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A Unitarian nation?

  1. Oct 19, 2003 #1
    Conservatives here in the U. S. often claim that our country was founded on Christianity to justify weakening the separation between church and state. Weren't many signers of the Declaration of Independence and early presidents either Unitarians - liberals similar in the belief of one God, undivided - or even atheists?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 19, 2003 #2
    Don't forget the deists.

    "that clause (the first amendment) was intended to erect a wall of seperation of church and state forever"

    -Thomas Jefferson (paraphrasing)

    Basically the same people who claim that all the founding fathers were christian and therefore we should do away with seperation of church and state are the same people who want to do away with evolution and think that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife.
     
  4. Oct 19, 2003 #3
    Deists mostly. Jefferson himself wrote the "Jeffersonian Bible", striping Jesus of miricles but leaving moral lessons. The anti-federalist papers were largely about the lack of God in the constitution - so, yes, hardline religeous conservatives need to be tought a history lesson.
     
  5. Oct 19, 2003 #4

    kat

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    I think people sometime like to rewrite history and take the anti-clericalism of the founders in the U.S. to the more radical stance of anti-clericalism found in the 1st republic of france.
     
  6. Oct 19, 2003 #5

    GENIERE

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    Last edited: Oct 19, 2003
  7. Oct 20, 2003 #6
    In regards to states' rights:AFAIK, the states do not have the power to violate the Bill of Rights, whatever racists and Christian bigots would like people to believe.

    Oddly, many of the same people who are anti-government in general, would also have the government endorse their specific faith, and enact the laws of their faith to apply to everyone.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2003
  8. Oct 20, 2003 #7

    GENIERE

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    .
    Zero should read the Bill of Rights before commenting on its contents. The Bill of rights consists of the first 10 amendments to the constitution and defines the power of the states. The first and tenth apply:

    Amendment I
    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.

    Amendment X
    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.


    As the 1st amendment forbids the FEDERAL government from enacting legislation re: religious rights, the power to enact such legislation is given to the states via the 10th amendment.

    As I previously posted, Massachusetts did enact legislation that established a state church. Eventually the state’s constitution was changed to preclude such laws.

    The battles between federalists and anti-federalists were the most bitterly fought. The 10 amendments were added to the constitution to limit the power of the federal government. It’s that simple.

    The battle continues to be fought today as liberals wish to cede more and more power to the federal government while conservatives wish to diminish that power.
     
  9. Oct 20, 2003 #8

    Njorl

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    He's right Zero, well, about what the Bill of Rights says, anyway. It is really a shoddy bit of writing. According to Amendment One, the state can shut down newspapers, force people to support a religion, outlaw other religions, prevent people from assembling peacebly. It's a very good thing that the Supreme Court interprets it liberally. If they didn't, incarcerated felons could not be prevented from owning guns... or nuclear weapons for that matter.

    Njorl
     
  10. Oct 20, 2003 #9

    GENIERE

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    Njorl - Not quite right nor up to your usual more considered posts.

    You forget the body of the constitution, the other 8 amendments in the Bill of Rights, and the subsequent amendments.

    As far as nuclear bombs, the writers only mention arms. Cannons, grenades, rockets and the like were called ordinance. Individuals cannot claim a privilege to carry a stinger missile based on the second amendment.
     
  11. Oct 20, 2003 #10

    Njorl

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    For most of the rights, the framers delineate the means for abridging those rights - a warrant for a search, or due process for others. For the right to bear arms, it specifically states that it is a right that can not be infringed. Under NO circumstances can a citizen have this right taken away. It is clearly an ill conceived statement. How can an incarcerated felon lose this right with this wording?

    Njorl
     
  12. Oct 20, 2003 #11
    Apparently GENIERE hasn't heard of the 14th ammendment....
     
  13. Oct 21, 2003 #12
    What GENIERE suggests cannot, under any circumstances, be the intent of our original government. If it were, there there is no legal basis for the UNITED States of America. States do not have the legal authority to create their own laws as suits the whims of their individual populace. That would inevitably lead to something like the War of Southern Treason(hey, if some people can blame the North for the Civil War... )

    On a more general note, I feel that freedom only exists when it extends to us all. Claiming to be a country based on principles including religious freedom stands directly oppposed to the claim that America is a Christian nation. Further, it stands quarely against the notion of many conservatives, that the government should stay out of the lives of the people.
     
  14. Oct 21, 2003 #13

    GENIERE

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    Did someone sneak in a new government while I wasn’t looking?
    Geeez Zero I’m glad you told me that. In the upcomming election, I was wondering who I would vote for to represent me in the state legislature. I always assumed they were enacting laws. Now that I know differently I’ll be sure to raise a fuss.
    Does that mean you have a freedom I don’t have?
    I think this is where I say; I am steadfastly opposed to claiming that America is a Christian nation. Is someone saying otherwise?
    Does that mean that liberals want to get in the lives of people?
     
  15. Oct 21, 2003 #14
    Ok, now this is just idiotic. Let's look at what Zero said "States do not have the legal authority to create their own laws as suits the whims of their individual populace ." In the context of this whole thread, Zero is pointing out that states are bound by federal law, that states do not have the authority to create laws "by the whims of their individual populace" that go against the Bill of Rights. And they don't!

