to glorify your own private god.

Would you be singing the same tune if they were erecting muslim monuments with your tax dollars?

If you want to do something like that, do it on your property with your own money. Problem solved.
 

HonestJoe

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The phrase "separation of church and state" has been repeatedly used by the Supreme Court.

The phrase itself does not appear in the United States Constitution.
Is the Supreme Court only permitted to say things made up of phrases taken directly from the Constitution?

So the question is.... do you think it is fair that the Supreme Court essentially gets to make up laws that they would like to be in the constitution, but which are actually not?
I gathered that the Supreme Court's job is to interpret the Constitution in the context of modern law. The Constitution itself isn't legislation, it's a set of quite general principals to be applied to legislation. Given that general nature, the passage or time and some archaic language, the Constitution is open to significant interpretation when considering specific issues. The Supreme Court is there to have the final word on that interpretation.
 

Gaugingcatenate

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Exercising your own religion does not include using tax payer funding to erect christian monuments on public property. You can not use taxpayer funding to glorify your own private god.

Would you be singing the same tune if they were erecting muslim monuments with your tax dollars?

If you want to do something like that, do it on your property with your own money. Problem solved.
Who says if the majority of taxpayers wants precisely that, locally, and it is to be their taxes being used, that they cannot do just that? That is not establishing a religion and cannot be logically argued that it is. You may not want that, but it certainly is not specifically prohibited by the Constitution. You may not like it, again, but that is not my concern. This is a majority rules nation. It would be, and was in the past, Constitutional.

If I lived in an area and that is what the majority of the taxpayers wanted to use some of their tax dollars for, why should I, the minority, deny them? That would be a little discriminatory, would it not? A tyranny of the minority. Now, I would have my minority rights, freedom of speech, freedom of my own religion, freedom of the press and petition to achieve, or at least attempt, a majority in an effort to preclude this, if I so chose.

Yes, and thanks but no thanks...and that is your opinion, but does not coincide with the language in the Constitution. Sorry. Problem solved better, much earlier in our history .;)
 

ttwtt78640

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Who says if the majority of taxpayers wants precisely that, locally, and it is to be their taxes being used, that they cannot do just that? That is not establishing a religion and cannot be logically argued that it is. You may not want that, but it certainly is not specifically prohibited by the Constitution. You may not like it, again, but that is not my concern. This is a majority rules nation. It would be, and was in the past, Constitutional.

If I lived in an area and that is what the majority of the taxpayers wanted to use some of their tax dollars for, why should I, the minority, deny them? That would be a little discriminatory, would it not? A tyranny of the minority. Now, I would have my minority rights, freedom of speech, freedom of my own religion, freedom of the press and petition to achieve, or at least attempt, a majority in an effort to preclude this, if I so chose.

Yes, and thanks but no thanks...and that is your opinion, but does not coincide with the language in the Constitution. Sorry. Problem solved better, much earlier in our history .;)
I beg to differ. Even as a minority (taxpayer of a different religion) your tax money (or at least some of it) was taken as well, to support that specific religious activity, in effect forcing you to support (establish?) the majority chosen religion over your own.
 

ttwtt78640

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Yet, specifically, the Constitution does not exclude religion from the public square as we have seemed to have accomplished through persistent assaults made upon it. We have a general concept of that religion, having many denominations, that has been, proudly, a part of our heritage and should not have to been hidden away, put in the closet so to speak. That is not my religion but I understand it as part of our history, our common overwhelming predominant belief in the existence of a higher guiding power, and we should not be forced to ignore that... that would infringe upon the free exercise thereof.

And that is whether we like it or not, or think it would open up a can of worms or not... if one wants to change that, Amend the Constitution.
Your free exercise ends when the support of taxation of others begins. Once the first $1 of tax money is used only to favor a specific religion then the state has indeed established that religion. Exceptions may occur if a gov't general service, such as police or fire protection is needed, but only if that service is provided equally to all in need of it.
 

American

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The phrase "separation of church and state" has been repeatedly used by the Supreme Court.

The phrase itself does not appear in the United States Constitution.

The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." For the first 200 years of our country's existence, the Supreme Court did not consider the question of how this applied to the states.

In fact, before 1947, these provisions were not considered to apply at the state level; and in the 1870s and 1890s unsuccessful attempts were made to amend the constitution to add the language "separation of church and state." It failed legislatively. It had to be accomplished via judicial decision, where in unprecedented fashion, Justice Hugo Black wrote: "In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state."


So the question is.... do you think it is fair that the Supreme Court essentially gets to make up laws that they would like to be in the constitution, but which are actually not?
The same people that argue that a letter to the Danbury Bapists is the basis for law, argue the the Declaration of Independence isn't.
 

ttwtt78640

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The phrase "separation of church and state" has been repeatedly used by the Supreme Court.

The phrase itself does not appear in the United States Constitution.

The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." For the first 200 years of our country's existence, the Supreme Court did not consider the question of how this applied to the states.

In fact, before 1947, these provisions were not considered to apply at the state level; and in the 1870s and 1890s unsuccessful attempts were made to amend the constitution to add the language "separation of church and state." It failed legislatively. It had to be accomplished via judicial decision, where in unprecedented fashion, Justice Hugo Black wrote: "In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state."


So the question is.... do you think it is fair that the Supreme Court essentially gets to make up laws that they would like to be in the constitution, but which are actually not?
To me its gets really complicated in cases such as the public honoring of MLK, Jr., while he was a preacher of a specific religion, his cause for being remembered was based mainly (if not entirely) on his efforts to expand minority civil rights based on race. The issue involved the public enforcement of minority rights, even if that meant trumping the will of the majority, or using force of law to stop "private" discrimination. I fear, however, that once we cross the line into the "preference" of any minority to be sheilded from any public display of religion (even indirectly) then things like honoring MLK, Jr. may come under attack or even the inclusion of religious materials in school history class, public libraries or museums may be called into question.
 

RabidAlpaca

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Who says if the majority of taxpayers wants precisely that, locally, and it is to be their taxes being used, that they cannot do just that? That is not establishing a religion and cannot be logically argued that it is. You may not want that, but it certainly is not specifically prohibited by the Constitution. You may not like it, again, but that is not my concern. This is a majority rules nation. It would be, and was in the past, Constitutional.

If I lived in an area and that is what the majority of the taxpayers wanted to use some of their tax dollars for, why should I, the minority, deny them? That would be a little discriminatory, would it not? A tyranny of the minority. Now, I would have my minority rights, freedom of speech, freedom of my own religion, freedom of the press and petition to achieve, or at least attempt, a majority in an effort to preclude this, if I so chose.

Yes, and thanks but no thanks...and that is your opinion, but does not coincide with the language in the Constitution. Sorry. Problem solved better, much earlier in our history .;)
Taxes are a single pool. You are trying to take money from these "minorities" to erect your own monuments.

If you kids want to get together and pool your own money to do it, then do that. You simply want to take taxpayer funding to build your little statues. Why else would you want to do it through the government and not privately?

Once again, keep your weak fascist religion out of my government.
 

EdwinWillers

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The phrase "separation of church and state" has been repeatedly used by the Supreme Court.

The phrase itself does not appear in the United States Constitution.

The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." For the first 200 years of our country's existence, the Supreme Court did not consider the question of how this applied to the states.

In fact, before 1947, these provisions were not considered to apply at the state level; and in the 1870s and 1890s unsuccessful attempts were made to amend the constitution to add the language "separation of church and state." It failed legislatively. It had to be accomplished via judicial decision, where in unprecedented fashion, Justice Hugo Black wrote: "In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state."


So the question is.... do you think it is fair that the Supreme Court essentially gets to make up laws that they would like to be in the constitution, but which are actually not?
I don't know. When you break it down, it doesn't seem all that difficult. The phrase "Congress shall make no law..." ought to be pretty clear - congress isn't allowed to make a law. "...respecting an establishment of religion..." "Respecting" - pertaining to. "An establishment of religion" - i.e. creating a religion, or establishing if you will a State religion. In other words, the Constitution does not allow congress to enact a law that establishes a religion. It prohibits the establishment of say, the Church of America (cf. the Church of England).

There were specific reasons, and attendant fears that drove the inclusion of this language into the Constitution - and those reasons pertained primarily to the governmental abuses they'd experienced at the hands of the English monarchy and the Church of England.

