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Passions in Poetry

How does it read to you?

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Denise
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0 posted 09-01-2003 09:58 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

The First Amendment states, in part, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"  and the Tenth Amendment states "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

I agree with Ronald Reagan's view:

"To those who cite the First Amendment as reason for excluding God from more and more of our institutions every day, I say: The First Amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people of this country from religious values; it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny." --Ronald Reagan

How does it read to you?
Local Rebel
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1 posted 09-01-2003 10:59 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

While I can see the general direction you'd like to go here Denise there is an important Constitutional amendment that you're overlooking that is germane to your issue.

After the Civil War the 14th amendment was adopted which said, among other things, "no state shall ... deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law... ."

The Supreme Court held in Everson v. Board of Education In 1947 that the establishment clause is a liberty protected by the due-process clause. This means all government action, be it federal, state, or local,  must abide by the restrictions of the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

So if it was your intent to imply there is a State's Rights issue here that door has been long closed.

The second part goes to what does 'Establishment' mean?  Chief Justice William Rhenquist favors the Reagan interpretation (no surprise there) and would argue that the term was intended to prohibit only the establishment of a single national church or the preference of one religious sect over another.

The majority of justices, now, and over time believe the term actually prohibits government from promoting religion in general

quote:

The establishment of religion clause means at least this: Neither a state nor the federal government may set up a church. Neither can pass laws that aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion... . Neither a state or the federal government may, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between church and state.'"
--Everson vs Board of Education




happy Labor Day Denise


Denise
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2 posted 09-01-2003 05:36 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

L.R., I also agree with Rhenquist that that was indeed the clear meaning of the First Amendment. No big surprise there either. I never seem to agree with the majority of the justices.

As for the 14th amendment, it seems to obliterate state sovereignty (but I suppose the Civil War served that same purpose). Or was there never the understanding that the states were sovereign in the first place?

From reading the histories of the various Founding Fathers, I got the sense that they felt state sovereignty was essential and that an all-powerful centralized government was something to be avoided at all costs.

Not A Poet
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3 posted 09-01-2003 07:12 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

I don't know how the fonding fathers felt individually but the general consesus was that there was enough dislike for a central government as strong as the king would have enforced that it would have been impossible to adopt any constitution which did not provide for very strong states and individual rights. Remember those first 10 ammendments were not a part of the original document but were added for that reason.
Local Rebel
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4 posted 09-01-2003 09:48 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Well you're both asking or approaching some of the right questions.  It's important to draw a distinction between founding father's though (a better word would be framers -- not for political correctness but to identify the people who actually did the work of framing the important documents and institutions of the republic) and merely famous American's of the period.

The 32 most influential people were:

James Madison
James Wilson
Rufus King
Elbridge Gerry
Edmund Randolph
Charles Pinckney
George Mason
Alexander Hamilton
Gouverneur Morris
John Rutledge
Caleb Strong
George Read
John Marshall
John Vining
Ben Franklin
Fisher Ames
James Monroe
James McHenry
Thomas Jefferson
Samuel Adams
Patrick Henry
John Q. Adams
John Adams
Oliver Ellsworth
Ben Rush
John Jay
John Randolph
Joseph Story
Henry Lee
John Hancock
John Witherspoon
Noah Webster

These people didn't present a monolithic stance on the issues -- but they did present us with the Constituion.  As Pete points out the Bill of Rights wasn't included -- not because they forgot -- but because they wanted specifically to draw the distinction that stating what the federal government couldn't do wasn't necessary -- because if it wasn't stated in the Constitution it wasn't in the scope of the central government to do it.

Some were more in favor of Federalism than others.  It is a part of the debate that still rages on the political landscape.
Local Rebel
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5 posted 09-01-2003 10:12 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Oh BTW... thanks for the topic Denise -- it's a nice change of pace
Stephanos
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6 posted 09-02-2003 12:40 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

LR,

I Think we have Ol' Ron to thank for that change of pace as well.     He wields those Cyber-keys so well.  

Actually, I went to read the post after 1 day away, and BAM, it got out of hand.

Ron,

As to the previous post ... there were alot of fruitful lines of discussion going on other than the wrangling ... Is there a way to limit divisive individuals rather than locking threads from everyone else.  After all, we all need some moderator discipline now and again, but why should our tantrums spoil it for the rest of the kiddies?


Sorry to not comment yet on the topic at hand.


