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How do you (anyone) feel about a church and state government?

I think it should be seperate but equal. When our forefathers wrote in the seperation of church and state I don’t believe they meant that all religious items should be band from public property. I believe they didn’t want only one state religion or one government religion.
I believe they wanted us to have freedom to choose what religion we want to be affiliated with. I think its a shame that they say that you can’t have any religious items in public places but in D.C. their buildings have religious symbols. The money has In God we trust written on it. But all it takes a one lawsuit against a religious symbol and all of a sudden you can’t have it because it offends someone. This country was founded on Christianity and we should be reminded of it as well as the other religions. If you want the 10 commanments displayed in the frount of the court house it should be allowed as well as something from another religion displayed if they choose to. If they want to display a non-Christian symbol let them there’s nothing that says it has to be seen clearly. And the same for a religious symbol it don’t have to be seen clearly but let it be there. Well thats my opinion on this subject.

Religion and government are to remain separate. The government should not endorse any religion by displays of religious icons, statues, symbols or scenes.

Our country was founded upon a “Utopian Experiment” who’s founders happend to be Christian…at least marginally…many were Diests and subscribed to Thomas Paine’s views. Read some of the writings of Thomas Jefferson.

Religions should be able to practice their religious beliefs unless it conflicts with the law of the land…then that group must decide if they wish to engage in civil disobedience and face whatever consequences are met out by the law. The government should not restrict the free expression of religious beliefs…but not allow religious beliefs to trump the rule of law. We are governed by a secular government…not a religious one.

We are not a “Christian nation” we are a nation founded by Christians.

The United States Constitution, in the first Amendment, states that Congress shall pass no laws prohibiting the free practice of religion or establishment of a state religion. That said, the pracitice of one’s religion still depends on how it impacts other’s rights (for example, human sacrifice is banned).

The idea of the separation of Church and State comes from Jefferson’s letters. In all states, there was a dominant one that discriminated against the others. Jefferson expounded on the First Amendment to further create this concept.

I am opposed to a state sponsored faith and I get worried when churches get too into government. However, it would be a mistake for people of faith NOT to inject their ideologies into how they vote. I can use whatever criteria I want to pick a candidate. The government, however, cannot prohibit someone from running because of their faith.

In some ways, this topic is important to me. In Alabama, between 5 and 10% of the population is Catholic. The overwhelming denomination is Southern Baptists. This has caused issues for everyone in the past, and will continue to do so. For example, Blue Laws on Sundays keeping stores and businesses closed. I know for a fact that if it were up to some of them, it would be a law that one must be Christian to run for office or be appointed to it. And by Christian, I mean their kind of CHristian.

As far as limiting the expression of the historic faith of a community, that is junk. If an area has always been Christian, they should be allowed to express that faith in the community buildings and lands.

As for me, I feel that church and state should be separate.

Where there is church and state, there is persecution either now/later. It will and has taken place.

The government will eventually force their religious views upon people.

Look at the book of Daniel when Nebuchadnezzar forced everyone to worship the image at the sound of the music.

I have lived in only one ‘establishment’ country - the Netherlands - where the Dutch Reformed Church is the state Church and the queen is considered defender of the faith.

I never perceived any such persecution there, nor can I imagine that any will take place later.

Now, Muslim countries are a different kettle o’fish…

Actually i am for Church and state together…but alas there would be to many humans involved and not enough Christ,

I agree with the not enough Christ.

Weird though it may seem, with this always being said, the U.S. does not have anything explicitly demanding separation of Church and State. The U.S. was actually started as a theocracy(the U.S. Constitution is based upon the Bible) prior to becoming a democracy.

I wouldn’t mind a theocracy. I don’t quite like pandering to others like nearly all other countries do.

I agree with most of what you say except the display of religious images. I don’t think this was the intent of the founding fathers. Take for example George Washington’s Thanksgiving Address in 1791 I think, where he speaks of the establishment of thanksgiving for the sake of thanking God. It had an explicitly religious character.

  1. In what way is the US Constitution ‘based on the Bible’? Please be specific. And when did the change from theocracy to democracy occur. I must have missed that in history class. Perhaps I was sick that day, or just not paying attention.

  2. Both Saudi Arabia and Iran are only a few hours away by air. I don’t see a lot of Americans moving there.

  3. Huh? What are you referring to? Once again, please be specific.

When our forefathers wrote in the seperation of church and state I don’t believe they meant that all religious items should be band from public property.

None of our Founding Fathers “wrote in” any separation of church and state into any of our national documents. The phrase comes from a letter of Thomas Jefferson in reply to a letter he received from the Danbury (CT) Baptist Association. In that letter, they wrote three things:

  • to congratulate him on winning the Presidency (they, like Jefferson, were for extremely limited federal government)

  • to express their belief that God had placed him in this job to accomplish good work, and that they prayed for his success

  • to ask that he revisit the Bill of Rights because they were not happy with the 1st Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion.

