Persecution (Dec 2)

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Wanderwolf
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Post by Wanderwolf »

Actually, the separation of Church and State is a required portion of our Constitution, in order to prevent some of the many abuses that befell in the days before it was established.

Consider: Henry VIII struck down Catholicism in England over the Pope's refusal to grant him an annullment, and founded the Anglican Church. His daughter, Mary, became known as "Bloody Mary" when she attempted to undo the "Anglican Heresy" by force of arms, persecution, and burnings. Then Elizabeth I acceded to the throne, and established relative inclusivity.

It is for this reason that Congress may make no law respecting the establishment of religion. If a single religion becomes The State Religion, then policy will (not may, will) be fixed around its dictates.

"Christianity is not, and has never been, part of the common law."-- Thomas Jefferson

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Post by Tom Mazanec »

There is no "required" part of the Constitution. If you can get 51% of the population to want to repeal it, than an amendment will be passed. This is how a de facto state religion of genocidal conservative Christianity comes about in my Mammaloids stories...because at least 51% of the population wanted to exterminate the mammaloids.
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Post by TMLutas »

Setesh wrote:
TMLutas wrote:Ok, let's try one more time. Separation of Church and state is a method (not the only one but a legitimate one) to enforce the 1st amendment. If it is coming into tension with the 1st amendment then it's worthless as an enforcement mechanism and there's something else sneaking in under false colors.
To quote the big yellow bird 'wark?' Your saying that a section of the first amendment meant to define how its applied should be thrown out because it doesn't work perfectly. Basic problem here, nothing is perfect. The freedom of religeon vs. church/state seperation is a line that is fuzzy, it both must and should be applied via carefull consideration. That the loudest of the dumb on both sides want sweeping pronouncments that they are right is the source of the problem.
Please reread the 1st amendment. The text of it does not include separation of church and state. It's a doctrine that was brought in a bit later and is not strictly necessary at all (putting aside for the moment whether it is correct). There is a clause prohibiting an establishment of religion but that clauses meaning changes depending whether one puts verbal emphasis on the word "an" or "establishment". Both interpretations have vigorous professional constitutional law advocates.
Setesh wrote: You've (twice) defined the problem (which we already knew) and have made some comments about chucking the lot. Good luck with that cause this is still the best system we have. Anything 'better' that has come along requires something we haven't done yet, grow a better human.
Here's the text:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Nope, no use of the word "separation" there. It's an interpretative doctrine not an actual part of the amendment. The reason why we have "In God we Trust" on our money, pay for chaplains to minister to our soldiers, and open our legislative sessions with prayer is that the separation doctrine has an alternative that has seen heavy use in the past.

I will agree that the US Constitution is the best hope we've got but that's as written, not as popularly misinterpreted.

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Post by TMLutas »

Wanderwolf wrote:Actually, the separation of Church and State is a required portion of our Constitution, in order to prevent some of the many abuses that befell in the days before it was established.
This is simply ahistorical and false. If it were true, we would not have had church services using Congress for decades and opening prayers in Congress to this day. "God save this honorable court" would not be ringing out at the start of every Supreme Court session. Swearing on a Bible would not be part of our oath of office ceremonies, etc. There has to be some sort of countervailing principle that allowed all these things to happen and to continue to happen.
Wanderwolf wrote: It is for this reason that Congress may make no law respecting the establishment of religion. If a single religion becomes The State Religion, then policy will (not may, will) be fixed around its dictates.

"Christianity is not, and has never been, part of the common law."-- Thomas Jefferson
While Jefferson was a wise man and a leading Founder, his word is not holy writ. His letter to a bunch of Baptist preachers outlining his policy of separation does not rise to the level of constitutional principle but rather fairly sound public policy at the time.

The two models are the modern separation model which leaves us with a public square naked of religious faith and the equal treatment model which allows all faiths into the square to fight it out with the State functioning as referee to halt violence.

