1. #1
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    Default Separation of Church and State

    Seems like someone doesn't agree. Don't be too quick to omit "Under God"
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    Again, for those asleep in government or history class

    THERE IS NO SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE IN THE CONSTITUTION
    THERE IS NO SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE IN THE CONSTITUTION
    THERE IS NO SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE IN THE CONSTITUTION

    According to the 1st amendment, Government can not establish a religion. Which is different than separation of church and state.

    The phrase came from a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danberry Baptist, years after the constitution was ratified.

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    Again, for those asleep in government or history class
    I wasn't asleep, I cut class!

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    I think someone's trying to tell us something. We'd better listen.

    Great picture. Thanks for sharing.

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    pfd3501

    First, even under an extremely strict construction, what you said is incorrect.

    According to the 1st amendment, Government can not establish a religion.

    The exact sentence is, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

    Establishment in this case is like a bar -- it's an establishment that serves liquor. While English may change in it's use from time to time, even back then a verb was verb and a noun was noun, and there's a difference between words like, "establishing" and "establishment." If the intent of the 1st amendment was solely to prevent the adoption of a state religon, they could have written "make no law establishing..." instead of "make no law respecting an establishment..."

    Congress (federal) will not favor nor penalize any particular religous group.

    The concept of the seperation of church and state, however, was well established in the political circles of the U.S. at the time the constitution and the amendments were written.

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
    ...
    (signed) Thomas Jefferson
    Jan.1.1802.


    It was Jefferson who advocated for a Bill of Rights as a compromise to gain the support of the needed states for ratification of the body of the constitution.

    Certainly, like many things in politics, exact views and practical interpretations are subjective. Jefferson took a more strict view than Washington or Adams had on the seperation.

    Most of New England, excepting Rhode Island, had been the heart of ultra-conservative Christianity in the U.S. at the time. Public education started in the United States so that everyone in Massachusetts could read the bible. It's kind of ironic the religon of the Puritans (Congregationalism) and it's off shoot Unitarianism would today be two of the most liberal mainstream religous institutions in the U.S. (United Church of Christ is the successor to Congregationalism, while it can even be debated if Unitarianism is still a religon or just a state of mind.)

    As late as 1818 in Connecticut, and a similiar time in Massachusetts, Ecclestial Societies retained their power to tax -- don't pay your church taxes, the Town Constable will auction your property to pay them just as if you didn't pay any other tax.

    As the principal of seperation became ingrained in American politics, the churches lost their tax powers -- they couldn't use government power to enforce their rules.

    Under the same principle, the churches became tax exempt, for if you can tax them, you can control them. To this day religous establishments are given very wide berth around regulations -- unless it actually affects health or environment, they're generally exempted which is why things like zoning and non-safety parts of building codes (such as building heights, etc) don't apply to them.

    Personally I do not feel ceremonial diesism such as "under God," "So help me God," creches or minorhas on public property, a brief and fairly non-demonational prayer, or as my high school had an optional religous service before graduation in the context that the school had been originally established by the Congregational church and it was recognizing that heritage, violates "seperation of church & state"

    Matt

    ==========
    Ok, if we really, really want to split hairs and I'm not sure a southerner like Jefferson would see it the same way the New Englanders (outside of RI) did,
    The place you worshipped was a Meetinghouse.
    The "Church" to the conservative congregationalists was actually the select individuals who joined and held power in it.
    Everyone had to attend worship, but you didn't have to join the "Church." I'm not doing a good job describing it, but the "Congregational Church" was more special & elite than the religon or meetinghouse.
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    Hmmm kinda like the modern version of Emperor Constantines vision in 312 AD. Makes you think.
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    Me thinks nozz is slideing down the pole in to the Darwin cave and going to hop in the athiest-mobile and race to this soon.

    Sorry nozz
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    Establishment in this case is like a bar -- it's an establishment that serves liquor. While English may change in it's use from time to time, even back then a verb was verb and a noun was noun, and there's a difference between words like, "establishing" and "establishment." If the intent of the 1st amendment was solely to prevent the adoption of a state religon, they could have written "make no law establishing..." instead of "make no law respecting an establishment..."

    Consider all the definitions for:
    es·tab·lish·ment ( P )
    Pronunciation Key (-stblsh-mnt)
    n.

    The act of establishing.
    The condition or fact of being established.

