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  1. #21
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    Unhappy

    Originally posted by JohnY:
    Better remove the word God and Creator from the declaration of Independence while we are at it. Heck, it's only the document that founded our nation. We need to be PC don't you know. Can't have the name of God invoked there can we? Oh, and we better not have "God Bless America". But then, if we just say, Bless America, who will Bless Us?
    Does this mean we can't celebrate 4th of July as it is Independence day. [img]graemlins/doubleeek.gif[/img]

    I'm not sure we should use Bless either, John. Someone might say that has a religious tone also. [img]graemlins/shakehead.gif[/img]

    Ian, great post! [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
    Cher (aka TheSorcererofFantasia)

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  3. #22
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    Red face

    It's kinda interesting that this subject is coming up again after all these years. Something very related (not nessicarily similiar) happened in 1943 in the Supreme Court. Before that the supreme court ruled in the Gobitis case that all students must say the pledge. Then in 1943 in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette they rule that student don't have to say it, if it violates there own personal convictions. Interesting enough if I remember the case is that it was brought up by a Jehovah's Witnesses who felt it was against his religion to salute it or say the pledge. The part of the bible concerning "bowing down to graven images". In relation to this, an easy application of this law is all thats really need to settle the problem.
    Technically the guy is right in that it is an endorsement of the Judeo/Christian God. But Christian offshoots were that was around when the country was forming. The Puritians came over to america because they had lost power and the others wanted them out of the country because they couldn't put up with the puritians amazing strick laws. The rest just came over in search of fortune mainly, what greater motivation for the human race, right?
    So personally I'm against it. People seem to have ants in their pants about so many things today. Considering the voucher ruling just came in, if this cases makes it too the Supreme Court then we aren't really sure how it will end up.

  4. #23
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    Oh jeez...this is a heated one. I'm really on the fence about this. I can see where people who are Atheists would be un-nerved by having the government endorse religion through the pledge. Although the words "under God" can be taken to mean any god (Vishnu,Allah,Buddha etc.), that is really irrelavent IMHO. It doesn't matter what religion a person might practice, that fact is that the government is forbidden by the Constitution to endorse any religion. Keep in mind that the words "under god" were not part of the original pledge but were added by a federal statute in 1954. It goes against first amendment principles what the President and Congress did when they changed the pledge in the first place. Perhaps rather than ruling on Newdow v. California, the court would have been better off refering the 1954 statute to the US Supreme Court for review.

    I think that overturning this might be a bit of a tough road keeping in mind a few of the other recent US Supreme Court decisions regarding schools and prayer. In order to overturn the ruling of the federal appellate court the US Supreme Court would have to overturn at least these two rulings:

    The precedent set by the 2000 Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe ruling states that although the school's prayer policy was not secular in nature, that it does have "the improper effect of coercing those present to participate in an act of religious worship."

    In the 1992 Lee v. Weisman ruling which struck down student led prayers at school sponsored sporting events and assemblies the court ruled that "at a minimum, the Constitution guarantees that government may not coerce anyone to support or participate in religion or its exercise, or otherwise to act in a way which establishes a state religion or religious faith, or tends to do so."

    As to
    If you don't like what they created, you don't have to live here.
    That is, IMHO, about as glib a retort as I've ever heard. The fact is that we are a nation of laws and those laws are in a constant state of flux. The greatest part of the Constitution is that the founding fathers had the foresight to know that the world will change, as a nation we would grow and that there needs to be a mechanism within the Constitution to accomadate those changes through the ability to add amendments to the Constitution. To tell people to just pack up and get out because you don't like something is akin to suggesting that we as a nation never question the status quo. We, as citizens of the US have a right, if not the duty, to question our leaders and laws.

    I could go on about this for hours, but I think I'll climb down off the soapbox for now.
    <b>Shaughaan</b> <i>yup that's "Shawn"</i><br /><b>Keeper/Feeder of the Carnivorous Chickadees</b><br />Next up...<br />Vacation Home:11/26-12/2 AKL:12/2-12/7 WL:12/7-12/17/02<br />If you want a pretty fire, ya gotta burn a Doll!<br /><i>I wanna be a Starfleet captain...</i><br />God has given me a mind that I will use from time to time<br />And I got more on my head than what's made by Paul Mitchell

  5. #24
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    Questioning laws is more than a right. I don't recall the exact wording but the Declaration of Independence says that citizens have a DUTY to speak out. and the Constitution protects that. However, if you start creating laws everytime someone gets their nose out of joint, you soon have a state of chaos where everyone is afraid to say ANYTHING for fear that someone, somewhere might inadvertently be offended and sue you, essentially imobilizing the freedom of speech that is at the core of the Constitution.
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  6. #25
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    Cool

    I echo what John and Ian have said. It is also very important to remember that the phrase "separation of church and state" does not exist in the Constitution. The Constitution is very clear (I don't know why all the legal talking heads ignore this) in that the government can't endorse or prohibit the practice of any particular religion. The Constitution was not meant for us to be a godless society.

