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News Democracy is best served by strict separation of church and state.

  1. Dec 1, 2004 #1
    Personally, I believe this firmly, but I'm interested in seeing what some of you people who use "secularist" as a dirty word think of the topic, and how you can defend religious involvement in governmental policy...

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 1, 2004 #2
    The best way to defend against it is to elect conservative representatives who will appoint conservative jurists who will find religious political policy is unconstitutional at the federal level. Of course each state is allowed to have a state sponsored religion and tax its constituents to support if it desires.

  4. Dec 2, 2004 #3
    I am all for seperation of church and state. However, that seperation has been warped beyond belief to simply exclude teachers from wearing crosses.

    How does the government define 'religion', even if it is for the purposes of making sure that it is not defining 'religion' for everybody?

    Suppose I want to access the courts for the purpose of 'protection' from gov't exercise/establishement of religion.

    1] Must I 'believe' in the religion first, befiore I seek protection from it? Athiests, no; check.

    2] Must the religion be a 'real' religion first and not some 'fake' religion? Uh-oh. There's that gov't list that the gov't isn't supposed to be making. What is a 'real' religion, and what is a 'fake' religion?

    Are 'real' religons based on 'real' supernatural beings, and 'fake' religions based on unreal supernatural beings? Or, must a majority, ie, Marx's State, define 'real' religion for the minority before the minority can seek protection from the majority definition of religion?

    I'd love to know. Now, please pretend that this isn't in fact a fundamental problem with the whole topic. It's precisely the kind of nonsense that happens around singularities.

    The 1st amendment could be simplified real easily; in response to any question or query regarding 'religion,' the state's only permitted response is "Huh? What the Hell is that?" or, something to that effect.

    I believe Thespianism, with its Sacred Space, is a religion.

    I don't believe in Thepianism, but I and a minority of others believe it is a religion.

    Must I subsidize it in our public schools? What says the Holy Majority, other than 'shut up?'

    Gaien/Environmentalism/Earth day. Out, dammit, at least from my taxbill.

    Worship of an unseen animate great spirit, aka 'Society,' with wants and needs and high priest spokespersons for same.

    Why, I went to a public school, and I actially had a religious text, 'Sociology' thrust onto me, unwillingly. I swear to God(ooops!), really happened. Nobody said, 'boo;' in fact, we acolytes of the Great Unseen Spirit Society were encouraged to worship away, unfettered.

    Hey, I know its a minority view of religion, so what say the Holy Majority when we aren't pretending that the Holy Majority is protecting minority views of religion in America?

    Where's my Tuna fish?
  5. Dec 2, 2004 #4
    Thomas Jefferson on separation of church and State

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State.

    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802

    No one church can lay claim to this nation's soul. This is a nation of souls each attached to the universe in a personal fashion. Relationship to God can't be legislated. No one God Projection can be forced on any individual; no one religion or creed, can be elevated above another in a just Democracy. To do this would require an army of religious police, just like we see in some societies where we find appalling inequity between genders, and non believers.

    Shall we be administering virginity tests in this nation in the near future? We are already preaching the virtue of this, in public schools. On what basis is this teaching a part of a Democracy? It has a basis in interpretation of ancient Hebraic customs, what does this have to do with the here and now, and our Democracy?

    Our current government in the name of Christian values is teaching the value of virginal physical integrity until marriage, and then groping the breasts of women, in airports. Our government is actively involved in both the right to life under Christian principles and rights of unborn Americans, and yet taking hundreds of thousands of lives overseas, including the lives of personnel we have placed there. If this is a religious government, they are practicing an awful thing, beyond my comprehension. That is why I don't think we currently have a religous government, the religious are just the lackeys of the monied.

    If our current government has a religion, it is the wrong one for me. It is best that they profess none at all, so they can get back to what they really worship; money, power, and dominion over the private lives of citizens.

    I say, the indecent, can't legislate decency.
  6. Dec 2, 2004 #5


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    Our Government is encouraging the teaching of the virtue of abstinence in an effort to decrease teen pregnancy rates and to decrease rates of STD infection. Whether or not there are religious motivations in addition to these, surely these are noble ends that ought to be striven for. Wouldn't you agree?
  7. Dec 3, 2004 #6
    Why? Why is abstinence intrinsically more preferable, or noble in your words, than sensible education of the youth about undesired pregnancy and STD?
  8. Dec 3, 2004 #7


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    The way US government has been "teaching" abstinence is closer to propaganda, some of the programs, to say the least, have been spreading their own ideals supported by falsified facts. There shouldn't be a need to transfer old biases to the youth of today but rather focus on what it is really about.
  9. Dec 3, 2004 #8


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    While I understand that it is impossible to actually convince kids to be abstinent, it is also true that the only way to be 100% certain to avoid pregnancy and STD's is abstinence. For the religious right, it is also a moral issue. That, to me, makes it a "noble," if misguided, position: chosing morality over practicality.
  10. Dec 3, 2004 #9
    The ends are noble, but the means are utterly deplorable. There is nothing virtuous about abstinence. Depriving oneself of such a pleasurable activity in a world with more than its fair share of pain and suffering is sheer folly. Like any potentially dangerous activity (and what recreational and physical activity isn't potentially dangerous?) you need to be educated on how to reduce the risk of those dangers. I think school is an ideal place for this sort of education.

