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On the topic at hand...

Nice commentary on Religion and Politics from a historical constitutional viewpoint:

http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2007/10/so-what-does-th.html#more

"....What 'separation' really means

America has institutionalized this great theological concept through the political mechanism of the First Amendment. The "no establishment" clause separates the institutions of church and state by prohibiting any government action that has the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion. Government is to remain neutral. No citizen should be advantaged or disadvantaged because of his religious faith. ..."


Oliver "Buzz" Thomas is a minister, lawyer and author of 10 Things Your Minister Wants to Tell You (But Can't Because He Needs the Job). http://www.amazon.com/gp/sitbv3/reader/104-4657613-1357544?ie=UTF8&p=S00A&asin=0312363796
 

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interesting viewpoint

Interesting view point on that site DJW. The commentary will now begin to dispute the interpretation of separation and most assuredly the faith based initiatives of these times.


I believe the writer's perspective regarding the affect when government and churches get to cozy.
 

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Very interesting. Especially the blogs--which clearly denote why there needs to be a seperation of Religion and State; looks like to me most of those bloggers seem to feel as if something (religion) was being crammed down their throats yet blame "religion" as the reason wars throughout history occurred--not that Goverments lacking seperation of religion and state had anything to do with it, and then the "smart guys" want to clarify and write history facts to demonstrate intellectual prowness ...and yet not one piece of scripture offered (crammed down someone's throat) on that USA Today blog. Interesting. Yes, they clearly demonstrated why there needs to be a seperation of Religion and State within a government.
 

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???

I think the original intent of our founding fathers was the concept of "freedom of religion" and "freedom from religion". While they all believed in God they were smart enough to know that the different religions each believed in their own version of pretty much the same diety. They wanted a secular country and not a theocracy. So the question is does the belief in a God indicate a religion? When we pledge "one nation under God" is that forcing religion on an atheist which might violate the Constitution or is the concept of "God exists" not banned by the Constitution because no religion is specified? Can a local government spend tax dollars on a winter scene to celebrate "the holiday season"?
 

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Fred1369 said:
I think the original intent of our founding fathers was the concept of "freedom of religion" and "freedom from religion". While they all believed in God they were smart enough to know that the different religions each believed in their own version of pretty much the same diety. They wanted a secular country and not a theocracy. So the question is does the belief in a God indicate a religion? When we pledge "one nation under God" is that forcing religion on an atheist which might violate the Constitution or is the concept of "God exists" not banned by the Constitution because no religion is specified? Can a local government spend tax dollars on a winter scene to celebrate "the holiday season"?
I don't think they meant "freedom from religion" any more than they meant "freedom from speech". I think they simply meant that the government won't appoint a state religion or prevent anyone from practicing their chosen religion.

The First Ammendment starts right out with the worlds: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...

It is literally the first thing they wrote in the Bill of Rights.

I think they were smart enough to write what they meant.
 

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dhwingert said:
The First Ammendment starts right out with the worlds: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..

So does placing a copy of the Ten Commandments on the lawn of the court house rise to the level of "making a law respecting an ESTABLISHMENT of religion"?

I don't think so.
 

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From the Library of Congress. It is amazing what is out there.

The first two Presidents of the United States were patrons of religion--George Washington was an Episcopal vestryman, and John Adams described himself as "a church going animal." Both offered strong rhetorical support for religion. In his Farewell Address of September 1796, Washington called religion, as the source of morality, "a necessary spring of popular government," while Adams claimed that statesmen "may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand." Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the third and fourth Presidents, are generally considered less hospitable to religion than their predecessors, but evidence presented in this section shows that, while in office, both offered religion powerful symbolic support.

THE STATE BECOMES THE CHURCH:
JEFFERSON AND MADISON


It is no exaggeration to say that on Sundays in Washington during the administrations of Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) and of James Madison (1809-1817) the state became the church. Within a year of his inauguration, Jefferson began attending church services in the House of Representatives. Madison followed Jefferson's example, although unlike Jefferson, who rode on horseback to church in the Capitol, Madison came in a coach and four. Worship services in the House--a practice that continued until after the Civil War--were acceptable to Jefferson because they were nondiscriminatory and voluntary. Preachers of every Protestant denomination appeared. (Catholic priests began officiating in 1826.) As early as January 1806 a female evangelist, Dorothy Ripley, delivered a camp meeting-style exhortation in the House to Jefferson, Vice President Aaron Burr, and a "crowded audience." Throughout his administration Jefferson permitted church services in executive branch buildings. The Gospel was also preached in the Supreme Court chambers.

Jefferson's actions may seem surprising because his attitude toward the relation between religion and government is usually thought to have been embodied in his recommendation that there exist "a wall of separation between church and state." In that statement, Jefferson was apparently declaring his opposition, as Madison had done in introducing the Bill of Rights, to a "national" religion. In attending church services on public property, Jefferson and Madison consciously and deliberately were offering symbolic support to religion as a prop for republican government.


http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/religion.html
 

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With Jefferson I would suspect it was as much an experiment as it was a religious service...keep in mind that our country was populated by those persecuted for their religious beliefs elsewhere...we were and are a largely puritanical society comparative to the rest of the world with exceptions like the Vatican city...
 

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Any person in that time who did not go to church was talked about and thought to be a horrible person. He may have been pressured into attending. Religion was very important to most of the people of that time, the more so because so many came to escape persection because of thier religion(or politics, which amounted to the same thing in those times).

The forefathers realized that people had a book of rules to live by, and that was OK by them. There had to be a few rules tieing the states together and the states, in turn, had to make a few rules that would apply to everyone equally. The goverment was meant to be an overlay to the peoples societial structures. At that time, most communities had a single church or a few that were very similar. Maryland was the first state to welcome catholics.

The federal laws were meant to be the outline that all could live by, with no group haveing trump right over another. We have seen in the history books about persecution of certain unpopular religions. The church of Latter Day Saints comes to mind. Catholics and Jews have been persecuted throuout our 200+ years as a country and also before that.

Every time some issue got the attention of the bigtime preachers, they have used the pulpit to denigrade the other faiths that they considered apostate. That is when the trouble starts. Just look at the way the US army killed off so many of the Morman men. So many, in fact, that the only way that they could survive was for the remaining men to be allowed to take the extra women as wives, along with any children. This made them even more outcast(if possable).

I was raised Catholic and was taught before the Vatican II. We were taught, wrongly, that protestants would burn in hell. This kind of teaching was bigotted to the extreme. I have heard people tell me that they were told that Catholics stored food and guns in special hidden rooms so that they could take over the country by armed assault.

This kind of talk made people want special laws against certain religious beliefs. This should come to a stop and allow people to worship as they want and to keep religion away from politics, all that happens is people get hurt.
 

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claytp1 said:
So does placing a copy of the Ten Commandments on the lawn of the court house rise to the level of "making a law respecting an ESTABLISHMENT of religion"?

I don't think so.
I don't think so either.
 
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