That’s right, the were AGAINST it. Their concern was that, unlike the “inalienable rights” granted by our Creator as listed in the Declaration of Independance, this right to practice religion freely was granted by men. The Danbury Baptists were concerned that should the day come that men came to power who were hostile to religion, they would use their legislative power to diminish or take away that right.

The phrase “a wall of separation between church and state” came from Jefferson’s letter of reply. He basically assured them that there was no way that could ever happen because everyone, those in government and the citizens, understood the value of Christian morality, and THAT is what provided the wall separating church and state. In other words, they didn’t need to spell it out that freedom of religion was one of the inalienable rights because everyone already understood and believed it. More to the point, “the wall” protected the church FROM the state, not the other way around as it is always erroneously portrayed today. Don’t learn history, repeat its mistakes.

Naaaaahhh, our government would NEVER do that!! :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
Hello? Can you say “no prayer in schools,” “no 10 Commandments,” “no cross on a mountaintop in San Diego, set up as a memorial to WWII dead,” “no CHRIST allowed in Christmas?”

many were Diests and subscribed to Thomas Paine’s views. Read some of the writings of Thomas Jefferson.

Deists believed in God; it was aspects of the organized religions they didn’t agree with. Payne’s works was very influencial, in fact it was his reference to “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” that inspired the phrase in the Declaration “endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights.” The whole point of Payne’s book was that there was a set of laws above man, and that all men, from slave to king, could justly be measured against those laws. That, Payne proposed, was how a society could judge a monarchy as just or not just. It’s that same philosophy that led to the entire Declaration of Independance; that the King had issued legally enforceable laws, but they were not just laws, therefore we refuse to accept them.

For some reason, Jefferson always seems to be used as the prominent figure whenever this is discussed. But Jefferson only played a part in the Declaration and less so in the actual Constitution. He played NO role in the Bill of Rights. In fact he records that people would often ask him about the Bill of Rights and he would reply “I was in Europe when the Constitution was written and I never saw it until after it was established.” His writings fill 60 volumes. He used the phrase one time, and suddenly he’s the expert on the First Amendment. :rolleyes:

All in all, there were about 250 founding fathers
56 who signed the Declaration of Independence,
55 at the Constitutional Convention,
90 who gave us the Bill of Rights

Only 6 have ever used the phrase “separation of church and state." None have ever used it twice. Even Jefferson only used it once, and that in a letter written 13 years AFTER the 1st Amendment was finished. It was not a statement of policy, only summing up what everyone already “knew” about the federal government (described above). In the first 150 years of the federal courts, the phrase came up only twice, in a case from 1878. Plaintiffs challenged the notion that church and state could not mix at all. The Court published Jefferson’s letter with their findings, and ruled against the plaintiff.

What about those who did write it?

Gouvenor Morris was the most active member of the Constitutional Convention, rising some 170+ times to speak on the floor. He is the man who actually penned the Constitution in 1787, meaning it’s his penmanship you see when you look at a replica of the document. Ever wonder what a guy with those credentials might think about “separation of church and state?”

In 1790 and 1791 he wrote two books about the Constitution. In BOTH of those books, this is what Morris said about religion:

“Religion is the only solid basis of good morals. Therefore, education should teach the precepts of religion and the duties of man toward God.”

Ahhh, what’s he know; he only wrote the Constitution! We’re told today that our Founders wanted a complete secularization of our education system, yet the guy who wrote it says it has to be that way, it has to be involved, that’s how it was designed.

William Samual Johnson, signer of the Constitution and first President of Columbia College, often was asked to give commencement addresses at public schools. Bear in mind public schools were 130 years old around the time of the Constitution (first one was in 1642). Today, we have fights and legal battles over what the Valedictorian can say at a high school graduation ceremony.

Imagine what would happen today if a public high school barred their Valedictorian from speaking (lest she mention God), and then William Samual Johnson delivered the same commencement address he gave to a public high school class (of men) right around the time the Bill of Rights was written:

“You this day, gentlemen, have received a public education, the purpose whereof has been to qualify you better to serve your Creator and your country.”
“Your first great duties, if you are sensible, are those you owe to heaven, to your Creator, and to your redeemer. Let these be ever present to your mind, and be exemplified in your life and your conduct.”

He went on for another 20 minutes citing verse after verse from Scripture, extolling the men to conduct themselves according to the same Christian precepts that he and his fellow Constitution signers expected to continue with every generation.

Question: If our Founding Fathers intended a complete secularization, why did Johnson do this? Why was he not immediately set upon and roundly condemned by the press or even a single one of his peers?
Answer: Why would they? This is what they expected to happen.

I do not mind a separation of the two. But I believe that it was more directed at a State sponsored religion. Though this is a narrow road of extremes of what is endorsement and what is not.

On a side note what are your thoughts on the Swiss vote to ban building of Minarets? Should the U.S. go a similar rout with religious endorsement?

