@SCfan – “I disagree that the 1st amendment is absolute about not
having any religious recognition by government, or the state”I’m simply going off the document and what the SC has said about
throughout our history. It seems pretty absolute to me, but I think you captured
it well with your “neutrality” comment. Our government simply stays
out of religion all together and thus is never in any danger of picking sides or
“establishing” a position.I am curious about your
theocracy comment though in this sense – if you truly & deeply believe
that following your religion is the key to eternal salvation, why wouldn’t
you want that religion to be the law of land? Wouldn’t more souls be saved
if the law set the boundaries on living a righteous (according to the true
faith) life?Carrying this to its logical extreme - wouldn’t we
be justified in, say, burning a heretic if it meant that person could no longer
influence our children and society at large? If we could “cleanse”
our society of non-believers, probability alone suggests many more would be
saved, yes?Reached comment limit…
I disagree that the 1st amendment is absolute about not having any religious
recognition by government, or the state. You seem to be taking that side. If
not then I guess we have been talking at cross purposes. (Christmas come to
mind?) And the facts are on my side as my first post proved, along with the
aforementioned Christmas. And as I hope you will agree with, in spite of those
cases where religion has become a part of government, we do not live in a
theocracy. We are no where near a theocracy and could never be. Even the most
conservative/religious people in the country would not want that. Believe me,
I'm one of them and I know. So, fear not. A little recognition of
religion by any federal or state body is not threatening you or anyone else.
And it's not establishing any religion. There is no force being used,
unless you want to percieve there is but then that's your choice. However
the majority should not need to change tradition because of a few irrational
feelings or ideas.
@SCfan – “.....or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”Of course…The government cannot stop you from praying,
going to church, or believing anything you want to. What they can stop you from
doing is violating the 1st clause by claiming to be engaging in the 2nd
clause… a fact that seems lost on many today.Read the opinion
of Scalia (perhaps the most friendly to the Religious Right SC Judge in history)
in Employment Division v Smith where he essentially restates 200+ years of
precedent regarding the boundaries within religion is free to operate (i.e.
“free exercise” does not mean one can violate the law or
Constitution).If you still disagree, then honestly, I’m not
sure what you’re arguing for… a theocracy?
Tyler D .....or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. You seem to have
forgotten the rest of the establishment clause. The very fact you make, about
the extensive writings by the Founders on the subject only goes to show how
important it is that the phrase "wall of seperation" or some other such
phrase was NOT included after all was said, written, and done and the final
product came out. Certainly if the Founders had concluded it should be a hard
absolute line, they would have included it. Instead they created what is
essentially a neutrality clause that has equal parts pro and con regarding
religion in America. Plus, it cannot be dismissed that the Founders were very
much against any state established church, as they were coming from such in
@SCfan – “Well that's nice for good old James Madison. Thomas
Jefferson also was reported to have wanted a "wall of seperation" in the
Constitution too.”Yes, what does James (the Father of the
Constitution) Madison and Thomas (author of the Declaration of Independence)
Jefferson know about the founding of our country anyway?Oh and the
amendment you’re looking is #1 – the one that opens with
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion.” Notice it does not say “establishment of A
religion” which would imply a national church (i.e., Anglican in those
days). It say “establishment OF religion” meaning any religious
doctrine, beliefs, etc., which is the same as saying a “wall of
separation” between the government and religion.The Founders
wrote extensively on this on and the meaning is quite clear…
Tyler DWell that's nice for good old James Madison. Thomas
Jefferson also was reported to have wanted a "wall of seperation" in the
Constitution too. However I'd say both those guys, in spite of their great
stature in American history lost on this issue, and lost HUGE. And unless the
Constitution says otherwise, (which it won't without an amendment), the
wall of seperation crowd should continue to lose too.
Seldom seen Smith,It is ironic that the Pilgrams came to America to
escape religion and today there are those who wish to make America into what the
Pilgrams fled to escape. Most times it is best for one to keep their
supernatural believes and religion to themselves.
@patriot: You seem to betray your moniker: we don't have a democracy: we
have a Republic. @seldom seen: The Constitution provides us with the
right of conscience: it does not afford us a state religion. I certainly am not
in the wrong country; perhaps you are reading a different constitution?
@Karen R. – “Why not a moment of silence instead? Doesn't this
allow room for everyone to do their own thing - including praying?”Because apparently many people in this country think Jesus was simply
wrong in Matthew 6:6.@patriot – “The majority do NOT and
should NOT have to bow to the whims of the minority.”Unless
the Constitution says otherwise.@SCfan – “And yet they
still have a chaplin and prayers. And the military does too.”James Madison thought government paid chaplains were unconstitutional.