    There is nothing noble about keeping your daughter at home during summer holidays because you're afraid that she'll die in an accident at school camp. There is nothing noble about failing to travel to the country your parents emigrated from just because you're afraid your plane will fall out of the sky. There is nothing noble about abstaining from the wonderful activity of sex just because you're afraid of contracting AIDS. In general, there is nothing noble about aiming for a risk-free life. I know this intimately, because it's how I've lived my life.
  11. Dec 3, 2004 #10


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    craigwolf, there is a reason you need to be 18 to skydive or scuba dive without parental consent/supervision. This has nothing to do with living a risk-free life.
  12. Dec 3, 2004 #11


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    No. Just because a goal is noble doesn't mean it should be striven for by every method possible or even striven for at all.

    World peace is a noble goal. Dismantling our military to set an example for the rest of the world is stupid. For one thing, the consequences would send the wrong messages - those that strive for peace get destroyed.

    The same applies to sex education. Teaching the virtue of abstinence as the method of reducing teen pregnancy and STD while suppressing teaching of birth control and other methods, based on the reasoning that teaching other methods might enourage teen sex, is so out of touch with reality that it becomes irresponsible, not noble.

    From music to movies to TV to magazines, teens are taught that being sexually desirable is one of the most important goals a person can achieve. Any teaching in school or church has to compete with 'teaching' from other sources. Pretending the rest of the world does not exist is irresponsible, not noble.

    While their ultimate goal may be noble, everything has to be done in the proper order to achieve that goal. Before the government should even think of endorsing abstinence as the only good method of prevention, they should reduce the number of sources teaching that sex is everything. If they fail at that stage, the only responsible option is to educate teens on the world they actually live in - not the world some might wish they lived in.

    In other words, before the war against teen sex can be won, the war for allowing government censorship has to be won. Not likely, and not even desirable. That makes teaching 'safer sex' in conjunction with the benefits of abstinence the only responsible decision available.
  13. Dec 3, 2004 #12
    Religion is a part of society and government and there isn't anything you can do about it. Everyone has religious beliefs and they're going to express them. Every opinion and input you have into society or government is based off your beliefs. Its futile to try to separate religion and government. A people's beliefs are there culture and their government is going to reflect it. Just accept it. Too not involve religion and government is too completely ignore your own judgement and not to give your input into society which is the whole basis of democracy.

    Only if you're stupid. Just strive for it in an intelligent manner.

    Its not nessissarily pleasurable afterwards though. You seem to think that nobody has ever regreted having sex afterwards.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2004
  14. Dec 3, 2004 #13
    sooner or later all religions will be identified as memetic narcotics- and will be placed on the neural-software equivalent of the schedule 1 list of illegal drugs- we are now witnessing the nadir of religiosity in Human Civilization- the last desperate gasp- then gone to join Zoraster in the shadows- take heart

    [religion shall likely return to [post]Human civilization- however this time we will be the deities- not the flock]
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2004
  15. Dec 3, 2004 #14


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    Not all "belief systems" have the characteristics of a religion, ditching religion and going by philosophy has completely different stances and principles ... and seems to work as well, many would say far better.

    Whether anyone regrets it or not, it's a natural function, why bother shading it ?
  16. Dec 3, 2004 #15