    Again, you seem to have no working knowledge of the 14th Amendment." So, I'll quote the relevent part for you: No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    You couldn't be more wrong in your assertion that the Bill of Rights only applies to the Federal government. Of course, it origionally did, but it hasn't for 135 years!
     
  16. Oct 21, 2003 #15
    I don't trust the people who promote the 'rights' of individual states. I didn't know political entities had 'rights'...powers, certainly, but not rights.
    Further, we do not live in the 18th century; the interpretations of the Constitution are required by logic to change and grow more mature over time. The 'intent of the founding fathers' included the continuation of sexual, racial, and economic discrimination, but we have grown up as a culture since then.
     
  17. Oct 21, 2003 #16

    kat

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    Rage, Zero- Wasn't he speaking of the intent of the founding fathers as opposed to the present status?
     
  18. Oct 21, 2003 #17
    The intent of teh founding fathers was to avoid government/religious entanglement. I also think it is at least as important to look at the entire history of the country, and take a look at the prevailing trend, which is increasing religious freedom by increasing government neutrality.
     
  19. Oct 21, 2003 #18

    GENIERE

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    Rage

    I usually ignore your posts because of this:

    Are you insane? Seriously, are you freakin' insane?

    And this:

    Seriously though, what the hell are you smoking?



    My eye caught your last post inadvertently before I realized the source. Since it’s a more lucid response, I’ll reply.

    Replying to a post from Njorl, I wrote:

    “You forget the body of the constitution, the other 8 amendments in the Bill of Rights, and the subsequent amendments.”

    Note the last few words.

    Several posts later you pop out the one-liner:

    “Apparently GENIERE hasn't heard of the 14th ammendment....”

    What post did it refer to?

    As to your last post:

    “Again, you seem to have no working knowledge of the 14th Amendment." So, I'll quote the relevent part for you: No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge …”

    I’m not sure of what you mean by working knowledge, but if it implies that I lack expertise in matters of law, that is absolutely correct. Your statement could also be extended to include the entire constitution. The statement likely applies to all posters on this thread.

    What I post is obviously my opinion, my interpretation. The important thing is for all of us to share our viewpoints.

    I’m also somewhat confused as how this:

    “Again, you seem to have no working knowledge of the 14th Amendment." So, I'll quote the relevent part for you: No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    Is relevant to Loren’s original post:

    “Conservatives here in the U. S. often claim that our country was founded on Christianity to justify weakening the separation between church and state. Weren't many signers of the Declaration of Independence and early presidents either Unitarians - liberals similar in the belief of one God, undivided - or even atheists?”

    I’m thankful for your interpretation of Zero’s comment:

    “In the context of this whole thread, Zero is pointing out that states are bound by federal law, that states do not have the authority to create laws "by the whims of their individual populace" that go against the Bill of Rights. And they don't!”

    I might otherwise have missed the subtle difference between "by the whims of their individual populace" and "by the whims of their individual populace".

    In response to Zeros post, partially quoted; “Further, we do not live in the 18th century; the interpretations of the Constitution are required by logic to change and grow more mature over time.”

    I agree entirely with that statement. I believe each year we should re-write the constitution based upon the previous years whims of the populace.
     
  20. Oct 21, 2003 #19
    GENIERE,

    My one "liners" have an expression of disbelief of how completely irrational many of your posts have been (like when you stated that Bush's tax cuts were the cause of California's shrinking deficet, seriously, I have no idea how anyone could think this makes sense). Anyways, in response to your post, you have consistently stated that the first amendment does not apply to states, this is frankly not true, and constitutionally absurd because of the 14th amendment. Let's look at some of your statements:

    "In fact that is one of the powers granted to the individual states. States can dissolve the separation if their state constitutions permit it."

    "Zero should read the Bill of Rights before commenting on its contents. The Bill of rights consists of the first 10 amendments to the constitution and defines the power of the states. The first and tenth apply:"

    You tried to make a constitutional argument that the seperation between church and state is still up for grabs, that the "anti-federalists" and "federalists" disagreement of State's rights in reference to to the Bill of Rights is still going on today - it isn't. Anyone who proposes the mingling of church and state on any level, be it local, federal, or state, is going against 135 years of constitutional history.
     
  21. Oct 21, 2003 #20

    russ_watters

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    As much as it pains me to say it, Geniere, especially since I generally agree with you, you're wrong on this one - worse yet, Zero is right.

    The Bill of Rights exists to protect the rights of the citizens of the US. Pretty straightforward. Rights are rights for all citizens regardless of what state you live in. The states do not have the power to decrease those rights, only increase them.

    So the first amendment (for example), while it cites Congress specifically, it does have the general purpose of protecting freedom of religion and speech. It is not meant to imply that the rights apply only on the federal level and not the state level - that would be kinda uselesss since the enforcement of most laws occurs on the state and local level.

    The supremacy of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution in general over state authority is why there aren't any state laws that conflict with it (and withstand a challenge). There are lots of court cases to support this.
    Maybe Kat, but he's wrong on the intent of the founding fathers. There were of course those who wanted the Constitution as weak as possible, but it wasn't written that way. And maybe its one of those 'might=right' scenarios, but the civil war re-affirmed that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land.
     
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