Seperation of Church and State


Want some of my Kool-aid?
Today the Supreme Court has dealt a blow to one of the most important parts of the Constitution. The Supreme Court has ruled that a school in NY cannot kee a prayer group from using a class room for prayer after school. No I know I am openning myself up for flaming, but please listen to my argument with an open mind (you use Macs so I know you have one). Our fore fathers came to this country to escape religious opression, now we are saying that christians are allowed to practice their religion in the schools that my children go to and my tax dollars pay for. Religion is all fine and good and I feel the more religions there are the better this country can be, but I am a atheist and my children are atheist, and now if there are religious organizations allowed in the schools, it will emphasize that fact and make my kids stand out as outcasts, and let us not forget the other non-christian groups that will be ridiculed. Our children have a hard enough time in school why to we need them to stand out even more. If these groups want to have bible study after school, that is great, do it at someone elses house or church, but do not recruit or practice it in my schools!

I will now step off of my soapbox, thank you.
From what I understood of the ruling, it allowed those kids to have a "church club" much like a chess or debate club. While I do not feel this is a bad thing, but if we are to allow a church club, we would have to allow for other "cult" clubs. (And yes the church is a cult). The high school I attended had someype of church group, I remeber seeing them sitting in a large circle in the court yard having a group prayer. Now that I think about it, its actually kinda spooky.

On a side note Soapvox, how did you tell your kids about life/death, etc? I am pretty firm in my atheist belief, and have recently pondered what I would tell my future children when the time comes. My mother always explained life to me as though there was a god, so I grew up assuming there was an afterlife. This however, did not save me from losing sleep thinking about being dead for eternity. I want to save my children as much of that thinking as I can, but I understand there are parts of life that are just unavoidable.

My knickname is anxietyboy, because I too spend too many nights thinking of what comes after. Not having the crutch of the church to fall back on I must accept the fact that we are here now and that afterwards I am going to decompose. My wife is a catholic so our children hear both of our views on religion and death, but we underline it with the important fact is love and doing right because it is right, not because god told you to or you are going to get in trouble is how they live their life. My biggest problem with this ruling is that you are right christianity and all religions are cults that just caught on, and now we are saying that the ones that the schools say are ok will be allowed to meet after school, while the ones they don't whether it is Hindu, Mormon, Satanic, or Pagan will not be allowed at the schools discretion. I see it already in the south where they want to post the Ten Commandments in schools, while I do not have a problem with the basis of the ten commandments, does that mean I can post my personal atheist laws in the school, or can we post teachings from the Koran in the school. We are here to be free of religious persecution, that does not mean we are here to be converted to christianity.
take it from me, that people have to accept some view on their own.

I am a Greek Christian Orthodox. Most greeks, like italian catholics in italy, abstain from church between the ages of 16 and 60 (well give or take a decade or half a decade). I am no exception. I used to go to church religiously when I was younger, and now like most I go on major holidays like my nameday, Xmas & easter. There are regular church goers and there are always people there on sunday mass even though the trend is as described above.

I am more of an agnostic at this stage of my life, I have not witnessed any miracles and I am pretty sceptical about everything, I tend to put stuff under a microscope. I think that in the end people can take the advice of whatever church is out there but in the end people will go where their gut tells em to go, and dont sweat the decomposing part...we will all decompose just like all the ones that came before us.

As for the school issue... I think that there are enought churches out there and the clerics should allow kids or whomever wants to use the church for prayer meetings because that is one of the roles of the church. If schools allow christians (all shapes and sizes) to practice their faith on school ground then they should allow all jews, muslims, and followers of any religion to to create clubs to worship what ever God(s) they wish.

I come from a completely non-religious background. However, as I rot in hotel rooms, I occasionally take the Gideons up on their offer of reading materials. I "browse" the bible now and then because I find it not only a fascinating historical work, acurate or not, as well as the fact that I feel that I cannot accurately argument it's control on our society without reading it.

Anyway, a group, church or not, should have as much access to a school classroom as a soccer or baseball team has to the field.

I have more, but my fingers don't work now:( Took me ten minutes to type this:eek:
< most memorable preaper voice >
Death to all unbelievers
< /end most memorable church voice >

lol ;) maybe u were too tired ... or just hate hotels :p ... I know I do... and I dont look forward to spening 6 days in one ... Hmmmm I will see if I can coerce a friend or two to let me stay at their places in Athens, GR when I go lol :p

just my $0.02...

I am a devout Christian and I love God with all my heart. I am very offended when people try to separate church from everything else. When I was in high school we fought a lot with the administration about this issue on my campus and didn't get very far.

