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Old 03-29-2006, 11:46 AM   #76
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Originally posted by Irvine511



however, from my understanding of the study, atheism was presented in court not as an alternative to, say, Christianity (in the way that Judaism, Hinduism, or Islam might be), but as evidence that one party was unfit as a parent.

that, to me, seems to be the essence of discrimination.
If indeed this is the case I would have to agree with you--discrimination, no question.

I'm a believer in a very STRICT seperation of church and state. I think that seperation was intended by the writers of the Constitution, and I also, actually believe Jesus when He said His kingdom was "not of this world." So I find it unconscionable (sp?) that judges in the number of cases listed in the article you quoted would actually dictate to a parent that they must have religion in the home as a prerequisite to custody. If true, this is so wrong! From there it's really only a short jump to what KIND of religion the parent must support.

Are you sure that the COURT raised the issue of religion in the home or was it one of the parents vying for custody. Because I could see if one of the parents wanted a religious environment for their kids and the other parent didn't. I suppose it would be appropriate for the parents to ask the court to enforce THEIR wishes about the type of care their kids might receive if the other party is not being cooperative. But it is totally inappropriate for the court to bring this issue up or make it a factor.

If one of the parents raised the issue, then the court might need to consider it, and all other factors being equal, I could see how a judge might decide in "favor" of the religious parent or at least require the irreligious parent to provide some religious exposure to the child (mind you I could also see a judge deciding the other way, in favor of the irreligious parent).

Vintage Punk, you are right, in real life "all other factors are rarely equal." However, the reality is that a judges on personal opinions, beliefs, emotional temperment, biases inevitably end up influencing their decisions. We would hope the courts make as much of an effort as they can to NOT do so, but the reality is that even the most impartial judge is still going to be influenced to some degree by those "personal" factors. That's why everyone gets so crazy about who the president appoints to the federal bench--because they KNOW those personal factors WILL influence their decisions.

To me if what Irvine implies in his post is true, these courts have way overstepped the "acceptable limit" of "personal bias."
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Old 03-29-2006, 12:20 PM   #77
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511

[q]if different religions demand that their traditions and celebrations be embraced and accepted by the public sphere, isn't it incumbent upon them to emphatically extend the same respect to those who believe in no religion at all?[/q]
Respect is one thing that we can all agree on, I hope.

However back to the original post as to the perception that Atheism is "america's most distrusted minorty".

Distrust is not the same as discrimination.

The US was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. It is not perfect but these ideals have provided us a viewpoint from which to strive (however imperfect at times) to be inclusive.
It's because of these ideals, that even Atheism is included and protected as your free will to choose.

Since Atheisms legal arm seeks to remove references to God (and hence these ideals) we will all suffer.
Even though Atheists claim to not believe in God and therefore the Ten Commandments, they are certainly benefitting from a society that still upholds these things.
So there is a distrust of persons who choose to do away with a system that values recognition of where these ideals stem from.
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Old 03-29-2006, 01:11 PM   #78
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[B]Distrust is not the same as discrimination.



oh?


[q]The US was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. It is not perfect but these ideals have provided us a viewpoint from which to strive (however imperfect at times) to be inclusive.
It's because of these ideals, that even Atheism is included and protected as your free will to choose.[/q]


you've got it backwards. many of our laws are based on Judeo-Christian ideals and history, but our Constitution was based on the principles of the Enlightenment and the most dramatic of all those ideas, that which would set the New World apart from the Old World, is the separation of Church and State.

you're 100% incorrect if you think that J-C ideals permit the existence of atheism. it is the practice of secularism in government that enables you to practice your religion exactly as you see fit without government interference, and for you to happily coexist with Buddhists, Hindus, Wiccans, and atheists.



[q]Since Atheisms legal arm seeks to remove references to God (and hence these ideals) we will all suffer.[/q]


how? as pointed above, it is secularism and the removal of explict references to any specific God that enables you to worship as you choose in your private life. the encroachment of religion into government is what will ultimately lead to the reduction of religious freedom.



