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Separation of Church & State

Discussion in 'The OT' started by Bogy, Jul 9, 2003.

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  1. Bogy

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    Tomorrow morning, July 10, I leave for the national meeting of the United Church of Christ. This means that after tonite you won't see me around for about a week, due to a hectic schedule as well as lack of access to a computer. :(

    As I was thinking about the next weeks agenda I thought of an old story. Mine is a very socially active denomination. In the coming days we will address issues that some might feel are political, that are not issues with which the church should be dealing. So here's the story:

     
  2. Frapp

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    Oh Boy, What time does "Bogy TV" start since they will be streaming live feeds from the General Synod XXIV :D
     
  3. durl

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    St. Paul claimed his rights as a Roman citizen so I see no reason why Christians shouldn't claim their rights as citizens of the US. Since Christians are citizens of America, they have the right to express their views just as much as any other citizen. To ignore someone because of their religious viewpoints is to ignore them as citizens.

    I find the current debate about Church and State quite interesting mainly because the main point these days has been the fictitious "separation of church and state" that many believe to be in the Constitution. (It's right up there with the fictitious "right to privacy"). I believe if many people read the constitution in it's historical context, they would understand that many nations in the late 18th century had state-run churches; citizens were forced to be members of whatever church the king embraced. The framers simply said that the United States, as a Nation, would have no official, state-run church in which people were forced to adhere to. (Individual states exercised their own jurisdiction in matters of religion and many even had stipulations in their constitutions that office-holders must meet certain religious requirements in order to hold office. Since the first amendment applied to the United States government, the states were free to make such requirements)

    Wow...I really rambled on. Anyway, just wanted to say that all citizens have the right (even responsibility) to be actively involved in the process of government, no matter your philosophy or religion.
     
  4. jonstad

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    Of course many also believe the Constitution contains positive references to God, like "under God" or "endowed by their Creator..., etc. In fact the Constitution makes no reference to any "God" or gods and religion only twice, both in an exclusionary sense. Once that no "religious test" shall be applied to office holders(BTW, the Presidential oath does NOT end with "so help me God". That is inserted strictly for PC purposes), and once again in the First Amendment, "no laws respecting an establishment of religion...etc."

    Many of us do know that the phrase "separation of church and state" comes from a letter from T. Jefferson to the Danbury, CT Baptists who were themselves subject to discrimination by the state. It was cited in early court decisions concerning church/state relations and has become somewhat of a cliche to describe such circumstances. While not specifically a law of the land, it is hardly "fictitious" and is generally held to encompass the sentiments of the framers of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    There is no reason Christians or members of any faith, or no faith at all, should not fully participate in government as equals. That is precisely what the what the framers envisioned and exactly why the two references to religion in the Constitution were placed there.

    The "right to privacy" similarly comes from the Constitution's barring of unreasonable search and seizure and establishing the right to be secure in one's person and property. The wording may be different, but that doesn't mean you have no "right to privacy".
     
  5. Ray_Clum

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    What's interesting is that the Ten Commandments have only one reference to God, but the Declaration of Independance has 4...
     
  6. jonstad

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    But of course neither has(or should have) anything to do with the laws that govern this country nor the Constitution.:nono2:

    The Declaration is a political statement. Arguably the finest political statement ever written with an elloquence, emotion and persuasiveness that the entire world is still in awe of today, but a political statement nonetheless. It's purpose was to lay the groundwork for the separation of the Colonies from England and did so to astounding effect. It's nature is not disimilar to Bush's State of the Union address or Powell's speech to the UN to justify the invasion of Iraq although Jefferson and Franklin were much better speech writers, and I might add had much higher motive.:D As a political statement, the Declaration was designed to appeal to as broad an audience as possible and it did, probably beyond anyone's wildest expectations.

    However, when it got down to the brass tacks of actually consituting a government, a war and half a dozen years later, the prevailing sentiment was to specifically separate the government from religious activity and they did so by insisting on no religious test for office and no laws favoring or discriminating against religion.

    Now I concede that Franklin, Jefferson et al believed in a "Creator". But what IS "fictitious" is that most of the founding fathers were devout Christians or ever intended this to be a "Christian nation". Many, if not most, of the leading founders could be more accurately be described as Diests and regarded Christianity much as Marx would later, as an opiate of the masses, largely corrupt and not reflective of Christ's true philosophy. And this remains essentially true today. Jesus hung around with whores, theives, lepers and other low lifes and advocated giving freely and grandly to the poor with no strings attached. Hardly a current neoconservative, Christian practice.

    But I digress. I believe Jackson was the first acknowledged Christian elected President, and this fact was regularly and publicly bemoaned by clergy and theologians before this event. The reason of course is that they felt they were being shortchanged of the power and influence they felt they were due and which was recognized in nearly every other country of that time, exactly what the founders had sought to avoid. Unfortunately since that time, I feel the country has digressed from the original high ideals and intent enunciated in the Constitution. The greedy clergy are at it again. No offense Bogy!;)
     
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