  7. #26
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    My best friend in grade school was from Australia. I remember standing every day to say The Pledge and she would stand with us, out of respect for the country she was living in, but did not recite the words. That was fine with me. Those of us that believed what we were saying said it. Those who did not wish to participate, for whatever reason, showed their respect by standing with us but did not recite.

    Now, more than ever, it is important for our kids (really, for all of us) to learn the importance of what our founding fathers fought for and stood for. It only adds to my pride in this country. And, as has been said above, this country WAS founded as One Nation, Under God, Indivisible...
    Susan

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  8. #27
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    Just a small note here... while the words "under god" were added in 1954, there is absolutely NO arguging the point we were a nation founded under god. Period. End of Story.

    Did some checking tonite. Maybe we should ban our national anthem as well? Anyone ever read the whole thing? I had, which is why I searched it out tonite and it is now in my signature.

    Seems Francis Scott Key in 1814 even knew we were founded "under god".....
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  9. #28
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    Exclamation

    Oh I can't believe what I am reading. I had to respond. A couple of points:

    Better remove the word God and Creator from the declaration of Independence while we are at it. Heck, it's only the document that founded our nation.

    Thomas Jefferson wrote the majority of Declaration of Independence. Would you like to see some of Tom's thoughts on religion and government? Here are just a few:

    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

    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.

    Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.

    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

    In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.

    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814


    The Declaration of Independence, while extremely important to this country, is not law. It came before the Constitution and the establishment of the law of this land.

    ...but the pledge states that the nation was founded as one nation, under God ... and the fact of the matter is ... IT WAS!!!

    WRONG. Regardless of the founding fathers' religious beliefs, this country was not founded "under God." In fact, more than a few of them were not religious at all. And to the argument of "the United States was founded on Christianity," as so many are wont to argue, here's an excerpt from a little known piece of legislation called the Treaty of Tripoli signed by President John Adams in 1797 - notice the very first line:

    As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

    There was no debate over this, it was signed without a second thought. Why? Because this was not an issue then. It was clear the politicians understood that religion had no place in government.

    The phrase "under God" was added to the Pledge, as already stated here, in 1954, when people in this country were scared and wanted to separate us from those atheistic Communists (as if all atheists are Communists - please)... here's what Eisenhower said concerning the phrase: "From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty." Can you seriously sit here with a straight face tell me that the intention of adding "under God" to the Pledge was not in any way related to religion? Is that not an endorsement of religion? Specifically, the Judeo-Christian monotheistic religion? That they weren't trying to promote that belief in the schools?

    Our founding fathers placed the clause "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." in the First Amendment as the first item because it was so important that religion be kept OUT of government entirely. Notice I did not say out of SOCIETY. Understand the difference.

    You have to be able to separate LAW from EMOTION on this issue. I don't care what your religious persuasion is or if you even have one. NO ONE is saying you personally cannot pray, even in the schools! BUT... for the government or any institution supported by the government to endorse, espouse or support ANY religious belief or overtone (and "under God" or "In God we trust" or any of the others is - at the very LEAST - a monotheistic belief) is simply and utterly unconstitutional. It's not banning God, it's not picking on Christians, it's not placating a minority, it's not political correctness... it's the LAW. WHY is that so hard to understand?

    If you are a true American, you have to believe in defending all of the rights granted in the Constitution for EVERY SINGLE American. That means protecting someone's freedom of speech when you hate what they're saying, it means granting a sick murderer due process and a fair trial, even when his crime disgusts you, it means protecting everyone's right to bear arms, it means understanding that although we all have the freedom to practice the religion of our choice, NO religion has a place in government policy. You have to defend ALL of our rights when you LEAST want to. THAT IS TRUE FREEDOM AND LIBERTY. That is what the Constitution was designed to do. Protect freedom and liberty. It's what makes this country the greatest on earth. And just because the majority of people in this country may hold a religious belief, or go even further and say their Christians, that does NOT mean that we can violate Constitutional principles simply because *most* people wouldn't be offended by it. Do you really want to go down that road? Again, it has nothing to do with offending people, or majorities and minorities. I hate PC stuff as much as the next person (believe me I hate it!! ). That's not the issue. It's about protecting what is written in the Constitution. And that First Amendment, to me, is pretty darn clear.

