Friday, December 02, 2005

Bad Blogger! (and a Constitutional Study)

Man, I've been a bad blogger the last couple of weeks with all the sickness going around (and now I've caught a freakin' cold) and holiday busy-ness. I've de-volved all the way back to a multicellular organism. Damn. I was an amphibian before Thanksgiving. Maybe I need to slather that Lip Explosion all over and see what happens. Maybe it would turn me into some kind of super-species. Maybe not.

I'm sorry that I've gotten behind on reading and commenting on all my favorite blogs. I will try to catch up this weekend. And I thought of a good post to work on. Fox and Friends were talking about the Separation of Church and State and how so many people don't understand what that really means. Well, I might as well go ahead and say what I was thinking since I'm here anyway.

Here's what the Constitution says:

Article I (First Amendment)

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.

We have to remember that our founding fathers were reacting to England's struggles with the establishment of an 'official' religion. There was tremendous persecution done on behalf of religious differences. This was one of the main reasons that the colonists came here. This is why this issue is put first in the First Amendment. It was that important. It still is.

Let's look at what it says exactly. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." What that means is that there will be no law that establishes an National Religion of any kind. What it does not mean is that there can't be laws that respect religious establishments. But to hear some people talk you'd think that's what they think it means. They are totally misreading it. They want to think it means that the government can't have any religious expressions. But that's NOT what it says. People who object to "In God We Trust" on our money and "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and any other phrase that mentions God or any other religious concept are actually VIOLATING the First Amendment. They want to conveniently forget that "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" part. Hello? Free exercise thereof. That means that I have every right to say Christmas, and so does my kids' school and the courthouse and any other person or place that wants to. Calling a decorated tree in a government building a 'Christmas tree' is NOT establishing a religion. It is only the free exercise thereof.

I know some people will say, "Oh, but what about other religions? Why can't they have whatever to celebrate their holidays? If you have a Christmas tree then you should have a Hanukkah tree or whatever too." Well, no one is stopping someone from doing that if they really want it. If you have a town that is mostly Jewish then they would probably focus on their own traditions. If a Christian minority there felt left out then they could do something of their own. Big deal. With freedom comes the responsibility to respect other views. That's what the whole First Amendment is about anyway. And that applies equally to atheists, fundamentalists, and everyone else. If someone is offended by a Christmas tree then they need to reread their history and the Constitution.

Our founding fathers were very spiritual people. They believed in God, and they believed that Divine Providence guided them in creating our nation. People need to go back and reread the Declaration of Independence. For your convenience here are the first two and the last paragraphs:

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

...

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

There is a lot of mention of God in there. In today's political environment if we were trying to establish our Independence from Britain it would never happen because of all the dumbasses who can't understand plain English and who refuse to try. That really scares me and bothers me.

32 comments:

DHammett said...

One quick point. Liberals love to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, and it's right that they do. But they also love to abridge the freedoms of others. If somebody's opinions, displays, etc. don't agree with theirs, then liberals find them offensive and campaign to do away with them.

"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."
Voltaire

DHammett said...

Oh, and one other thing. Atheism is a religious belief. Isn't, then, not respecting all religions in government promoting atheism as a state religion?

BipolarPrincess said...

I completely agree, although it got me thinking. If I lived in a Muslim town, would I want to be around people celebrating "Happy 9/11"?

Chris said...

dhammett: To be fair, most athiests would claim that to be an athiest is to be completely devoid of religion, and that to call it a religion is to miss the point, but what you're saying is still valid. By removing all traces of religion from public buildings, the government can be seen as tacitly advocating an athiest viewpoint.

And, I really don't care about a Christmas tree in city hall, but I have to admit to a bit of unease at the thought of the 10 Commandments prominently displayed in a courthouse. Given the Commandments' place as the word of law in the Bible, it could lead some to believe that the law of the state would begin to tie itself to biblical law, which then begins to tie the state itself with Christianity, and that makes those who aren't Christian a tad nervous.

