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Author Topic: Seperation of church and state Back to Topics
jacka123

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Message Posted: Jan 21, 2013 4:18:49 PM

I just think it is kind of odd, that we preach separation of church & state, but yet the oath to become President, as well as others, are sworn in with their hand on a bible. Does that seem odd to anyone else?
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sgm4law
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jan 28, 2013 8:35:37 PM

In addition, Orthodox Muslims don't recognize any translation of the Koran from the original Arabic as legitimate.
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YDraigGoch
Champion Author Illinois

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Message Posted: Jan 28, 2013 7:23:05 PM

I stand by my statement, but will allow that some progressive sects allow swearing on a Quran. But Muslim orthodoxy does prohibit it as part of the idolatry belief. The book, although sacred, is not God. And only God can grant favors (such as guaranteeing your honesty).

My wife and I have several Muslim friends, and they concur.

By the way, it is all right for non believers to use the word Koran. I guess it makes it easier on spell checks :o)
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sgm4law
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jan 28, 2013 7:15:24 PM

<<But if a Muslim were elected, he or she is forbidden to take vows on any book or idol. It is also forbidden to swear to God.>>

I'll take issue with that statement. From 2007:

"WASHINGTON -- Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, will use a Quran once owned by Thomas Jefferson during his ceremonial swearing-in Thursday."

"The chief of the Library of Congress' rare book and special collections division, Mark Dimunation, will walk the Quran across the street to the Capitol and then walk it back after the ceremony."

Ellison swearing in.
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YDraigGoch
Champion Author Illinois

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Message Posted: Jan 28, 2013 6:25:14 PM

The swearing in using the religious book called the Bible is the choice of the applicant. If a Jewish Man became President, a Torah would probably be used. But if a Muslim were elected, he or she is forbidden to take vows on any book or idol. It is also forbidden to swear to God.

The practice is there to use some form of authority recognized by the applicant as being sacred. The Bible is not needed.

However, there are certain American activities that require a belief in God (VFW) in order to be a member.

Separation of church and state began with Henry II taking on the Bishop of Canterbury, continued on with Henry VIII taking on the Pope, and continues today with the recognition of Wicca and Atheists at funerals of fallen soldiers.

The country was not founded on so called "Christian values" unless you are so egotistical that you think Christians are the only ones with values.

In the middle ages, Christianity was able to impose its "values" by point of law. Today, the Muslim world does the same.

Are you people seriously suggesting that we return to THAT sort of thing?

The state must not be driven by ANY religion, and that includes the intimidating factor of a majority in one religion. Unless you are willing to let EVERY religion pray at the start or end of a government event, it is better to not have praying of any kind.

Christians praying "Glory hallelujah
Hassidic Jews bobbing up and down on one side.
Muslims down on prayer shawls on another.
Shinto shrines, with ghastly incense burning.
Buddhists chanting prayers in a deep monotone.
American Indians dancing around a fire.
Bahia trying to communicate with Mars

And best of all, followers of Wicca dancing naked around a big tree.

It might make good television, but it makes for lousy government
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Happyherman
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Message Posted: Jan 28, 2013 6:13:04 PM

Not at all.
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BlackGumTree
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Jan 28, 2013 5:18:26 PM

"In God We Trust" and "under God" in the Pledge do not establish a religion; they merely acknowledge religion exists.

The word "God" is used as the supreme deity who created the universe. It can be taken as meaning whatever it was that created everything. I don't believe that there is a person alive can prove that God exists or that He does not exist. Except of course those who would explain that if The Creator did not exist, then creation would not exist, and you and your argument would not exist, so why bother answering any of your concerns.

The concept of God exists is all religions; it is not specific to any particular religion. Atheists can take the word "God" to mean whatever created the universe without knowing anything more about whatever God is.

You could rephrase it to be "In The Creation We Trust" and "under Creation" in the Pledge but it would seem silly to too many people to do so and taking them out would be taken as an effort to forbid all religions which is definitely unconstitutional.

Try to get along with your fellow Americans and accept that they all have differences in beliefs.

[Edited by: BlackGumTree at 1/28/2013 5:21:17 PM EST]
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nstrdnvstr
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Jan 28, 2013 2:43:35 PM

jayrad, ""However, if we TRULY believe in separation of church and state, then how soon are we going to take "In God We Trust" off of all the money and take "under God" out of the Pledge?"

Sounds like a good idea. The sooner the better."

Tell you what, you send me ALL your money with "In God We Trust" on it, then you won't have to worry about it.
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jayrad1957
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Jan 28, 2013 9:45:57 AM

"However, if we TRULY believe in separation of church and state, then how soon are we going to take "In God We Trust" off of all the money and take "under God" out of the Pledge?"

Sounds like a good idea. The sooner the better.
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sgm4law
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jan 28, 2013 9:11:11 AM

"The part you are trying to ignore is that religion can not be forbidden. A church service in the Capitol Building illustrates that religion cannot be forbidden."

A church service in the Capitol does not illustrate that religion "cannot be forbidden." If anything, it's a demonstration of the formerly looser definition of "establishment."