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    Okay guys, let's not all get our panties in a twist at once. I just asked if you agree that striving to lower teen pregnancy rates and STD infection rates is a noble goal? The only point is that there is a non-religious reason to teach the virtue of abstinence, and so it can be taught while maintaining a separation of church and state. I never said that I advocate abstinence-only programs over comprehensive programs. Geez.
  17. Dec 3, 2004 #16
    Sex is not a technically sophisticated activity run by a business afraid of lawsuits or a business needing to sign a standard insurance contract for such activities. Sex is a natural activity, needing little to no special training, desired by almost every human being on the planet, requiring the mutual consent of two people. You can do it in a barn, in a closet, on a bed, almost anywhere. And the desire to do it starts in the teen years. Now, we can forbid them to do it until they reach legal adult age. Or we can give them our blessings but thoroughly educate them on how to do it safely. It doesn't take a genius to work out which option is going to be more effective in decreasing the rates of teen pregnancy and AIDS. Compare teen pregnancy rates in Scandinavia with those in the USA, or compare African countries where condom education is widespread with African countries where it isn't because of religious reasons. There is nothing noble about implementing a strategy that is bound to fail.
  18. Dec 7, 2004 #17
    Anyways yea I totally agree with you on that one. Many things are justified by religion, such as murder in the name of god and discrimination against homosexuals and other religions. Those types of things have no place in our government, religion has no place in our government. There are many reasons why I feel the way that I do. For example, religion having a part in the government unjust b/c it discriminates against the many other religions in the United States. Being in the minority on religion I know what its like to be unfairly treated and I know that that unfairness would continue to grow were church and state to be joined.
  19. Dec 7, 2004 #18
    No need to consider the possibility that a culture that encourages mere '****ing' -- which is identical to the initial act of procreation--outside of any context of commitment between the people ****ing--will have an undue number of children born outside the bounds of a commited relationship between their biological parents.

    Thus, requiring adoption or care by a third party or worse; forced care by an uncaring first party.

    How exactly is that good for kids, or showing compassion for them?

    It's true that folks in a committed relationship '****' all the time for reasons other then procreation; and, true, sometimes, their little ****-ups end up in 'mistakes.' The glaring difference is, those 'mistakes' occur in the context of--focus now, it's hard to see for some--a committed relationship between a man and a women, man and wife, mother and father. Get it?

    So, outside of a relationship like that, a culture that encourages just plain worshipping of those nerve endings that make us feel so good, is going to have an increased number of children born outside of such a relationship; no doubt about it.

    You know, for some, those nerve bundles that carry those signals from our dick to our brains merely pass through our spine, not totally replace it. There is a bigger context then, "it feels good so I'll do it, and I don't care how many children end up getting born outside of a loving family relationship due to my little campaign of me-me-me."

    Where is the compassion in that?

    In previous generations, this fell under the category of 'spine;' it's a long lost term. Repression is not the point; full blown belief that the act is totally without consequences or meaning beyond self-thrill in the presence of strangers doing same is the cultural phenomena I am talking about.

    "Oh, poor me, I can't have what I want when I want it and I want it Now, and I'm too spineless to wait, and if I don't get whatIi want when I want I just don't know WHAT i'm going to do....oh, poor 'repressed' me, me, me!"

    ...has given way to not even being able to bear or consider the slightest guilt for what this spineless free for all might be doing to the nation. Guilt/judgementalism is the only crime left in America.

    Oh, yes, let's weigh all that mythical angst against the spectre of encouraging folks to bring children into the world outside of the context of a committed relationship. By all means, 15 year old single moms actually encouraged to bring other children into the world and give them up for adoption so that hopefully somoeone will come along and rescue them is NOTHING compared to the angst of having to finally find one's spine.

    But, there are now fully two generations of little pudding heads raised in a culture that daily celebrates exactly that; like feral children, totally oblivious that life should or could be any other way.

    So, we can assuage our little pre-guilt over the narcissistic worshipping of our own precious little nerve endings by throwing a condom ad at 15 year olds, giving them a big hug, and telling them they are on their own. Or, don't worry, we'll just suck out the mistake later. Anything--whatever it takes--to allow precious me, me, me to continue to narcissistically worship my precious little nerve endings in the presence of mere strangers, outside of any committed relationship.

    Compassion---for our own nerve endings, above all else.

    Why, exactly shouldn't abstinance be tought?
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2004
  20. Dec 7, 2004 #19
    I actually agree with some of Zlex's rant, but the problem is that his solution is not going to work. On the one hand, teenagers, whose almost sole focus is being cool, are being told by movies, music, magazines, peers, etc, that sex is great, that you must have sex to be cool, that only losers don't have sex, that women are merely sex objects, and so on. On the other hand, they're told by some desperately uncool old farts that abstinence is the way to go, that virginity is something to be treasured. Gee, who's going to win that argument?

    The enemy is not sex and never has been. The enemy is how sex is portrayed and promoted by culture. The USA has a culture where nothing is sacred, where everything is a commodity to bought and sold, where a hyper-vigorous and rapacious form of capitalism dominates everything. When the only opposition to this is some crazy religious fundamentalists preaching that sex is bad and abstinence is good, it really is no surprise that teen pregnancy and AIDS is such a problem for the USA.
  21. Dec 7, 2004 #20
    Once again it has become clear that consumerism, mass media and pop culture are the enemy.
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