    You've got to understand that you can be fervently religious (or fervently atheist) AND understand that the notion of separation of church and state is so important. The founding fathers did understand this, and it's precisely because they understood that religion has no place in government that they wrote that portion of the First Amendment. The intention was not to remove religion from American society, or have a "Godless" America, but to keep it where it belonged - in the hearts and minds of citizens and in the churches. And yes, to protect all Americans so that they're free to practice, or NOT practice, any religion they so choose.

    When governments start infusing religion into public policy, certain groups or religions will inevitably seek power (they always do) and the ability to further their own agenda and set of beliefs. Thomas Jefferson understood that, as did many of the other leaders of that time. Why can't Americans understand that now?

    [ June 28, 2002, 12:27 PM: Message edited by: SteelyGirl ]

  10. #29
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    I'll keep it short:

    All of this is very alarming.

    According to a News program I saw last night, 96% of the people in the country believe in some sort of supreme being. Why do the masses have to cater to that other 4%? That's what I don't understand. It was also being reported that President Bush called the whole situation ridiculous. I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

    I honestly just feel like this is not the time to be divisive as a country. The whole thing feels really rather petty.
    ~Mary Burk~<br /><br />Living the dream as an entertainment CM :)<br /><br />Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.

  11. #30
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    I have tried to stay out of this because I am always the voice of dissent. But it is time for me to butt in my big ol' nose.

    Originally posted by MaryburkS:
    96% of the people in the country believe in some sort of supreme being. Why do the masses have to cater to that other 4%?
    That is not the point at all. Under apartheid in South Africa more than 90% (a clear majority) were living under the rule of a tiny minority. In the United States until the 1870's many counties in the south were not allowing their black majority to vote in elections - that doesn't mean that any of this is right. The same Founding Fathers who we "assume" were God-fearing religious men and who said our nation was formed "Under God" were also slave owners - does that mean that everything they said should be taken as rule? None of this is "law." Any decision made by any court has to be made by "law."

    I am not going to state my particular opinion on the issue (although I think Emily gave an excellent argument based upon fact and not emotion) this is a matter based on law - not how patriotic we should feel post 9/11. Would this backlash have been the same on September 10, 2001? I don't know - something to consider.

    Has anyone read the actual decision yet? There have been a lot of valid points raised that could set precedents for future First Amendment and Fourth Amendment issues.

    I was listening to NPR today and I heard a Con Law professor from Harvard state that President Bush is the ABSOLUTE first president who has ever declared that our nation was absolutely formed "Under God" and that every court system in America must believe the same thing. That is a ridiculous, absolutist statement and could cause a lot of future problems. Does that mean that agnostics or atheists should not serve as judges? What would a judge's particular religious view have to do with settling small claims cases, settle speeding tickets or declare divorce decrees? Absolutely nothing. And for him to say something so emotional and not based on any law or intellegent reasoning whatsoever is irresponsible.

    We need to start looking at this from a legal point of view, not an emotional one. I personally have always felt the Pledge of Allegiance to be a very personal experience and was never fully comfortable stating it in school. I feel proud of my country and my fellow citizens but choose to express it differently and a little more privately. I vote in every election, support my political party and stay abreast of local and federal political issues. I would hate for someone else to judge my worthiness as a citizen or a person because I don't wholly believe in what I perceive is an immediate, wartime emotional backlash to a court decision.

    Also:
    This has been a wonderful civics lesson for all Americans. It shows that any citizen, at any time, and with any means, can challenge an existing law in the court system. Most of the rights and privileges we take for granted on a daily basis were granted to us because a brave citizen stepped forward. Even though many of us aren't thrilled with this particular issue it is important that all voices are heard.
    Eva a.k.a. EvaBryan

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  12. #31
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    Red face

    I usually don't chime in on things like this but the whole Pledge issue has been bothering me since it happened.

    Children should not be forced to say the pledge in school. The phrase "One Nation Under God" promotes religion. If you want your children to be patriotic then it should be taught in the privacy of the home. The plege promotes the Christian representation of God. It was added with that particular deity in mind. The pledge excludes everyone who does not believe in God.

    Argueing that people who do not want to say "One Nation Under God" should just leave those words out, or think of their own representation of God is unfair and exclusionary. Why should one child be forced to stay seated while his classmates stand? Why make one child stick out when there are other ways to show your patriotism? It is just another way to persecute and mark those of us who do not subscribe to mainstream religion.

    As a side note the founding fathers were not Christians. Most of them were Deists. They believed that people shaped the fate of the nation, not God.