I'm not trying to sound like some religious freak or anything. In fact, I don't even like to associate Christianity with the word 'religion.' Being a Christian is just about loving God and doing what He wants for you. It's not anything more than that, and definately not a cult like whoever posted earlier said. Now don't all hate me or think I'm crazy, I'm not very prepared to get into a deep conversation about this right now. I just wanted to say my $0.02...
email me if you wanna go at it more though...


oh, check this song out that i wrote on this separation between people and where I stand with it:

Intersect; cross the lines
Break the barriers; link the areas
Unify our stakes; take my hand
Grip this man and fill the land
Rectify our states; stand together
None are better, so send the letters
Vilify these walls
Freedom is to come as one
To take hold of this day, no other way

You won’t find me gone
Raised hands surround us
Three nails to protect us
I’ll find my way back home
Raised hands surround us
Three nails to protect us

I place my fate in your hands
Loss of self, no demands
So to give my years I’ll relent and drop my pride
Cross the fence so to confide

Laid hands on my head
Sense of self long since dead
Seven words got my back
So let off, and set off and snap my shame away
You ask me what’s the point to scrape and fight
To win another day to live
My answer is to stand united, we can’t live divided
Until we die and gain what’s our claim
I am not downing christianity, I just don't think it has a place in schools. You have a right to worship whoever you want, but me and my children do not subscribe to your religion, even though we probably have a lot of similar beliefs, we just don't believe in God. It is because not everyone is a christian (there are buhdist, hindu, pagan, agnostics, atheist etc...) we need to seperate it from our teaching institutions to keep it to learning. Now I am not against a class that teaches about values and such or even one that teaches about religions and non believers, as long as it is not biased to anyone way. I was a christian for many years and I realize your belief in your one and only god, but I chose not to believe any more, but even in your religion I am no better than you and you are no better than me, we both have faults (your bible calls it sinners) and I am truly open to a fruitful conversation. As long as we keep this positive, lets keep the conversation going :) !
I have nothing against people who are religous and/or beleive on God. I strongly beleive you should have the right to worship whatever you want, on your time! I do not want somebody telling my children their philisophical point of view, as though it were the only option available. While you may not beleive it personally, Christianity is not THE only religion out there. It is ok for people to believe in a different god or gods or no god.

I personally have a big problem with the Church (mainly Catholic, but including many others, except maybe Gnostic types). If you have studied in any lenghts the type of people have historically run the church, you would have a problem with them too. And yes the church is a cult: look at definitions 2-5.

The only way Christian could possibly understand the importance of separation is if they where having other religious beliefs inflicted on them. maybe if the schools started having a prayer to begin the day in some other religious belief (any of the ones that Soapvox brought up would do), they would quickly see that their rights are being infringed upon.

The separation of church and state is there to protect the rights of others to believe as they choose, and to insure that they are not force into taking part in the beliefs of others while at public institutions. I do not feel that a “moment of silence” infringes on my rights as an atheist (let who ever pray silently to their deity, while I talk that moment to reflect), but when I am force to lessen to someone profess their beliefs at a public function, yes, my rights are being violated.

Tolerance is something that most Christian sorely lack. Your beliefs and faith are something that should be private, shared with others that believe as you do, and never inflicted on other that don’t. You beliefs should give you an inner strength and confidence that does not need to be worn on your sleeve. My experience has been that those who force their beliefs on other need others to reassure them in their beliefs.

On a side note, one of my most favorite exchanges with a Christian went as follows:

Christian: Do you believe is God?

RacerX: No, I don’t believe in form of deity.

Christian: Do you believe in the Devil?
smart ass remark :

Jehova's withness : DO you believe in the devil ?

Admiral : Yes, I was with her last night

which Devil where you talking about this time?

By the way, is that what they mean by "the Devil made me do it"? :confused:
depends ;)
My computer devil = diablo (the game)
but last night...well that devil is my little secret ;) lol
I am a strict constructionist when it comes to the constitution. Therefore, I believe in the absolute separation of church and state.

However, the US is schizophrenic in this. Even in the Constitution itself. References to god, religion, etc are everywhere in federal offices, on money, in pledges, oaths of service, honesty and office, etc.

We also allow groups that have obvious religious views to hold meetings in public buildings and schools. Boy scouts and AA come to mind. Should we ban the Boy Scouts and or AA from meeting in our schools or public property - I don't know. I'd probably say no despite my constructionist leanings - they do more social good than harm for the most part. Other groups, it depends but I'd be more likely to say they don't belong in our schools.

I guess I'm saying this is a good topic. Made me rethink some things. But it's a tough call in some cases.
I'm a strict constructionist also when it comes to the Constitution. The Constitution makes references to a natural god, that god being the god of the Deism which is the logical personification of nature according to the beliefs of the founding fathers (most of whom were Deist), not the God of the Christian belief system. In other words, the term god in the Constitution would be a pagan deity by most Christian standards (I love that). The term "In God We Trust" was added to US currency in the 1860s (by the Republican Party in power at the time) and the "under God" was added to our pledge of allegiance in the 1950's (again, by the Republican Party in power at the time).