So, I'm for the respectful and reasonable placement of religious imagerey on public lands, so long as we can at least agree not to call America a "Christian nation".

DHammett said...

The first amendment says "Congress shall make no law..." That clause does not seem to address what a state or local government can do. Does this, then, become a states rights issue if we're not talking about a display on federal grounds?

And Chris, the ten commandments are also the law of the Israelites from the Torah. It is not a strictly Christian symbol. And it would be in error to assert that the commandments did not exist as a foundation, in part, for our legal system.

Also, I would also argue that a religion is a system of beliefs. Atheism is a belief that there is no god. And most atheists are as adamant about their beliefs as most Christians, Muslims, Hindus, etc. are about theirs, and their beliefs affect how they lead their lives.. That sounds pretty much like a religion to me.

Rae Ann said...

dh, you're so right about that. Liberals are the worst to condemn the views that aren't their own. And the atheist state has failed in all the communist countries that have tried to eliminate religion. Even in China there are religious conflicts that we don't usually hear about.


princess, I think if they celebrated that as a religious holiday I'd have to move far away or return fire.

chris, yeah, that was well put. I don't really have a problem with the Ten Commandments though because I see them as a historical root of law. Placing them in a courthouse is a lot like putting a copy of the Declaration of Independence there too because of the historical significance. The religious significance is more personal for people.

dh, yeah, that probably would fall into states' rights. That's another problem Liberals have. They don't like when different states have different laws.

Assorted Babble by Suzie said...

It bothers me too! Thank you Rae Ann for writing and explaining to ones that do not understand what is happening with this hot issue about Christmas in reference to the Constitution. Actually 95% of all American celebrate this holiday, and I do not feel that the remaining 5% should dictate, change or attempt to take away our right to do so in the overall spectrum of acknowledging it publicly. As you said - "They want to think it means that the government can't have any religious expressions."

These small groups have been chipping away little by little, but they went too far trying to take Christmas out of the holiday. It has made me conscience of saying Happy Holidays vs Merry Christmas, prior to this I never had to worry about that. Now I feel I am in a position to take a stand.

If people knew the history of the official religion of England then... they would understand our Constitution and founding father's intentions much clearer.

Merry Christmas to all!!!

mr_g said...

For those of you who grew up in the Christian majority, it is, I'm sure, difficult to emphatihze with someone complaining about issues like a Christmas tree on Gvt. property. While not a religious symbol of Christmas, it has become a widely recognized symbol of the holiday -- I've never heard it called a "Winter Tree" or "Holiday Tree'.

While I can only speak from my own Jewish perspective and don't represent all non-Christians, I can tell you how Christmas programs in school as a child and the forcing of this religious holiday down my throat made me feel: Like I Didn't Fit In. Every year around the holiday time I dreaded having to explain why singing Silent Night with it's line "Christ the Savior is Born" was something that made me feel uncomfortable at best and like I was doing something against my religion at worst.

I guess I will never understand why religion can't be kept in the home and church (or synangogue, mosque etc.) and out of public areas such as schools or government - except for purposes of teaching about or providing information about it.

I think Government -- local, state or federal -- can respect all religions without giving endorsement to any particular one...despite the number of its members.

Yes, our founding fathers were deeply religious, God fearing men. And the religious make-up of our country has changed drastically over the years. I believe that to be seen as being just to all religions, and those who chose no religion,staying completely out of the religion game is a reasonable expectation for ALL levels of government. There is Absolutely No Reason for my tax dollars to support anything that promotes any particular religion. This has nothing to do with my religious views. I just want my government to appear and be free of bias to any and all religions - and those who claim none. When that failed to happen in Europe over fifty years ago, most of my own family was put to death by their own governments! So perhaps my perspective is a bit different because of that.

Oh, and the generalizations about liberals are rather liberal generalizations! A little too general in my opinion.

mr_g said...

And thanks again for always allowing divergent points of view. I hope I didn't sound like a cornered ass. It's kind of a hot topic for me this time of year.