Stephen

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7 posted 09-02-2003 01:08 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Stephan -- if there was a train of thought you want to ride a little further you could always just open a thread?  

apologies to all for failing to post this link http://members.tripod.com/~candst/tnppage/quote2.htm with relevant material for the topic at hand.
Essorant
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8 posted 09-02-2003 03:43 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Local Rebel
I am confused about your comment to me in Opeth's thread .. where do I discord?  I have been doubtful along.  But I have emphisized I believe morality is influential and traditional ..a sense of awareness and like imprints in the substance of our race.  Not anything like a blueprint enforced on anybody.  
Please, you may reply in my "General State..." thrid if you'd like...I would really appreciate it.

Essorant

[This message has been edited by Essorant (09-02-2003 03:47 AM).]

Ron
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9 posted 09-02-2003 08:10 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Stephen, LR is right; start a new thread if there is something you want to discuss.

As to the original question here, I believe there can be no separation of church and state without a complete separation of church and state. The minute you install a religious monument in a court house or introduce prayer into the school system, you are favoring one religion over all others. Why I think that would be a "bad thing" probably deserves its own thread.

As to the developing question of state sovereignty, I think the intention of our founding fathers was right for all the wrong reasons. Much of our framework was designed to prevent one colony from dominating another, and was largely fueled by the same kind of nationalism so rampant today. Most of the names LR listed, with some notable and forward-looking exceptions, were loyal first to their colony and only secondarily to a country not yet formed. They knew they had to "hang together," but most didn't like it.

Nonetheless, I think their efforts served this country well for the next 150 or so years. While the Civil War was certainly a test of state sovereignty, and likely the beginning of a stronger centralized government, the real test came with the passage of the Sixteenth Amendment, circa 1913, which empowered Congress to levy a national income tax. For most of thirty years, that first tax applied only to the wealthiest Americans, with well over 90 percent of the population exempt from even filing. The advent of WWII in 1940 changed that, and by war's end, tax revenues stood at 8 percent of GDP. They never dropped, of course.

Important? The Federal government has never been granted constitutional power to establish national traffic laws, but they manage to do exactly that with threats to withhold money for roads. They have no power over state school systems, save the very real power to give or deny obscenely large funding. Washington no longer needs Constitutional authority, because they have a much more powerful weapon in the form of extortion. Any pretext of state sovereignty went out the window, I'm afraid, when we turned over the national purse-strings to the Federal government.


Denise
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10 posted 09-03-2003 11:21 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

You're welcome, L.R., my pleasure.

Extortion is a good description for it, Ron.

It's my opinion that this country has strayed far from the original intent. Maybe a first step would be to try to get the 14th and 16th Amendments repealed.
jbouder
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11 posted 09-03-2003 02:04 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Good Lord no!  Fortunately, I don't see repealing the 14th Amendment to be possible.  Too much of our current public policy and prevailing caselaw relies on it.

A few examples ...

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka based its ruling that so-called "separate but equal education" of minorities violates the due process protections of the 5th and 14th Amendments making them inherently unequal.  This ruling ended racial segregation (a State right up until that time).

The Pennsylvania PARC Consent Decree found that denial of appropriate education to people with disabilities was a violation of their Constitutional Due Process Rights and led to the Federal enactment of the Education for All Children with Handicaps Act (later renamed IDEA - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).  Without such landmarks, families with children with disabilities would probably still be faced with either educating their children at home or placing their children in institutions if a school psychologist arbitrarily labeled the child "uneducateable."

I've exercised my own son's due process rights when I believed his district failed to provide him with the education he needed.  Without those protections, I'm convinced my life (and his) would be much different today and his future happiness would be questionable at best.

States do have the right to not be subject to the Federal regulations, but must also forfeit Federal money if they choose to do so.  Regardless of their decision, I think it is right and proper for the Feds to make certain that the Constitutional rights of its citizens are not compromised.  

Is this extortion or is it an accountability measure?

Regarding transportation issues, I believe it is important to remember that we are no longer living in the 18th or 19th centuries.  Our national economy depends heavily on interstate commerce.  Having dependable highways benefits business and consumer.

