Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News Church-State Separation

  1. May 11, 2003 #1

    (Hell, at least it isn't another thread about Iraq or Israel!)
  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2003 #2


    User Avatar

    I don't think anybody is going to disagree with this...
    Anybody wanna play devil's advocate?
  4. May 11, 2003 #3
    My take;

    The founding fathers looked to European history and saw that virtually every State had an official religion and that if you were not ‘of the body’ you might be persecuted. This could not be allowed in a society where individual liberty was to be respected.

    History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.
    -Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813.
  5. May 11, 2003 #4
    So, what about people who say America is a "Christian" nation?
  6. May 11, 2003 #5
    In short it depends upon what exactly is meant by the word ‘Christian’. For example; is it Christian due to the population count of the local real estate?
    The founding fathers struggled with the fact that the majority of people held these views and knew that they had to be careful, in order to guard against the creation of just such a nation. I don’t believe there is any mention of either God, or Christianity in the constitution, and the Constitution + Bill of Rights are the United States.
    Even as careful as they were to not step on Christian toes, many Christians denounced the constitution as a ‘Godless document’.

    Many Christians are very much mistaken about what kind of nation the US is.
  7. May 11, 2003 #6


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    You'd be surprised.
  8. May 11, 2003 #7
    You know...not only do some people think America is a Christian nation, but they assume that their particular(and peculiar) version is the only way to go.

    Silly people!
  9. May 12, 2003 #8


    User Avatar

    Well... not in this forum anyways.... Gino or futurist might have, but they're not really around much anymore.
  10. May 12, 2003 #9
    Most people assume that Jefferson, Washington, Paine, and Adams were christians...but were they?
  11. May 12, 2003 #10
  12. May 13, 2003 #11
    Maybe, but so vaguely that it barely counts towards the nonsense that people like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell spout.
  13. May 14, 2003 #12
  14. May 14, 2003 #13
    Bravo BoulderHead,
    Far to often we hear from both sides of the fence shouting "Seperation of Church and State" in order to get the church to not be involved or to get gment out of involvement with the church. Which these kinds of crying foul are often misrepresentations of what not only the founding fathers meant but also what the Constitution reads.

    It reads, Amendment I: "Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

    Nothing in that states that the church cannot be involved in government, nor does it state that the government cannot be involved in the church. It states that the government (Congress) shall not make a government run church...as in the Church of England whcih was a state owned, established, operated church/religion...and was the only "recognized" church in England. This is what the founding fathers wanted to ensure did not happen... This allowed the government to be free of the church and focus solely on the people.

    And Zero:
    The statement that America is a Christian Nation does not have any bearing on the government. When I think of "Christian Nation" I think of it more demographically than anything else. Our gment is not oriented Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or any other for that matter... but is religious neutral. Which is as it should be.
  15. May 14, 2003 #14
    You wouldn't know it, to hear some people talk. They think that because the majority is some sort of Christian, the government should recognise their faith as somehoe superior to the rest.
  16. May 15, 2003 #15

    Tog.... from http://supreme.lp.findlaw.com/constitution/amendment01/01.html#1
  17. May 15, 2003 #16
    Obviously its dangerous to have fundamentalists in government, as the case with Iran. Fundamentalists are not gifted at accounting. Political leaders have usually had sincere and not so sincere piety.

    Love the link, Boulderhead
  18. May 15, 2003 #17
    Tog, how does not making any law respecting an establishment of religion not prevent the government from being involved in the church?
  19. May 15, 2003 #18


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Toldya. That attitude is far more common than you may think.
  20. May 17, 2003 #19
    You want fire? I got your fire bro...

    America was founded upon christian principles. The whole nature of its constitutional arguments are based upon christian beliefs. As it should be.

    Now, Odin may have been able to coagulate such a warlike and wild peoples as the Franks, but he shure couldn't withstand the mighty dictates of Zeus. Neither could Zeus wholly subjugate the germanic tribes. It was not a warlike disposition, nor such a high sense of exalted fame so as to make one **** marble that tamed the peoples of the north. It was a meek, peaceloving beatnick from some obscure relentlessly conquered nation who seeded the hegemonies of the world.

    It was this quaint personage who sparked the "preservation of technology" in Ireland as well as the "Bulwark of Defense" in Constantinople (Asimov, you plaguirizing bastard). Later, after the crucible, it remained the religion of this simple carpenter who inspired not only the search for knowledge but of new lands and new ways of life.

    It was the pilgrims of this simple carpenter who first created the colonies (and mighty inept they were,IMHO). It was they and the influence of the Templars inheritance that set up the US. Our whole society is based upon this religion.

    It is not an accident that our government functions under the stipulation that it will forever remain seperate from religion. It was, IMHO, not an edict denying christianity, but rather totally denying the possibility that anything other than christianity could exist in the Americas. It was taken for granted that any reference to GOD meant the Christian God (which as it turns out, is the same as the Hebrew God Yahweh, and the Islamic God Allah). It was a stipulation that was attempting to wipe out the sects of christianity from observation (episcopalian, methody, babtistic, ect)

    Now, all but one or two of the signers of the declaration of independance were masons. To masons, it matters not which god you believe in, only that you believe in a supreme being. As a side note I should point out how liberal this idea actually is, especially for its time.With connections to the ancient order of Templar Knights, the masons were well aquainted with the difference of dogma but not of essence between god and allah. Indeed, among Islam christians are "people of the book" as are the Jews. The ideas of a supreme being were indicative of enlightened reasoning in the era and covered the whole range of known personal beliefs (everyone else was, of course, savages).

    Anyway, the whole idea of God in government remains founded on a single principle inhereted from feudal times. You see, in order to maintain a position of nobility, any given landowner was bound to his feudal lord. The binding of his fedality rested upon his oath to God. God alone had the power to bind human beings to thier word, much like (alas) a written contract does so today. Therefore, when binding oneself to any governmental power, it becomes neccassary to appeal to an even higher power in order to assure that loyalty...a divine power...the power of God.

    Therefore, every monetary note, every oath of allegiance, is based upon the ultimate binding power of God. It means so little today. IMHO, religion is at the same crux it was 2k years ago. Zeus was a shallow, meaningless God. That Christianity sublimated the pantheon of the old religion was due only to the new dimension in human theology that was arising. Today, most of you percieve the same hollowness in religion, it fills no niche in your personal lives. It appeals to none of us because we,as a species, have matured beyond it. We seek a new source of fullfilment, one that will make the "In God we Trust" actually mean something. Perhaps we shun it. Perhaps it is simply the DNA code, the amino acids of our cells being the new "Word of God". Perhaps something even weirder. Either way, whatever religion means in this new century, its only place in government remains as a power to bind man to the truth of his/her word.
  21. May 17, 2003 #20
    Are you just playing D's A, or do you believe that?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook