Roy Moore - Man of the Year

From the ACLU''s own press release about the above case:

The constitutional challenge, filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, was brought on behalf of Barry Baker, a school district resident [...]

Baker is being represented by Cincinnati attorney William Jacobs, who is acting as a volunteer attorney in cooperation with the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio.

The notion that it''s all the fault of meddling New Yorkers is tired at best.

""Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;...""

In simple words, this means that Congress, which makes the
laws that Federal judges enforce, cannot make a law
establishing any religion as ''the religion of the United States''.
Nor can it limit the practice of any religion by the public.

Now, Roy Moore represented the Federal Government, and
spoke for it with the force of law, and the ability to set
precedent. He stated that "" the Judeo-Christian God reigned over both the church and the state in this country, and that both owed allegiance to that God."" This means that his
monument was designed to show that the Federal Government
and it''s judiciary are Christian in nature, since it was placed
on Federal property for that purpose.

That''s an establishment of religion (Christianity) as the
religion of the United States by a Federal official, who
cannot make such a determination without an act of Congress,
and thus it violates the First Amendment, since for the Court
to support Judge Moore, Congress would have pass such a
law, and it is not allowed to.

If you want to know what law he violated to merit the Court
Order he violated, well, there it is. If the Founders had
intended that this be an actual Christian State, with an
official State Religion, they''d have put that into the
Constitution. Since they did not, and explicitly amended
against it, we can be sure that they did not intend for any
Federal Judge, or even Congress, to tell us what religion
this country''s legal system is based on, much less what
religion we should be, by extension.

Unless you believe that the Founders intended this to be an
explicitly Christian country, this should be a non-issue. If you
do, then you''d better explain to good, upstanding atheist
citizens like me why I''m not entitled to be a true American.

""Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;...""

In simple words, this means that Congress, which makes the
laws that Federal judges enforce, cannot make a law
establishing any religion as ''the religion of the United States''.
Nor can it limit the practice of any religion by the public.

Basically correct.

Now, Roy Moore represented the Federal Government, and
spoke for it with the force of law, and the ability to set
precedent.

That''s incorrect. First, Moore represented the state of Alabama, not the Federal gov''t. Second, no matter what Moore did or said, it does not equate to ''establishment of a religion.'' Establishment of a national religion involves tax benefits, exclusive privileges, etc. How exactly does a state judge do that?

If the Founders had intended that this be an actual Christian State, with an official State Religion, they''d have put that into the Constitution. Since they did not, and explicitly amended
against it, we can be sure that they did not intend for any
Federal Judge, or even Congress, to tell us what religion
this country''s legal system is based on, much less what
religion we should be, by extension.

Also basically wrong. Sorry to put a long quote from myself here, but:

There are two issues raised with this case. The first is the whole ''church and state'' thing. The second, and equally as important (an entirely overlooked) is the issue of state''s rights.

First: the issue of church and state. I think it''s time for a little history lesson, so kick back and relax - this is going to be long. The First Amendment states, and I quote, ""Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"". The Founding Fathers never thought that religion was bad, or that religion shouldn''t be a part of the lives of public officials. They made a prohibition against the establishment of a national religion (such as the Church of England), and said that Congress would make no laws to restrict religious freedom.

This is seen when you look at the other documents of the time for context. In James Madison''s first draft of the First Amendment, his wording was:

""The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.""

His context was that there would be no more Salem witch hunts, no Inquisitions, etc. - not questioning the importance of religion as the basis of morality in our government, nor the applicability in government of the laws of God.

After much discussion, the House Select Committee, on August 15, 1789, proposed this version:

""No religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed.""

Noting that the words are subject to being interpreted out of context, Peter Sylvester, Representative of New York, objected to this version, saying on the floor,

""It might be thought to have a tendency to abolish religion altogether.""

James Madison then proposed the insertion of the word ""national"" before ""religion"" but this was not agreed upon, so Madison offered this version:

""That Congress shall not establish a religion, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to his conscience."" Note the implication that of course men would worship God according to their conscience.""

Again, a Congressman arose in concern. Congressman Benjamin Huntington, son of the Governor of Connecticut, protested:

""The words may be taken in such latitude as to be extremely hurtful to the cause of religion."" (Little did he know.) He then suggested that the Amendment be made in such a way as to secure the rights of religion, but not to patronize those who profess no religion at all.""

Roger Sherman did not even want an amendment, realizing that the federal government was not to have any say in what was under the individual states jurisdiction.

James Madison realized that Congressman Huntington understood the meaning of the words to be that Congress should not establish a religion and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience.

Madison then responded agreeably to Congressman Huntington and Congressman Sylvester, that he (Madison) believed that the people feared one sect might obtain a pre-eminence, or two (Congregational and Anglican) combine and establish a religion to which they would compel others to conform.

(This is in context with what the letter from the Danbury Baptists to Jefferson was about, which we will discuss in a minute.)

On August 15, 1789, Samuel Livermore of New Hampshire, proposed the wording:

""Congress shall make no laws touching religion, or infringing the rights of conscience.""

Other subsequent versions coming during Senate debate included the following:

""Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or to prevent the free exercise thereof, or to infringe the rights of conscience.""
""Congress shall make no law infringing the rights of conscience, or establishing any religious sect or society.""
""Congress shall make no law establishing any particular denomination of religion in preference to another, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, nor shall the rights of conscience be infringed.""
""Congress shall make no law establishing one religious society in preference to others, or to infringe on the rights of conscience.""

The final Senate version was,

""Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith or a mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion.""

A joint committee of both the House and Senate then finalized the wording of this part of the First Amendment as follows:

""Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.""