DHammett said...

People can criticize generalizations and, many times, rightly so. However, whether you want to use the word "liberal" or choose something more politically correct, the fact remains that suppression of free speech is coming from the left side of the aisle. You don't see conservatives wringing their hands about religious displays, Christian, Jewish or otherwise. You don't see conservatives complaining that they are offended by what others say. It's time to stop being overly sensitive.

I can appreciate what your forbears went through. I come from a group of immigrants that suffered persecution, too. Granted not to anything close to the extent of the holocaust; nobody else really has. But to intimate that it might be going to happen in the US, just because of religious displays around Christmas is silly.

And the cost of these displays is de minimis. Please.

mr_g said...

I'm not linking religious displays to genocide. What I'm saying is that when we forget history, we're doomed to repeat it. And as HItler DID show, it doesn't happen overnight. It begins with baby steps.

And suppression of free speech is coming from the right as well - recent inconsistent FCC crackdowns on specific targeted individuals while ignoring others, and now the desire of certain folks in congress to regulte satellite and cable - pay services - so that W's buddies at Clear Channel can continue their domination and high profits. Conservatives have repeatedly attempted to censor the arts over he years. Instead of religious displays, they wring their hands over a bare-breasted statue. The difference is, most liberals who are up in arms about these displays on public property don't care what is done on private property with private money. It's simply a matter of this being a multi-cultural nation with many religious practices -Chrisitanity being the most prevelant and one with the longest established history here. However, that doesn't make it appropriate for government to sponsor displays of a religious nature that promote that --or any -- specific religion. I don't care about equal time for me or anyone else. Keep religion in the home, place of worship or in the public sector PRIVATELY. While I'll happily wish someone a Merry Christmas when they say it to me, inside I'm really thinking "Why?" Regardless of the fact that it's become a common thing in our culture, celebrating Christmas to me is, and will always be, a religious thing. Since goverment is by me, for me and of me -- no more or no less than my Christian countrymen, it should not spend my money to endorse promotion of ANY religion. In my opinion it should be "religion neutral". For justice to truly be blind and for people to really feel that there is equity, that's the only way.

With respect to liberals and conservatives the real difference is where the focus is, not the specific action (spending, censorship etc.). Both sides spend like drunken sailors and try to censor what they deem inappropriate. One wants big government to protect people from everyone and everything around them & the other wants it to protect people from themselves.

DHammett said...

I agree that that's not history that we'd want to repeat, but there are no budding Hitlers in the US and there are not ever going to be. Not W. Not Cheney. Not Teddy. Not Boxer, even. Get real.

If you're referring to Howard Stern and the the FCC, you can't be serious. There have been standards in broadcasting for years. This isn't some new conservative plot to suppress free speech. And standards are a good thing.

TV has had standards for broadcast networks, too. Over the years I have been watching, those standards have gotten ever looser. That, unfortunately, is to the detriment of society. I can recall when married couples in TV sitcoms slept in twin beds. Now, daytime TV has couples virtually making love. And there is partial nudity at night. This is progress?

Conservatives aren't raising a ruckus over bare breasted statues. They're complaining about works of "art", funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (the NEA, not to be confused with the NEA) like a crucifix in a jar of urine. There was another piece that consisted of elephant dung flung onto a canvas. Sorry, but if that's what you call censorship, I'll take it every time. And these are publicly funded. That's what you should be complaining about, not Christmas trees and menorahs.

I'll agree with you about both parties being big spenders. I've never seen anything like this. It amounts to buying votes and nothing more. Lobbyists ought to be outlawed and politicians who accept gifts or favors of any kind ought to be thrown out of office. Of course, the same thing goes on in the private sector. I remember going to a baseball game one evening and chatting with the man sitting next to me. I had purchased my tickets (which were very difficult to come by at the time) from a co-worker who had season tickets. I asked the man if he were a season ticket holder. He said no, he was a purchaser for a company, but never bought anything from anybody who didn't offer tickets or something else he wanted. Incredible! Do we have a right to expect more from our elected officials than we would do ourselves?

mr_g said...

