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  • #31
    Re: God bless America

    I can't go so far as to say that the country was "founded on Christianity". I do think that it was, without question, founded by men with "Christian beliefs". To me, that simply means a sense of fairness, liberty and justice for all, and freedom from persecution. Those ideals are foundations within Christianity (and certainly other religions). One can believe in those ideals without believing in the story of Christ and a so-called Christian God.

    I can't tell you that I know any athiests, I make it a practice of not really caring about a person's religion or politics.

    But this "separation of church and state" has me puzzled sometimes. I don't really get where people on either side of the isssue come off thinking the way they do. No one has the right to push their religion on me and there's nothing that turns me off more than being approached by some self-righteous nut who wants to know if I've "accepted Jesus into my life" or if I've been "born again". My usual thoughts on the latter is "He!! NO"... there was no need, as I was born right the first time! Really who the heck's business is it to ask such things.

    But when it comes to decisions about religious icons of any type being displayed on government property, local or federal, my feeling is that the courts have absolutely no place in such decisions... afterall, there is "separation of church and state" and therefore the state has no business ruling upon it. Basically, it's a matter of majority. So, if a majority of the local citizens decide that it's important to buy a Christmas tree for the village hall, it certainly isn't up to any person to say they can't. And, if they do, well then the courts shouldn't even be hearing the case, as they have no jurisdiction under "separation of church and state".

    To me, it is no different than if the majority wanted to paint the village hall pink, and think it should be blue... in this country, the majority wins!

    This recent thing with the cross being stolen from some veteran's memorial site in the South West was ridiculous. That was an act of theft and no court should have reviewed it as anything else, and the perpetrators had absolutely no rights under the constitution to play it as anything else and certainly not as an example of "separation" being violated. The only violation of that nature that occured, was when the courts reviewed the case as a religious matter, which it had no jurisdiction to do.

    If we the people, are not able to get this clear with our courts, then where are we going to go with this... remove all the markers from Arlington and other national cemetaries and fire all the chaplains in the military? I don't think so!

    The problem is that we seem to forget that a majority vote decides what usually happens in this country... and as long as that doesn't infringe on or take rights away from, or endanger the manority, then that's okay.

    CWS

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    • #32
      Re: God bless America

      I really enjoy this forum, more than most can imagine. I get to interact with some very deep thinkers and have my own thoughts challenged. I do believe there is strong religious influence and evidence in our history, but that does not make our founders all great people. I'd like to agree with majority rule when it comes to displaying certain religious symbols on public property, but much to my dismay that is a slippery slope. What if the majority become muslims who want to do really radical and unpleasant things?

      I hope all religions evolve and soon to the point of placing more value on human rights and life than belief in any writings or "God". The christian who kills the abortion doctor is as misguided as the islamic terrorist who kills in the name of allah.

      Unfortunately much depends on people evolving, and I see generation after generation making similar mistakes. Wheter women are denied positions of power and authority in the church or forced to be completely hidden under traditional garb, the message is still the same.

      Will we ever be finished with educating the ignorant racists, the sexist morons, the religious fanatics, the intolerant faithless? Everyone wants to be right, and in the end everyone is wrong!

      I see our history as one truth regarding religious influence, the evidence is ever present. While we argue past and present wrongs, the threat of the intolerant grows stronger. I'm open minded enough to admit it's all wrong, but there are greater levels of damage to our quality of life and way of life.

      We are too lazy, stupid and stubborn to prevent most unwanted pregnancies, so abortion is a necessary evil. We must deal with the occassional christian " right to life" extremist.

      How do we coexist with the islamic extremist who is determined to either convert or destroy us? I'm not sure, but I don't think there is any tolerance for the atheist among that group so you may need to pick the lesser of two evils. Homosexuals have their ongoing battles with christian religions, but how are they doing with islamics? According to the president of iran "They don't have any of them" in his country.
      Folks we got trouble, I say trouble and it don't rhyme with pool!!!

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      • #33
        Re: God bless America

        That is where our Constitution and the Bill of Rights come into play. While in most cases, it is the politicians that make the rules... and they are there by majority vote. But of course we all know how misguided the voters can be, especially as we get lazy... just voting the incombants into office again and again; and even when they blatently screw it up, we blame their replacement and then long to have the idiot return.

        But through all of this, our government is designed with "balance". Sometimes that gets out of hand, as with the present supreme court (IMO). But when that happens, it doesn't take long for corrections to be made... and one of the great things in our history is that these changes all take place peacefully, inspite of the rebel rousers who keep telling us a revolution is needed. The only revolution that is needed is for people to get off their butts, stop being so greedy, and start educating themselves in an effort to make an independant, knowledgeable decision on the government they need to have and that will work for the people, and not just the big money.

        With the "balance" that is designed into a two party system, we are always guaranteed that a majority will win; and, our Constitution and the Bill of Rights ensures that the rights of the minority will NOT be enfringed upon. But, as we the people become disenchanted and somewhat illutional, we start thinking in selfish abstract terms... and we create new political factions. World history has surely shown us that a multi-party system is the root of failure in many democracies. Simply, when there are more than two political parties, the there's a good chance that the "minority" will win, as the "majority" becomes divided between the other parties.

        But beyond the political divide, we have the issue of "church and state" and this thing with religion could very well be our Achilles' heel as it allows any group (religious or not) to hide behind it's "religion" label. As such they do not pay taxes, they are somewhat guarded against investigation, and generally they are deemed by most of the public as being above reproach.

        We all know that "religion" is often the harborer of much evil in this world, but still we find mass numbers of the people following blindlessly in their beliefs, often following the dictates of a religeous leader who has their own political agenda.