On December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights was finally ratified by the states. This was a declaration of what the Federal Government could not do, leaving the states free within the control of their own constitutions.

For further context, I refer you to the Northwest Ordinance. The Northwest Ordinance is ranked number four in importance relative to all Government documents, behind the Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, and the Articles of Confederation.

Article III of the Northwest Ordinance reads as follows:

""Article III. Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary in good government, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.""

This statement presumes that public schools are proper and necessary to teach religion and morality which they did for over 200 years.

The Founding Fathers stressed the need for religion as the basis of morality. The first amendment is not about repressing religion. The first amendment is a footnote about what the federal government cannot do respecting religion, and insisting that the biggest thing government and society cannot due is inhibit the free practice of religion.

The Ten Commandments were taught for over two hundred years in our public schools. There were federal designations of publicly observed Days of Thanksgiving to God for special favors from God. Our national day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed and there were designations of National Prayer Days -- all routinely established down through our history

The First Amendment, written in the same year as the Northwest Ordinance, could not possibly have meant anything like what today''s judiciary say it means.

So where does the current confusion come from? Most of the current arguments for the separation between church and state are based around Thomas Jefferson''s famous comment about a ''wall of separation between church and state''. However, that statement has been taken out of context in the pursuit of ridding the government of all references to God. The statement was made in a letter to the Danbury Baptists in response to a letter from them.

The original letter from the Danbury Baptists reads as follows:

The Danbury Baptist Association, concerned about religious liberty in the new nation wrote to President Thomas Jefferson, Oct. 7, 1801:

""Sir, Among the many millions in America and Europe who rejoice in your Election to office; we embrace the first opportunity which we have enjoyed in our collective capacity, since your Inauguration, to express our great satisfaction, in your appointment to the chief Majestracy in the United States; And though our mode of expression may be less courtly and pompious than what many others clothe their addresses with, we beg you, Sir to believe, that none are more sincere.

Our Sentiments are uniformly on the side of Religious Liberty -- That Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals -- That no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious Opinions - That the legitimate Power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor: But Sir our constitution of government is not specific. Our ancient charter together with the Laws made coincident therewith, were adopted on the Basis of our government, at the time of our revolution; and such had been our Laws & usages, and such still are; that Religion is considered as the first object of Legislation; and therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the State) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights: and these favors we receive at the expense of such degrading acknowledgments, as are inconsistent with the rights of freemen. It is not to be wondered at therefore; if those, who seek after power & gain under the pretense of government & Religion should reproach their fellow men -- should reproach their chief Magistrate, as an enemy of religion Law & good order because he will not, dare not assume the prerogatives of Jehovah and make Laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ.

Sir, we are sensible that the President of the United States, is not the national legislator, and also sensible that the national government cannot destroy the Laws of each State; but our hopes are strong that the sentiments of our beloved President, which have had such genial affect already, like the radiant beams of the Sun, will shine and prevail through all these States and all the world till Hierarchy and Tyranny be destroyed from the Earth. Sir, when we reflect on your past services, and see a glow of philanthropy and good will shining forth in a course of more than thirty years we have reason to believe that America''s God has raised you up to fill the chair of State out of that good will which he bears to the Millions which you preside over. May God strengthen you for the arduous task which providence & the voice of the people have cald you to sustain and support you in your Administration against all the predetermined opposition of those who wish to rise to wealth & importance on the poverty and subjection of the people.

And may the Lord preserve you safe from every evil and bring you at last to his Heavenly Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Glorious Mediator. ""

Signed in behalf of the Association.

Nehh Dodge
Ephram Robbins The Committee
Stephen S. Nelson

To which, Jefferson replied:

""To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.

Gentlemen

The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & 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 & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.""

Th Jefferson
Jan. 1. 1802

Inferring that Jefferson was saying that the state can have nothing to do with religion is proven false when the comments are looked at in their original context. All he was establishing is that the Congregationalists in the state of Connecticut cannot by virtue of being a majority church in that state infringe in any way upon the freedom of practice of their religion by the Baptists.

Thomas Jefferson also said:

""I am for Freedom of Religion, and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another...""

""A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never seen; it is a document in proof that I am a real Christian; that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.""

""Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern, which have come under my observation, none appears to me so pure as that of Jesus.""

""Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always as pure as they came from his lips, the whole civilized world would now have been Christians.""

""I have always said, I always will say, that the studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands.

1. The doctrines of Jesus are simple and tend to the happiness of man
2. There is only one God, and He is all perfect.
3. There is a future state of rewards and punishment.
4. To love God with all the heart and thy neighbor as thyself is the sum of all. These are the great points on which to reform the religion of the Jews.""

Among many other things, Jefferson in establishing the University of Virginia, not only encouraged the teaching of religion, but set aside a place inside the Rotunda for Chapel services.

The issue of separation between church and state is a wholly modern creation. The Founders never intended to prohibit the practice of religion; in fact, they encouraged it, both publicly and privately.

Whew.

No one says that you have to be a Christian to be an American. This is much more about Freedom of Speech than it is about Freedom of Religion. And the ACLU wants all speech to be free, except religious speech.

Quote:

Now, Roy Moore represented the Federal Government, and
spoke for it with the force of law, and the ability to set
precedent.

That''s incorrect. First, Moore represented the state of Alabama, not the Federal gov''t. Second, no matter what Moore did or said, it does not equate to ''establishment of a religion.'' Establishment of a national religion involves tax benefits, exclusive privileges, etc. How exactly does a state judge do that?

Hmmm, I can see where I made the mistake. But upon looking
at it, the issue still falls under the Constitution. A state judge,
by establishing the precedent that his court operates under
the rules of the Christian God before that of the government,
is representing to the people the idea that there is a higher
governmental authority, that of a particular religion. I can see
why the Federal Court became involved, from that perspective.

Next, you admit that the Founders did not want a national
religion set up. And you note that Jefferson specifically
reminds the Connecticut Baptists that ""religion is a matter
which lies solely between a Man and his God"", and that
government lies in actions, not opinions. This supports my
view. If Roy Moore had followed this, there is no way he''d
have put the Commandments into his courtroom, since they
would infringe on the private relationship between Jews,
Muslims, Hindus and others, and *their* God. I mean, that''s
perfectly clear.

It''s all well and good to say that morality depends on religion,
but as the Founders were aware, even at that time there
were philosophers who argued that that was not true. And
since then, our understanding has increased; there are valid
moral systems based not on religious strictures, but rather
on basic, common, easy-to-understand principles found in
all modern cultures. That argument is spurious; either that,
or atheists cannot be moral, which is patently false.

Finally, it''s common to quote Jefferson as a serious
religionist. It''s also good to remember that he rewrote the
Bible, and was convinced that Unitarianism would be the
dominant religion with a few decades. It''s very hard to
argue *which* period of his life, and which beliefs, are
dominant. As I''ve hopefully shown, it''s easy to take his
comments to mean either things. We''re both reasonable
people; I take his seperation of state and religion to be
the hard and fast wall he implies; you take the same words
to mean something different.

I guess my view is that we need to look at the lowest common
denominator in these things. We are not a Christian country;
we are a country with large population of Christians, founded
by Christians. We are not however governed by Christian
Law, and that includes the Ten Commandments. If we decide
that it''s okay to put that above our legal system, then there
is a serious question - what happens to non-Christians in
such a court system? Not to mention, why is this an issue
that is limited, again and again, to Christians?

The answer is that, all talk of generalized religion aside, no
one is going to clutter up courtrooms with the rules of Buddhist
behavior, or Hammurabi''s Code, or a list of Islamic fatwas.
The entire purpose of such displays is to insert one religion
into the government, and make it stick, no matter at what
level. And that must be prevented, lest we give in to the very
tolerance of state religion whose evils the Founders knew quite
well. We have forgotten the bloody history of religious wars
that drove us to this country in the first place. But we have not
yet forgotten that vigilance is our best defense.

It''s not freedom of speech at all, since the restrictions are
extremely tight and limited. The only thing you can''t do with
religion here is insert it into government. You can pray in
school, in Congress, in the White House, in courts, wherever
you like - you just can''t *require* that others do the same.
And when you put the Ten Commandments into a court, and
assert that they are more important than the laws of the
country, you are telling everyone that they have to follow
God''s law first, then man''s. That, as Jefferson points out,
is not the business of government, but is private between
a man and his God.

That''s why I feel justice was done when Judge Moore did
not yield, and was dimissed. Hopefully reasonable people
can disagree.

But upon looking
at it, the issue still falls under the Constitution. A state judge,
by establishing the precedent that his court operates under
the rules of the Christian God before that of the government,
is representing to the people the idea that there is a higher
governmental authority, that of a particular religion. I can see
why the Federal Court became involved, from that perspective.

But this isn''t a Federal issue in any way. Roy Moore isn''t Congress. A Ten Commandments display isn''t a law. And there is no Federal jurisdiction here in any way. The Constitution says Congress shall make no law. There is nothing prohibiting the establishment of a state religion, unless it is prohibited in the state constitution.

If Roy Moore had followed this, there is no way he''d
have put the Commandments into his courtroom, since they
would infringe on the private relationship between Jews,
Muslims, Hindus and others, and *their* God. I mean, that''s
perfectly clear.

How? How does the display of the Ten Commandments interfere with anyone and *their* God? I''ll remove Jews from consideration here, since technically the Ten Commandments are a tenet of Judaism. If I am a Buddhist, how is my faith shaken by seeing a display? Since all it takes is a public display to interfere with someone''s faith, does this mean that everytime a Muslim passes a Catholic church they have their faith interfered with?

It''s all well and good to say that morality depends on religion,
but as the Founders were aware, even at that time there
were philosophers who argued that that was not true. And
since then, our understanding has increased; there are valid
moral systems based not on religious strictures, but rather
on basic, common, easy-to-understand principles found in
all modern cultures. That argument is spurious; either that,
or atheists cannot be moral, which is patently false.

This is a great topic for another thread. In principle, I don''t disagree with your statement. But interestingly, there has been a deterioration in family structure, an increase in criminal activity, a deterioration of educational systems, etc as American society has moved away from religion beginning in the 1960''s.

I take his seperation of state and religion to be
the hard and fast wall he implies

At no point in Jefferson''s life did he move away from religion. Jefferson believed that Christ''s teachings were the best model for life ever written. He wrote the Jefferson bible to distill those teachings and remove the references to miracles, never intending that the Christian religion would cease to be the central part of American life. If you actually read Jefferson''s writings, it is evident that he never intended his word in the way the ACLU and modern courts have been using them.

The Framers did not craft a constitutional system separating church and state. They prohibited Congress from establishing a national church, such as the Church of England. They clearly did not forbid the government from all involvement with religion and particularly the Christian religion. On the very next day after the first Congress passed the First Amendment they set aside a national day of prayer and Thanksgiving.

If we decide
that it''s okay to put that above our legal system, then there
is a serious question - what happens to non-Christians in
such a court system? Not to mention, why is this an issue
that is limited, again and again, to Christians?

When has anyone in an American court, including Roy Moore''s, been treated differently because of their religious belief? Can you give me evidence of any case where Roy Moore treated a Christian preferentially? Or treated a non-Christian poorly?

