Can someone explain the purpose of this resolution to me?

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  • #51
mheslep
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(4) acknowledges and supports the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States and in the formation of the western civilization
#4 kind of baffles me. Does this mean the U.S. government supports the Puritan's actions at the Salem witchcraft trials?
I would think it refers mainly to this:
...the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights...
Not that I believe Congress should be passing resolutions of this nature.
 
  • #52
Doc Al
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If hes not real, then who have I been talking to all this time, and why isnt his pants on?
D'oh! :bugeye:
 
  • #53
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Oh come now. It unduly praises Christians & achievements that aren't even substantiated.

Are you going to try to say that the other resolutions even come close to the praise lavished upon Christians? The other resolutions basically just describe the holiday.
I suppose we then get into the important issue of precisely what level of praise is permitted before one violates the American Constitution. It's important to recognize that while the Constitution guarantees religious freedom and prohibits state sponsor of religion, it doesn't specifically afford "separation of church and state." That term was first penned by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to a concerned Baptist church in a certain New England state (if I remember my history correctly). I say this simply so as to avoid going too far in either direction on the spectrum of religion in politics. The Constitution prohibits state religion, but at the same time it doesn't prohibit state acknowledgment of religion. Indeed there is a historical precedent for this. Our own Declaration of Independence refers to a sort of generalized politically correct deity that Thomas Jefferson refers to as "Nature's God." I suppose we can think of him/her as a wavefunction in the Hilbert space consisting of all world religions (where each religion and assciated god(s) are eigenstates). Maybe Jefferson did this so that Americans of all religions could collapse that wavefunction as we saw fit. Or maybe he just did it because he was inculcated into a culture of nominal Christianity. I don't really know. But the fact is that America does have a religious heritage. That religious heritage doesn't correspond to the beliefs of evangelical Christians (which includes myself). But neither does it agree with the beliefs of secular Americans.

I would personally consider Jefferson's quantum treatment of religion to border on blasphemy; alas, that's the way America is. Historically we've always had a sort of wishy washy state religion. It might be interesting to restructure the role of religion in government, but I doubt we'd find anything else that we could agree upon. America is just too religiously diverse these days. If it were left up to me I'd probably set up a democratic Christian theocracy. Other posters on this forum might prefer a purely secular state. What we have right now seems to be a good average of all Americans' beliefs that is just balanced enough so that no one gets too angry. Sure, you guys have to deal with public praise for Christianity, just as I have to deal with public acknowledgement of non-Christian religions (trust me, I'm more bent out of shape about that than I'll generally say on this forum). But at the moment, I think that resolutions like these are the best that our government can do given that America has as many major religions as there are quarks in the standard model. Don't you agree?
 
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  • #54
Evo
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But at the moment, I think that resolutions like these are the best that our government can do given that America has as many major religions as there are quarks in the standard model. Don't you agree?
No.

Two hundred years ago people believed in devils, demons, gods, and witches. We cannot live in the past. We need to revamp our government to get rid of any reference to a "god" and any religion. Our government needs to come into the 21st century.

While we can allow religious freedom since so many seem to need it, there should be no mix of government and religion.
 
  • #55
ShawnD
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But the body of evidence overwhelmingly favors the existence of the historical Jesus of Naz. in the 1st century.
And what evidence would that be?
 
  • #56
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arunma,

"Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined, and imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites."

- Thomas Jefferson
 
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  • #57
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No.

Two hundred years ago people believed in devils, demons, gods, and witches. We cannot live in the past. We need to revamp our government to get rid of any reference to a "god" and any religion. Our government needs to come into the 21st century.

While we can allow religious freedom since so many seem to need it, there should be no mix of government and religion.
Well I have my doubts as to whether people two hundred years ago were less rational than we are, but that's another issue altogether.

As to the issue of revamping American government: it's OK to suggest a departure from the intentions of America's founders. They weren't perfect, after all. But if you do, then you run the risk of ending up with a government you won't like. Right now there is a large number of Americans who believe in a rather orthodox form of Christianity, i.e. people like me. Do you really want to expose our government to such revamping? I'd be fine with it. Heck, I'm voting probably Huckabee this election, despite that I hate the Republican party. But I don't think you or others on this forum would be happy with the end result of the sort of political restructuring that you're suggesting.

All I'm saying is this: eliminating reference to religion is demonstrably contrary to the intentions of the founders. This is the America whose Declaration of Independence recognizes the existence of a deity (not necessarily the Christian God), whose Congress is legally mandated to begin each session with prayer, where Christmas was declared a Federal holiday, and where "under God" was put into the pledge of allegiance within the past century. America started out with a wishy washy state religion, and Americans throughout the generations have voted to uphold that wishy washy state religion. I'm no historian, but my observation suggests that modern Americans actually favor stronger relationships between church and state than what the founders would have wanted. If you open the door to altering the traditional relationship between church and state, many of us religious folk might not be able to resist the temptation to use the opportunity to strengthen that relationship. And to add a dose of realism to this: people like myself might be a minority in the physics community, but we're a fairly strong political force among the general public. There just isn't that much support for what you're suggesting.

