Church and State

palerider

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
4,624
Contrary to popular belief, the Declaration of Independence is not a foundational document; it was a declaration of war - and a pretty piece of propaganda!

I find that I have a bit more to say with regard to this most basic misunderstanding of the legality of our founding documents. Perhaps if you get to the most basic level of your misunderstanding of the nature of our founding and of the legal system that arose from that founding, you will come to realize that your present understanding is no more than a fabrication of your own making. Or maybe you wont.

"...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,..."


This passage, as you know, is from the Declaration of Independence. What you don't seem to know is that it was, and still is a legal document, and it does have real bearing on present legal matters.

The Declaration was, undeniably, the constitutional law of this nation for certain purposes. It freed the people from their loyalty to the king of England for example. In fact, it was declared so by the judicial tribunals of this country. No American during the Revolutionary war, or since could be legally tried on this soil for treason to the king. It stands to reason that if the Declaration were the constitutional law of the nation for that purpose, then it was also the constitutional law for the purpose of recognizing and establishing, as law, the inalienable right of everyone on these shores to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness does it not?

The lawfulness of the people disavowing their loyalty to the king was agreed upon by the people of this nation and that act was made legal by the instrument that declared that the rebellion; and it’s authority rested squarely upon, and was, in itself a consequence of the right that all men had to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

If the act of rebellion against the king was determined to be lawful, then it becomes very difficult to argue that the principles that legalized the act did not become the law. Furthermore, when the country ratified the act of freeing themselves from the crown, did they not also, by definition, ratify and acknowledge the principles that they declared made the revolution legal?

So, whether the Declaration was the law for a year, or just one day, it established that in this nation, all men had an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. From that point forward, for anyone claiming otherwise, the burden falls upon them to establish that the right has been constitutionally taken away, and to do that, he (or she) is going to have to show a deliberate constitutional description of the particular individuals who have had their inalienable right abolished.

Simply stated, the people of this country, in the instrument by which they first announced their political independence from the king and declared their right to establish a government of their own also declared that the inalienable right of all men to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness was a ”SELF EVIDENT TRUTH”.

Self evident truths, except those which are explicitly denied are taken for granted and constitute a fundamental part of all constitutions, compacts and systems of government. If we did not take for granted self evident truths it would be impossible for any orderly government to be established because it would be impossible to make an actual inventory of all of the self evident truths that are to be taken into account in the administration of a government. This is especially true of governments as we have here in the US that are founded upon a contract. It is impossible in a contract of government to list all of the self evident truths that would have to be acted upon in the administration of the law and therefore they are all taken for granted EXCEPT for the ones that have been plainly denied.

The principle that self evident truths (even those not enumerated) make a part of all laws and contracts unless they are clearly refused is not only necessary to the very existence of a civil society, but it is a prerequisite to the administration of justice in each and every case that may arise out of a contract or other arrangement between individuals. As with government, it would be impossible for us to make contracts at all if it were going to be necessary to list each and every self evident truth that might have some bearing on their contract before a judge. Because of this, self evident truths are taken for granted out of legal necessity.

Governments have no more right to deny self evident truths than individuals in any case. To deny that self evident truths are part of the law is no different than arguing that self evident deception is part of the law.

So if, according to our founders, it is a self evident truth that all men have an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that truth must be present in all of our laws and all of our constitutions except in caes where it has been unmistakably and precicely denied.

With the vote for independence from england and the ratification of the Declaration of Independence on 07/04/1776 a new entity was created. That entity was the USA. In the Declaration, the purpose of government is identified and laid out. That purpose was defined as securing the inalienable rights that we have as human beings.

One of our most basic rights is the free exercise of our religion and calling on religious philosophy in policy making decisions is included in that free exercise. I am still waiting for you to demonstrate a constitutional separation of religion and state. Evidently it is not forthcoming.
 
Werbung:

palerider

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
4,624
You will learn for yourself the true source of your rights when you have occasion to assert them. God-given rights are only good in heaven. In the world of man’s making, one need have recourse to the law.

I have already learned for myself. It is you who has yet to accept the reality that elected officals do indeed draw upon their religious philosophies when making policy decisions and in doing so, daily demonstrate that your belief in a separation of religion and state is a fabrication of your own making as opposed to looking the truth squarely in the face.