As to why this is only against Christians, it is mainly because, and I know this is a gross generalization, Liberals hate what Christianity represents. Much in the same way that they hate white men. Both represent what Liberals think is wrong with society at large. Also another great topic for another thread.

It''s not freedom of speech at all, since the restrictions are
extremely tight and limited. The only thing you can''t do with
religion here is insert it into government. You can pray in
school, in Congress, in the White House, in courts, wherever
you like - you just can''t *require* that others do the same.

Again, a nice sentiment. But how is a Ten Commandments display a *requirement* that anyone behave in a particular manner? When did a display gain the weight of law? And if that is true, why is the ACLU suing the Naval Academy to force them to cease a voluntary, non-denominational lunchtime prayer?

There are dozens of examples of persecuting Christians for practicing their religion. The Left believes that all forms of speech should be protected, except religious speech. And any form of personal behavior should be allowed, except, of course, for prayer.

Moore took a stand for what he believed in, which I think is very admirable. This is just another example of liberals using the courts to bring about changes that they can''t get legislated. And, more frighteningly, another example of the Federal courts overstepping their jurisdiction.

JohnnyMoJo, I think you are misrepresenting the beliefs of liberals quite a bit here. There are certainly plenty of people that believe that the only kind of allowable speech is politically correct speech, but I would call these people fascists, not liberals

The main philosophical difference as I see it between your point of view and mine, is that I like the way that the establishment clause of the First Amendment has been extended to cover three things that the founders arguably may not have intended:

1. Government''s action (not just laws) must not have a religious purpose;
2. The primary effect of the government''s action (again not just laws) must not be to advance or endorse religion;
3. A government policy or practice must not foster an excessive entanglement between government and religion.

I think I can safely speak for you and say that you don''t agree with this interpretation and extension of the First Amendment. That''s fine, but to say that liberals hate what Christianity represents is ... whack, yo.

"Strekos" wrote:

but to say that liberals hate what Christianity represents is ... whack, yo.

also that they hate white men....whack...yo...

but I would call these people fascists, not liberals

Ahh, but Fascism, like socialism, is taking the liberal philosophy to an extreme.

1. Government''s action (not just laws) must not have a religious purpose;
2. The primary effect of the government''s action (again not just laws) must not be to advance or endorse religion;
3. A government policy or practice must not foster an excessive entanglement between government and religion.

The intention of the First Amendment is to prevent the government from endorsing one religion, and leading to the persecution of other religions. It is purposefully limited to the Federal government, not the State government.

I understand your points. I really do. But I challenge you to demonstrate where the Founders said religious displays are illegal. I challenge you to explain how school prayer infringes on anyone''s rights. Explain to me how a Ten Commandments display affects anyone''s ability to hold their own beliefs.

As far as my statement about Liberalism and Christianity (and white men), as I said, it would make a great thread. While, individually, there are many liberals that are religious, as well as white men, you cannot argue the fact that liberalism has waged war on both segments of society mercilessly for the last 40 years.

What do you call the assault on the Masters last year? Or the attacks on prayer in public? The countless examples of affirmative action, restrictions on freedom of association, the driving of the Christian religion from public viewing, non-stop cries of racism, etc. that have come from the left over the years?

You might think it is whack, but it is true.

I''m just going to skip past the requisite mention of the Fourteenth amendment and go straight to this section straight out of the Alabama constitution (emphasis added):

http://www.legislature.state.al.us/CodeOfAlabama/Constitution/1901/CA-245534.htm

SECTION 3

Religious freedom.
That no religion shall be established by law; that no preference shall be given by law to any religious sect, society, denomination, or mode of worship; that no one shall be compelled by law to attend any place of worship; nor to pay any tithes, taxes, or other rate for building or repairing any place of worship, or for maintaining any minister or ministry; that no religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state; and that the civil rights, privileges, and capacities of any citizen shall not be in any manner affected by his religious principles.

We can argue about whether a violation requires an actual written law or just the actions of the Chief Justice while in office constituting a preference to a particular religion. However, regardless of that well-trod argument, to my mind the monument would still be in violation of the clause about being ''compelled to attend a place of worship''.

The ruling in Glassroth v. Moore already described how the monument had become a focus of prayers and worship for some. The plaintiffs in the case are lawyers who had to pass through the ''place of worship'' in order to reach the courtrooms they worked in. Sure there probably weren''t people kneeling and praying in front of it all the time, but how many times do you walk by and see something like that without feeling like you''re walking thru a church? Should people be required to pass thru the equivalent of a shrine just to get to work?

Again, I challenge you to explain to me how a display equates to being compelled. Did I miss the part where the Alabama legislature passed a law saying that people had to stop in the rotunda for a minimum of ten minutes of quiet contemplation and communion with God?

If a display is all it takes to equal ''compelling someone'', then we should tear down all of the churches. I don''t see how a person could resist the overpowering compulsions that they impose on people. And the exposure to violence in video games and movies is obviously, by extension, enough to make us all into serial killers.

How dare someone pray in public. Does that definition mean that anyplace people pray equates to making someplace a ''place of worship''? I go to a cafeteria where senior citizens eat, and many of them pray before dinner. We should shut the place down because their prayers force me into an unwilling ''place of worship''.

I mean, the audacity of people. Praying in public! What''s next for these lawbreakers? Seriously, can''t they just do acceptable forms of free speech, like burning a flag or protesting in favor of pornography?

"JohnnyMoJo" wrote:

you cannot argue the fact that liberalism has waged war on both segments of society mercilessly for the last 40 years.

Sure I can!

Liberalism has not waged a war on Christianity or white men for the last 40 years.

