# Separation of Church and State

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Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Some good stuff here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_office_of_the_President_of_the_United_States
It is uncertain how many Presidents used a Bible or added the words "So help me God" at the end of the oath, as neither is required by law; unlike many other federal oaths which do include the phrase "So help me God."
...
Theodore Roosevelt did not use a Bible when taking the oath in 1901. Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman, and Richard Nixon swore the oath on two Bibles. John Quincy Adams swore on a book of law.
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Washington kissed the Bible afterwards, as some later Presidents did, but modern Presidents have not—except for Harry Truman ...

Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
So Washington was a Christian after all?
Not an easy question. From what I've read, I would say he was a cautious Christian and a wholehearted Deist (in the broad sense that he believe in the existence of a supernatural deity).

He went to church very regularly, but almost never mentioned Jesus or the Bible in his writings (though he did write a lot about God).

Danger
Gold Member
It doesn't surprise me that Nixon swore on two bibles—one for each face.

Evo
Mentor
Not an easy question. From what I've read, I would say he was a cautious Christian and a wholehearted Deist (in the broad sense that he believe in the existence of a supernatural deity).

He went to church very regularly, but almost never mentioned Jesus or the Bible in his writings (though he did write a lot about God).
I have read that he didn't really attend church.

Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
He was a vestryman of Truro (I think) Parish. I think it would have been very odd if he didn't attend somewhat regularly. He is also known to have gone about buying the most expensive pews for his family at a number of churches. How much of this was for the sake of appearances, I don't know. Barring that Wiki Answers page, I have not seen anything that described Washington as dismissive of Christianity, in the way that Jefferson was, for instance. I think the important thing to note about GW was that he was an all-embracer. He's not the kind of person that would care to publicly rile against the Church even if he thought it was all a fairytale.

Evo
Mentor
He was a vestryman of Truro (I think) Parish. I think it would have been very odd if he didn't attend somewhat regularly. He is also known to the gone about buying the most expensive pews for his family at a number of churches. How much of this was for the sake of appearances, I don't know. Barring that Wiki Answers page, I have not seen anything that described Washington as dismissive of Christianity, in the way that Jefferson was, for instance. I think the important thing to note about GW was that he was an all-embracer. He's not the kind of person that would care to publicly rile against the Church even if he thought it was all a fairytale.

Jefferson was definitely what we would call an atheist today, perhaps Washington just went through the motions. I agree with Cyrus, if you are an atheist, in court you have an even more uphill battle. Here is an excerpt from atheist.org relating to a case where a girl refused to say the Lords prayer before playing a basketball game. The father went to talk to the Principal who, as any good christian would, punched him a few times.

Represented by attorneys Tom Gungoll and American Atheists National Legal Director Edwin Kagin, Smalkowski endured a five-day trial that included a grilling of the school district superintendent. Mr. Kagin patiently explained to the jurors what Atheism was. Many of the prospective jurors opined that they could not believe the word of an Atheist over that of a god-fearing Christian, and were struck for cause. Some, including the wives of two local ministers, admitted that they were incapable of being fair to an Atheist in such a situation.

The father was nonetheless acquitted as the case was utter nonsense, even with a jury in the extremely religious state of Oklahoma. So perhaps there is hope, but I would hate to be Mr. Smalkowski for sure. And that was with good Lawyers, imagine what you would get with a public defender.

Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member

It's not clear from your post exactly who punched who, and for what reason, or who was facing trial.

It's not clear from your post exactly who punched who, and for what reason, or who was facing trial.

I found the link: http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/smalko3.htm" [Broken]

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Danger
Gold Member
Wow... I hope that they drop the hammer on all of them. My understanding of US politics is a bit shaky, but isn't conspiracy an even more serious offense than the act that they are conspiring to commit? May they all rot in prison.

Wow... I hope that they drop the hammer on all of them. My understanding of US politics is a bit shaky, but isn't conspiracy an even more serious offense than the act that they are conspiring to commit? May they all rot in prison.

Conspiracy itself can usually be charged seperately if the aim of the conspiracy was not successful but it is generally used more to increase the penalty for the crime. I don't think penalties for conspiracy charges in and of themselves are usually quite as harsh as those for the intended crime. It may depend on the crime and circumstances.

Edit: that is, in this case the crime itself may be fairly minor but to claim that it was born of a conspiracy to infringe upon the rights of the victims could well increase the penalties dramatically.

Danger
Gold Member
Thanks for the clarification, Stats.

If you could see God, will you go on with scientific research ?

Danger
Gold Member
If you could see God, will you go on with scientific research ?

And if a bullfrog had wings, would it bump its a so much?

edit: Okay, when the hell did the censor software tune into 'a s s'? I've always gotten away with that one before. :grumpy:

edit #2: Have replaced 's' with '\$' to bypass censor programme.

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