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McCain: America a “Christian Nation” (Merged)
Posted: 31 October 2007 04:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
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PaineMan - 31 October 2007 03:44 PM

Spanky said:
OK, dude.  You formulate and expound a theory of religious liberty that is better than Madison’s.

It no longer really matters exactly was going on inside the heads of the so-called Founding Fathers.

The will of the lawmakers at the time they made the Constitution is extremely important because the whole object of Constitutional Interpretation is to ascertain that will.

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Posted: 31 October 2007 04:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
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PaineMan - 31 October 2007 03:44 PM

...we realize that all people start out with a right to be treated equally under the law, regardless of race, color, creed or national origin.  We know that many of the Founding Fathers did not fully believe this, but they’re dead and gone and therefore not pertinent to the discussion.

That’s because we interpret the words “all men are created equal” according to Blackstone’s rules, instead of complex reasoning or subsequent historical event, such as the “divine institution” of Negro slavery in the South.

The essence of religious liberty, in my view, is no human authority over what I think.  If I feel compelled to perform some sort of “duty”, it cannot infringe upon the rights of nor can it impose my beliefs on others.

Do you want to impose that view on your neighbors, by making it a law?  If so, aren’t you establishing human authority over what they think?

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Posted: 31 October 2007 04:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
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Spanky said:
Do you want to impose that view on your neighbors, by making it a law?

Impose that people can think what they want?  That makes no sense. LOL

Spanky said:
If so, aren’t you establishing human authority over what they think?

By telling them they can think whatever they want?  LOL  You’re killing me, Spanky.

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Posted: 31 October 2007 04:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
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PaineMan - 31 October 2007 03:44 PM

If I feel compelled to perform some sort of “duty”, it cannot infringe upon the rights of others.

But you don’t acknowledge a “right of conscience”, or believe that the government should either, because that implies the existence of a conscience, which implies the existence of a Creator, right?  Therefore, according to your theory, the government has no duty to respect our religious opinions, because they don’t really exist, right?

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Posted: 31 October 2007 04:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]
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Spanky says:
But you don’t acknowledge a “right of conscience”, …

I acknowledge a “right of conscience” as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others.

Spanky continues:
… or believe that the government should either, because that implies the existence of a conscience, which implies the existence of a Creator, right?

Wrong.

Spanky concludes:
Therefore, according to your theory, the government has no duty to respect our religious opinions, because they don’t really exist, right?

Try as you might to put words in my mouth or use twisted logic, Spanky, its not going to work.  You’re placing one incorrect supposition upon another and asking me to justify it.  Sorry.  Your last statement is absurd. rolleyes

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Posted: 31 October 2007 05:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]
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PaineMan - 31 October 2007 04:22 PM

Spanky said:
Do you want to impose that view on your neighbors, by making it a law?

Impose that people can think what they want?  That makes no sense. LOL

Yes it does.  You want to impose, by civil authority, the rule that there is no civil authority over ideas. 

The dirty little secret, or should I say paradox, about the law against laws concerning an establishment of religion is that it is itself a law regarding an establishment of religion.

By telling them they can think whatever they want?

“They can think whatever they want” -  is an idea, isn’t it?  And you want to impose it by law.  In other words, you do believe in civil authority over at least one idea.  But, that’s no problem, dude.  There’s an exception to every rule.

[ Edited: 31 October 2007 05:32 PM by FredFlash ]
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Posted: 31 October 2007 05:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 67 ]
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PaineMan - 31 October 2007 02:57 PM

Doug - But my question is how this pertains to the present debate.

Freddy says- The issue on the table is the meaning of the First Amendment’s religion clauses.  Right?

Actually, no.  The issue on the table is: McCain said “I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation.”

I see.  My view is that this is a Christian Nation with a Christian influenced Strict Separation of Religion from Civil Authority.

The comment - “Separation of Church and State is a myth.  It is found no where in the Constitution.”  sent this thread off into another direction.

I never said that, dude.

To get back to the issue “on the table”, we should be addressing where in the Constitution McCain reads that a Christian Nation is established.  Doug mentioned a few examples in the Constitution related to religion, one of which was the First Amendment, but the specific question is “Does the Constitution establish the US as a Christian nation?”  I don’t think you’ll find that in the First Amendment, no matter whose interpretation method you use.  Nor will you find it elsewhere in the Constitution.

A “Christian Nation” is one that follows the teaching of Christ that pertain to civil government.  The only thing Christ ever taught about government was to separate the things that are God’s from those of Caesar.  Since our government does not totally separate the things of God from those of Caesar, we are not a “Christian Nation.”

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Posted: 31 October 2007 06:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 68 ]
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FredFlash - 31 October 2007 05:30 PM

A “Christian Nation” is one that follows the teaching of Christ that pertain to civil government.  The only thing Christ ever taught about government was to separate the things that are God’s from those of Caesar.  Since our government does not totally separate the things of God from those of Caesar, we are not a “Christian Nation.”

Jesus was not talking about “civil government” there, he was talking about paying a tribute tax to a foreign occupying power. The civil government in Palestine during Jesus’s time was headed by Herod Agrippa I, a Jewish king. Insofar as we can accurately reconstruct anything that Jesus may have believed, he believed that the world was going to come to an end in his lifetime, and that only by keeping to a particularly strict and unorthodox view of Jewish thought and practice could people survive the end of the world. As such, yes, he wasn’t particularly interested in saying much about government per se; he wasn’t anticipating having to set up an ongoing theocracy.