As to the original question, I think there should be a substantive separation between church and State.  My opinion probably lies somewhere short of President Reagan's.  Mostly because I recognize that we are now living in the 21st century, and if Jew and Christians prevail in their fight to keep a monument with the Ten Commandments in a courthouse, what stops someone from insisting on placing a Buddhist or Shinto shrine right next to it?  What secular purpose would that serve?  In all honesty, how many of the Ten Commandments should be applicable to our secular legal system?  Surely not the first three ... they are decidedly theological.  Honor thy father and mother?  Sure, that's a good thing to do, but is it the place of the court to enforce it?  There are already laws on the books regarding murder and perjury and for adultry in some jurisdictions.  The former two sure aren't going away anytime soon.  And how do you suppose the courts will enforce coveting?  I covet every day ... can't help it much when I see that 227 horsepower, turbocharged roadster or the vette in the parking garage, and I certainly don't think I should be fined for it.

Just my opinion and a little food for thought.  "States' rights" is a popular banner to fly, but I think we should always be on guard against knee-jerk policy decisions.  They almost always have consequences, sometimes serious.

Jim

[This message has been edited by jbouder (09-03-2003 02:07 PM).]

Denise
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12 posted 09-03-2003 11:12 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Jim,

I can see both sides of the issue with the Ten Commandements monument. On the one hand I agree with strict separation of church and state. On the other I don't see the monument as  a threat to that separation, as it is a symbol of our Judeo-Christian heritage and not the establishment of a particular religion. It attests to the fact that our founders were a God-fearing people who believed that our freedoms and opportunities came from His hand and were owed soley to His Providence, regardless of religious Creed, and that our form of government would not survive for long if we lost sight of that, and it really isn't a matter, per se, of how many of the Commandments themselves were used as a basis for our judicial system.

I also think Justice Moore was wrong for disobeying the court. He should have complied with the order but continued to fight for his principles through the system.

I think that the ultimate agenda of these intolerant groups (ACLU, secular humanist justices and a few atheists)is to strip away every single vestige of God from our society. We've already seen evidence of that in the movement to remove "under God" from the pledge of allegiance and from another recent attempt by the ACLU to have a person remove a faith symbol from their private property that could be viewed from the public roadside because it might offend somebody. The next target will be the "In God We Trust" on our money. So much intolerance comes from these espousers of tolerance.

A lot of benefit has come to society through use of the 14th Amendment, that's true, and I wouldn't have a problem with it if I didn't think that it violated the spirit and intent of the Constitution and the founders regarding sovereignty of the states. I think that just as much good could possibly have been done through individual state legislatures at the prodding of their citizens as they perceived the need for new protections, etc.

Now, can we at least repeal the 16th Amendment? 'Cause it surely feels like extortion to me!   
jbouder
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13 posted 09-04-2003 08:01 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Denise:

I have no problem with exploring an alternative to the Federal Income Tax.  Now the problem I have with the Ten Commandments monument is that the monument itself has no historical significance.  I also have a problem reducing the Ten Commandments to a symbol of our Judeo-Christian heritage.  To the orthodox Jew and Christian, the Ten Commandments are the revelation of God's moral law to man.  The Commandments serve as the standard to which God holds mankind (and the Gospel is the initiative God took to satisfy the conditions of his Law because nobody could satisfy that standard on his or her own).

There have been cases in other states whereby religious inscriptions were permitted to remain on state buildings because of the historical significance of the building.  I don't have a problem with this, but no judge, legislator or executive officer should defy the rule of law.  In the United States, lex es rex ... law is king.

I suppose you could look at the Constitution in two ways ... either it is a rigid, inflexible document, or it can change to meet the changing needs of citizens.  Again, we are no longer living in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Our national economy relies heavily on a strong transportation infrastructure, efficient, inexpensive and reliable power generation and transmission, and strong educational standards.  If the States want to accept Federal dollars to assist them in their endoevers toward these examples, then I believe Federal oversight is certainly warranted.  Further, I believe the Constitution's ability to be amended is precisely why the document has lasted for as long as it has.  There is bad law out there, but I think the good that has come out of most of the Amendments far outweighs the bad.

Regarding the "prodding of individual states," do you realize how difficult that is?  Have you ever tried to block bad state policy?  Have you ever had to go against the grain of state administrative policy?  Now try it without a budget?  Often, the most vulnerable citizens in any state have fewer resources at their disposal.  Regardless, when the issue is their Constitutional rights as American citizens, it is rightly within the jurisdiction of the Federal government to intervene.

Jim

[This message has been edited by jbouder (09-04-2003 08:02 AM).]