As for the "..no budding Hitlers" that always remains to be seen. What happened in Europe in the 1940's has happened before and since in other places. There are budding Hitlers everywhere.

I actually read transcripts of the shows for which Stern was fined. I also read transcripts from an Oprah show which aired at 3PM, when children are coming home from school. The Oprah show was clearly more graphically sexual...describing, in detail, "Rainbow Parties" where teens have oral sex, and the guy with the most different colors of lipstick is the winner. The Stern show in question received over 1,000 complaints from members of one organization and five complaints not related to that organization. Oprah had many more unrelated complaints, yet according to a person working with the FCC she's "beloved" and they won't be going after her. I have no problem with standards if they're applied justly to all.

I also remember married couples sleeping in separate beds. Personally, I don't think this "progress" is a detriment to society. In my opinion, too much of a big deal is being made out of nothing. It's art imitating life, not the other way around. I imagine we will never agree on this one.

Spending: Finally something upon which we do agree! :) To answer your last question, Yes, I believe we do have a right to expect more from our officials. We seldom receive it, but I think it's a reasonable expectation of someone in public service. I think if you are an elected official representing constituents, you have an obligation to model the behavior you expect from your citizens. We can't expect people to respect the laws and each other if our elected officials don't. This is one of the reasons I'll never run for office. This and the fact I have a general disdain for politicians and political rhetoric in general - I don't always color within the party lines.

sideshow bob said...

I support mr g...rae ann, you made an important point in your post about people leaving Europe because of persecution due to religious differences. Relgious differences have become quite a problem in this country, and it seems to me that you think of the people you refer to as liberals as being non-Christian...in fact, most liberals are Christian...and this seems like a sort of intolerence of their political or social views due to an intolerance of their religious views (eg. because they have liberal viewpoints they can't be real Christians).

Would it be a big deal to you if our money said "In Allah We Trust"? If so, you appear to have something in common with those who are upset by "In God We Trust".


One of the rules of history is things that people say will never happen often do.

DHammett said...

Mr G. - are you saying conservatives support Oprah? I think Stern is certainly a lightning rod, but he's spent years making himself one. Some of the things he's done on his show (both radio and TV) can legitmiately be considered obscene. Oprah is a media darling. But that does not make bad behavior (in the form of a show with graphic content) excusable. This is the first I'd heard of that episode, but if that's what her shows are like, then yes, absolutely, she should be taken to task as well.

The FCC is a watchdog agency formed to ensure that programming to which the general public has unfettered access is decent, just like the FDA makes sure the goods we consume are fit for consumption. Fining Stern tells me they're trying to do their job. Oprah should be fined, too, if her content is as graphic as you've described. On the other hand, I have no problem with cable or satellite radio carrying avant garde programming. People have to go out of their way to get it.

Bob - who has said that Christians can't have liberal views? But the other side of that coin is, how many atheists are conservative?

And it's easy to say that the minute a person says something will never happen, it will. Murphy's law and all that. However, the political climate in Germany and Europe in the years leading up to World War ll was uniquely suited for somebody like Hitler to do what he did. There is no such climate now, and there won't be in the US, so long as you and I are able to discuss ideas freely, as we are right now. Even if the press doesn't keep people accountable (which, despite my disappointment in media coverage in general, they do), bloggers won't let politicians get away with anything. Take the forged National Guard letter during the last presidential campaign, for example. It didn't take long for the truth to come out and the letter to be exposed. And with our two party system, one won't let the other get away with anything. There's an ebb and flow of political power between the parties in this country that keeps things in check.

mr_g said...

