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Old 12-09-2007, 12:35 PM   #301
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511




i've read Nietzsche.

i've also read a lot of other books. including Enlightenment-era philosophy.

it's never just one thing.
Then on to Locke.
John Locke, himself a Christian, was disgusted by the Christianity of Europe in his day. As were our early settlers and later our founders. But where Locke wanted tolerance Jefferson wanted government completely out of religious theology. But, but, but,but, BUT, never wanted faith out of government officials, those they governed or religion out of politics.

Romney
Quote:
Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.
Jefferson
Quote:
Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have
removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the
people that these liberties are of the gift of God?
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Old 12-09-2007, 01:08 PM   #302
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Other Jefferson quotes:

CLAIM: Alleged Thomas Jefferson from the Jefferson Memorial monument in Washington, D.C.: “God who gave us life gave us liberty and can the liberty of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis -- a conviction in the minds of people that they are the gifts of God...”

REBUTTAL: Jefferson did say this, but as with other quotes, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue of government support of religion. This quotation is taken from a famous letter in which he argues against slavery. Jefferson claimed that slavery violated a person's God-given freedom, although he also owned slaves.

Jefferson's unorthodox views on religion, as well as his distaste for Christianity, were well known even in his own day, and he was often scorned by clergy as an “atheist.” In his private letters, he writes to Dr. Woods: “I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology.”

Few of the other Founders were as strong or prolific supporters of the principle of separation of church and state as Jefferson. His most famous statement, where he popularized that phrase as an interpretation of First Amendment principles, was to the Danbury Baptist Association, which asked him to issue a Thanksgiving proclamation:


“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative 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 there,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”


His other pronouncements on the proper role of government are equally explicit:


“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

“...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no way...affect their civil capacities.”

“To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.”

“...our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.”

“I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises.”

“I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.”


These were not idle words. Jefferson's administration included absolutely no religious proclamations of any kind. He responded to reaction over this by explaining: “I know it will give great offense to the clergy, but the advocate of religious freedom is to expect neither peace nor forgiveness from them.”

Additionally, Jefferson made it quite clear that religious liberty included all people, not just Christians:


“The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason & right. It still met with opposition; but with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting ‘Jesus Christ,’ so that it would read ‘A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;’ the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohametan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.”


from:

“CHRISTIAN REVISIONISM” -- DISTORTING THE HISTORICAL RECORD FOR RELIGIOUS ENDS

http://www.atheists.org/courthouse/charlotte.html

Note: Inadvertently posted before I checked for sources for the authenticity of these quotes as I try to do particularly regarding quotations from Jefferson since I've been taken in before. However, assuming the quotes are authentic and I have found several of them in other sources such as lengthy letters by Jefferson, I'm not disputing their authenticity, just noting I haven't researched them at length.

That being said, it is clear that some Christian sites and some atheist sites have quoted Jefferson without providing a full context. Apparently researching that context is going to be my next really lengthy project. I don't think a few quotes from Thomas Jefferson in convenient sound bite and repeated without context over I'm sure thousands of sites that depict these quotes as being clear signs of Jefferson's point of view do the man much justice.
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Old 12-09-2007, 01:17 PM   #303
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Quote:
Originally posted by INDY500

Then on to Locke.
John Locke, himself a Christian, was disgusted by the Christianity of Europe in his day. As were our early settlers and later our founders. But where Locke wanted tolerance Jefferson wanted government completely out of religious theology. But, but, but,but, BUT, never wanted faith out of government officials, those they governed or religion out of politics.



i'm not sure what you're trying to get at here -- all of this has been addressed so many times before.

no one wants government officials to be avowed atheists. nor do we want it to be a requirement that they are all White Evangelical Protestants. i'm still scratching my head at the inability of intelligent posters to realize that the maintenance of the separation of church and state does not in any way mean that "people of faith" (whatever that actually means) don't run for office. it DOES mean that they realize that The Bible has nothing to say on the pressing issues of the day -- taxes, war, abortion, torture, detainment, etc -- and that to invoke God as some sort of justification for a policy or position is intellectually bogus, and as i said before, it's really immature.

immature and lazy as well.

you'll notice that both Bill Clinton and GWB are "persons of faith." Clinton went to church every sunday. but notice the different language that they use in their speeches. nearly every grand speech of Bush's has something to do with a Higher Power and other coded references to evangelicals. there's been a thorough soaking of political issues in religiosity that's started at the grass roots level, and it's why poor WEPs consistently vote against their economic self-interests because they think that Jesus thinks that Roe v. Wade should be repealed.

now, as for the West, if you're going to talk about how Democracy and individual rights are from Christianity, how about the bad things about Western Culture? how about centuries of warfare between Catholics and Protestants? how about the Inquisiton? how about Imperailism? the destruction of aboriginal cultures around the globe? the plundering of natural resources?

or do you just get to pick the good?






Quote:
Romney

Jefferson


you're really, really making leaps here, especially when you're pulling out Romney's most offensive parts -- that you're not truly free if you don't have religion, and that you cannot have religion unless you're fully free.

as Hitchens said best:

[q]Romney does not understand the difference between deism and theism, nor does he know the first thing about the founding of the United States. Jefferson's Declaration may invoke a "Creator," but, as he went on to show in the battle over the Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom, he and most of his peers did not believe in a god who intervened in human affairs or in a god who had sent a son for a human sacrifice. These easily ascertainable facts are reflected in the way that the U.S. Constitution does not make any mention of a superintendent deity and in the way that the delegates to the Constitutional Convention declined an offer (possibly sarcastic), even from Benjamin Franklin, that they resort to prayer to compose their differences. Romney may throw a big chest and say that God should be "on our currency, in our pledge," and of course on our public land in this magic holiday season, but James Madison did not think that there should be chaplains opening the proceedings of Congress or even appointed as ministers in the U.S. armed forces. Trying to dodge around this, and to support his assertion that the founders were religious in the Christian sense, Romney drones on about a barely relevant moment of emotion in 1774 and comes up with the glib slogan that "freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom." Any fool can think of an example where freedom exists without religion—and even more easily of an instance where religion exists without (or in negation of) freedom.

This does not mean that freedom of religion is not as important as freedom from it, yet Romney makes himself absurd by saying that Mormons may not be asked about the tenets of their faith, lest this infringe the constitutional ban on a religious test for public office. Here is another failure of understanding on his part. He is not being told: Answer this question in the wrong way, and you become ineligible. He is being told: Your family is prominent in a notorious church that proselytizes its views in a famously aggressive manner. Are you only now deciding to make a secret of your beliefs? And if so, why? Would he expect a Scientologist to be able to avoid questions about L. Ron Hubbard? Does the governor of Massachusetts who publicly tried for mob applause by demanding that we "double Guantanamo" (whatever that meant) add that the detainees must not be asked what branch of Islam they favor? If an atheist was running against him, would Romney make nothing of the fact? His stupid unease on this point is shown by his demagogic attack on the straw man "religion of secularism," when, actually, his main and most cynical critic is a moon-faced true believer and anti-Darwin pulpit-puncher from Arkansas who doesn't seem to know the difference between being born again and born yesterday.
[/q]
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Old 12-09-2007, 01:19 PM   #304
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Quote:
Originally posted by INDY500


Good point about organized religion. Europe hasn't abandoned religion nearly to the degree that they have abandoned "organized religion." But to Romney's speech, some of us feel it is of the utmost importance that we continue to acknowledge our religious history, character and faith; not just in private, but publicly. Not in a pious or theological way, but as Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Kennedy, Reagan and others have. The God on our money, monuments and to which we swear oaths. The God of public religion, Creation and providence.


why don't you just come out and say that atheists, agnostics, and Hindus and Buddhists aren't real Americans?

it would be so much easier.
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Old 12-09-2007, 01:38 PM   #305
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Another interesting quote:

III. Character of Jesus

His sublime morality

----- To W. Short, 1820

"It is not to be understood that I am with him [Jesus] in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist; he takes the side of Spiritualism; he preaches the efficacy of repentance towards forgiveness of sin; I require a counterpoise of good works to redeem it, etc. It is the innocence of his character, the purity and sublimity of his moral precepts, the eloquences of his inculcations, the beauty of the apologues in which he conveys them, that I so much admire; sometimes, indeed, needing indulgence to eastern hyperbolism. My eulogies, too, may be founded on a postulate which all may not be ready to grant. Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others, again, of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being. I separate, therefore, the gold from the dross; restore to him the former, and leave the latter to the stupidity of some, and roguery of others of his disciples. Of this band of dupes and impostors, Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and first corruptor of the doctrines of Jesus."
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Old 12-09-2007, 01:49 PM   #306
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Quote:
:
“CHRISTIAN REVISIONISM” -- DISTORTING THE HISTORICAL RECORD FOR RELIGIOUS ENDS
http://www.atheists.org/courthouse/charlotte.html
At least you're honest for siting sources.

Quote:
Jefferson made it quite clear that religious liberty included all people, not just Christians
No argument here. So did Romney

Quote:
Jefferson's unorthodox views on religion, as well as his distaste for Christianity, were well known even in his own day
Yet he knew the Bible frontwards and backwards (famously cutting out the potions he objected to) and during his presidency allowed church services to be held in both the Treasury building and the Supreme Court building.
Quote:
Jefferson did say this, but as with other quotes, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue of government support of religion.
That's secular revisionism in itself. Jefferson may have been repulsed by zealous Christians but he was also contemptuous of absolute secularism. One can compare the American Revolution to the French Revolution for evidence of that or this letter to Benjamin Rush in 1803:
Quote:
(On Christian religion) I promised you, that one day or other, I would give you my views of it. They are the result of a life of inquiry & reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself.
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Old 12-09-2007, 02:14 PM   #307
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Quote:
Originally posted by INDY500
Romney:
Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.
See, this is the only part where I think Romney tripped up. Religion requires freedom, but not vice versa. You wouldn't catch a Founder saying "Freedom requires religion." I can understand why this quote would make some people uncomfortable...it does me.