Local Rebel
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14 posted 09-05-2003 01:24 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

I think this story is pretty illustrative of the effect of religion in state matters as well as the continued existence of state soveriegnty:
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=519&ncid=718&e=6&u=/ap/20030905/ap_on_re_us/firing_squad_church

quote:

Mormon Church OKs Firing Squad Change

SALT LAKE CITY - Hoping to clear the way for eliminating the firing squad as a means of execution, a Utah commission asked for and received a statement from the Mormon church saying it does not oppose the change.

In a one-sentence statement provided Wednesday to the Utah Sentencing Commission, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said it "has no objection to the elimination of the firing squad in Utah."

The clarification was needed, according to one commission member, because of a purported church doctrine that held that justice was not done unless a murderer's blood was shed.

The Mormon statement removes a significant obstacle in Utah's effort to do away with firing-squad executions.



balance of story at the link
Denise
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15 posted 09-06-2003 09:23 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

L.R.,

I forgot to tell you before that your first link didn't work for me.

Thanks for the Utah link. I think Utah is unique in that the majority of the citizens adhere to the same religion, so of course the legislature would be extremely sensitive to their religious views. It would be political suicide to do otherwise. That type of influence just doesn't exist in the majority of the states where the constituency is more diverse.

I think it would make for an interesting situation if the ACLU and the federal courts were to intrude itself into the affairs of that state.

Jim,

I couldn't agree more that law is king and should be obeyed. As I stated, I believe that Judge Moore should have complied, but continued to work through the system to address his grievances.

In addition to the Ten Commandments being the revealed will of God to man, I still maintain that a monument depicting them can also be seen as an historical representative of the principles upon which our nation and judiciary were founded.

I think that there has developed a line of thought by some that God=religion. Justice Thomas decreed that the state has no right to acknowledge God. I see them as distinct from each other. Religion is man's formulation of his ideas about God, but religious philosophies are not God. A cursory reading of those who wrote the Constitution will reveal that they held the same view and saw that the acknowledgement of God was a good thing, but that a forcing of a particular religion/creed by the state was what was to be avoided. As in the Utah situation, since the overwhelming majority of those governed are of the Mormon persuasion, I don't see that as a forcing of a particlar religious philosophy upon unwilling citizens, rather a constituency having influence on its representatives in the legislature, as it should be.

Regarding the different views one can take of the Consitution, I see an additional view: Interpreting it in light of the spirit and intent of those who penned it.

Wilson, James Of the Study of Law in the United States
Circa, 1790
Topic: Constitutional Interpretation

The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it.

Jefferson, Thomas Opinion on National Bank
1791
Topic: Constitutional Interpretation

They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which may be good for the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as they sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please...Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straightly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect.

Jefferson, Thomas letter to Mesrs. Eddy, Russel, Thurber, Wheaton and Smith
March 27, 1801
Topic: Constitutional Interpretation

The Constitution on which our Union rests, shall be administered by me [as President] according to the safe and honest meaning contemplated by the plain understanding of the people of the United States at the time of its adoption - a meaning to be found in the explanations of those who advocated, not those who opposed it, and who opposed it merely lest the construction should be applied which they denounced as possible.

Jefferson, Thomas letter to Wilson Nicholas
1803
Topic: Constitutional Interpretation

Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction.

Jefferson, Thomas letter to Albert Gallatin
May 20, 1808
Topic: Constitutional Interpretation

[T]he true key for the construction of everything doubtful in a law is the intention of the law-makers. This is most safely gathered from the words, but may be sought also in extraneous circumstances provided they do not contradict the express words of the law.

Jefferson, Thomas letter to William Johnson
1823
Topic: Constitutional Interpretation

Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure.

Jefferson, Thomas letter to William Johnson
June 12, 1823
Topic: Constitutional Interpretation

On every question of construction carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.

Madison, James letter to Henry Lee
June 25, 1824
Topic: Constitutional Interpretation

I entirely concur in the propriety of resorting to the sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the nation. In that sense alone it is the legitimate Constitution. And if that is not the guide in expounding it, there may be no security for a consistent and stable, more than for a faithful exercise of its powers. If the meaning of the text be sought in the changeable meaning of the words composing it, it is evident that the shape and attributes of the Government must partake of the changes to which the words and phrases of all living languages are constantly subject. What a metamorphosis would be produced in the code of law if all its ancient phraseology were to be taken in its modern sense. And that the language of our Constitution is already undergoing interpretations unknown to its founder, will I believe appear to all unbiassed Enquirers into the history of its origin and adoption.