[q]Even though Atheists claim to not believe in God and therefore the Ten Commandments, they are certainly benefitting from a society that still upholds these things.[/q]

how so?

as i've elucidated above, i think, if anything, you should appreciate the steadfast adherence to the maintenance of boundaries between Church and State so passionately and bravely upheld by atheists. for without them, and without their courage to stand up to those who would seek to create a Theocratic States of America, you'd lose the religious freedoms you now enjoy.
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Old 03-29-2006, 01:53 PM   #79
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Even though Atheists claim to not believe in God and therefore the Ten Commandments, they are certainly benefitting from a society that still upholds these things.
+++

Separation of Church and State is a good thing.
However I still think that a society that upholds the goodness of God is far better off than one with no God.
It is a challenge to answer to more than ourselves.
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Old 03-29-2006, 01:58 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally posted by BorderGirl
Separation of Church and State is a good thing.
However I still think that a society that upholds the goodness of God is far better off than one with no God.
It is a challenge to answer to more than ourselves.

and this is a fine belief, and most people would agree with you.

however, people should not be discriminated against -- either legally, or socially -- simply because they do not agree with you.

and many theocratic societies, the ones that seek to put people to death for being gay for for converting to Christianity, believe that they are upholding the goodness of God.
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Old 03-29-2006, 02:41 PM   #81
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511



and this is a fine belief, and most people would agree with you.

however, people should not be discriminated against -- either legally, or socially -- simply because they do not agree with you.

and many theocratic societies, the ones that seek to put people to death for being gay for for converting to Christianity, believe that they are upholding the goodness of God.
Yes, it's sad to see how people use the old testament to the exclusion of the new. We should read them both. Jesus did not come to judge, but to love.
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Old 03-29-2006, 02:46 PM   #82
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PS. Christ entrusted, not the State, but the Church with the announcement of His Gospel to the whole world.
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Old 03-29-2006, 08:36 PM   #83
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Quote:
Originally posted by BorderGirl
The US was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. It is not perfect but these ideals have provided us a viewpoint from which to strive (however imperfect at times) to be inclusive.
On the contrary, the U.S. was founded on deist views. Those few references to a deity in the Constitution were all blatantly deist references.

The difference? Deists reject all scripture and personal revelation. God, instead, reveals Himself through science, reason, and logic.

As such, while you can make a stretch to say that the U.S. was founded on a religious premise, deism would reject all forms of religious pseudoscience and superstition--which is really what atheists object to most of all.

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Old 03-29-2006, 11:14 PM   #84
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon


On the contrary, the U.S. was founded on deist views. Those few references to a deity in the Constitution were all blatantly deist references.

The difference? Deists reject all scripture and personal revelation. God, instead, reveals Himself through science, reason, and logic.

As such, while you can make a stretch to say that the U.S. was founded on a religious premise, deism would reject all forms of religious pseudoscience and superstition--which is really what atheists object to most of all.

Melon
While this is a side point, the Judeo-Christian roots of this country has been well debated before on this board. The majority of the Framers were Christians, but they did not want an established government run church - a clear rejection of the Church of England.

It seems much of the complaint here is that we have a culture heavily influenced by Christianity. I'm not sure the occasional judicial action is tantamount to a discriminatory society. If there is an element of distrust, perhaps it is rooted in the denial of something that many take as core to their very existence.
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Old 03-30-2006, 10:00 AM   #85
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader

they did not want an established government run church - a clear rejection of the Church of England.
Yes. Smart.
Thought this was appropriate:
"Religious toleration means not insulting somebody else's religion, and it is a good thing. But religious freedom means being free to reject somebody else's religion. Government should want and encourage its citizens to be tolerant of one another, but its primary responsibility is to protect its citizens' rights and freedoms. The fact that people are sometimes insulted is one cost of freedom."
-Paul Marshall is senior fellow at Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom
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Old 03-30-2006, 12:18 PM   #86
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[q]It seems much of the complaint here is that we have a culture heavily influenced by Christianity. I'm not sure the occasional judicial action is tantamount to a discriminatory society. If there is an element of distrust, perhaps it is rooted in the denial of something that many take as core to their very existence.[/q]


i think the complaint is not on the influence of Christianity on the culture, but the influence of a specific kind of Christianity on politics and government -- it is specificity of religion, any religion, that begins the process of de-secularization, which will eventually lead to a reduction of religious freedom.