Allowing groups that have obvious religious views assemble in public places is an important freedom, letting them control public functions is quite a different thing altogether. Boy scouts should be restricted from activities with in a school setting while school is in session (a public function), if they are using that same area after hours I don't see any difference than if they assembled at a national park. They should not be inflicting their views on others at public functions.

Any time people's religious views come into play, it should not be in situation where others can't freely leave. Children can NOT just up and leave school if someone is preaching their religious views there, so the law is there to protect us from that. It protects ALL of us (including Christian, though they don't seem to see it that way). Why do you think religion was included in the Constitution, because many of the writer believed differently from others in the colonies at the time. They felt that difference and realized that it needed to be protected in the foundation of a country made up of people from all different backgrounds. The fact that any group would try to promote itself as the national religion is in direct contrast to what the writers of the Constitution were trying to do.
The U.S. constitution contains specific Christian/Catholic reference to religion. I cannot accurately debate this, but I can relate it to my home.

In Canada, we still maintain a "relationship" to the English monarchy. in 1982 (I think) a formal separation occured, theoretically removing all ties to 'Liz but friendly tea. However, our money is still staunchly adorned with the images of the monarchy, and I cannot help but compare this with the "In God we Trust" insignia on the American monetary notes, not to mention the contitution. I am sure our constitution contains thrice the reference to church as a controlling power of state than the U.S.A.

Anyway, I firmly believe that if a country is hipocritical enough to enshrine a Christian "term" or even "philosophy" into their very constitution, yet promote "multi-culturalism" on such a huge level, is therefore the textbook example of the reason of separation of church and state.
A multi-cultural society, such as the melting pot we have here in Canada (no opinion implied) cannot run under the guise of one religion, therefore none should be implied, or worse yet implied, in it's laws.

In simplistic terms, the best argument for separation of church and state is that the "state" is required to recognize that by nature there are numerous "churches" within their bounds and that they cannot please all of the people all of the time. So, due to the differing reliogins within our countries, the state's actions cannot be bound by the beliefs of one church.

scott: "The U.S. constitution contains specific Christian/Catholic reference to religion."

This is false and is not supported by the historical facts. The fact is that the term "god" is generic enough that Christian have been mistakenly claiming for years that the US founding father were in fact Christian themselves, which is completely false. Jefferson, Madison, Washington, Franklin were all Deist. In Deism, it is believed that you can NOT know god by reading the writing of man (that is the Bible), you can only create an understanding of god by studying the only logical and true connection with god... nature (even being an atheist I can not help but admire such a beautiful belief systems). At the same time, this doesn't remove the roles of the other representative of the rest of the colonies which all have different religious backgrounds, their presence is why the new government (controls by non-Christian) needed to promise not to inflict it's 'age of enlightenment' views on people who truly didn't share them.

Were Christian at the heart of adding the later terms (and I included dates to show that they didn't occur in the 1770's/1780's)? YES, they were. I have not studied the history of Canada, I have studied the history of the US (extensively), and I have not misrepresented any of it, and therefore your opening statement is (respectively) in error. Any argument that is based on anything less than the actual facts can carry little weight. Everything that I has stated is very easily checkable, and should be researched by any and every person who cares about this issue.
Speed's cooler brother:

I couldn't agree more and you added some points that I neglected. I re-read the thread just now and see the original point. I should have directed my comments more to the forcing of one groups beliefs on another.

That obviously is not cool. And, while it has happened throughout our history (references I think we both mentioned), that doesn't make it right. The one thing I did mention that I don't think you did is the oath given before testimony in a court/deposition/etc... If memory serves, this wasn't our 'fault'. A lot of our legal practices (hell, almost all) come from England. I believe that their oath contains the "so help you god[my lack of capitalization]" line. So that was a bad example on my part.

Your historical references and facts cannot be debated. Did a quick search and, as suspected, there's nothing about christ or catholicism. The god of the Constitution and Declaration was indeed as you describe. And, I feel a legitimazation of the colonists claims. "All men are created equal..." "endowed by their creator with...", etc... was a way of saying to a world pretty much still in monarchistic states, "Hey, we're not just a yahoos from the hills. These are valid ideas." And I agree whole heartedly with Speed's brother (I always had a crush on Trixie.... but I digress) that this 'god' was the Deist god. Not a god I think today's christians would worship.

Also, these documents borrowed heavily from Rousseau, Locke and some others. They (the aforementioned philosophers) used phrases like this for whatever reason. Another way by the yanks to show these ideas weren't just some hicks not wanting to pay taxes anymore - they had valid points about the way a country should be run.

They wanted these ideas to work so much that they included the church & state clause to ensure passage by the other 'states', some of whom weren't of the same beliefs as the writers. (as hinted at , I think by racerx - correct me if I'm wrong as to the attribution).

This idea still holds today. As it should. NO ONE should force their views in ANY way on another - religious or otherwise.

uhhh, Amen?:D