DHammett - I'm not saying conservatives necessarily support Oprah. But I don't think it's a coincidence that almost immediately after changing his positon on the war, Clear Channel, a big Bush supporter and whose chairman is a family friend, pulled Stern from six markets and made a big deal about it. I believe the FCC has been overzealous with Stern and not taken other complaints, like Oprah, as seriously. I'll see if I can find the link I had to the transcripts and post it for you...rather mind blowing. Am I saying Bush is out to get Howard. No. Do I think it? ........

Footprint said...

Hi all. I heard mention that our Founding Fathers were God-fearing peoples. Have some quotes from Mr. Jefferson:
"Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity."
-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

"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 the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination."

-Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom
"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent."
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Hopkinson, March 13, 1789

FYI The Christmas tree is a pagan symbol. Between Hitler and the Athiests I have forgotten the point of what I wanted to right. I think the line in government should be drawn when it favors ONE religion. Tolerance should be the religion. RESPECT of one another should be the highest moral code. Religions who preach love thy neighbor with the Koran or Torah or Bible or Wiccan Rede in one hand and a knife in the other deserve no consideration only condemnation. I HATE those that HATE.
Carry the paradox and realize that we are all human. And with respect to promiscuous teenagers, try talking to them, being a parent, educating them. I was raised with one parent and turned out OK.
Just my humble opinion.

Rae Ann said...

OKay, I've been extremely busy and haven't gotten to give this the proper attention. From the bottom first, for now:

Footprint: Your Jefferson quotes are interesting, yes. But I didn't mention anything about the founding fathers being Christian. They were Theists. Personally, and if you've been a regular reader you might have picked up on this, I have many beefs with Christianity myself. I am quite familiar with the pagan origins of nearly all of the Christian holiday festivities, including the choice of Dec. 25 because it corresponds closely with the Solstice pagan celebrations of the 'rebirth' of the Sun/Son, etc. and so on. However, the First Amendment spells out that "Congress can make no laws that prohibit the free exercise of religion." I think that applies to all religions, regardless. So why is it that the religion of the majority must be denied? I don't see this as so much a legal issue as one of etiquette and as you said, tolerance. This means that the minority must be as tolerant, respectful, considerate, etc. of the majority as vice versa. Thanks for your comment. btw, awesome profile pic!

Rae Ann said...

sideshow bob, please go back and reread my entire post without injecting things that I didn't say. I appreciate all comments, but I get a little annoyed when it sounds like someone only skimmed it and the previous comments. As for "In Allah We Trust" well, 'allah' isn't the word we use for god in our language. It is the arabic word for god. Allah and God mean the same thing to me, but that's a whole other post.

Basically, I think your point is like this rather extreme yet accurate comparison: Say we put In Apples We Trust on our money. What you are saying is that people should get all upset whether we say "Granny Smith" or "Red Delicious" or "Fuji" (my particular favorite apples). Apples are apples. And God is God.

And yes, I AM intolerant of people who are inconsistent and contradictory in their views, whether they are liberal or conservative or whatever. As I said in my comment to footprint, I expect the minority to be just as tolerant and respectful of my rights as I must be to theirs. What I was saying about liberals is that very often they are the first to cry 'foul' when conservatives defend themselves, their rights, and their views. Liberals are the intolerant ones just as often if not more so than the conservatives.

Rae Ann said...

mr g, I'm not sure where to start. LOL Okay, Howard Stern and Oprah. I never listened to Stern on the radio so I can't really say if I think he is obscene. I have watched his show on E late at night. If his radio show is anything like that then there is NO comparison to Oprah. I don't care for Oprah either, and I can't believe anyone would actually want to buy a dvd of her 'best shows' or whatever. WHY would anyone waste money on THAT? (yeah, I'm exercising my right to free expression which is also expressing a mild brand of intolerance for Oprah fans, but my intolerance only goes as far as saying that, but I would never go so far as to tell them they CAN'T buy an Oprah dvd if they want to waste their money on that sort of thing.)

The only possible budding Hitlers I see are the ACLU. Surely you can imagine how it feels for the Christians in this country when they are attacked and condemned and their rights are suppressed.