  13. #32
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    This will get overturned by the Supreme Court and will just be a skid mark in American History. A moment that was so stupid and idiotic that it gets corrected right away and the American people will make it seem just like a bad dream.

    Let's correct the mistake and just forget about it.
    November 1999: Old Key West -- Millennium Celebration<br />November 2000: Old Key West -- Millennium Celebration<br />December 2002: Old Key West -- 100 Years of Magic Celebration<br /><br />șOș<b>Future WDW Trips:</b>șOș<br />June 2004: Old Key West<br /><br /><b>"I didn't spend 6 years in evil medical school to be called Mr. thank you very much "</b><br /><i>From: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery</i><br /><br /><b>"I think he suffered from mood swings personally. I'm not a therapist in any way but .. you let me know when I'm rambling."</b><br /><i>From: Treasure Planet</i>

  14. #33
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    Em, while you made some good points, many of the quotes and references you cite are incomplete and taken out of context. I'd be willing to bet you got them from a source (probably Libertarian) that espouses the same position you are attempting to defend, so I would have to say your they are questionable at best.

    Also ... You'll note carefully that all of those quotes are taken about 25 years after the Declaration was written, making them of little use in determining what the Founding Fathers intentions were at the time the document was written.

    Your point about the phrase "under God" denoting a monotheistic religion is, however, a good one. I can see how it would be exclusive to those who's religious profess belief in more than one supreme being.

    I don't see this as being and insurmountable problem, however, because I'm quite sure even those folks can take the quote in the spirit it was intended.
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  15. #34
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    Red face

    It's a sad day when you can use the lords name in vain freely in public and on TV & Radio, no matter what religion you practice, yet it can't be used in a simple pledge of ones patriotism.

    Call me whacky! I just don't get it.

    [ June 29, 2002, 01:02 PM: Message edited by: Kronk ]
    Great Quotes:<br />"What would chairs look like if our knees bent the other way?"<br />"Very Funny Scotty, now beam down my clothes"<br />"Be nice to your kids, they'll choose your nursing home for you."<br />"im not a complete idiot...some parts are still missing"<br />"love is grand...divorce is twenty grand"<br />"They found traces of blood in my alcohol stream."<br /><br /> "Bryan" TiggTigg5's twisted son.

  16. #35
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    I agree on that Kronk. edited by Moderator for content [img]graemlins/smokin.gif[/img]

    COMMENT - We need to keep this discussion civil, please.

    [ June 29, 2002, 01:34 PM: Message edited by: WDWacky ]
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  17. #36
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    Thank you, Eva, for addressing the point about minorities/majorities much more eloquently than I could have. It is SO not the issue here! It's not about one man in CA (or his daughter) being more important than the rest of the citizens in that district, or about 4% dictating over 96%. It's a simple Constitutional matter. That's it!

    (Oh, and I did read the actual decision. [img]smile.gif[/img] )

    Ian, to address a couple of your points:

    To respond to your statement: NO, I did not get those quotes from a Libertarian source. Question though: why would it matter if I did? Does that make them less true? Does that mean Jefferson didn't write them? If you were to post a quote from Thomas Jefferson in support of your position, and you pulled it off, oh I don't know, a Republican or a religious website... does it somehow make it less valid because it supports your position? Or because it was posted on that site? I find your argument a little flimsy. Because I chose to quote Jefferson in support of my argument (rather than quote him contradicting my argument!) those quotes are somehow "questionable at best?" Or I guess they would be questionable coming from a Libertarian source, is that it?

    At the very least, the first quote I placed in that post is no doubt the most famous, and it's where we get the notion of "separation between church and state." There can be NO doubt of Jefferson's intent there. The other quotes I used were merely supporting the notion that although Jefferson had religious beliefs, he felt strongly about keeping that "wall" standing. He understood the havoc that is wreaked when governments involve themselves in the religious matters of citizens. However, since you seem to think I have misquoted Mr. Jefferson, please, if you in fact have the complete transcripts of Jefferson's letters from which I pulled quotes, by all means post them. If I took them out of context, I will apologize for misquoting him. You cannot deny, however, the power of that first quote. And quite frankly, I think the year it was written/said has little to do with it.

    "Your point about the phrase "under God" denoting a monotheistic religion is, however, a good one. I can see how it would be exclusive to those who's religious profess belief in more than one supreme being."

    Or exclusive to those who profess no belief at all. Are atheists, agnostics, non-believers, secular humanists... second-class citizens in America? I hope not. Here's some fodder for that notion:

    "No, I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God." - George H.W. Bush, as Presidential Nominee for the Republican party; 8/27/87

    Replace the word "atheists" with African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, women, homosexuals... and tell me if George Sr. would have made it through that with his political reputation in tact?