Certain members of society have tried to advance their agenda through legal means. Those agenda''s being:

1. A wall of seperation between church (any church) and state.
2. Uh...the civil rights movement I guess....

Neither of these are examples of ""Hating"" Christians or white men.

If you believe that people who believe in affirmitive action hate white men, does that mean that people who don''t support Affirmitive action hate black people? Of course not.

And why would we single out Christians here? The 10 commandments were originally brought about by Moses, who''s a big Jewish figure right? Why don''t you say that liberals hate jews?

What do you call the assault on the Masters last year? Or the attacks on prayer in public? The countless examples of affirmative action, restrictions on freedom of association, the driving of the Christian religion from public viewing, non-stop cries of racism, etc. that have come from the left over the years?

You might think it is whack, but it is true.

I''m not familiar with the assault on the masters but, I do see your point on the attack on prayer in public school. However, IF another religion started their own little prayer session over the PA system in the morning, you can bet the ACLU would be there with bells on. Not because they hate that religion mind you but, to preserve what they believe is the law.

*edit* added ""of course not"" cause re-reading it sounded like I was trying to put words in your mouth.

I wouldn''t try to find where the Founders said that religious displays are illegal because I don''t think they ever did. As I said, the modern interpretation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment is an extension of what was written.

How about the case where a Muslim girl in Louisiana was ridiculed when she refused to accept a Bible handed out by the school principal? Is that OK because it meets your test of not being a law passed at the federal level?

I do disagree with the ACLU''s current tactic of challenging all religious displays. I would prefer to see that equal time is ensured, rather than no displays for anyone. But I can imagine the outcry if a Wiccan wanted to put a Solstice display up next to the city council''s Nativity scene, or a Satanist student wanted to lead prayer before the high school football game.

Since we''ve discussed the ACLU''s actions in Ohio, you realize they also attacked an Ohio school district''s policy of closing for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur right? You have also selectively ignored the times the ACLU (and liberals) have fought alongside religious leaders. How about the case where they supported the Rev. Jimmy Fallwell in his suit against Virginia''s law preventing religious groups from incorporating? Or when the ACLU forced a Nevada county to drop plans to license and fingerprint clergy?

The majority of the US is Christian, therefore the majority of the protests and lawsuits by liberals are in response to actions by Christians. But if another religion were held by the majority, it would be the one on the receiving end of these actions. I believe civil libertarians are equal opportunity with their attacks and their defenses, and the evidence supports my belief. In general, the left doesn''t hate Christians any more than conservatives hate gays, but saying that they do sure makes it easy to dismiss either side''s views.

As I said, the modern interpretation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment is an extension of what was written.

Well, allow me to state that the Founders allowed for the extending (changing) of the Constitution. The method for making these extensions is in the Constitution as well. They are called Amendments, and are done through voting. Not through judicial fiat. Mind pointing out the Amendment that brought about these extensions you mention? I can''t seem to find them.

How about the case where a Muslim girl in Louisiana was ridiculed when she refused to accept a Bible handed out by the school principal?

I don''t know the details. Was she mocked by other students? By teachers? If it was a teacher, the teacher should be fired. If it was the students, well, how do you propose to legislate that? Last I looked, I was mocked because I had glasses and my mom gave me this HUGE belt buckle. I was 10...I didn''t know any better.

I do disagree with the ACLU''s current tactic of challenging all religious displays. I would prefer to see that equal time is ensured, rather than no displays for anyone. But I can imagine the outcry if a Wiccan wanted to put a Solstice display up next to the city council''s Nativity scene, or a Satanist student wanted to lead prayer before the high school football game.

If a Wiccan wanted to put a display up next to a nativity scene, I''d have no problem with it. Put it to a vote and see what the public wants displayed. Having the majority fund a display for the benefit of the majority is not an infringement of another person''s religious rights.

I am not being selective about the ACLU. The ACLU has done some things against other religions. The few things it has done with religious organizations have not been related to the religious beliefs of the participants.

You are right about the majority of the US being Christian. Which is why the Left has to attack through the courts, since they know they could never win through legislation.

The viewpoint of the left (with broad strokes, mind you) is that the world is divided into two groups: the oppressors and the oppressed. Whites, males, Christians, and heterosexuals are all members of the privelged groups. Minorities, females, homosexuals, immigrants and the disabled are all victim groups. And the more categories you fall into defines your degree of being oppressor or oppressed. This belief in categories of oppression results in the Left trying to ''level the playing field'' by favoring ''victim'' groups while punishing those perceived as ''privileged''. The word ''diversity'' and ''tolerance'' and ''multiculturalism'' all ostensibly mean equal respect for everyone. But in reality, they mean respect for all cultures but our own, and respect for everyone but a member of a ''privileged'' group.

Put it to a vote and see what the public wants displayed. Having the majority fund a display for the benefit of the majority is not an infringement of another person''s religious rights.

It is when it comes to government property, on private property the issue is moot. But if the majority votes that only Christians may display nativity scenes on public or government property then that is absolutely a violation of the religious rights of non-Christians. That kind of ''tyranny of the majority'' is what a lot of the Constitution was designed to prevent.

But if the majority votes that only Christians may display nativity scenes on public or government property then that is absolutely a violation of the religious rights of non-Christians.

How? Does having only a nativity on display automatically mean that Hindus have to stop practicing their belief? Since when does exposure equate to tyranny?

Is it possible to be exposed to a set of ideas and not have that be ''tyranny''. Because I am obviously dense, please explain how seeing a nativity scene in a public park violates a Jew''s religious rights. But one on a private yard doesn''t. Do non-Christians have such weak faith that the mere sight of a Christian symbol forces them to rush in and be baptized? Does this mean that since the majority of people think bigamy is bad, that we are enforcing the ''tyranny of the majority'' on bigamists?