At any rate, one quickly gets oneself into trouble if one wants to go about taking the NT literally.

Advocacy for the separation of church and state is a western notion that began in the european Enlightenment, among people who were opposed to the more dogmatic forms of Christianity, some of whom were themselves Deists, agnostics or atheists.

It became part of the politics of the US due to the history of rampant persecution that nonstandard Christians encountered in Europe; that is, they took onboard certain of the more radical politico-religious views of the Enlightenment, in particular the view that religion should be separated entirely from government. But this view was not to any significant extent derived from Christian theology. Instead it was derived from the anti-theological philosophy of empiricists and rationalists like Locke, Hume, Spinoza, etc., following the long wars of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation.

[ Edited: 31 October 2007 06:36 PM by dougsmith ]
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Posted: 31 October 2007 07:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 69 ]
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dougsmith - 31 October 2007 06:32 PM

Insofar as we can accurately reconstruct anything that Jesus may have believed, he believed that the world was going to come to an end in his lifetime

Did Jesus say (believe) this? Where?

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Posted: 31 October 2007 07:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 70 ]
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Matthew 10:23 “But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.”

Matthew 16:28 “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”

Matthew 26:64 “... nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

Mark 9:1 “And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.”

Mark 13:24-30 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near. So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.”

Mark 14:62 “... ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

Luke 21:25-32 “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.”

Luke 9:27 “But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.”

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Posted: 31 October 2007 08:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 71 ]
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I said:

The comment - “Separation of Church and State is a myth. It is found no where in the Constitution.” sent this thread off into another direction.

Spanky said:

I never said that, dude.

You disappoint me Spanky.  After all your google internet research, you can’t remember your own comments?  Let me help you.

Page 2 of this thread:

Fred Flash    Posted: 29 October 2007 10:18 AM

Separation of Church and State is a myth. It is found no where in the Constitution.

Your arguments, though passionate, hold no substance.  That’s not to say I am not enjoying this. :grin:

Oh, and:

Spanky says:

In other words, you do believe in civil authority over at least one idea.

Why do you persist in trying to tell me what I think with your circular logic?  If the above statement is what you believe, so be it.

[ Edited: 31 October 2007 09:00 PM by PaineMan ]
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Posted: 31 October 2007 09:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 72 ]
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dougsmith - 31 October 2007 07:55 PM

Mark 13:24-30 “...Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.”

Wow! I had no idea! How come nobody ever talks about this?

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Posted: 31 October 2007 10:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 73 ]
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George - 31 October 2007 09:14 PM

Wow! I had no idea! How come nobody ever talks about this?

Well, actually, competent historians of religion (even believers) do talk about this.

FWIW, some believe it is also the origin of the medieval myth of the Wandering Jew. That is, since someone amongst Jesus’s followers had to be alive at the Second Coming, there was one Jew who was over a thousand years old, condemned to wander the world until that time ... just to make Jesus’s prediction literally true.

See also HERE:

According to L. Neubaur, the legend is founded on the words given in Matt. xvi. 28, which are indeed quoted in the earliest German pamphlet of 1602.

[ Edited: 31 October 2007 10:29 PM by dougsmith ]
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Posted: 31 October 2007 11:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 74 ]
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dougsmith - 31 October 2007 06:32 PM

Jesus was not talking about “civil government” there, he was talking about paying a tribute tax to a foreign occupying power.

He said nothing about tribute, dude.  He divided “things”, what ever that is, into those that are God’s and those that are Caesar’s.  He said not to give Caesar the things that are God’s, and vice versa.  He apparently expects us to use the ability to solve complex problems, that God gave us, to figure out what belongs to God and what belongs to God.

I don’t think Jesus was instructing us to give Caesar his tribute and give everything else to God.  God has never indicated that he wants to exercise authority over the mundane affairs of the temporal realm such as setting up civil governments, levying taxes, building roads, delivering the mail, making traffic laws and sanitation codes, educating children, maintaining armies and arresting criminals.  If he did, he would choose the President and other federal officers.  We have civil government precisely because God chooses not to manage the day to day temporal affairs of men here on earth.
,

Advocacy for the separation of church and state is a western notion that began in the european Enlightenment, among people who were opposed to the more dogmatic forms of Christianity, some of whom were themselves Deists, agnostics or atheists.

The Baptists, starting in about 1520, were the first Europeans to advocate, and die, for separation of church and state.

It became part of the politics of the US due to the history of rampant persecution that nonstandard Christians encountered in Europe..

Roger Williams, the first American to advocate separation of church and state, was persecuted in Massachusetts, dude, not Europe.  He was also a Baptist, like Jefferson and Madison.  Separation of Church and State in America was more of a reaction to religious persecution in Virgina than religious tyranny in Europe. 

Madison, Jefferson, Tucker and the other Virginians were such ardent advocates of separation of church and state because of the severity of the religious tyranny in Colonial Virginia.

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Posted: 31 October 2007 11:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 75 ]
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Spanky says:

He was also a Baptist, like Jefferson and Madison.

The correct answer is:

Jefferson was raised as an Episcopalian (Anglican) . He was also influenced by English Deists and has often been identified by historians as a Deist

See http://www.adherents.com/people/pj/Thomas_Jefferson.html

James Madison was an Episcopalian.
James Madison attended St. John’s Episcopal Church while he was President. Some sources classify Madison was a deist

See http://www.adherents.com/people/pm/James_Madison.html

I’m losing faith in you Spanky.  Better check your sources.

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