    But Ian, you and I have talked about this before and I want to make one thing very clear, because I know it's a sticking point with you: I really believe this is not a "the minority is making a stink so the majority have to bend to their will" issue. It's not about atheists taking God away from grade school kids or expecting all Americans to hide their religion. You have to boil it down to its core - the root issue is one of Constitutionality. If, for example, I were vehemently opposed to guns in any form, didn't want to be near them, felt they were "evil" etc. (I'm not, BTW - just an example)... I would still absolutely 100% support your right to own a weapon, because that right is granted to you, an American citizen, under the Second Amendment. And if 99% of Americans felt that guns were evil, too, and you were in that 1% who wanted to carry a weapon, I would still staunchly defend your right to bear arms. Because there are certain rights in this country, that no matter how unpopular they may be at times, are still afforded us by our Constitution. And we all have an obligation to make sure that document retains its strength and those rights are preserved, IMO. Public opinion ebbs and flows. The Constitution should endure.

    And one more thing I'd like to point out as food for thought to anyone... here are two quotes pulled directly from two different posters in this thread (just for illustrative purposes, I'm not taking issue with either statement):

    1. The phrase "Under God" could mean ( i dont want to sound as if im attacking religion or anything if i mess up ) the christian god, the muslim god, the jewish god, it really applies to ALL religions...

    2. And why is it always the Christian faith that gets picked on?

    Does anyone else see the dichotomy here? I find it interesting that Christians in this country often complain about being "picked on" precisely when it comes to issues like this one, because - I am guessing here - it's their Judeo-Christian God that is under attack, right? It's their God and their belief system that is being censored. But wait!! Then they're the first to say in defense of the "under God"-type statements... No, we're not referring to the Judeo-Christian God when we say "under God"... we're referring to some all-encompassing, formless, mega-God that spans all religions. How can we be talking about the mega-God when we say "under God," and yet when the arguments start about removing it, we're suddenly singling out only Christians? If the mega-God is at issue, shouldn't ALL religious people everywhere be upset? We aren't singling out Christians because we're not talking about just their God, correct? So why do they feel singled out and attacked I wonder? Could it be because it's pretty much assumed and implied that when you say "under God" in America, you're talking about the God of Judeo-Christian worship? And then we're right back to where we started: the statement endorses a particular religion or set of religions, depending on how you want to look at it.

    [ June 29, 2002, 04:17 PM: Message edited by: SteelyGirl ]

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    Emily -
    That was a very well reasoned argument, whether people agree with it or not.

    I couldn't possibly add anything else - very eloquent. [img]smile.gif[/img]
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    Wink

    I agree, it was very well put! [img]smile.gif[/img] (Although I completely disagree with it...)
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    Disney2002 Guest

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    I think people are missing a huge point here. All of the religious folk on this board are assuming that there is a god. This was exemplified in a post that presented the arguement that the US was indeed founded as "one nation, under God" I find it very disturbing, this day in age, that people have not gained a sense of cultural relativism. By having "under God" in the pledge, you are forcing religion. And yes, freedom of religion does include freedom from religion... there is a legal precedent on this issue. I'm certain people would raise a stink if it stated "one nation, under Allah". For those of us who do not believe in a god, it is the same issue. I would fight to the death defending any one of your rights to individual, private worship... even included in your community. However, by having invocations of a god in the pledge, on currency, etc. you no longer make that invocation private. This is the problem. Futhermore, in the study of constitutional law, the methodology that seeks to interpret the document based on what the authors intended has long faded away. The constitution is, by design, a fluid document intended undergo interpretation, annexation, and modification as times change. To say that the circumstances of civilization and legal code are the same now as they were in 1776 is foolish.

  21. #40
    Disney2002 Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by SteelyGirl:

    To respond to your statement: NO, I did not get those quotes from a Libertarian source. Question though: why would it matter if I did? Does that make them less true? Does that mean Jefferson didn't write them? If you were to post a quote from Thomas Jefferson in support of your position, and you pulled it off, oh I don't know, a Republican or a religious website... does it somehow make it less valid because it supports your position? Or because it was posted on that site? I find your argument a little flimsy. Because I chose to quote Jefferson in support of my argument (rather than quote him contradicting my argument!) those quotes are somehow "questionable at best?" Or I guess they would be questionable coming from a Libertarian source, is that it?
    Actually, it is valid. It's called an ad hominem critique. You undermine the authority of a source as to strip its ideologies of validity.

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