No one seems to be able to explain how a visual display of someone''s religious preferences equates to infringement on the religious freedom of another. I still am drawing a blank on how a nativity display or Ten Commandments display forces people to forsake their religion and convert. Or how these public displays of religion equate to Congress passing a law.

Please help, as I am obviously stupid.

But if the majority votes that only Christians may display nativity scenes on public or government property then that is absolutely a violation of the religious rights of non-Christians.

Is having a Vietnam memorial, but no WWII memorial, an infringement of the ""memorial"" rights of WWII veterans?

My this thread veers from tangent to tangent

Well, allow me to state that the Founders allowed for the extending (changing) of the Constitution. The method for making these extensions is in the Constitution as well. They are called Amendments, and are done through voting. Not through judicial fiat.

A strict historical interpretation isn''t the only way to look at the Constitution, and I would argue that the grey areas inherent in it are necessary for allowing government to adapt as times change. I don''t see much point in trying to justify this particular interpretation any more here because Lemon v Kurtzman already does it better than I could.

Back to Jmojo:

You are right about the majority of the US being Christian. Which is why the Left has to attack through the courts, since they know they could never win through legislation.

But that''s precisely what the courts are there for. Are you saying that laws are always valid if the majority of the US would approve of them in a popular referendum? Because that''s alot farther from the intent of the founders than the Lemon test.

From West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette:

One''s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.

Lastly, Jmojo wrote after I already started typing up this response:

No one seems to be able to explain how a visual display of someone''s religious preferences equates to infringement on the religious freedom of another.

Like I said, this is one thing I tend to disagree with the ACLU on --I''m fine with the religious displays if other religions aren''t excluded.

If tthe majority can pass a binding vote to decide that only Christian nativity displays are allowed in the public sphere, then whats to stop them from voting for something saying now only Christians can vote?

Of course one of those is an extreme example, but I think that''s the crux of what you can''t quite seem to comprehend. Both of those cases are the majority telling the minority, ''We can, but you can''t.'' The tyranny doesn''t come from having to look at a display from a religion you don''t subscribe to, the tyranny comes from being told, our religion is allowed to do this but your''s is not.

Is having a Vietnam memorial, but no WWII memorial, an infringement of the ""memorial"" rights of WWII veterans?

Are apples really oranges? I guess if they are then this somehow correlates to religious freedoms granted by the Constitution.

If tthe majority can pass a binding vote to decide that only Christian nativity displays are allowed in the public sphere, then whats to stop them from voting for something saying now only Christians can vote?

Um...how about the constitutions of both the United States and whatever state they live in?

But if the majority votes that only Christians may display nativity scenes on public or government property then that is absolutely a violation of the religious rights of non-Christians.

There''s a difference between a right and an entitlement. You are speaking as if religious freedom means that you have some entitlement to equal time. The only religious right you have is freedom to worship as you choose, which is not being infringed upon by the exclusion of certain religious displays. If you don''t like my memorial analogy, try this one: just because the government only funds certain art, that doesn''t mean that other artists have lost their freedom of expression, or even that the government is necessarily endorsing that art...

If tthe majority can pass a binding vote to decide that only Christian nativity displays are allowed in the public sphere, then whats to stop them from voting for something saying now only Christians can vote?

And so you are convinced that even though America has existed since its founding as a predominantly Christian nation (displays and all), that if we hadn''t started removing the displays the majority was suddenly going to wake up and go ''What? Them damn Jews can vote?!?''?

And my point is simple: there is no Constitutional reason why a city can''t have a Nativity display (and only a Nativity display) around Christmas. It doesn''t prevent other people from worshipping freely. It is free speech, and not prohibited. The Constitution is pretty clear about prohibiting someone from voting because of their religious preferences however. Like I said...I am pretty dense. I''m afraid you''ll need to give me a better example.

P.S. I''m glad we seem to agree on some things Strekos. But I have to disagree about the Constitution. I have read it several times, and it really isn''t that gray. Pretty succinct and clear-cut. And judges are supposed to know that. The gray areas arise when Congress passes laws that aren''t covered by the Constitution, and judges are supposed to decide the constitutionality of those laws. Not re-interpret a clearly written document. It has changed, successfully with the times, through Amendment.

And no, I am not suggesting that they try to legislate religion...that''s prohibited pretty clearly. I am suggesting that these displays do not equate to law, that they are protected under free speech, and no one can explain to me how a person''s right to practice the religion of their choice is infringed upon by a Ten Commandments display.

Well loose vs. strict construction arguments have been going on since probably the day after the Constitution was ratfiied, so I didn''t expect to settle it here

Well loose vs. strict construction arguments have been going on since probably the day after the Constitution was ratfiied, so I didn''t expect to settle it here

At least since Maybury vs. Madison.

It doesn''t prevent other people from worshipping freely. It is free speech, and not prohibited.

So it''s free speech for Christians to put up their display, but there''s nothing wrong with them turning around and voting to not allow other kinds of religious displays, thereby restricting the free speech of others? (I''m just sticking with your analogy there).

Are Christians entitled to put up their displays and then exclude others from doing the same simply by virtue of being in the majority? I will concede that technically no one''s right to worship is being infringed, but why should Christians be a privileged class that can dictate to everyone else what kinds of displays are permitted? When you start holding votes and passing laws to determine that isn''t it effectively the government endorsing that religion over others?

So it''s free speech for Christians to put up their display, but there''s nothing wrong with them turning around and voting to not allow other kinds of religious displays, thereby restricting the free speech of others? (I''m just sticking with your analogy there).