Otherwise I think it was a solid and sometimes soaring speech. It's the first time someone other than Obama sounded a little presidential.
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Old 12-09-2007, 02:20 PM   #308
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"At least you're honest for siting sources"


I am always honest in the sources I cite. I'm not hiding anything. and I'm not trying to be disingenuous. I'm uncomfortable when only one side is presented as the full story, whatever my personal viewpoint might be. I would have presented the counterquotes if I thought Jefferson was being presented as an atheist. I've quoted against my own positions before.
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Old 12-09-2007, 02:42 PM   #309
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Indy, your Jefferson quote:

Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have
removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the
people that these liberties are of the gift of God?

Would you cite your source?
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Old 12-09-2007, 02:55 PM   #310
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511




why don't you just come out and say that atheists, agnostics, and Hindus and Buddhists aren't real Americans?

it would be so much easier.
Because I believe in the free exercise of" that includes also the choice not to exercise. But I also believe (as did the Founders and presidents after) that religious virtue, liberty and freedom of expression are essential to a democratic government and a pluralistic society. However, today's secularists don't seem to be content to coexist with this religious influence, they want all religious-based morality, traditions, symbols and speech removed from the public sphere.
Call it "The Culture War" or call it "The American Enlightenment" but there most certainly is a struggle between "traditionalists" and "progressives" taking place for the -- dare I say it? -- soul of America.
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Old 12-09-2007, 02:56 PM   #311
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Quote:
Originally posted by INDY500
[B]
No argument here. So did Romney

nope. he made no room for those of no faith at all. there's no discussion about this. it was a conscious choice on his part to eliminate them from his vision of America.
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Old 12-09-2007, 03:03 PM   #312
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Quote:
Originally posted by INDY500


Because I believe in the free exercise of" that includes also the choice not to exercise.


but Romney doesn't.


[q]But I also believe (as did the Founders and presidents after) that religious virtue, liberty and freedom of expression are essential to a democratic government and a pluralistic society. However, today's secularists don't seem to be content to coexist with this religious influence, they want all religious-based morality, traditions, symbols and speech removed from the public sphere. [/q]

it's amazing how much you've bough the War on Christmas. this is all such new, past-10-years stuff, and really just an extension of an overall cultural war. if you're talking about people freaking out over a nativity scene, i might agree with you. if you're talking about people objecting to the placement of the 10 Commandments in front of the Alabama State Supreme Court, then i don't agree with you at all. i can't believe you don't see the clear, focused, and direct push to try to get the government to endorse a very specific kind of religion -- because it results in more votes from WEP's, and thusly a specific political party extends its power.

why on earth are Republican candidates asked if they believe every word of the Bible? is this a remotely relevant question? the answer is yes and no. no, as in, of course it doesn't matter. but yes, because it matters how they answer, and if a Republcian candidate were to take a looser view of the Bible, then he'd risk losing a specific kind of vote from the Republican base.





Quote:
Call it "The Culture War" or call it "The American Enlightenment" but there most certainly is a struggle between "traditionalists" and "progressives" taking place for the -- dare I say it? -- soul of America.

even that last statement is wildly presumptuous. many don't beleive in a soul. Hindus and Buddhists believe in something qutie different. it's a cultural war that's started in a reaction to the increasing pluralization of America, an America that has traditionally ascribed equal unimportance to all faiths, and has thusly been able to all all those of all faiths to practice as they see fit. this is how it has always worked. it's been in response to this increasing diversity of thought and opinion that you've seen this kind of zealous reactionary thought and revisionism that would have been utterly tasteless 40 years ago, this (as it's been continually cited to you) co-opting of even the "foudning fathers" as White Evangelical Protestants.
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Old 12-09-2007, 03:10 PM   #313
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No one has ever won Iowa courting the atheist/agnostic vote.

He was pointing out his similarities with Christians, period. Specifically the ones who might be afraid to vote for a Mormon. And obviously laying it on a little thick for the crowd he's trying to reach. But that doesn't mean he doesn't share anything in common with non-believers.
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Old 12-09-2007, 03:18 PM   #314
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint
Indy, your Jefferson quote:

Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have
removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the
people that these liberties are of the gift of God?

Would you cite your source?
I'm most familiar with it as the first half of Panel Three of the Jefferson Memorial,
Quote:
"God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever. Commerce between master and slave is despotism. Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free. Establish a law for educating the common people. This it is the business of the state and on a general plan."
but I know the words are taken from his 1785 Notes on the State of Virginia, which I have not read in full.
However, while written specifically about slavery, I find it completely consistent with his famous words form the Declaration.
Quote:
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
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Old 12-09-2007, 03:24 PM   #315
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511



nope. he made no room for those of no faith at all. there's no discussion about this. it was a conscious choice on his part to eliminate them from his vision of America.
He didn't mention Pantheists either. So I guess volcano worshippers have no place in "Romney's America" either.
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