The constitution does not give me the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, it acknowledges that I was given them by my creator and simply sets about protecting them. That is one of the primary differences between the US and most other nations that claim human rights. Most other nations don't acknowledge our creator as the source of those rights. The rights are granted by their governments rather than their governments being charged with the protection of rights granted by God.
 

palerider

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
4,624
I have already cited the Supreme Court decision in Everson (see Post# 14, supra) which is the controlling authority on the subject; but you refuse to recognize it as the law. Obviously, if you won’t take the word of the Supreme Court, I won’t be able to convince you. So what’s the point in arguing? It seems a tiresome adventure. I am reminded of a conversation with a gentleman in a bar, who, during the course of discussing the Second Amendment, asserted flatly that he had a "God-given" right to own a gun. Prudence dictated that I not question what portion of the Scriptures he was relying upon for such "high" authority, as I was convinced that he would brook no argument on the subject.


One more example in what seems to be an endless litany of misunderstandings, or deliberate misrepresentations on your part. Reynolds v US did nothing more than establish that one could not flaunt US law in favor of one's religious belief. It in no way said that elected officials could not draw on their religious philosophy when considering legislation. The only way to erect a wall of separation between church and state would be to forbid legislators from calling on their religious beliefs when considering policy.

Everson v. Board of Education of Ewing was no more than a court decision that allowed children to be transported on government owned busses to religious schools. If the "wall" existed, as you believe, the court would not have allowed federal or state money to be used in transporting children to religious schools.


Cases such as Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia, Board of Education of the Westside Community Schools
v. Mergens, and Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School District clearly demonstrate that the federal government must offer the same sorts of assistance to church based organizations as it offers to secular organizations. If there were indeed a "wall" of separation, federal and state money would not be used to support religious organizations.
 

terra kengo

Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2007
Messages
5
I'm jumping into a well-developed argument, but I don't want to interfere with the banter at hand. I would like to just offer my two-cent stamp on the topic-- not the argument-- and jump back out.

First of all, I think it’s an insult to American intellect to demand that historical buildings be defaced and “civilly vandalized” in the spirit of separation of church and state. The removal of religious icons and symbols is a transgression against preserving government history. With such an overwhelming majority of staunch Freemasons among the “founding fathers,” federal buildings, landmarks, and monuments all over the country are riddled with pagan and Christian symbolism and iconography that give clues into the background and perspective of the founding fathers. Removing imagery that has been in place for years because someone is “offended” is just as bad as Daniele da Volterra painting over many of Michelangelo’s paintings because he considered the genitals and backsides to be obscene.

Secondly, back to the original post, it is not a growing trend for people to want to meld church and state. The reason that this appears to be the trend is because many people who have always enjoyed the union of church and state are now beginning to see religion stripped from common aspects of their lifestyles. For instance, the removal of prayer from schools, the removal of religious symbols from public buildings, taking “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, etc. has caused a number of people who have always valued prayer in schools and the original Pledge to be irritated at the change in policy. My personal stance is that some of the government’s more recent—and by recent, I mean the last twenty years—steps towards true separation have been for the benefit of society and some much toward the detriment.

What is scary, though, is the growing trend toward privatization and corporatization of public schools and institutions because of aggressive advocates of the union of church and state. What is the most worrisome, though, is the mindless political stance that is increasingly more interwoven among American citizens (not politicians). Perhaps it’s the area in which I live, but it seems that more and more self-proclaimed Christians are adopting the same ridiculous ultra-right-wing, neocon political views as if they were religiously mandated, ideas that carry with them an air of intolerance, prejudice, and apathy. These people become so biased that simple, rational thought is completely beyond their reach. I do see government leaders and political figures capitalizing on this trend in order to bank votes.
 

palerider

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
4,624
Tera kengo,

I was recently in DC and took a tour of the Supreme Court. I had been warned in advance about what the tour guides were saying about the building so I gathered up some old information from the men who designed and built the structure.

As we were touring the building, as I had been warned, the tour guide pointed out Moses holding the 10 commandments and set about explaining that Moses was actually a highly sytlized amalgam of the founding fathers bringing forth the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.