Anyway, I'm not really trying to argue for anything, just stating my observations on the current political climate.

arunma,

"Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined, and imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites."

- Thomas Jefferson
Well if you're tring to tell me that Jefferson was hostile to Christianity, you're preaching to the choir. Personally I consider him a heretic at best.
 
  • #58
Doc Al
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As to the issue of revamping American government: it's OK to suggest a departure from the intentions of America's founders.
Actually, Evo was arguing for a return to the ideals of the founding fathers, who were largely deists (not Christians). Note the care taken to remove even casual mention of "gods" in the Constitution.
Well if you're tring to tell me that Jefferson was hostile to Christianity, you're preaching to the choir. Personally I consider him a heretic at best.
He was certainly hostile to Christianity, but not to Jesus. Jefferson was a huge fan of Jesus, going so far as to rewrite the bible--cutting out as much of the barbarity and tall tales as he could--leaving just what he considered the wise moral teachings.
 
  • #59
mheslep
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And what evidence would that be?
Start another thread, judgment has been rendered and the punishment can be swift :wink:
Ok, this isn't meant to get into a religious debate.

So we will assume Jesus is a real person for the sake of not starting one.

This is really about what is appropriate for elected officials of the US to be doing. ...
 
  • #60
mheslep
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who were largely deists (not Christians).
Sloppy w/ the facts there. Jefferson certainly, Franklin perhaps. Adams? No way. Washington?

He was certainly hostile to Christianity, but not to Jesus. Jefferson was a huge fan of Jesus, going so far as to rewrite the bible--cutting out as much of the barbarity and tall tales as he could--leaving just what he considered the wise moral teachings.
The Jefferson Bible was given to all members of Congress for years. (maybe still is?)
 
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  • #61
mheslep
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Well if you're trying to tell me that Jefferson was hostile to Christianity, you're preaching to the choir. Personally I consider him a heretic at best.
I think thats a bit off target. Jefferson was hostile to organized religion, especially the Church of England, and its attempts to grab power. So I don't think its fair to say he was hostile to most of the precepts of Christianity, though he was not a Christian.
 
  • #62
mheslep
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...If it were left up to me I'd probably set up a democratic Christian theocracy. ...
Leaving aside for a moment the freedoms of non-Christians, this would work against the tenets of Christian theology. "Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's ..." is the oft cited basis for that. Seems to me the first thing you would do to destroy the robust religious life in the US is to establish a state religion. See Europe, for example, where to this day there are numerous countries with state religions supported by tax dollars and the pews are all empty.
 
  • #63
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I would think it refers mainly to this:
...the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights...
Those references to God do not specify Christianity.

Perhaps you mean that many of the founding fathers were Christians and Christianity is responsible for every action they took in their lives, particularly their political lives? I would instead choose to recognize their principles, not their religion. I don't see how it matters how one arrives at those principles through any other means.

I think that governments should not praise or admonish religious organizations. It invites comparisons of religious belief based on a governmental standpoint. If the government intends to uphold the principles it was founded on, freedom of religion in this case, then the government standpoint should indeed be free of religion.

These resolutions just aren't necessary, and in my case they are not welcome. I am a Christian myself, but I believe in seperation of church and state. I think faith is meaningless if it is not arrived at by one's own consent. To live in a land under a God that one has not chosen is just wrong in my view. Give unto Caesar, and whatnot.
 
  • #64
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One main reason, I see, is that a 'resolution' is one outcome of their work and sometime that is at least not a pork barrel earmark--and a 'cute' way of celebrating what they do----not exactly PC for a declared 'non-religiously' defined nation, but I bet they have Xmas parties too.
 
  • #65
Doc Al
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Sloppy w/ the facts there. Jefferson certainly, Franklin perhaps. Adams? No way. Washington?
Adams was a Unitarian, not your typical Christian. (Unitarians are just one step removed from Deists! :wink:) He also signed the Treaty of Tripoli which stated: "The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion".

Washington wasn't your typical Christian either: He never declared himself a Christian, never took communion, never called for clergy to be present at his deathbed. When the rector of the church that Washington attended (Rev Abercrombie) was asked about Washington's religious beliefs (after his death), he was said to answer: "Sir, Washington was a Deist."

Franklin was generally considered a Deist.

Ethan Allen was a deist.

James Madison was no fan of Christianity or typically religious: "During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."

And don't forget Thomas Paine, super-Deist.

