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Old 02-17-2004, 10:37 PM   #1
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Separation of Church and State

Any history buffs or Constitution experts out there? People always throw around "separation of church and state", but to my knowledge that is not specifically in the Constitution. I thought the original spirit of the law was freedom OF religion/religious expression, not freedom FROM religion, as the law now is currently promoted.
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Old 02-17-2004, 11:20 PM   #2
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Here's an interesting little website with some history and reason behind the separation of state:

http://members.tripod.com/~candst/


Can you explain to me how the law promotes freedom FROM religion? I don't think I follow you.
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Old 02-18-2004, 12:24 AM   #3
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Quote:
Bill of Rights

Amendment 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.
The first amendment is pretty much specifically in the Constitution.
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Old 02-18-2004, 12:26 AM   #4
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Re: Separation of Church and State

Quote:
Originally posted by bonosloveslave
I thought the original spirit of the law was freedom OF religion/religious expression, not freedom FROM religion, as the law now is currently promoted.
My religious freedom relies on being free FROM your religion.
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Old 02-18-2004, 07:33 AM   #5
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The First Amendment, as interpreted by Thomas Jefferson. You should support it; it was interpreted that way after a specific Christian denomination was trying to dominate the political arena, and another Christian denomination (Baptists, before they became all fundamentalist) wrote a letter to Jefferson in protest. That was his response.

But, I guess, people don't think it is necessary as long as THEIR religious beliefs are legislated. But wait until public schools start praying the "Hail Mary" aloud and pray the Rosary. That's when evangelicals and fundamentalists will wake up to the wisdom of the separation of church and state.

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Old 02-18-2004, 09:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha


The first amendment is pretty much specifically in the Constitution.
My point is, NOWHERE does it say, with these 5 words back to back, "SEPARATION - OF - CHURCH - AND - STATE".
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Old 02-18-2004, 09:03 AM   #7
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[Q]To Messrs. Nehemiah Dodge and Others, a Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, in the State of Connecticut
Gentleman,

The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
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 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.
I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem.


T.W. Jefferson [/Q]


In no place in this letter does Jefferson say laws cannot be created. Now from this letter can it be interpreted that he would not support the establishment of saying the rosary in a school. Yes, I agree with you.

It does not say that laws cannot be created RE: abortion and marriage.

Since when is abortion and marriage solely considered simply a religious issue.

On a final note....3 days after this letter was written.....Jefferson attended church in the House of Representatives building. That sounds very separated. Should we be honoring what Jefferson intended? What we think he intended? Was he being a hypocryte that day?
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Old 02-18-2004, 09:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by bonosloveslave


My point is, NOWHERE does it say, with these 5 words back to back, "SEPARATION - OF - CHURCH - AND - STATE".
This is the catchphrase used from the letter I posted above.

It is generally accepted that there are two clauses in the Amendment.....

#1 Establishment of a State religion
#2 Right to practice

If you read the letter above, you see where the term separation of Church and State comes from.
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Old 02-18-2004, 09:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by bonosloveslave


My point is, NOWHERE does it say, with these 5 words back to back, "SEPARATION - OF - CHURCH - AND - STATE".
Yeah...

I'm not sure I understand your point.
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Old 02-18-2004, 09:42 AM   #10
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If I may....for 150 years the term "separation of church and state" did not mean what it has meant since 1947. It was a term that was NOT used very frequently throughout the Supreme Court Rulings for the 1st 150 years because it, up until that time meant that:

1) There would be no National Religion
2) You have the Freedom to worship as you choose.

This was what separation of church and state meant until 1947. In 1947 the court changed what it meant on the issue using the Thomas Jefferson letter above to make its case. In my opinion, the Jefferson letter was misinterpreted, because it had been cited in other cases by the Supreme Court to mean something completely different in the early 1800's closer to when the letter was written.

So since 1947 spearation of church and state has been pushed into the American Psyche as something different from the intended meaning, a meaning which was held for about 150 years.
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Old 02-18-2004, 10:06 AM   #11
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Very good dreadsox. I think we have to remember what people back then thought when they read that letter from TJ to the DBA. Back then when most Western European countries had an established state religion it was very radical to not have a state church like ANglican, Presbyterian, or Roman Catholic. They did not see that phrase as meaning the bannning of religious activity on public property. So keep in mind the different defintions of church throughout time.
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Old 02-18-2004, 10:44 AM   #12
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BLS,

Has your question been answered? I can understand how frustrating it can be to see the First Amendment "no establishment of a state religion" turn into a "no religious references, even by private citizens, on public property".
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Old 02-18-2004, 11:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
[Q]

Since when is abortion and marriage solely considered simply a religious issue.
I wouldn't consider abortion, but with George W stating he wants to add an ammendment defining marriage as a union between man and woman, he's turned the issue into a religious one. He wants to add an ammendment based on his religious beliefs.
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Old 02-18-2004, 11:21 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


I wouldn't consider abortion, but with George W stating he wants to add an ammendment defining marriage as a union between man and woman, he's turned the issue into a religious one. He wants to add an ammendment based on his religious beliefs.
I am not going to turn this into a debate over abortion or marriage. It isnot just a religious issue, although people can easily tuen it into one because of the fact that a majority of the churches are opposed to this. It is easy to turn things into a religious issue if the presenter of the law is religious.

I oppose abortion not because of my religious beliefs, but because of the first ultra sound I saw.

I am for gay marriage because the most stable and loving relationship that I have based my marriage on is after my Aunt and my Aunt.

It is easy to get people riled up and say oh the religious people in this country are trying to force their religion upon us. That is not the case....in either situation.
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Old 02-18-2004, 11:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox


I am not going to turn this into a debate over abortion or marriage. It isnot just a religious issue, although people can easily tuen it into one because of the fact that a majority of the churches are opposed to this. It is easy to turn things into a religious issue if the presenter of the law is religious.

I oppose abortion not because of my religious beliefs, but because of the first ultra sound I saw.

I am for gay marriage because the most stable and loving relationship that I have based my marriage on is after my Aunt and my Aunt.

It is easy to get people riled up and say oh the religious people in this country are trying to force their religion upon us. That is not the case....in either situation.
I agree abortion goes beyond that of the religious argument.

If George or anyone else for that matter came out and gave any evidence beyond that of their personal beliefs then I would agree with you there as well, but he hasn't. Until then it will remain a religous issue.
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