        CWS
        Last edited by CWSmith; 07-06-2010, 06:29 PM.

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        • #34
          Re: God bless America

          The separation of church and state is meant to protect religion, not the state.

          The courts are precisely the best place to enforce the separation of church and state. The government can not be seen as tacitly endorsing one religion over another.

          To say the majority religion should rule is extremely dangerous. Communities will become fractured and segregated along religious lines. Pandering to the majority of the majority ultimately disenfranchises most of the population.

          Government just needs to stay out of religion. Period.

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          • #35
            Re: God bless America

            and yet the conspiracy theorists would have you believe that the free masons ( a very christian organization ) have been ruling the nation since old George W himself.

            I think that what pisses people off is that the religious right seems to have some sort of pull at the government lever. Maybe they do, but if they do it is only because the populous has not delved into their backgrounds deeply enough before they elected them or perhaps they want a leader who is deeply religious. There will always be religion in politics. In the end though, the system has worked quite well for the past 200 years or so and I believe that if it does break down, religion will not be the reason, apathy will.
            sigpic

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            • #36
              Re: God bless America

              Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
              and yet the conspiracy theorists would have you believe that the free masons ( a very christian organization ) have been ruling the nation since old George W himself.
              Yeah, I don't buy that one though. But we do seem to require mystery. Whether it be bigfoot, Loch Ness, UFO's or free Masons.

              Frank Schaeffer offers some pretty interesting insight to the rise, influence and goals of the Religious Right.

              I was listening to Jimmy Carter a year or so ago. He had just left the southern Baptist convention. Here is part of his press release explaining his decision:

              So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service. This was in conflict with my belief – confirmed in the holy scriptures – that we are all equal in the eyes of God.
              During the interview, Carter revealed that shortly after taking office, the Southern Baptist convention paid him a visit in the oval office. They thought they had one of their own in the white house. Carter let them know in no uncertain terms that he was would not be dictated to by the Southern Baptist any more than he would allow the pope to come in and tell him how to manage policy.

              Now we have a federally sanctioned office of faith based initiatives. It would be absurd if it wasn't scary.

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              • #37
                Re: God bless America

                Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
                and yet the conspiracy theorists would have you believe that the free masons ( a very christian organization ) have been ruling the nation since old George W himself.

                I think that what pisses people off is that the religious right seems to have some sort of pull at the government lever. Maybe they do, but if they do it is only because the populous has not delved into their backgrounds deeply enough before they elected them or perhaps they want a leader who is deeply religious. There will always be religion in politics. In the end though, the system has worked quite well for the past 200 years or so and I believe that if it does break down, religion will not be the reason, apathy will.
                I don't know if our government has been manipulated by the free masons, but I do think when people pull together and are organized they can accomplish more than individuals who are preoccupied with working, family matters and falling off bar stools. We would be wise to be more aware and involved with what is going on in our country and government. Apathy is a killer.

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                • #38
                  Re: God bless America

                  I will argue politics with anyone and the outcome is irrelevant. What really matters, right or wrong is that the two parties arguing are at least interested and concerned with something that does not have a 3" screen and a lot of buttons. Now if you will excuse me I'm eating a particularly nasty raisin bagel and I need to Tweet the world so everyone will know.
                  sigpic

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                  • #39
                    Re: God bless America

                    Neither of the two main parties are fully invested in supporting the interests of the middle class.

                    That said, there is at least one distinction to be made. A democrat will allow the poor to be corrupt too.

                    As a registered independent I'm pretty much locked out of any primary election. But when I do vote, my local vote is always Green Party. National vote is usually dem. It may take a generation or more, but as we've seen with the radical religious right, you have to get the right people in at the ground level. You build the party by starting with the local dog catcher and work your way up.

                    As for the whole christian foundation thought, Donald S. Lutz of the University of Houston conducted a study and published his findings in a 1984 article in The American Political Science Review. Glenn Beck and David Barton both refer to this study as evidence of the constitution being based on Christian beliefs.

                    However, they cherry picked the data and charts to support their thesis. But the study clearly shows that the Bible was the least influential source material . The non-Federalist were the ones that argued for the Bible as the foundation while the Federalist were entirely opposed to any biblical influence in the founding.

                    One has to look at the motives behind those that propagate the notion that this is a Christian nation rather than a nation of Christians. Ample evidence exists today and throughout history of the tyranny of religion as the primary governing instrument.

                    I'll take the oligarchy we have today over a theocracy any day.

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                    • #40
                      Re: God bless America

                      Originally posted by SpiffPeters View Post
                      Neither of the two main parties are fully invested in supporting the interests of the middle class.

                      I'll take the oligarchy we have today over a theocracy any day.
                      I abreviated your post so I could address these two points. The two ruling parties will probably never fully support the middle class because the power to manipulate the system lies with the wealthy be it individuals or corporate. The middle class is allowed to vote and play a part in the game, but behind closed doors is where the elite take control.

                      I don't know how things would play out if we were a nation ruled by majority, could be scary but just look at where we are now. I think change is in order, but to what better system? I have a feeling if I live long enough to see muslims gain political power in the USA, they will push for a theocracy.
                      They really have no choice because it is their mission to convert non believers to their way. I think we will see this demonstrated in parts of europe much sooner, given the stronger influence already in place.

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                      • #41
                        Re: God bless America

                        Proselytizing is strictly the domain of Islam.

                        The fundamentalist in any religion will take their faith to the literary extreme. And that isn't a happy place for non-believers. Of any faith.

                        All the more reason to keep religion out of government. And in a similar vein, this is also why we have a civilian controlled military.

                        Things get messy real quick when military or religious power is unchecked.

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