    Something established, as:
    An arranged order or system, especially a legal code.
    A permanent civil, political, or military organization.
    An established church.
    A place of residence or business with its possessions and staff.
    A public or private institution, such as a hospital or school.
    often Establishment

    An established social order, as:
    A group of people holding most of the power and influence in a government or society. Often used with the.
    A controlling group in a given field of activity. Often used with the.


    Ehhhhhh "respecting an establishment" and "establishing" are, in this case, completely interchangeable. "The establishment" is referring to the end-product of an establishing process.

    To compare apples-to-apples, you need to put establishment in context... which would be "respecting an establishment" aka "concerning an establishment." That is the phrase that is compared to "establishing." It's a little more than nouns versus verbs.
    Last edited by Resq14; 05-02-2004 at 07:58 PM.
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    Following that logic, Resq, then a strict construction of that amendment would be that Congress could make no law about a process of establishing religon --

    Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment
    is, substituting in your definition/logic,
    Congress shall make no law regarding the act of establishing

    The "an" makes a difference. Any of the following could've been used:
    Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment
    Congress shall make no law establishing
    Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment
    Congress shall make no law regarding establishment

    Those all have distinct meanings.
    The first is no law affecting a church, the second and third no law establishing a church, and the fourth is no law about making a law about making a church. If you don't get the fourth, think of the laws congress passes from time to time establishing balanced budget processes -- a law laying out how they'll write future laws.

    Between the assumption that the authors of the amendment choose that phrasing from among several to convey the most specific meaning they could, combined with the historical record, that part of the 1st amendment is a limitation on Congress' ability to regulate or favor any particular religous body.
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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    pfd3501

    First, even under an extremely strict construction, what you said is incorrect.

    According to the 1st amendment, Government can not establish a religion.

    There was not, and there is still not, a separation of church and state so to speak.

    You have chaplains of various faiths in the militare

    and Congress often opens with prayer

    What the Constitution is saying is that you can't establish any faith as an official religion for the country.

    Dal, sounds like you're trying to be a semantics major, son.

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    Ok, I know that the fact of these pics not being a Constitution vs God could be an issue, I wanted to show them.
    I took them on the night of 09-11-2002 at a memorial service. They have not been altered in anyway. The first pic is the original pic and the second is the cropped version.

    I think He was watching....
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    Here is the cropped version...

    The light is a star in the sky...
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    Here's an interesting NYT article that I read over a month ago that sort of goes along with this topic.

    Scientologists' Tax Break Cited in Suit Against I.R.S.
    March 24, 2004

    A trial is to begin here on Wednesday morning to determine whether a Jewish couple can deduct the cost of religious education for their five children, a tax benefit they say the federal government has granted to members of just one religion, the Church of Scientology.

    The potential ramifications are huge, for a ruling in favor of the couple could affect the millions of Americans who send their children to religious schools of all types. At stake is whether people of all religions can deduct the cost of religious education as a charitable gift, as Scientologists are allowed to do under an officially secret 1993 agreement with the Internal Revenue Service.

    That agreement came despite a 1989 Supreme Court ruling denying tax deductions for money paid in fees set by the Church of Scientology for its ''auditing'' and ''training'' services. The Supreme Court decision said the money did not qualify for the charitable gift deduction because it involved a fixed price and was akin to a fee for a service.

    The couple, Michael and Marla Sklar of Los Angeles, originally took the I.R.S. to court after being denied $2,080 in 1993 deductions for religious education for their children. They lost that case, in which Mr. Sklar, a tax accountant, represented himself at trial. The couple appealed, and three judges on the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled against them two years ago. But one judge also took the unusual step of suggesting further litigation that would better define the issues.

    The judges in the original Sklar case said ''it appears to be true'' that Scientology -- founded by L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction writer, in the 1950's -- received preferential tax treatment in violation of the First Amendment.

    ''Why is Scientology training different from all other religious training?'' Judge Barry D. Silverman wrote in his opinion, adding that the question would not be answered just then because the court was not faced with the question of whether ''members of the Church of Scientology have become the I.R.S.'s chosen people.'' Judge Silverman then recommended litigation to address whether the government is improperly favoring one religion.

    ''If the I.R.S. does in fact give preferential treatment to members of the Church of Scientology -- allowing them a special right to claim deductions that are contrary to law and disallowed to everybody else -- then the proper course of action is a lawsuit to put a stop to that policy,'' Judge Silverman wrote.

    In this second trial, also against the I.R.S. and involving $3,209 of taxes for 1995, the Sklars are represented by Jeffrey I. Zuckerman of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle in Washington, who is serving pro bono.