No, the Founding Fathers were pretty much non-Christians (mostly deists and Unitarians). But much more important than their personal religious beliefs, they saw the need to create a secular government, not a theocracy. A singular achievement that we are rapidly destroying.

Build up that wall!
 
  • #66
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Aw, you guys didnt like my funny cartoon.......:frown:

Ba-Dump-Tish.
http://img135.exs.cx/img135/9527/jesusdrummer8yl.jpg

:tongue2:
 
  • #67
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Aw, you guys didnt like my funny cartoon.......:frown:

Ba-Dump-Tish.
:tongue2:
Oh, I didn't see that dude on the drums. I was too busy looking at Santa's helper. It reminds me of SOS's old icon. Where did she go anyway?
 
  • #68
mheslep
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The personal religious beliefs of the US founders are clearly mixed to include tenets of Unitarianism, Christianity and Deism. In no way can anyone say they were 'mostly deists', nor even mostly 'non-Christian'. Its unsupportable, any more than one could say they were 'mostly Christians'. You respond with a strawman about 'not your typical Christian' (what ever that is) which I never asserted, and several non sequitors: the Adams quote, of course the US is not a theocracy, has nothing to do with Adams personal beliefs; the Madison quote, of course the founders were highly critical of 'legally established' religion and again not relevant to his personal beliefs.

Yes Paine was deist, though you are reaching a bit for founders, and of whom Adams http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Adams#_note-49"
The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity, let the Blackguard Paine say what he will
On Washington, his http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/youasked/060.htm" [Broken]
I'd like to see the source for your Washington claims. Don't bother if its not primary, no agenda sites please.
No, the Founding Fathers were pretty much non-Christians (mostly deists and Unitarians).
Ok you've backed up to Unitarians at least, could have admitted that right out. Your assertion that they're mostly non-Christian is unsubstantiated, and 'Wishing doesn't make it so!'

But much more important than their personal religious beliefs, they saw the need to create a secular government, not a theocracy.
No theocracy, agreed. Secular? If that means 'not overtly or specifically religious' or 'not ecclesiastical or clerical', agreed again.
 
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  • #69
Ivan Seeking
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No I haven't. I'm pro-choice, as a matter of fact you can see where I said the only good thing about Ron Paul is that he might pull away enough of the Republican vote to guarantee a Democratic win. I will speak out against paranoia and propaganda though. But I don't vote strictly down a party line either. I vote for common sense and non-insane people. If a Republican is the saner of the two, I'll vote for them, I really don't care what party they belong to. Can you say the same?
Absolutely. I'm an independent. But, except for revolutionaries like Paul, I may not vote for a Rep president for the rest of my life - at least not until the neo-cons, religious zealots, and the rest of the enemies of the Constitution are gone. And that does apply to the rest of the Rep candidates who could actually win. They all turn my stomach just a little more than Hillary does now.

Nope, neither time.

Also, I find it odd that you would equate being Republican with being disengenious.
I stand corrected on the point about Bush, and I knew you are pro-choice and anti-religion, but I don't understand your comment about being disengenuous. I was trying to reconcile three years of your posts with your statements here.

I think we have very different ideas about what the US is supposed to be. I demand Constitutional law and liberty before all else.

What is good about Ron Paul is that he defends the Constitution.
 
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  • #70
mheslep
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While we can allow religious freedom since so many seem to need it, there should be no mix of government and religion.
"we can allow religious freedom..."?
I know this thread is aging a bit, but this really struck me. The second part -no mix- is clear. But what is meant by 'allow'? Was the intent really that religious freedom is only granted (allowed) by the whims of others, so that it might also be taken away?
 
  • #71
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I thought it was about the annual appearance of some jolly old guy in a red suit with white trim. Ho, ho, ho!

And what about the slaughter of millions of innocent trees, which are ritually sacrificed?! No word about that.
Yes, but those trees are, largely, raised for that purpose, so its not deforestation if thats what your getting at.
 
  • #72
Ivan Seeking
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Adams was a Unitarian, not your typical Christian. (Unitarians are just one step removed from Deists! :wink:) He also signed the Treaty of Tripoli which stated: "The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion".

Washington wasn't your typical Christian either: He never declared himself a Christian, never took communion, never called for clergy to be present at his deathbed. When the rector of the church that Washington attended (Rev Abercrombie) was asked about Washington's religious beliefs (after his death), he was said to answer: "Sir, Washington was a Deist."

Franklin was generally considered a Deist.

Ethan Allen was a deist.

James Madison was no fan of Christianity or typically religious: "During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."

And don't forget Thomas Paine, super-Deist.

No, the Founding Fathers were pretty much non-Christians (mostly deists and Unitarians). But much more important than their personal religious beliefs, they saw the need to create a secular government, not a theocracy. A singular achievement that we are rapidly destroying.

Build up that wall!
HEAR HEAR!!!
 

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