When she finished her spiel and directed us to move on, I held up the group and confronted her with information from the original designers of the building and those who concieved the artwork. Great care had been taken in describing the image of Moses coming from the mount with the 10 Commandments. She had no answer, but to her credit, she didn't try to snow me. She just kept her mouth shut and during the rest of the tour, she conspicuously avoided pointing out artwork that obviously depicted subjects that were religous in nature.
 

terra kengo

Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2007
Messages
5
I commend your preservation of accurate history. Without the Moses, though, no one would have been educated on that bit of history because there would have been no point of debate.

I'm not exactly sure whether or not you're agreeing with me, or if that is just a side-story. I feel that I was supposed to infer more meaning from it than I did... Pardon my ignorance, but did you imply something deeper that I missed?
 

palerider

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
4,624
I commend your preservation of accurate history. Without the Moses, though, no one would have been educated on that bit of history because there would have been no point of debate.

I'm not exactly sure whether or not you're agreeing with me, or if that is just a side-story. I feel that I was supposed to infer more meaning from it than I did... Pardon my ignorance, but did you imply something deeper that I missed?

Just a side story by way of agreeing with you.
 

vyo476

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
2,401
Location
Massachusetts
Does " clash of interests" means something to you... can you imagine what would happen if these two institutions fight... do you know what inquisition is?

Do you know what inquisition is? I am in no way agreeing with the person who you are disagreeing with (we can disregard the only saying "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" because I think the Cold War proved just how ludicrous and dishonorable that idea can be) but really, can you get a clue please?

First and foremost, you used the word "inquisition," rather than talking about "the Inquisition." That was your first mistake. The word inquisition itself is defined thus on dictionary.com:

1. an official investigation, esp. one of a political or religious nature, characterized by lack of regard for individual rights, prejudice on the part of the examiners, and recklessly cruel punishments.
2. any harsh, difficult, or prolonged questioning.
3. the act of inquiring; inquiry; research.
4. an investigation, or process of inquiry.
5. a judicial or official inquiry.
6. the finding of such an inquiry.
7. the document embodying the result of such inquiry.
8. (initial capital letter) Roman Catholic Church.
a. a former special tribunal, engaged chiefly in combating and punishing heresy. Compare Holy Office.
b. Spanish Inquisition.

Only with the capital "I" does it expressly refer to the religious persecution best known as the Spanish Inquisition; the word "inquisition" alone can refer to any overly harsh investigation and punishment. Under this definition, it is hardly fair to associate religious institutions with inquisitions - as there have been plenty of peaceable churches and religious groups and more than a few inquisitorial secular groups (the Soviets come very strongly to mind).

And even were you referring to the Spanish Inquisition in that statement, the rest of your statement is contradictory. There was no "conflict of interests" during the Inquisition and there wasn't any when the founding fathers were writing the constitution. Remember, government "for the people" (or "by the people" depending on whether you subscribe to Jeffersonian or Jacksonian democracy) is a fairly new concept in human history. During the Spanish Inquisition, the theocratic Spanish government (no separation of church and state) did exactly what it thought was best. There was no conflict of interests between the church and the government because they were the same thing. Similarly, there was no conflict of interests between the founding fathers' religion and the government of the United States of America. Bear in mind that many (an exact figure would be nice but I can't recall it at the moment) of the founding fathers were practitioners of and advocates for Deism, a very hands-off denomination of Christianity. They enjoyed the positive aspects of Christianity without any of that propagation nonsense that gives the Catholics such a bad name. There is no conflict of interest between the government of the USA and Deism because both adhere to a set of moral principles but both favor tolerance and peaceful coexistence with all religions. And yes, those "moral principles" are fluid - as in, if someone has made a mistake with something, there is no religious precept that says that he cannot later apologize and make necessary amendments to previous statements and actions. Amendments to necessary statements and actions...sounds familiar, doesn't it?