Story, Joseph Commentaries on the Constitution
1833
Topic: Constitutional Interpretation

The constitution of the United States is to receive a reasonable interpretation of its language, and its powers, keeping in view the objects and purposes, for which those powers were conferred. By a reasonable interpretation, we mean, that in case the words are susceptible of two different senses, the one strict, the other more enlarged, that should be adopted, which is most consonant with the apparent objects and intent of the Constitution.

The above quotes, and others, can be found here:
http://cf.heritage.org/almanac/quotations.cfm


I think it is dangerous when we have justices who, in their interpretations, violate the spirit and intent of the writers of the very Constitution which they have sworn to uphold, and since they serve dependent upon "good conduct", perhaps impeachment of some of these folks are in order.  I think that it is disgraceful, to say the least, that a justice, such as Ginsberg, proposes that decisions of law and interpretation should be made in light of international interpretations, and not in light of the clear intent of the framers of our Constitution.
http://www.talkleft.com/archives/003879.html

[This message has been edited by Denise (09-06-2003 09:25 AM).]

Denise
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16 posted 09-06-2003 10:00 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Perhaps Justice Thomas should acquaint himself with these thoughts from the framers of the Constitution that he has sworn to uphold. Their intent was clearly not to forbid the state's acknowledgement of God:

Madison, James .

Topic: God

The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it.

Hamilton, Alexander .

Topic: God

To grant that there is a supreme intelligence who rules the world and has established laws to regulate the actions of his creatures; and still to assert that man, in a state of nature, may be considered as perfectly free from all restraints of law and government, appears to a common understanding altogether irreconcilable. Good and wise men, in all ages, have embraced a very dissimilar theory. They have supposed that the deity, from the relations we stand in to himself and to each other, has constituted an eternal and immutable law, which is indispensably obligatory upon all mankind, prior to any human institution whatever. This is what is called the law of nature....Upon this law depend the natural rights of mankind.

Adams, John Thoughts on Government
1776
Topic: God

It is the duty of all men in society, publicly, and at stated seasons, to worship the SUPREME BEING, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping GOD in the manner most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religious profession or sentiments; provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or obstruct others in their religious worship.

Instructions of Malden, Massachusettes for a Decleration of Independence
May 27, 1776
Topic: God

[W]e are confirmed in the opinion, that the present age would be deficient in their duty to God, their posterity and themselves, if they do not establish an American republic. This is the only form of government we wish to see established; for we can never be willingly subject to any other King than He who, being possessed of infinite wisdom, goodness and rectitude, is alone fit to possess unlimited power.

Jefferson, Thomas Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 18
1781
Topic: God

And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever.

Washington, George circular letter of farewell to the Army
June 8, 1783
Topic: God

I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field, and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristicks of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation.

Madison, James A Memorial and Remonstrance
1785
Topic: God

It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage, and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.

Franklin, Benjamin Motion for Prayers in the Constitutional Convention
June 28, 1787
Topic: God

And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? or do we imagine we no longer need its assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this Truth, that God governs in the Affairs of Men. And if a Sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?

Washington, George Thanksgiving Proclamation
October 3, 1789
Topic: God

It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors.

Washington, George letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport
August , 1790
Topic: God

May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us in all our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.

Wilson, James Chisholm v. Georgia
February 18, 1793
Topic: God

A State, I cheerfully admit, is the noblest work of Man: But Man, himself, free and honest, is, I speak as to this world, the noblest work of God....

Madison, James letter to Frederick Beasley
November 20, 1825
Topic: God

The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it.

Jefferson, Thomas Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 17
1782
Topic: Religious Liberty

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

Madison, James proposed amendment to the Constitution, given in a speech in the House of Representatives
1789
Topic: Religious Liberty

The civil rights of none, shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext infringed.

Jefferson, Thomas letter to Samuel Miller
January 23, 1808
Topic: Religious Liberty

I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the States the powers not delegated to the United States. Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in any religious discipline has been delegated to the General Government. It must then rest with the States.

http://cf.heritage.org/almanac/results_quotes.cfm





[This message has been edited by Denise (09-06-2003 10:25 AM).]

Legion
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17 posted 09-06-2003 03:50 PM       View Profile for Legion   Email Legion   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Legion

Denise,

Im not sure whether quotes can be used to prove a point either way, apart from the fact that they are based on a false argument that of authority, there is also the problem that people seem to contradict themselves depending on which quote you use.