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Post by TMLutas »

Tom Mazanec wrote:There is no "required" part of the Constitution. If you can get 51% of the population to want to repeal it, than an amendment will be passed. This is how a de facto state religion of genocidal conservative Christianity comes about in my Mammaloids stories...because at least 51% of the population wanted to exterminate the mammaloids.
The actual percentages necessary to repeal a constitutional provision are routinely supermajoritarian and in the US' case, drastically so. Constitutions are supposed to be hard to change and the US' is.

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Post by Tom Mazanec »

I thought state legislations can pass amendments. Is this true (I don't have time to read the whole Constitution). Than if a supermajority of the states pass an amendment that way, the amendment passes. And 51% will elect a state legislator.
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Tom Mazanec wrote:I thought state legislations can pass amendments. Is this true (I don't have time to read the whole Constitution). Than if a supermajority of the states pass an amendment that way, the amendment passes. And 51% will elect a state legislator.
That's a really... odd way of thinking about it.
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Post by Tom Mazanec »

Well, I didn't specify the percentage in my stories. Even with the difficulty in passing amendments, we passed one to outlaw a vice so common we had to pass another one to repeal the earlier one.
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Post by Kerry Skydancer »

Special case. You actually need 3/4 of the states to sign off on an amendment, and 100% if it involves meddling with the Senate. While theoretically possible to get an amendment passed by 51% of the population in three quarters of the states it's not all that likely. Something that controversial that close to the borderline is just not enough backing for a lot of Congresscritters to risk the polls being off.


And if you're an American citizen, you don't NOT have time enough to read the Constitution. That's what America is all -about-.

If you're not, you should read it anyway and try to get your government to adopt the Bill of Rights, at least.
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Wanderwolf
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TMLutas wrote:This is simply ahistorical and false. If it were true, we would not have had church services using Congress for decades and opening prayers in Congress to this day. "God save this honorable court" would not be ringing out at the start of every Supreme Court session. Swearing on a Bible would not be part of our oath of office ceremonies, etc. There has to be some sort of countervailing principle that allowed all these things to happen and to continue to happen.
Funny, Bloody Mary and her violent take on Catholicism seemed pretty historical to the Anglican church...

The fact remains that our government is (or at least is supposed to be) restricted from meddling in matters religious. This is primarily to prevent the creation of a State Religion, which would invite abuses of the type which drove the Puritans and Huguenots from England.

As for the opening prayers, they're Tradition, thanks to the fact that our Founding Fathers were Deists almost to a man. (Deists are characterized by a philosophy similar to the "watchmaker God" idea; that God created the universe, set it running, and then left it alone. They're not technically Christians, as His divine birth would contradict the position. The "typical" Deist position is similar to the Jewish; that Jesus was a great teacher and philosopher.)
TMLutas wrote:While Jefferson was a wise man and a leading Founder, his word is not holy writ. His letter to a bunch of Baptist preachers outlining his policy of separation does not rise to the level of constitutional principle but rather fairly sound public policy at the time.

The two models are the modern separation model which leaves us with a public square naked of religious faith and the equal treatment model which allows all faiths into the square to fight it out with the State functioning as referee to halt violence.
Actually, the quote was to Dr. Thos. Cooper, and was part of his letter of 10 February, 1814. (Not the 1802 letter to the Baptists of Danbury.) As part of an abstract from his "common-place book", he wrote:

"If, therefore, from the settlement of the Saxons to the introduction of Christianity among them, that system of religion could not be a part of the common law, because they were not yet Christians, and if, having their laws from that period to the close of the common law, we are all able to find among them no such act of adoption, we may safely affirm (though contradicted by all the judges and writers on earth) that Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law."

It was regarding the "frauds of the clergy", and the part English judges had played in them. You can read the letter on stephenjaygould.com, in its entirety.

But, fair enough. Perhaps you'd prefer the language of his 1779 draft of "The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom", not passed (albeit with few changes) until 1786?