What it shows is that the interpretation of the term "establishment"--you know, the word actually in the Constitution--has changed over time. The Court has broadened the definition of what constitutes an illegal establishment of religion to include things like prayer in government schools. Or government funds being used to directly support those schools.
Where it stands on things like "Congressional prayer breakfasts" I do not know, because I think adults should be free to practice their religion. I do not think that adults in a position of power over young students should have the power to influence what religion the children will practice.
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AC-302
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Jan 27, 2013 8:39:52 PM

Jacka - no, it doesn't seem odd. Our founders were men of faith, although they weren't zealots for any particular branch of Christianity. More like that they were deists. They were also Masons, most of them anyway. So more than likely they believed in the universal truths found in the Christian bible.

There is a historical context that I'm OK with. However, if we TRULY believe in separation of church and state, then how soon are we going to take "In God We Trust" off of all the money and take "under God" out of the Pledge?
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btc1
Champion Author Lexington

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Message Posted: Jan 27, 2013 7:48:24 PM

nstrdnvstr, "What the Constitution states is that the government cannot establish a religion for the country."

So Jefferson's interpretation of his intent, the letter to the Danbury Baptists, is wrong! He knew not of what he spoke. Must have been drunk that day...

I like that brilliant hindsight.
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nstrdnvstr
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Jan 27, 2013 12:33:46 PM

BlackGumTree, "Perhaps if I repeat what I said with a small change in the sequence of words:
Which means that religion is neither forbidden nor mandatory by the Constitution.""

So the government can use In God We Trust (for example), without "establishing a religion", right?

What the Constitution states is that the government cannot establish a religion for the country.

So yes, religion cannot be forbidden or mandatory, but that does not equal separation of church and state.

The Constitution does not say "separation of church and state" anywhere, many people think it does.
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BlackGumTree
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Jan 27, 2013 11:13:32 AM

nstrdnvstr - "Yes, the part where people insist there is a "separation of church and state". If that was what the founders believed, there would not have been church service held in the Capitol Building centuries ago, would there?"

Perhaps if I repeat what I said with a small change in the sequence of words:
Which means that religion is neither forbidden nor mandatory by the Constitution."

The part you are trying to ignore is that religion can not be forbidden. A church service in the Capitol Building illustrates that religion cannot be forbidden. Is there any part of that you do not understand? I suspect there still is.
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btc1
Champion Author Lexington

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Message Posted: Jan 27, 2013 10:10:28 AM

Yeah, jacka, it does. I do not know why we need to swear to the Christian God when this country was founded on Freedom of Religion, any religion chosen by any individual citizen of the United States of America.
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RAB2010
All-Star Author Kalamazoo

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Message Posted: Jan 26, 2013 9:19:40 PM

Well, there is no such thing as "separation of church and state." It is a phrase that was used in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson. Since, it has been misconstrued and misused. There is no way to take religion out of public life; any attempt forces atheism on the citizens. The SCOTUS has ruled atheism a religion.
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nstrdnvstr
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Jan 25, 2013 4:00:39 PM

BlackGumTree, "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.

Which means that religion is neither mandatory not forbidden by the Constitution. Is there any part of that you do not understand?"

Yes, the part where people insist there is a "separation of church and state". If that was what the founders believed, there would not have been church service held in the Capitol Building centuries ago, would there?

The approval of the Capitol for church was given by both the House and the Senate, with House approval being given by Speaker of the House, Theodore Sedgwick, and Senate approval being given by the President of the Senate, Thomas Jefferson. Interestingly, Jefferson's approval came while he was still officially the Vice- President but after he had just been elected President.
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reb4
Champion Author Chicago

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Message Posted: Jan 25, 2013 11:15:28 AM

"On the other hand, it is very sad that our elected officials must stoop to such depths in order to try to perform their duties of office."

Yes it is sad that elected officials pander as much as they do... I totally agree...
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KatmanDo
Champion Author Detroit

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Message Posted: Jan 24, 2013 11:33:03 PM

"the oath to become President, as well as others, are sworn in with their hand on a bible. Does that seem odd to anyone else?"

Odd? Hardly. Running for or performing while in office in the USA typically involves pandering for votes. Such oaths are merely one example of such panderings.

On the other hand, it is very sad that our elected officials must stoop to such depths in order to try to perform their duties of office.

[Edited by: KatmanDo at 1/24/2013 11:34:41 PM EST]
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therder
Champion Author Lexington

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 6:36:09 AM

John Quincy Adams was sworn in as President using a book of laws instead of a bible at his own request. If one day a future president wants to use a koran, a book of mormon, or whatever instead of a bible then they should be free to do so.
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BlackGumTree
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Jan 22, 2013 10:18:00 AM

nstrdnvstr - "'Separation of church and state' is nowhere to be found in the Constitution either, is it?"

Neither "So help me God" nor "Separation of church and state" is in the Constitution. What is in the Constitution is:

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.