"And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."--James Madison in a letter to Edward Livingston in 1822

"I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved--the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!"--John Adams in a letter to Thomas Jefferson

"Christianity...(has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on man. ...Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and imposters led by Paul, the first great corrupter of the teaching of Jesus." --Thomas Jefferson, _Six_Historic_Americans_ by John E. Remsberg

"The United States of America should have a foundation free from the influence of clergy."--George Washington, _2000_Years_of_Disbelief_, James A. Haught

"Religion I found to be without any tendency to inspire, promote, or confirm morality, serves principally to divide us and make us unfriendly to one another."--Benjamin Franklin

Further reference.
http://www.theology.edu/journal/volume2/ushistor.htm
Stephanos
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18 posted 09-06-2003 09:18 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Deism seems to only have hand picked the more palatable doctrines of the Judeo-Christian tradition.  If it can't be argued that the founding minds of our Government were distinctly Christian (which I concede, from everything I've read), it can be argued that what spiritual notions they held were distinctly taken from Judeo-Christian tradition.  Deists didn't really reject the Bible (though some spoke against it), they abridged it.

But if a Deist view of God can be expressed from the top down (ie official statements which mention: Justice, Morals, inalienable rights endowed by the Creator, trusting God, etc...), it brings up the question, why not the Christian view?  It seems a double standard to me.      

Stephen.  

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (09-08-2003 02:34 AM).]

Denise
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19 posted 09-07-2003 10:30 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Craig,

I really don't see these quotes as being contradictory. They are not speaking against God, or the wisdom of acknowledging Him, but are expressing their views on mixing government with religious systems.

My use of the quotes was to show the thinking and viewpoint of the writers of the Constitution regarding Constitutional interpretation and the value, necessity really, that they saw to a nation in acknowledging God.

Stephen,

I think that the Deist view provides a common ground that all religious systems can relate to without being offensive to any one system in particular. Nothing more than that would work in a pluralistic society, so no, I don't see a double standard. To my understanding, even if the framers were all Christian they would still have had to present an abridged view of their beliefs, otherwise they would have establised a Christian nation.
Stephanos
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20 posted 09-08-2003 02:31 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

But Denise,

What you are taking for granted is that everyone accepts the abridged view too.  But they don't.  There are many who find references to rights "endowed by our Creator", and "trusting in God" to be offensive.  If there can be no expression of religious ideas from the top down, then why are these okay?  

And surely all religious systems cannot find a common frame of reference to work from in the Deist view of God.  This view of God borrows from the monotheistic Judeo-Christian view, such ideas as transcedence, personal nature, morality, and omnipotence.  These are very definite spiritual dogmas, if you will ... which fit only into a few of the religious worldviews that exist.


Stephen.        
Denise
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21 posted 09-08-2003 10:59 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

You're right, Stephen. I guess no mention of God should be made by those governing in a truly secular government.

I see the benefit though of Judeo-Christian values being honored in a society even by people with no religious persuasion, since society is the better for it when they are practiced.

After reading the article provided by Craig, I also tend to agree with the writer that Christians should not even have participated in the Revolution, as they are supposed to submit themselves to whatever governmental authority they find themselves under. Thanks for the link, Craig.  
jbouder
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22 posted 09-08-2003 01:48 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Denise:

That is only if the American Revolution was an illegal rebellion.  Those who participated in the First and Second Continental Congresses, and who ultimately signed the Declaration of Independence, were duly elected representatives of their respective colonies so, arguably, the American Revolution was a just war to expel an oppressive tyrant.

If you recall from history, America did not declare its independence before following a legal process.  In their minds, the decision to declare the colonies' independence from England was only made after other legal prerequisites were pursued without success.  Browse this document and I think you'll see more clearly what the signers of the Declaration were thinking:

http://www.visi.com/~homelands//vindiciae/vindiciae.html

Jim

[This message has been edited by jbouder (09-08-2003 01:48 PM).]

Denise
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23 posted 09-08-2003 04:22 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Thanks, Jim, I'll read through it when I get home from work tonight.
Stephanos
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24 posted 09-09-2003 12:48 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

"You're right, Stephen. I guess no mention of God should be made by those governing in a truly secular government."

Not exactly my conclusion.  I'm not for a "secular" government.  Secular for me means an environment where religious ideas and interpretations have lost their social significance.  I never interpreted the separation of Church and State, to mean the separation of State and God.  Though many are pushing for less expressions of the Biblical truth, I am for more.  Simply because it is truth.

"I see the benefit though of Judeo-Christian values being honored in a society even by people with no religious persuasion, since society is the better for it when they are practiced."

Agreed.


Stephen.
 
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