You tell me. Sticking with the analogy, if I can''t get a National Endowment for the Arts grant for my ""Tom Daschle, a Life in Feces"" performance piece, does that mean I have lost my freedom of expression?

Are Christians entitled to put up their displays and then exclude others from doing the same simply by virtue of being in the majority? I will concede that technically no one''s right to worship is being infringed

Yes, if no one else''s rights are being infringed then the majority indeed has the right to take whatever action they want. Fair? Maybe not. But legal and Constitutional? Yes.

I think we''re just going to have to agree to disagree then. It''s all coming back to the strict vs. loose constructionist issue.

The government has no particular restrictions in place about it''s endorsement of particular forms of artistic expression that I am aware of. However I agree with the modern interepretation of the First Amendment in that I feel the government should maintain religious neutrality and not let the majority influence that simply because they can. In my opinion, continuing to allow that to happen is letting the foot in the door towards further crumbling the division between church and state.

Like Strekos said that''s not a debate we''re going to solve here. However I do wonder if Ral and JMJ might change their minds if/when Christians are no longer a majority.

In my opinion, continuing to allow that to happen is letting the foot in the door towards further crumbling the division between church and state.

How? Why would you think that having the Ten Commandments displayed would lead to the ''crumbling division of church and state''? Are you aware that historically our nation was much more devout religiously than we are now? And yet, somehow, we never slipped into becoming a Theocracy.

However I do wonder if Ral and JMJ might change their minds if/when Christians are no longer a majority.

Why would I care? What makes you think I am a Christian? Just because I defend their right to have a display erected? Because I am capable of seeing a religious icon and recognize that it doesn''t impair my ability to formulate my own opinion or hold my own beliefs?

Each man reaches God in his own way. And another man''s expression does nothing to change my own beliefs. If 80% of Americans are Christian and want to have Christian displays, let them. It has no bearing on me, and I pity those whose lives are so small that they cannot keep things in context.

This is purely a legal matter, and no laws were violated. The Constitution wasn''t violated. This is a matter of small-minded people refusing to allow others to express their beliefs because they don''t agree with them. And *that* is a violation of the Constitution. It is made more egregious by the fact that they shop around for a docket whose judge will side with them and through fiat subvert the Constitution and the will of the American people.

My religious beliefs have no bearing here.

Me:

But upon looking
at it, the issue still falls under the Constitution. A state judge,
by establishing the precedent that his court operates under
the rules of the Christian God before that of the government,
is representing to the people the idea that there is a higher
governmental authority, that of a particular religion. I can see
why the Federal Court became involved, from that perspective.

JMJ:

But this isn''t a Federal issue in any way. Roy Moore isn''t Congress. A Ten Commandments display isn''t a law. And there is no Federal jurisdiction here in any way. The Constitution says Congress shall make no law. There is nothing prohibiting the establishment of a state religion, unless it is prohibited in the state constitution.

Me:
Except that all the states are bound by Federal law and the
US Constitution, as was decided in the Civil War. Do you deny
the primacy of Federal jurisdiction over state''s rights?

Quote:

If Roy Moore had followed this, there is no way he''d
have put the Commandments into his courtroom, since they
would infringe on the private relationship between Jews,
Muslims, Hindus and others, and *their* God. I mean, that''s
perfectly clear.

JMJ:
How? How does the display of the Ten Commandments interfere with anyone and *their* God? I''ll remove Jews from consideration here, since technically the Ten Commandments are a tenet of Judaism. If I am a Buddhist, how is my faith shaken by seeing a display? Since all it takes is a public display to interfere with someone''s faith, does this mean that everytime a Muslim passes a Catholic church they have their faith interfered with?

Me:
Not in the least. But the fact that he''s an official of the state
government, stating that the laws he enforces are secondary
to those of the Christian Bible, that''s pretty clear that he''s
going above and beyond the letter of the law. At the very
least, he''s demonstrating bias. It''ll certainly strike fear in
the hearts of the unbelievers, but that''s not the point of
justice. I''m not sure why you don''t connect his views with
his official job, since that''s what he did in his statements.
So the church bit is completely inapplicable, since the state
(and the state police) don''t operate churches as part of
their duties. Roy Moore attempted to operate his court as
an arm of Christian faith - that''s a very different type of
justice, and one you and I are not subject to, in Alabama,
or any other state.

Remember, the stated reason for the display was that he
felt bound to act according to Christian law, as I read it,
by implication as superceding state law. Would it then be
okay for a Muslim judge in Alabama to post the major laws
of the Koran, and state that the Sharia law of Allah was the
guiding principle of his courtroom? If not, why not? Just
because the Founders were not Muslim is not an answer,
unless you agree that this is actually a Christian issue, and
not one of general religion. Then you are stuck even more
tightly by the Establishment clause, since you''d be espousing
the establishment of Christian law over Alabama law.

At no point in Jefferson''s life did he move away from religion. Jefferson believed that Christ''s teachings were the best model for life ever written. He wrote the Jefferson bible to distill those teachings and remove the references to miracles, never intending that the Christian religion would cease to be the central part of American life. If you actually read Jefferson''s writings, it is evident that he never intended his word in the way the ACLU and modern courts have been using them.

I didn''t say he moved away from religion, just that he did
not believe that it was a good foundation for government,
since the problem of which religion the state would espouse
was not easily soluble.

The Framers did not craft a constitutional system separating church and state. They prohibited Congress from establishing a national church, such as the Church of England. They clearly did not forbid the government from all involvement with religion and particularly the Christian religion. On the very next day after the first Congress passed the First Amendment they set aside a national day of prayer and Thanksgiving

But the prevention of a nationally mandated religion is
*exactly* the seperation of church and state! I mean, you
say that''s what they did, then you say they did not do it.
Very confusing.