That phrase then means nothing more than the above - with emphasis on "more." We can't make the text say something it doesn't, or pretend it means something it doesn't. Sadly however, the phrase "separation of church and state" exists PURELY to allow the text to say and mean something it doesn't. It's become one of the biggest, most popular political footballs ever.
 

joG

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The phrase "separation of church and state" has been repeatedly used by the Supreme Court.

The phrase itself does not appear in the United States Constitution.

The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." For the first 200 years of our country's existence, the Supreme Court did not consider the question of how this applied to the states.

In fact, before 1947, these provisions were not considered to apply at the state level; and in the 1870s and 1890s unsuccessful attempts were made to amend the constitution to add the language "separation of church and state." It failed legislatively. It had to be accomplished via judicial decision, where in unprecedented fashion, Justice Hugo Black wrote: "In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state."


So the question is.... do you think it is fair that the Supreme Court essentially gets to make up laws that they would like to be in the constitution, but which are actually not?
It is not really my impression that the Supreme Court is making laws in this case. It is interpreting the constitution, which seems quite clear to me in this point.
 

davidtaylorjr

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The phrase "separation of church and state" has been repeatedly used by the Supreme Court.

The phrase itself does not appear in the United States Constitution.

The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." For the first 200 years of our country's existence, the Supreme Court did not consider the question of how this applied to the states.

In fact, before 1947, these provisions were not considered to apply at the state level; and in the 1870s and 1890s unsuccessful attempts were made to amend the constitution to add the language "separation of church and state." It failed legislatively. It had to be accomplished via judicial decision, where in unprecedented fashion, Justice Hugo Black wrote: "In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state."


So the question is.... do you think it is fair that the Supreme Court essentially gets to make up laws that they would like to be in the constitution, but which are actually not?
No it is not fair, nor Constitutional. The government was clearly pro-Christian for over a century until the athiest and liberal crazies got involved.
 

TiredOfLife

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No it is not fair, nor Constitutional. The government was clearly pro-Christian for over a century until the athiest and liberal crazies got involved.
Should we let the past define the future? They didn't.
 
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It is not really my impression that the Supreme Court is making laws in this case. It is interpreting the constitution, which seems quite clear to me in this point.
technically, but when you come down to it, Sup. Ct. justices legislate, as do presidents (executive orders), we just don't call it that ...
 

TiredOfLife

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Doesn't change the fact that they overstepped and read into the Constitution and changed the meaning. That is not their role or right.
It is their role now and it's worked out pretty well. What kind of Christian Nation would you like? Using the Bible as a textbook again? Teacher-led Prayer in Public Schools? You guys can't get along with each other anyway. Do you know why the Catholics have their own schools? It's because you guys were pushing your version of Jesus down the throats of their kids. Yeah, let's go back to that.
 

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So the question is.... do you think it is fair that the Supreme Court essentially gets to make up laws that they would like to be in the constitution, but which are actually not?
They've been doing it for quite some time, are you surprised? As for this topic, our government certainly is a secular one. A theocracy would be bad, theocracies are always bad.
 

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They've been doing it for quite some time, are you surprised? As for this topic, our government certainly is a secular one. A theocracy would be bad, theocracies are always bad.
unless you are the theocrat in charge
 

davidtaylorjr

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It is their role now and it's worked out pretty well. What kind of Christian Nation would you like? Using the Bible as a textbook again? Teacher-led Prayer in Public Schools? You guys can't get along with each other anyway. Do you know why the Catholics have their own schools? It's because you guys were pushing your version of Jesus down the throats of their kids. Yeah, let's go back to that.
It is NOT their role, they have been living outside of their role.
 

Slyfox696

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No it is not fair, nor Constitutional. The government was clearly pro-Christian for over a century until the athiest and liberal crazies got involved.
But we're talking about the Constitution, and it clearly was NOT pro-Christian, nor was it pro any religion or anti religion. The people in the government may have been Christian. There may have been laws created under Christian ethics. But the Constitution itself is not a Christian document, it is a framework which expressly says Congress should have no hand in anything religious, neither the promotion of nor the prohibition against.

It's not crazy to enforce the idea our country should not ruled by ridiculous concepts as found in the Bible.
 

TiredOfLife

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It is NOT their role, they have been living outside of their role.
It doesn't matter. It's how we do things now.

And how about dealing with the rest of what I said? Tells us of this "Christian" nation of yours?
 
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