    The chief tax lawyer for the Church of Scientology, Monique E. Yingling, said the Sklar lawsuit was baseless. She said that until the 1993 agreement, Scientologists were discriminated against by not being allowed to take charitable deductions.

    ''Scientologists now are being treated the same as everyone else, Catholics, Mormons, Hindus,'' she said, her list of religions continuing.

    ''Auditing and training are both Scientology religious services,'' Ms. Yingling said, that members ''participate in to advance in Scientology.''

    Mr. Sklar, though, said he saw no difference between the services that Scientologists cite for their deductions and the religious training his children receive at two Hebrew schools in Los Angeles.

    On their tax returns, the Sklars claimed charitable deductions equal to the portion of the Hebrew school tuition that covers the cost of religious education. He said that were he a Scientologist, it was clear he could deduct these sums.

    When the Sklars tried to take the deduction, the I.R.S. sent them letters laying out the terms for Scientologists to take such deductions. The I.R.S. then denied the deductions because the Sklars did not provide receipts from the Church of Scientology.

    Other than the Sklars, the only known legal challenge to the I.R.S. agreement with the Scientologists was made by the nonprofit publisher of Tax Notes magazine. It tried unsuccessfully to get a judge to make the agreement public. (Copies of what seem to be the agreement were leaked several years ago.)

    ''The reason I got started on this course of action was I felt that there was a precedent being set that is extremely dangerous,'' Mr. Sklar said. ''If the government is allowed to do this unchallenged, it means you have a state-favored religion, and that has never fared well for the Jews.''

    Mr. Sklar said that after he pressed his claim for a charitable deduction, the I.R.S. audited him and eight clients. ''I think the I.R.S. was harassing me because before I had maybe one audit in two years,'' he said.

    A subpoena for the secret agreement with the Scientologists has been quashed at the request of the Church of Scientology and the I.R.S. A fight over access to that agreement is likely to be a crucial issue on appeal, which seems certain regardless of how the trial judge rules.

    Mr. Sklar said that after more than a decade of tax breaks for Scientologists, he believed that the only proper course for the courts was to allow people of all faiths to take charitable deductions for the costs of religious education and training.

    But Judge Silverman, who had urged litigation to settle the issue, took a different approach in his opinion two years ago.

    ''The remedy,'' he wrote, ''is not to require the I.R.S. to let others claim the improper deduction.''

    [Photograph]
    Michael and Marla Sklar are suing to deduct the costs of their children's' religious schooling, now allowed only for Scientology members. (Photo by Stephanie Diani for The New York Times)

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    stm............that was a good one !
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    If you want pearls of wisdom, remember: The world is your oyster; don't eat it, aggravate it.
    I think you may have just done that!

    Nice pic though.
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    Nice pic.............

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    Originally posted by Anyway
    Ok, I know that the fact of these pics not being a Constitution vs God could be an issue, I wanted to show them.
    I took them on the night of 09-11-2002 at a memorial service. They have not been altered in anyway. The first pic is the original pic and the second is the cropped version.

    I think He was watching....
    Ok, maybe it's because I haven't had my morning coffee yet, but what exactly am I supposed to see in these photographs?
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    << hands you a cup of coffee...

    There is a cross in the sky...
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    What the Constitution is saying is that you can't establish any faith as an official religion for the country.

    Dal, sounds like you're trying to be a semantics major, son.


    Actually, history major.

    And this is one of my pet peeves with some relatively recent revisionist history. I once had a boss who'd say, "I'm an @sshole, but I'm an @sshole to everyone." And hopefully I call the leftists on this stuff as much as the right wingers.

    Numerous times in the couple centuries before the Bill of Rights, England and France had been wracked by strife -- exacerbated greatly if not outright caused by the intertwining of State and Religion. I can’t sum up in a few paragraphs all the complexities – seek out works on the Henry VIII of England, Elizabeth I, Mary (Queen of Scots), the English Civil War, the Glorious Revolution, the Huguenots, the Wars of Religion and see where they lead for a better understanding of the times when the American Colonies where being established. This was history well known to our founding fathers, as well as the French philosophers of the enlightenment that influenced our early statesmen. Where the mix of State and Religion did not cause problems by itself, it kept the State from being able to act effectively and objectively to mitigate Religious strife.


    So let’s go into the chambers of the House and Senate in 1789 when they were crafting the Bill of Rights.

