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View Diary: Western Dems embrace Dean (318 comments)

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  •  I'll address the religion aspect (4.00)
    Because I'm sick to death of the spin coming from Republicans about this.  No one - not any Democrat, not any court, is trying to tell Christians they can't practice or talk about their religion.  But the bottom line is (and this has been established by the courts for decades - it isn't new to this conservative-dominated SCOTUS), the first amendment also ensures a separation of church and state via the establishment clause.  

    This means the state can't tell the church who to allow in their congregation, what to believe, when and how to practice their religion, or (this is important, so pay attention) what marriages to recognize and perform.  It also means the state can't favor one religion over another, and the church can't tell the state what to believe or which god is correct.  

    So should there be prayer in school?  Not as long as my taxes are paying for it.  Should a child be able to wear a shirt that reads "saved by Jesus" (I'm just making up an example here) to school?  Sure!  That's his or her choice.  Should the 10 commandments be posted in courtrooms?  Not as long as my taxes are paying for it.  

    You see, I also have a right to have my beliefs respected by the state.  We have a secular government, that should take no opinion on matters of religion.  You should be free to practice your beliefs in your way.  But when I have to pay for your beliefs, that's when the line has been crossed.

    The establishment clause has never meant, and has never been interpreted to mean, that religion must be removed from American public life.  I don't care which lawmakers are religious; I assume most of them are as most Americans are.  If they want to attend church or pray in their office, so much the better for them.  But the bible does not trump the law in our nation; it never has and I certainly hope it never will.  Remember that the establishment clause was designed primarily to protect churches from state interference in their dealings.  Once you remove that protection, the door is open for, let's say, Tom Delay to get a bill passed that requires all Episcopalean churches to adopt the Southern Baptist bylaws.  Or Rick Santorum to get a bill passed requiring all Baptist churches to begin saying Catholic Mass.  

    This is not what you want, nor is it what I want.  I want your beliefs, and mine, out of the public(ly funded) square.  Let the government be the government and the church be the church - stand on the street corner and proselytize, stand outside the post office and pray, I don't care.  But don't make me pay for your beliefs, and I won't make you pay for mine.

    The goal for the government is neutrality.  Just let them stay out of it.

    •  Clarity on school prayer (4.00)
      If a student wants to sit in class and pray, that's really his or her own decision.  Whatever.  However, if that praying involved distracting other students or causes the student to miss out on assignments, there should be consequences, just as if I decided to talk politics in class instead of paying attention.  If there's down time in the class and that prayer doesn't distract from learning, good for them.  Piety isn't a bad thing, as long as it's in it's place like everything else.  

      The bible teaches us there is a season for everything.   This includes a time to learn, and a time to pray.

    •  I had an epiphany! (4.00)
      You said something AMAZING: "Remember that the establishment clause was designed primarily to protect churches from state interference in their dealings."

      The current Christian Right doesn't believe that statement to be true any more!  They believe government should protect the church!  For the first time since our country's inception a decent sized group wants to DO AWAY with the Establishment Clause because they are whacked enough to believe that because they are the majority there need be no separation anymore!  They not only WANT government involved by giving them money and spreading their programs but they seek the REVERSE as well, they want to spread Christianity INTO government.  They betray the VERY REASON this country was founded, to FLEA A STATE RUN RELIGION!

      These religious nutbags love to quote the Founders and say dumb ass things like "we were founded on a Judeo-Christian" philosophy so what is the harm if we simply implement those beliefs into every part of government?  They couldn't be more wrong!  Even IF the Founders were Evangelicals (which they were not) the ABSOLUTE LAST thing they would want is ANY entanglement in ANY aspect of religion other than to protect religion to the extent that it should be free to exist.

      Not sure if that did anything for anyone but I feel like I see the issue more clearly for some reason.  Great posts btw everyone!

      "The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country." -RFK

      by apmiller on Mon Jul 18, 2005 at 09:19:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Looks like ther is still work to do... (none)
      Thomas Jefferson to Jeremiah Moore, August 14, 1800
      "The clergy, by getting themselves established by law, & ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man. They are still so in many countries & even in some of these United States. Even in 1783, we doubted the stability of our recent measures for reducing them to the footing of other useful callings. It now appears that our means were effectual."

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