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Separation of Church and State
Posted: 01 November 2006 10:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]You should definitely consider supporting the ACLU, it’s a great organization.

I would note that it’s ironic they use people like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in their email; neither were particularly religious. Lincoln was probably atheist or agnostic by the end of his life. Washington rarely went to church.

The United States was founded as an explicitly secular state, in which the government was not to have any religious bias, and in which ‘god’ had no part of the Constitution. The Constitution is written by “We the people”, not god. What people like Dobson and Focus on the Family want to institute is a theocracy, that’s the only way to interpret what they’re after. I think that what they’re hoping for is a “tyranny of the majority”, where some form of Christian theism becomes the law of the land.

It is simply false to claim, as they do, that “a strict separationist interpretation would inhibit a person with traditional religiously based moral positions from influencing the nation’s laws.” This is the kind of mendacious nonsense that these sorts of organizations spout in order to frighten their constituencies. Nobody would argue that religiously based moral positions should have “no influence” on our laws; indeed, how could this happen, given that probably 90% of the inhabitants of this country are religious? The point is, rather, that these moral positions would have to be justified as against other sorts of moral reasoning, and supported in open debate, not simply asserted as some sort of infallible word of god.

The point of secularism is not to eliminate religious practice or influence. It is to moderate it in the public arena, in the awareness that this is occupied by people with a multitude of different religious beliefs or nonbeliefs. So the secularist position is that no one religious position should be priveleged in the public sphere of law, politics, public edcation, etc. Christianity is one particular religion. The Bible is a sectarian document. So while these may influence the arguments people are free to make, they should not be ‘established’ by the government in any way that priveleges them above other sorts of religions, religious documents, or atheistic practices.

There is a lot more to be said here. The important bits really should be dealt with by a scholar of constitutional law, however ...

I second those emotions 99.44%

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Posted: 01 November 2006 10:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Wow—welcome to the forum, FredFlash. Certainly looks from your posts as though you know a bit about US legal history. We need more of that around here. Much as I am a philosopher at heart, fact is that the law does get things done ...

Best,

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Doug

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El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

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Posted: 01 November 2006 02:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]Wow—welcome to the forum, FredFlash. Certainly looks from your posts as though you know a bit about US legal history. We need more of that around here. Much as I am a philosopher at heart, fact is that the law does get things done ...

Best,

I thank you for the warm welcome, my friend.  My hobby is the history of religious liberty in the U. S.   

I have a degree in Philosophy my own self, which may explain why I am skeptical of everything.  I am a criminal defense lawer, by trade, in Dallas.

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