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Separation of Church and State (Merged)
Posted: 30 December 2007 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Explain to me exactly how religion should be in government.

Fred,

See my post above.  Religion should not be in government.  We agree.  But my concern is with elected officials, as I said, “in what way does their faith influence them?”  A devout person who is absolutely convinced that God wants him to be president?  Wacko!  A devout person who understands that the presidency is an elected position and must bend to the will of the people and the Constitution?  Fine by me.

On a larger scale, I deplore the religion talk these days.  But Right wing Conservatives have demanded for decades that religion be a part of the debate.  They got their wish and are kicking themselves for it.  I don’t give a rat’s ass about Huckabee’s ministerial status or Romney’s magic underwear.  Or if Obama is a serious member of his church.  It’s all crap.  But here we are.

Right now we have a wacko in the WH.  I think we should seriously consider our options before we bring another religious wacko in to replace him.  So, to that end, the religion of the candidates is something to consider.  Sad as it is.

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Posted: 30 December 2007 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Separation of Church and State:  Good for Government, Good for Religion

The right to freedom of religion is so central to American democracy that it was enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution along with other fundamental rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

—The First Amendment

In order to guarantee an atmosphere of absolute religious liberty, this country’s founders also mandated the strict separation of church and state. Largely because of this prohibition against government regulation or endorsement of religion, diverse faiths have flourished and thrived in America since the founding of the republic. Indeed, James Madison, the father of the United States Constitution, once observed that “the [religious] devotion of the people has been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the state.”

Americans are still among the most religious people in the world. Yet the government plays almost no role in promoting, endorsing or funding religious institutions or religious beliefs. Free from government control—and without government assistance—religious values, literature, traditions and holidays permeate the lives of our citizens and, in their diverse ways, form an integral part of our national culture. By maintaining the wall separating church and state, we can guarantee the continued vitality of religion in American life.

Separation of Church and State: A First Amendment Primer

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Posted: 30 December 2007 10:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Fred, may I ask why you keep starting new threads that are basically the same?  Personally, I think the threads should all be merged together, because it seems to me they are all basically the same topic.  There really isn’t a big difference in any of them.  It’s like we are going around in circles with all these threads.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 30 December 2007 02:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Threads merged.

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Doug

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El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

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Posted: 31 December 2007 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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FredFlash - 30 December 2007 08:35 AM
Chris: The Reformed Dog - 25 December 2007 05:25 PM

religion is an issue and should not be excluded from the table when considering who to vote for.

Why?  Politicians should have no power over religion.  A lawmaker’s religious views are as irrelevant as his view of geometry.

I never said they should have power over religion.  However, religion affects the decisions a candidate will make in policies, etc.

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Posted: 31 December 2007 05:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Chris: The Reformed Dog - 31 December 2007 09:55 AM

. . . religion affects the decisions a candidate will make in policies, etc.

And that is precisely why I would not want a strongly religious person as president.  I want a person who can think for him/herself and doesn’t follow pre-digested ideas and morality based on authority.  The modern world is complex - religious morals are simplistic and were designed for communities of thousands of years ago. 

Occam

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Posted: 02 January 2008 03:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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“Aren’t a persons beliefs, or lack thereof, still going to influence their actions/decisions?  So someone’s ability to vote for a candidate based on their lack of religious conviction is the same as someone voting for a candidate with religious convictions.  It goes back to the information-beliefs-decisions-outcomes model.  A candidate’s stance on any issue is based, at least in part, on their beliefs.  Religion is often the foundational aspect of those beliefs (i.e., the information).  So, I can vote based on what a candidate thinks about immigration, but not the Bible?  Or does this just go back to the fear of a government endorsed religion?

In addition, isn’t it hard to find a candidate who doesn’t “follow” a “religious document\”?  Even an individual that does not ascribe to any specific religion still has philosophical and metaphysical beliefs that guide them.  We are human and our beliefs are like breathing.  We cannot do without them.  We cannot promise to keep religion, or even secular humanism, out of the government.  I’ve stated elsewhere that I would support someone who said, “I’m an atheist,” more than someone who says, “I’m a Christian, but it won’t effect how I run the nation.” I can at least respect the atheist for being honest.  However, their belief system will affect the way they run the nation, so I must look at how that will be reflected in their policies.

What if a candidate did not value life based on a religious or non-religious aspect of their beliefs?  (I’m going out on a limb here.) I believe that America should intervene more in what is going on in Darfur, Sudan to save thousands of lives.  You’re telling me I should not consider their foundational belief before voting?”

The dirty little secret of the First Amendment is that the Framers used the wrong word. The problem is not religion, but theism and other forms of belief with no basis in observable fact. That is what has caused trouble throughout history, including the trouble that prompted the Framers to adopt the First Amendment.

So you’re right, we do need values. But we don’t need “values” that have nothing to do with human welfare. We are all influenced by our belief systems, but the test that separates appropriate from inappropriate behavior is whether the public servant is acting on behalf of all, or only a few; and if the acting is done on behalf of a particular “religious” view that is not common to all, then it does not pass muster.

There’s no getting around the need for values—- things like honesty, fairness, justice, liberty, equality. In short, the values of secularism. Technically, if you categorize secular humanism as a religion, which I do, then what are the implications of a secular Constitution? Theists make that argument all the time, but their dirty little secret is that they would have us do away with the organizing principles of the Constitution, which are clearly stated in its Preamble. Those are the the tenets of a religion, but it is a civil religion, and the principles are common to everyone. I don’t know of any other way to make a government that works for and is fair to everyone. If you can think of one, please be sure to let us know.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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