"WE the General Assembly of Virginia do enact that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities."

Or perhaps you'd prefer Madison, in his 1785 Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments?

"We the subscribers , citizens of the said Commonwealth, having taken into serious consideration, a Bill printed by order of the last Session of General Assembly, entitled "A Bill establishing a provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion," and conceiving that the same if finally armed with the sanctions of a law, will be a dangerous abuse of power, are bound as faithful members of a free State to remonstrate against it, and to declare the reasons by which we are determined."

"Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects? that the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute three pence only of his property for the support of any one establishment, may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?"

As you probably noticed by now, they favored the "equal treatment before the law" model. So do I, for that matter. "Political correctness" is all well and good, but "don't offend anyone" is a lousy way to run anything.

Yours truly,

The wolfish,

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Tom Mazanec
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Post by Tom Mazanec »

K. S.
As I said, I did not specify the percentage in my stories, but you have a good point. It is hard for me to read my copy of the Constitution because it is in one of those reference almanacs in fine print, but after my eye heals from my cataract surgery (scheduled for the 11th of next month) I will read it at the first chance I get. Thank you.
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Post by BrockthePaine »

Or you could get it online, it's not hard to find at all.
It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men. - attributed to Samuel Adams

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” - Richard Henry Lee

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Post by BrockthePaine »

Wanderwolf wrote:As for the opening prayers, they're Tradition, thanks to the fact that our Founding Fathers were Deists almost to a man.
- John Adams was a Congregationalism, latter Unitarian.
- Samuel Adams was a Congregationalist.
- John Jay was Episcopalian
- Charles Carroll was Catholic
- Samuel Chase was the son of an Episcopalian minister
- Lyman Hall was a Congregationalist minister
- Joseph Hewes was a Quaker
- Robert Morris was an Anglican, then Episcopalian
- George Read was Episcopalian
- Caesar Rodney was Episcopalian
- George Washington was an Anglican, then an Episcopalian, and might have arguably been a deist.
As far as my research goes, the only self-identified deist among the Founders was Thomas Paine, although there is a decent case for Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson.

And, having already read through the biographies searching for information, I found this helpful link, which would have saved me two hours of research time (though I did catch and fix some vandalism on Wikipedia, which made it worthwhile). The site doesn't appear to have any political or religious leanings, so you should find it fairly trustworthy.

In short, Deism might have influenced the Founding Fathers, but they were certainly no majority.
It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men. - attributed to Samuel Adams

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” - Richard Henry Lee

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BrockthePaine wrote: - George Washington was an Anglican, then an Episcopalian, and might have arguably been a deist.
How could Washington switch from Anglican to Episcopalian? I'm pretty sure they're the same thing, the Church of England.
I would have hoped to say something meaninful, or possible inciteful. But, alas.
How goes the world today? From right to left or left to right? Perhaps it runs round mad reels, turning in on itself only at long last to blow away with the leaves and gutter-trash.
How goes the world today? Top to Bottom or Bottom to Top? Perhaps it will rise high enough so that it may see the back of its own head, in a maddening tunnel of infinity.
How goes the world today? Clockwise or Counter? Perhaps it will spin itself mad, curling a spring-from into endlessness.
Or maybe, today, it will just stop.

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Post by BrockthePaine »

sapphire wrote:
BrockthePaine wrote: - George Washington was an Anglican, then an Episcopalian, and might have arguably been a deist.
How could Washington switch from Anglican to Episcopalian? I'm pretty sure they're the same thing, the Church of England.
I believe the Episcopalians split from the Anglicans as a result of the Revolutionary War, as the Americans didn't want to acknowledge the superiority of the British monarch as the Anglicans required. I don't believe the difference is theological, only political.
It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men. - attributed to Samuel Adams

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” - Richard Henry Lee

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Post by TMLutas »

Tom Mazanec wrote:I thought state legislations can pass amendments. Is this true (I don't have time to read the whole Constitution). Than if a supermajority of the states pass an amendment that way, the amendment passes. And 51% will elect a state legislator.
Um, no. That's like saying that the Catholic Church is a democracy because the College of Cardinals elects a Pope (and I believe a simple majority is ok there too). 3/4s of the states have to ratify a federal amendment. It's never been done without a prior 2/3rds vote in the Congress. This is hardly the stuff of 51%.