  1. Hi there!

  2. If they’re PUBLIC schools, absolutely! Whose prayers would you allow? What about the rights of all those who believe differently?

The change was gradual. At first children said Christians prayers (not Catholic, of course). Later they had kids go up and lead prayers, to be sure all religions were represented in the class. Then they gave that up and held a moment of silence.

Once upon a time, kids read the Bible in public schools. I think it was in Boston that Catholic families stood up to the requirement that only the Protestant Bible be used. Catholic kids weren’t allowed to read from the complete Catholic Bible.

Though most Protestant Americans say that they want prayer in school, I don’t think they would be happy if their kids were required to pray the Hail, Mary. :wink:

People want their own religion in the schools, not someone elses. Imagine the uproar if a small elementary school in a predominantly Muslim community were to lead Muslim prayer at the start of the school day!!!

I would disagree they are PUBLIC and say they are GOVERNMENT schools. A PUBLIC school would reflect what the PUBLIC views as good. That isn’t what we have today. We have schools that reflect what the GOVERNMENT says a school must be.

Well how about the same ones we allowed for 317 years, from 1645 to 1962? Did those harm us in some way? Can you point to the non-believers during those years who were “offended” or harmed in some way? When I could pray in school, the only prayer we said was the Our Father, which is a Christian prayer.

Founded on the moral tenets of Christian faith, it only makes sense a universal Christian prayer like that would be a good choice.

No one, even when it was allowed, was twisting any arms to say it. Standing in silence was then every bit as respectful as when everyone stands for two national anthems at a sporting event featuring teams from two nations.

We should at least give prayer the same place we give pornography. If I’m offended by a particular magazine, does the book store then have to remove it completely and not let ANYONE buy it, or am I told that it’s a “freedom of choice” thing, and that if I’m offended, just don’t buy it (while allowing full freedom for those who want it)? We should do the same with prayer. If you want it, pray; if not, be silent.

…whose prayer would you allow?

If the nation were founded on the precepts of the Muslim faith, that would be good cause to have Muslim prayer offered. Since it wasn’t, why should it be? Do you imagine a group of Christians moving into one geographical area of Saudi Arabia would convince them to dispense with Muslim prayer and allow “the majority” of students to offer the Our Father? No, it doesn’t work that way. The prayer is offered in the first place because it is part of those tenets we were founded upon, one of which is that it is God who sustains us, and another is that we should thank Him for doing so. It’s not offered as a public prayer for your own devotion, any more than the opening prayer of Congress is.

The question of “whose” prayer was answered long ago by Benjamin Franklin, the man who instituted those opening prayers in Congress. Franklin chastised his fellow congressmen for forgetting that when they needed God, they prayed and He delivered. Now it was looking like they didn’t need Him anymore. On Thursday, June 28, 1787, the Congressional record records that Franklin reminded them using Gen 10, Psalm 127, and Matt 6 to drive the point home.

Here is what he told them:

“Gentlemen, in the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, sirs, were heard and they were graciously answered. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His (God’s) notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?

We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel. . . . I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessings on our deliberations be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more clergy of the city be requested to officiate in that service.”

One or more clergy of the city. All clerics in that day were Christian. So any Christian clergy would be the answer to the question.

And I can tell you the first hand story of a young RalphinAL being told by his tenth grade teacher that he was damned for being Catholic. And that same young Ralph refusing to read from the King James Bible in that class (willing to read from a CAtholic one, but not that). I can tell you about an even younger Ralph being told by his class (including the teacher) in sixth grade that Catholics worshipped Mary and were damned for idolotry WITHOUT being able to defend Catholic teachings (not that those small minded heretics would have understood :p).

And through ALL of that, the school was reflecting the community. In this case, it was a closed minded, undereducated one, but it was how they wanted it. The American government has to serve the majority while protecting the minority from the oppression of the masses.

I could tell you about my mother being told to stand in front of the class so that the others could pray that she not end up in hell, which is where are Catholics go. I have other stories to tell

  1. That’s just semantics. The government that regulates the schools is elected by the public. In most venues, the school board also. Those boards cannot, of course, do anything illegal or unconstitutional, and that would apply to private schools also to a lesser extent.

  2. Well, I don’t know where you lived, possibly in the American South? I grew up in Illinois and went to Catholic schools. I was the only Catholic kid on my block in my age group, all my friends on the block went to the public school in the neighborhood, I never heard any of them mention any sort of praying in school, that was in the 1950’s, before public school prayer was federally proscribed. Also, the population was less heterogeneous then.

  3. It was certainly founded on SOME tenets that are SHARED by the Christian faith. It was founded as religiously neutral from the start, mainly due to the influence of Deists, Unitarians and Freemasons.

  4. Lemme get this straight. You’re claiming that bookstores are free the sell pornography but not prayer books? That’s a new one on me!

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