You seem to be mistaking my position for one standing against
religion in the life of the average person. That''s not what
seperation of church and state is. I''m simply against the
espousal of religion in settings where a government official
in some way requires obedience to a particular religion. And
when Judge Moore said that the US legal system is below that
of the Christian God''s Ten Commandments, he''s saying, with
the force of the Alabama legal system behind him, that in his
court, you''d better follow the commandments. And that''s flat-
out unconstitutional.

When has anyone in an American court, including Roy Moore''s, been treated differently because of their religious belief? Can you give me evidence of any case where Roy Moore treated a Christian preferentially? Or treated a non-Christian poorly?

I can''t. But he leaves the door open for this. In a society
where even a small mistake by a lawyer, or bias by a judge,
can cause a long-drawn out and expensive legal appeal, why
would Alabama even leave itself open to such charges?

And anyway, what would prevent him from doing so? He''s
already placed his allegiance to God over his oath to uphold
the law, right? So he''d have no problem with it, I assume?
You need to show me that I could trust him to conduct a fair
trial.
As to why this is only against Christians, it is mainly because, and I know this is a gross generalization, Liberals hate what Christianity represents. Much in the same way that they hate white men. Both represent what Liberals think is wrong with society at large. Also another great topic for another thread.

And grossly unfair, since liberals attend churches just like
conservatives. And of course, the majority of liberals
are...white men and women. Liberals don''t hate anyone any
more than conservatives. I can''t believe you buy Rush''s ideas
as you have stated them. Do you think I''m unhappy with my
life, hate the country I''ve served and can''t bear to see it
succeed, because of my political beliefs? Do you really believe
that? Cause you''d be very wrong. That''s what Rush says,
but it''s definitely not a wise ""ditto"".

Come on, when a judge states he puts something above his
sworn duty, no matter how admirable, he compromises his
position. At least his allegiance was not to money, or some
other corruption, but he failed in his duty, and he was
justly dismissed, for standing up for his beliefs. He had guts;
he was just wrong. No shame in that.

Except that all the states are bound by Federal law and the
US Constitution, as was decided in the Civil War.

Well, I didn''t see the Civil War resulting in the repealing of the Tenth Amendment, so no...I hold that the states still have authority. The Federal government has clearly defined powers. The fact that we as citizens have allowed the Federal government to severly overstep those powers is a different discussion. But legally, it is a state issue, and Federal courts have no jurisdiction.

It''ll certainly strike fear in the hearts of the unbelievers

That''s a big assumption. If that is true, then does that mean that unbelievers have had fear struck in their hearts since the founding of this nation?

Roy Moore attempted to operate his court as
an arm of Christian faith - that''s a very different type of
justice, and one you and I are not subject to, in Alabama,
or any other state.

I asked you before for a single case where Moore treated a non-Christian differently under the law. Please show me proof of how Moore ever treated people differently under the law based on religious beliefs. Or, I can save you the trouble, since I have looked - he never did. So all of your commentary about his beliefs interfering with his duties is fallacious. And besides, if it is his beliefs that are interfering, how does the display come into it? If he was religiously bigoted, wouldn''t he behave the same with or without the display?

Would it then be
okay for a Muslim judge in Alabama to post the major laws
of the Koran, and state that the Sharia law of Allah was the
guiding principle of his courtroom?

Display away.

But the prevention of a nationally mandated religion is
*exactly* the seperation of church and state! I mean, you
say that''s what they did, then you say they did not do it.
Very confusing.
And when Judge Moore said that the US legal system is below that of the Christian God''s Ten Commandments, he''s saying, with the force of the Alabama legal system behind him, that in his court, you''d better follow the commandments. And that''s flat-out unconstitutional.

Let me say it again. A display isn''t Establishment. Moore''s opinion isn''t law. And Moore isn''t Congress. The First Amendment is intended to prevent the government from *passing a law* that provides preferential treatment to one religion over others. Show me how a display does that. Did the display of the Ten Commandments provide different tax benefits to churches that favor the Ten Commandments over ones that don''t?

I can''t believe you buy Rush''s ideas
as you have stated them. Do you think I''m unhappy with my
life, hate the country I''ve served and can''t bear to see it
succeed, because of my political beliefs?

Nope. I''d never assume that. But there are an awful lot of people that take the liberal positions to extremes. Just like there are a lot of people that take conservative positions to extremes. I never said that made either un-American. But, if you read one of my later posts, I clarify my position somewhat. I realize I came off a bit harsh with my initial statement.

From the Alabama state Constitution:

We, the people of the State of Alabama, in order to establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution and form of government for the State of Alabama...

That all men are equally free and independent; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights...

The Alabama constitution explicitly acknowledges the existence of ""Almighty God"" and states clearly that the rights of man come from the Creator. So Judge Moore''s assertion that he was upholding the state constitution is accurate. The idea that he was compromising his position is silly - there is no conflict between upholding Christian values and upholding the laws of Alabama.

"Robear" wrote:

Come on, when a judge states he puts something above his
sworn duty, no matter how admirable, he compromises his
position.

Do you have an actual example of Moore failing to uphold his duty, or are you just speaking rhetorically? Most of the complaints about the so-called need for separation of Church and State have absolutely no grounding in reality, but are proactive attempts to fight an imaginary threat.

"Robear" wrote:

I can''t believe you buy Rush''s ideas as you have stated them.

As an aside, why are you talking about Rush? (Limbaugh, I assume...)