Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA
Christians do not have a God-given right to infringe on the rights of others, and the sooner they realize that the sooner the pendulum can come to rest where it should.
That seems to be the major issue in our inability to come to an understanding, Ron. For the life of me, I cannot see the throat-shoving, pushing or infringing you refer to. No one has called Christianity the law of the land that I know of. People are not punished for not being Christians that I know of. I don't see any examples of what refer to. People do have the right to accept or reject whatever they choose. When it comes down to disciplining high school students for saying Merr Christmas in aschool play, then when do the copies of Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" get pulled from the school library? When does "It's a Wonderful Life" get an "R" rating?
Like it or not, separation of church and state IS the law of the land, because the founders of this country recognized the dangers of other alternatives.
Faith and secular power just don't mix really well. Our founders didn't just know that, many of them lived through it.
Let's look at a couple of quotes that are on public record from these founders you refer to....
Patrick Henry 1776..
"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religious, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here."
"I am a Christian, that is to say a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator and, I hope, to the pure doctrine of Jesus also."
James Madison, primary author of the Constitution of the United States, said this:
"We have staked the whole future of our new nation, not upon the power of government; far from it. We have staked the future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments."
George Washington, in his farewell speech on September 19, 1796:
"It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible. Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, our religion and morality are the indispensable supporters. Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that our national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."
John Adams, second president, who also served as chairman of the American Bible Society..
"We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and true religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
John Jay, first Supreme Court Justice..
"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian Nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."
John Quincy Adams..
On July 4, 1821, President Adams said, "The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."
Of the first 108 universities founded in America, 106 were distinctly Christian, including the first.
Harvard University, chartered in 1636. In the original Harvard Student Handbook rule number 1 was that students seeking entrance must know Latin and Greek so that they could study the scriptures
In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled that Bible reading was outlawed as unconstitutional in the public school system. The court offered this justification: "If portions of the New Testament were read without explanation, they could and have been psychologically harmful to children." Bible reading was then unconstitutional , though the Bible was quoted 94 percent of the time by those who wrote our constitution and shaped our Nation and its system of education and justice and government.
In 1965, the Courts denied as unconstitutional the rights of a student in the public school cafeteria to bow his head and pray audibly for his food. In 1980, Stone vs. Graham outlawed the Ten Commandments in our public schools. The Supreme Court said this: "If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments were to have any effect at all, it would be to induce school children to read them. And if they read them, meditated upon them, and perhaps venerated and observed them, this is not a permissible objective."
So, Ron, when you refer to the wisdom of the founding fathers with regards to separation of church and state, it appears they based their actions on a morally and spiritually strong set of convictions which were extremely religious. Only the politicians which came around 190 years later decided the founder's actions were detrimental and offensive - the founders didn't.
I have to smile while reading my replies to this thread. It appears I may come across as a Bible-thumpin' religious zealot out to change the world - and I'm about as far from that as one can get. I believe in some superior being or force but neither Christianity nor any other religion has convinced me their guy is that force. I believe everyone has the right to worship or not worship, believe or not believe. If someone says to me "God bless you" if I sneeze, I don't get offended. If I see a Jew with a beanie cap in public, I don't get offended. I get offended at someone being attacked for their honest beliefs, expecially when it comes to the point of the stupidity displayed in my examples which began this thread. I would carry the same cross (pun intended) for Jews, Wiccans, Druids or any group which caried out it's beliefs without force. I do not believe a Christmas tree on display or singing songs like Silent Night, The First Noel or We Three Kings show forcing religion down one's throat.
I'm back, btw. Nice to catch up on almost everyone's thoughts...