    The House passed:
    "The civil rights of none shall be abridged on the account of religious belief, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience in any manner or on any pretext be infringed."


    The Senate deliberations proposed -- and rejected --


    Congress shall make no law establishing one religious sect or society in preference to others.

    Congress shall not make any law infringing the rights of conscience, or establishing any religious sect or society.

    Congress shall make no law establishing any particular denomination of religion in preference to another.


    Settling on: "Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith or a mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion."

    With different versions approved, the amendment went to conference committee.

    The Senate had specifically rejected a narrow wording that would simply prohibit a national religion. The Senate wanted broader protection than that, and the House had more explicit protection against discrimination for religous beliefs.

    Had the intent of the religion clause of the 1st Amendment been merely to prohibit the establishment of a national church, one of the above-but-rejected versions would've surficed.

    Nor did the rejected drafts use the "an establishment" but rather -ed or -ing versions.

    Nope, the conference committee settled on a very broad language prohibiting, "no laws respecting an establishment of religion" to, as Thomas Jefferson later paraphrased, "establish a wall of seperation between Church and State." Rather than try to lay out specifics of when Congress could and could not regulate in relation to religion, the whole subject was forbidden by, "no laws respecting."
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    Default which do you see first?

    The forest or the trees?

    Revisionist? I think not. Your view points, and mine are influenced by who taught us. I say tomato, you say to-motto, the guy from Tennessee says 'Mater.

    And I am definately not advocating any government religion.

    Perhaps you are being revisionist - you keep adding Thomas Jefferson's "wall of separation" back into it, and it was never there.

    Once anyone starts adding things into the constitution that aren't written there, that's revisionist. And using what was discussed in developing the Constitition and its amendments is an interesting point of reference, but it's not an absolute. What should be held absolute is the constitution, and its amendments, as it is written.

    It's funny that a document, written in such plain language, can be interpreted in so many ways.

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    Default and in the language of the day

    Does anyone know, in the parlance of the late 1700's, what "well regulated" means?

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    That's a different amendment, Farley. Although it, too, was significantly influenced by the English Civil War.

    As for looking up the legislative history of an act, that's not revisionist. It's good judicial practice -- that's how they determine legislative intent when matters like this come up where words have more than one possible meaning.

    The words "seperation of church and state" doesn't appear in the Bill of Rights, it comes from Thomas Jefferson's explanation of what that amendment meant to him, and his interpretation is clearly in line with spirit of the Congress in drafting it, and that view would've been familiar with the state legislatures that adopted it.

    Nor does the principle come solely from the Constitution; while some may argue about the equal protection clause expanding it, the 1st Amendment specifically only prohibits Congress (federal) from regulating (modern meaning ) religion. Clearly under the norms of the time, that left the States free to pass laws in that regard, and it was a principle that continued to be refined and expanded over the course of many years. It would be a couple decades before Connecticut (us darn liberals )would abolish mandatory payment of church taxes, and the better part of 2 centuries (1965) before Connecticut's own constitution changed from "It being the duty of all men to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the Universe" to the same phrase, using this time "right" instead of "duty."

    The meaning of it to create a seperation on the federal level was pretty clear to them back then, even if the application today wasn't anticipated.
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    Default I'll agree with farle

    [BThe statement of "wall of separation of church and state" came {years after the ratification of the constitution.

    admendment I

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


    Separation of church and state? not in here

    Arguements of statements that were thought of, but stricken, and this is What we end up with?

    Dal, you say the context of what was considered before this was worded the way it is has a bearing?

    To me, that's like you truck committee. You have some things that maybe one or two people want, but are decided to be left out. Does that make the truck inoperable? just to the person that wanted the deleted widjet.

    The interpretation of the Constitution is highly subjective. The Federal Courts are loaded with Clinton apointees, and will rule to the far left of every issue. Because they do so, does not change what the constitution means. It just means they are ignoring it. (And the other side does, also, just not to the extreme degree)

    Dal, We'll just have to agree to disagree.

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    Default and one final note

    The politico goofs that talk about "a constitutional separation of church and state" are the same goofs that refer to "our great democracy"

    on a side note: not that I'm a fan of polygamy, but if our judges were truly following this part of the 1st admendment

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, then why can't the Mormons openly practice polygamy?

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    Silly Kiwi Question department.

    or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,
    So how do those that want to remove the word "God" from your Oath of Allegiance condone their actions under your constitution?
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