The separation of church and state argument is a terribly interesting one. There is no official state religion of the United States (with respect to those six state religions that existed in the early days of our country - I have been reading your posts, palerider, even if everyone else seems to be ignoring you). People in this country make decisions based on what they believe, something you can hardly argue with. Trying to fully separate church and state - limiting how people make their decisions - is a restriction of freedom of thought and action which would be inexcusable. If you don't like "religious thinking" in your government than vote against candidates who are proponents of such things, or come up with decent arguments why they are wrong about specific arguments (like, for instance, the present gay marriage debate - but I believe there are several threads for this already so let's not start arguing it here). You cannot argue that church and state must be completely, one hundred percent separate, because it is simply not possible in a country where religion of any kind exists.
 

palerider

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
4,624
People in this country make decisions based on what they believe, something you can hardly argue with. Trying to fully separate church and state - limiting how people make their decisions - is a restriction of freedom of thought and action which would be inexcusable. If you don't like "religious thinking" in your government than vote against candidates who are proponents of such things, or come up with decent arguments why they are wrong about specific arguments (like, for instance, the present gay marriage debate - but I believe there are several threads for this already so let's not start arguing it here). You cannot argue that church and state must be completely, one hundred percent separate, because it is simply not possible in a country where religion of any kind exists.

Well stated and completely inarguable.
 

Mare Tranquillity

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 15, 2007
Messages
3,477
Well stated and completely inarguable.

Horsefeathers, Mr. PR, not only is it arguable, but it would only be considered "inagruable" by someone who is a member of the vast religious MAJORITY in a country. "Freedom of religion" means ALL religions and when it is acceptable for the majority religion to vote into law their particular religious beliefs and require ALL OTHER PEOPLE to obey those laws, that goes directly against the intent of the founding fathers who had suffered under the abuse of the Church of England because it was in bed with the government.

While it may be impossible to keep a perfect wall of separation between the Church and State, we should--by God--try our darndest to maintain one.
 

Justinian

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 23, 2007
Messages
331
Location
What's left of Long Island
ha

The union of church and state is an unholy alliance, and it produces bad offspring.

Who do you think you are? You have no idea what you're talking about. How dare you insult Christianity with your stupid weasel coffee-house dogma. You must be an atheist. And by the way, as stated, it was unconstitutional for eliminating it from the government.
 

Justinian

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 23, 2007
Messages
331
Location
What's left of Long Island
Well I'll be damned

"The separation of church and state argument is a terribly interesting one. There is no official state religion of the United States (with respect to those six state religions that existed in the early days of our country - I have been reading your posts, palerider, even if everyone else seems to be ignoring you). People in this country make decisions based on what they believe, something you can hardly argue with. Trying to fully separate church and state - limiting how people make their decisions - is a restriction of freedom of thought and action which would be inexcusable. If you don't like "religious thinking" in your government than vote against candidates who are proponents of such things, or come up with decent arguments why they are wrong about specific arguments (like, for instance, the present gay marriage debate - but I believe there are several threads for this already so let's not start arguing it here). You cannot argue that church and state must be completely, one hundred percent separate, because it is simply not possible in a country where religion of any kind exists."

Bravo, Vyo. There's some good in the old man, yet.
 

Mare Tranquillity

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 15, 2007
Messages
3,477
Who do you think you are? You have no idea what you're talking about. How dare you insult Christianity with your stupid weasel coffee-house dogma. You must be an atheist. And by the way, as stated, it was unconstitutional for eliminating it from the government.

Wow! The above bolded statement is a beaut. Could you please give us some documentation on that? You know, right out of the ol' Constitution, a quote about eliminating religion from government being "unconstitutional"?
 
Werbung:

DrWho

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2007
Messages
141
Location
Tardis
I find it worrying that a certain sect of the population no longer believes in the seperation of church and state, and as a matter of fact is supportive of mixing and blending the two. I would say this clearly shows a naive perspective of history. It would be easy for me to drop the cliche argument against church and state by pointing out the theocratic regimes in the Middle East, or even point to periods in the past where church and state were united, resulting in much religious persecution.

It is also a spit on the founding fathers intentions to assume that they did not want a seperation between church and state. Aside from the first ammendment in the bill of rights, there have been a number of other documents that state their opinions on the matter. If the founding fathers truly wanted it to be a Christian state, they could have easily done so during the founding of the country but they refused, even during the Constitutional Conference, they voted down a Christian qualification in order to run for office.


the founding fathers very clearly did not want a theocracy. But they also very clearly wanted every man to be able to influence the state for whatever reasons his conscience was motivated - even religious. And they clearly wanted the state to recognize that people were motivated by religious beliefs.

Separation of church and state just means that the feds will not endorse or oppress religion. But local governments were free to represent the people of their community. A community of all plymouth brethren would obviously have very different laws than a community of all jews.
 
Top