If Congress can have a chaplin and a prayer, then why shouldn't anyone
else? Plus, when you read the prayer, it is very generic. Not religion
specific. Far too many people believe that there is a wall of seperation
plainly stated in the constitution. Well, the first amendment is for all intent
and purposes a neutrality clause stating that congress will make no laws either
promoting or demoting religion. In other words, they are supposed to stay out
of it altogether. And yet they still have a chaplin and prayers. And the
military does too. And the military is certainly a "state" institution,
funded by tax payers. This whole seperation of church and state thing is a
straw man argument. If it really existed there would be no state funded
chaplins and prayers.
The Scientist,"Absence of belief is not the same thing as
actively trying to DISbelieve."Trying to disbelieve?
Amendment I to the U.S. Constitution (part of the Bill of Rights), "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."Doesn't the restriction of
prayer go against the constitution when it states ". . . or prohibiting the
free exercise thereof . . ."? The constitution doesn't guarantee
freedom from religion, it guarantees freedom of religion.If you
don't believe in God, then what does it matter to you that others do
believe and want to pray to Him? Is it hurting you? Does a moment of silence
make it any better for those "non-believers". And, if you believe in
God but don't believe in the same God as the one praying, is it hurting you
if that person is praying to their God?
If you don't like religion then you're in the wrong country, or else
the United States must have a do over, because it is in our nations founding
enough of this PC crap. If the majority of the people in the community are
Christian then they have the right to offer a Christian prayer. It's called
DEMOCRACY!! Majority rules. If you are offended by a Christian prayer then walk
out of the room for the prayer. The majority do NOT and should NOT have to bow
to the whims of the minority.
Keep religion out of the public square. There are thousands of years of bad
policy of public religion.
This has to be the silliest of surveys. The Constitution establishes one's
freedom of conscience, while at the same time protecting our secular Republic
from the encroachment of religion, religious movements and theocratic bullies:
we are to have no establishment of a state religion; and we are to have the
right to freely confess a faith, including the right to aver no belief in any
particular religion or god. To take a survey to find out what kind of
watered-down public invocation that garners the highest percentage is folly.
Surely you have the right to believe in whatever god or faith you wish, but
please don't attempt the fatuous claim that the United States is a
In God We Trust. He is the reason for the founding of this Nation. To pass laws
that remove Him or His son from prayer would be wrong. To take away our right to
pray to Him as we begin a public meeting, in this land that we treasure the
freedoms to worship according to our desires, and in this land that He gave us,
would be a show of "inflated strength of one's personal status
(wiki)" and forgetting who we are and our relationship to Him. Whether one
chooses to believe in and worship God or Jesus Christ is really the beauty of
freedom. But to strip that right from believers is wrong! To mandate that we
pray publicly keeping absent God or Christ in that prayer is stripping all
people this freedom.
"Even unbelievers — atheists who would say prayer ‘is not for
me’ — approved” of allowing nonspecific prayer."First of all, we are not UNbelievers, we are NONbelievers. Absence of belief
is not the same thing as actively trying to DISbelieve. As soon as somebody
(like a god?) provides enough evidence, I would be more than happy to believe.
The fault is not with me, it is with the arguments presented by the believers
and their gods.Second, the statement is correct. I do not object to
"nonspecific prayer". Indeed, I think the fatal flaw of religion is that
their gods are "nonspecific" enough that nobody really can demonstrate
to whom or what they are actually directing their prayers. They give lip service
to the idea that the "god" Christians worship is the same god as the god
worshipped in Islam, and on and on. But that god everybody seems to be
worshipping and "obeying" is either suffering chronic and eternal
schizoid mental states, or is not the same god.Therefore,
nonspecific prayers to nonspecific gods is appropriately meaningless and
harmless. Go for it.
Abraham Lincoln described our government as a "government of the people, by
the people, for the people." To say that religion has no place in
government effectively tells me to set aside my beliefs - abandon who I am - in
order to participate in government. I disagree with this. Further, I believe
there are ways to reasonably accommodate all beliefs in such a government
without denying anyone's constitutional right to religious, or lack of
There is no point in having any government meeting opened/closed with any
prayer. Short of a memorial service that is government led it has no
justification. If any individual chooses to silently pray that's their
right but nothing that is public.
Karen R.That would be a way too sensible solution, so I doubt it
will happen. I think it is a great idea though.
Why not a moment of silence instead? Doesn't this allow room for everyone
to do their own thing - including praying?
Religion should have no place in government.For an example of the
opposite approach, look at the Middle East.