also, you've got to wonder why many believers -- when the culture is, as you say, already so heavily influenced by Christianity -- feel as if their beliefs are under attack by a relatively small group of atheists who have virtually no political clout when compared to the money and organization of the Religious Right.

the distrust you mention, and it's cause, is probably partially right, but it's also incumbent upon the believer to understand that his beliefs are not shared by everyone, and that other belief systems are simply every bit as valid as his is. this dustrust you mention is a result of the believer's own prejudice, self-absorption, and resistance to a pluralistic society, nothing more.

and i don't even like the word "deny," it's very oily language, as it sets up a self-serving false dichotomy, that one either "accepts" or "denies" God/Jesus/Allah, when this isn't the case for most atheists i know who have arrived at their atheism through rigorous thought and study, and not any sort of petty refusal.
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Old 03-30-2006, 09:27 PM   #87
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511




do you know many atheists?

do you know any other religions in the US that are more aggressive than Christianity?

i think you should switch "atheists" and "Christians" around in your 3rd sentence.

fear? what else do you call mistrust?

could an atheists ever be elected president? would an atheist ever be appointed to the SCOTUS? how about a lesser judgeship?

truly, we discriminate against atheists in our society.
You're right. If a political candidate ever admitted being an atheist he'd lose the election that very second. We've only had one Jew on a national ticket (Joe Lieberman) and hell will freeze over before a Muslim will be. An atheist may have an easier time than a Muslim these days, come to think of it.
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Old 03-31-2006, 03:15 AM   #88
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Irvine511
[B]


our Constitution was based on the principles of the Enlightenment and the most dramatic of all those ideas, that which would set the New World apart from the Old World, is the separation of Church and State.

You took the words right out of my mouth. Our nation is historically Judeo-Christian in CULTURE, but our country was not founded on strictly Judeo-Christian "principles." The Constitution, the Declaration of Independence all reflect principles or ideals of the Enlightenment, a secular approach to government, and a strict seperation of church and state. The fact that God is mentioned in these documents only reflects that belief in God was "assumed" at that time, not a specific desire by the Framers to make sure that God was at the center of their new government.

Judeo-Christian principles include concepts like the importance of the 10 Commandments (not mentioned in either document), the belief in one God, that people are accountable to that one God for their action, and that no person, not even a leader is above reproach from God. This idea is not specifically promoted in the constitution. Instead these documents indicate that no leader or government is above the LAW (not of God, but of the land), and above the will of the PEOPLE (consent of the governed). Consent of the governed, a key principle of the both Decl. of Indp. and Constitution is not a Biblical or Christian principle. Heaven is not a democracy.

You might say Harvard University was founded on Christian principles (after all it has a School of Divinity) but not the United States.
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Old 03-31-2006, 02:34 PM   #89
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The framers did not advocate freedom FROM religion, just freedom OF religion.
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Old 03-31-2006, 06:56 PM   #90
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76
You're right. If a political candidate ever admitted being an atheist he'd lose the election that very second. We've only had one Jew on a national ticket (Joe Lieberman) and hell will freeze over before a Muslim will be. An atheist may have an easier time than a Muslim these days, come to think of it.
I think that this highlights an interesting cultural distinction between the US and Western Europe - in general, politicians in Europe don't make a big deal of faith issues and if anything professed religious belief is sometimes an obstacle to high office rather than the reverse - I think Tony Blair is one of the exceptions to this.
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