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Post by Mutant for Hire »

Let us not forget Article 11 of the Treaty with Tripoli, passed unanimously by the first congress:
Article 11 wrote: "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 Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan 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."

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Post by Tom Mazanec »

Well, if a majority of a nation violently disagrees with it, it will be able to change it by force of arms if nothing else, I suppose.
I find the Constitution written in 18th Century legalese, which means I cannot simply scan it like I do there forums. With the holidays, my boss going out of town, then my surgery, I just do not have the time right now. Fortunately, in mid-January I will, and will try to study it then...I will be using up my sick leave for the year (my job requires a lot of heavy lifting, so I will not be there for awhile).
As for my mammaloids future history, I used a theory of Anglo-American historical cycles outlined in the books by Strauss and Howe which feature a four generation pattern which makes four phases in society during each cycle, and a "Crisis" mood which occurs every 80 years or so, equivalent to the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the Depression/WW2 period as a framework to build my stories. Crises are featured by "bending" if not breaking cultural norms (concentration camps for native born Japanese ethnics). I find the reasoning persuasive but not conclusive, and I frequently post on a forum dedicated to the theory. My personal opinion is that it could easily occur that a Crisis (in the theory sense) would result in a Christian genocidal campaign against genetically engineered anthropomorphic animals, which are what my mammaloids are, especially if the country went through my version of WW3 (a war between an atheist China and a coalition of Muslim nations against the Christian West) which would tend to make it become more overtly Christian. Please forgive my citing of 51% as an example...the percentage would actually be higher.
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Mutant for Hire wrote:Let us not forget Article 11 of the Treaty with Tripoli, passed unanimously by the first congress:
Article 11 wrote: "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 Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan 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."
Firstly, the Treaty of Tripoli was given under duress: they pirated our ships, and without a Navy, we could only protest. The Treaty in question accompanied a large payment in tribute (aka Bribe).

The treaty didn't actually have Article 11 in the original copy which we gave to Tripoli; and when the treaty was broken in 1801 by the Bashaw of Tripoli, it was rewritten in 1805 to say:
ARTICLE 14 wrote: As the Government of the United States of America, has in itself no character of enmity against the Laws, Religion or Tranquility of Musselmen, and as the said States never have entered into any voluntary war or act of hostility against any Mahometan Nation, except in the defence of their just rights to freely navigate the High Seas: It is declared by the contracting parties that no pretext arising from Religious Opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the Harmony existing between the two Nations; And the Consuls and Agents of both Nations respectively, shall have liberty to exercise his Religion in his own house; all slaves of the same Religion shall not be Impeded in going to said Consuls house at hours of Prayer. The Consuls shall have liberty and personal security given them to travel within the Territories of each other, both by land and sea, and shall not be prevented from going on board any Vessel that they may think proper to visit; they shall have likewise the liberty to appoint their own Drogoman and Brokers.
It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men. - attributed to Samuel Adams

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” - Richard Henry Lee

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Post by TMLutas »

Mutant for Hire wrote:Let us not forget Article 11 of the Treaty with Tripoli, passed unanimously by the first congress:
Article 11 wrote: "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 Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan 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."
What it demonstrates is the pragmatic turn of the american political class and general public at the time. We had to bend over and take whatever the Bey was going to give us and we did. We got ourselves a decent navy soon thereafter the renegotiated treaty of 1805 included no such language. Had this language been unobjectionable to american sensibilities, why was it omitted in 1805 and why has it not made a reappearance in other treaties with sensitive, non-christian princes and principalities? Such an assurance would have been welcome by any muslim power at any time.

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