The separation of church and state doesn't mean that God or religious expressions should be totally absent from federal places, etc. It means that no one religion can become a National Religion that everyone must follow.

As our country's diversity grows we will learn how to incorporate things so that all will feel included. I think our country is growing, and these are some of those growing pains that are inevitable.

As always, thanks for commenting.

Rae Ann said...

dh, grazie, amo vostro pensare!

mr_g said...

Rae Ann, you'll neither ever be able to include all nor should we as a nation have to. The easiest solution is to keep religion out of government. That keeps the appearance of propriety, rather than impropriety. It shows that while any American can express his/her religion publically, the government will refrain from doing so, so as not to make people any religion or lack thereof feel like second class citizens because they are not of the majority religion.

My personal belief is schools, governments etc should be completely secular - and No, that does not make me a secularist. I don't believe individuals should be stopped from expressing their religious beliefs or observing their traditions - even publically. Just not on my dime and not in such a way so that I feel like a second class citizen for not being a part of it.

I think that's the part you'll never understand, the feeling that in the eyes of everyone else you're less than them because you don't celebrate Christmas. I've been put down for it and downright villified! I still have not heard one good reason for religion in the public sector, not one. Because of Judeo-Christian principals contributing to our founding? Not enough. We don't have slavery any more, and that was a major part of our counry's history - but it's not a part now. I'm not saying don't make religion a part. Just keep it where it belongs -- The Hell Out Of My Government! I want a government that is completely free from bias about religion. IF my government, directly or indirectly, supports a religion, it implies that there is bias against those not of that religon. That's experience and years of events talking. THAT's my frame of reference.

That's why there are places of worship and private homes. That's why there are public places that can be rented out and used for private or even wide open-to-the-public religious celebrations. Just please give me one good reason why that should happen with any government sanction? I still don't see the logic or the need. I only see the Christian majority flexing their muscle to remind the rest of us that they still, in effect, run this country.

Sorry, I know how that sounds, but this really hits home in a way I can't begin to explain. This has been a struggle for me my whole life. And to have people underemphasize - whether intentinally or not -- the experience of being a non-Christian in America,is rather difficult to read without going ballistic.

Rae Ann said...

mr g, I will admit that it is hard for me to understand just how excluded you've felt over religion. I haven't met many Jewish people so it's new to me to hear that perspective. I think there would have to be a Constitutional Amendment to completely eliminate religion from 'public' (in the sense of government) life. But doing that would completely nullify the First Amendment. And no one, except the radicals who are trying to kill us, really wants that. Free expression comes at a price, for all of us. I don't want my tax dollars paying for abortions, but they do.

And why is it that our economy depends so heavily on Christmas? I think people should put their mouths were their money is.

mr_g said...

I guess that when I see a White House Christmas Tree, or a Nativity scene at a city hall, or hear "Silent Night" in a Christmas play at a public school, I can't help but feel a twinge in my stomcah. It just goes to make me and other like me become that much warier of government and mistrustful of conspiracies that may not even be there.

And I really don't believe that keeping government religion-free is destroying the First Amendment. It's simply saying that by government sponsoring certain religious activities, it gives the defacto appearance of favoring one relilgion over others. And when that religon is one that is practiced by the majority of the country, it further goes to bring about feelings of alienation and mistrust in non-Christians.

Again, I still don't get WHY I need anybody else's religion in my face at all. Besides the fact that Macy's shareholders need a good divdend return this quarter....

Footprint said...

Theists?? Poly- or Mono- or Non- Theists??

Here are some links about the persecution of Christians in America.
Example 1, Example 2,
Example 3
Example 4, Example 5, Example 6, Example 6, Example 7, Example 8

I stenuously disagree with your assessment that the Needs of the Many, Outweight the Needs of the Few. Make the weaker religions be the only ones humble and respectful. You can play that card with race and sexism if you want to push it. Where does it end??

Yes, you're right, I came in the show late. But i had trouble getting tickets. Here are the Thomas Jefferson Christianity Quotes.