Which means that religion is neither mandatory not forbidden by the Constitution. Is there any part of that you do not understand?
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nstrdnvstr
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Jan 22, 2013 8:14:33 AM

Paxman, ""So help me God" is also not in the constitution. What a continuum that must be for those on the right. It's unconstitutional, but it states God."

"Separation of church and state" is nowhere to be found in the Constitution either, is it?
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LTVibe
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Message Posted: Jan 22, 2013 8:08:17 AM

EvPv: "I wonder if a known atheist would ever be elected POTUS?"

I doubt I will live to see it happen, but there is hope. The Prime Minister of Australia is an atheist, and that would not have been possible there just a decade or so ago.

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EvPv
Champion Author Maine

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Message Posted: Jan 22, 2013 7:04:42 AM

I wonder if a known atheist would ever be elected POTUS? I saw a poll a few years ago that over 80% of Americans would not vote for an atheist. It amazes me why people still think religion = honesty. How many scandals of religious leaders or clergy have to go public before people realize it is the individual person they are voting and their ability to act along their stated method of beliefs.
It is why I know I could never be President. I could not lie to get votes from the 80%.
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sgm4law
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jan 21, 2013 11:55:08 PM

<<"So help me God" is also not in the constitution. What a [conundrum] that must be for those on the right. It's unconstitutional, but it states God.>>

I think the proper term for this is extraconstitutional. They add the statement at the end, by choice or by custom. Nothing wrong with that.

<<What does the presidential oath of office have to do with this topic?>>

If it has anything to do with it, the point has not been made in a lucid fashion, that's for sure.

[Edited by: sgm4law at 1/21/2013 11:56:39 PM EST]
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PappaVanTwee
Champion Author Indianapolis

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Message Posted: Jan 21, 2013 9:54:52 PM

>>>
Not only that, a conundrum as well.....
<<<

D'oh! Stupid spellcheck. Picked the wrong word.
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jayrad1957
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Message Posted: Jan 21, 2013 9:48:04 PM

What does the presidential oath of office have to do with this topic?
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Guitar_Man
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Message Posted: Jan 21, 2013 9:25:53 PM

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

It's similar to the oath every military member (Enlisted and Officer) affirms. (And why Jehovah Witness don't serve in the military...they are forbidden from taking an oath.)

Separation of Church and State is not found in the US Constitution nor in the Bill of Rights.

[Edited by: Guitar_Man at 1/21/2013 9:26:45 PM EST]
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jayrad1957
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Jan 21, 2013 9:22:05 PM

"What a continuum that must be for those on the right."

Not only that, a conundrum as well.....

[Edited by: jayrad1957 at 1/21/2013 9:22:23 PM EST]
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PappaVanTwee
Champion Author Indianapolis

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Message Posted: Jan 21, 2013 7:30:12 PM

"So help me God" is also not in the constitution. What a continuum that must be for those on the right. It's unconstitutional, but it states God.

:D
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sgm4law
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jan 21, 2013 6:44:09 PM

"And another question along these same lines. Does an atheist swear on a bible when in a court trial? Would it mean anything? I don't see how it could."

Atheists technically affirm that they will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The judge will sometimes ask the party being prepared to testify if they "swear or affirm" or the atheist can ask that they be requested to affirm rather than swear.

But I'm willing to bet that most atheists don't raise the issue, given the intolerance in this country towards atheists. They just say the oath the same way everyone else does. Especially reading your statement at the end. I guess you think that because a person is an atheist he or she is incapable of telling the truth? How very sad.

[Edited by: sgm4law at 1/21/2013 6:45:38 PM EST]
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BlackGumTree
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Message Posted: Jan 21, 2013 5:44:01 PM

jacka123 - "I just think it is kind of odd, that we preach separation of church & state...."

You may preach separation of church & state but that does not hold for knowledgeable American citizens. What we respect is:

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.

That is the government may not promote any particular religion nor may they prohibit the free exercise of religion.

The Bible represents values that the people old dear and respect. Swearing on the Bible is the means of showing the oath is taken seriously. But I suspect you wouldn't understand that.
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michaelphoenix2
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Message Posted: Jan 21, 2013 4:36:40 PM

interesting tidbit zim.... I did not know that, ty
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Zimcity
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Message Posted: Jan 21, 2013 4:33:41 PM

interesting historical information on the swearing in of the President.

It says that Teddy Roosevelt, JQ Adams and LBJ were not sworn in on a Bible.
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michaelphoenix2
All-Star Author Tucson

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Message Posted: Jan 21, 2013 4:23:59 PM

Its more of a tradition thing at this point. There is no law saying that the president has to swear on the bible , in fact, there has been a small push lately for the president to swear on a copy of the constitution. instead. The president of the US as always been a Christian of varying levels of devotion.

If any president ever refused to use the bible while being a professed Christian there would be untold levels of howling.

However, like I said, he could choose to swear on whatever he wanted to, at this point in our history, it would political suicide not to.
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jacka123
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jan 21, 2013 4:20:42 PM

And another question along these same lines. Does an atheist swear on a bible when in a court trial? Would it mean anything? I don't see how it could.
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