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

The courts have generally held that anytime an official act of government endorses one religion, that violates the establishment clause, and I agree. Cristians (and Jews and Muslims and Rastafarians, etc.) are free to practice their religion, but not as part of a government act. It's not majority rule, it's minority protection.

I think it's pretty silly to claim that Christians are persecuted if they aren't allowed to use the tax dollars of Jews, atheists, etc. to promote their religion - and that's exactly what they are doing when they put Christian symbols in the public places in public buildings.

The vast majority of Americans are, or at least consider themselves, Christians. They are free to practice their religion in a million or so churches, their own homes, their offices, etc., so how can you call them persecuted just because they aren't allowed to rub everybody else's nose in their minority status.

Rae Ann said...

footprint and cip, you both seem to want to misinterpret my statements. I'm NOT saying that the minoritie should be "humble" or that the needs of the many outweighs the needs of the few. What I AM saying is that I want EQUAL rights for ALL. It's like an equation. my rights = your rights. In the guise of protecting the interests of the minority it is Un-Constitutional to limit MY rights. That's all I'm saying. Don't read into it things I'm not saying.

One of my big problems with the 'pro-choice' movement is that it denies rights to MEN. Giving the woman 100% control over an embryo that is 50% the father's genetic material isn't EQUAL. If you're wanting equal rights for ALL then you've got to give and protect them to ALL whether they are the majority or the minority, the weak or the strong. Protecting rights does NOT equal taking away someone else's rights.

Theism = belief in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of man and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world.

I think it's pretty silly to spend my tax dollars on a lot of things, but that doesn't make them WRONG.

The courts that have said that holiday displays in public buildings, etc. is an 'endorsement' of a particular religion are taking the easy way out of the issue. Sure, it's easier to say "a Christmas tree in city hall is endorsing Christianity so remove it" than to say "let the Christmas tree stay" and find a way to make everyone happy. Even in Communist China they are beginning to celebrate Christmas.

Do you want the US to go the way of Communism and totally ban all religious displays from public areas? All of your arguments lead in that direction. I know that's NOT what our founding fathers had in mind with the First Amendment.

And the only thing I'm rubbing anyone's nose in is their selfish contradictions in wanting to express themselves freely but not letting others do the same.

Footprint said...

Rae, please stop making so much sense. You may upset someone. Ok, now that you have explained yourself I may now agree with you b/c that is the way I feel.
The pro-choice thing, it's a matter of posession, the 9/10th equation, and I don't want to discuss it.
Um, ok. Good work.

Rae Ann said...

mr g, I just thought of this snappy comeback. You said: "Again, I still don't get WHY I need anybody else's religion in my face at all."

And I say: For the same reason that gays are allowed to be in our faces with their gayness. I'm NOT criticizing gays here. Just giving another example of free expression that might be offensive to some segment of the population.

footprint, thanks! I like to clear up any misunderstandings. lol

Assorted Babble by Suzie said...

Hey Rae Ann, I don't know about you but I am being attacked and especially by a far left blogger viciously. This is not our friends I am speaking of...it is others out there. Anyway, thanks for commenting on my post today...and I agree with YOU whole-heartedly. I am wore out from this starting early on Friday.

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

I don't want to ban religious displays from public places - I just don't want the government endorsing any religion, explicitly or implicitly. Individuals, churches, businesses and whoever else should be free to put up whatever religious display they want.

Paul Begala talks about growing up near Sugarland Texas - when he was a kid the public school he was in had a fundamentalist Christian sermon delivered over the PA everyday while the two Jewish kids in the school stood outside in the hall. I understand that there are plenty of people who want to go back to that, but I don't.

Rae Ann said...

cip, I don't think anyone here is wanting that. I don't. But I recall when I was in school that they did make groups of kids who wanted to pray in the morning go outside of school to do it.

suzie, if I'm being attacked I haven't found out about it. Don't let them bother you. They are just showing their own hypocrisy and intolerance.