The Separation of Church and State (1 Viewer)

Maxp

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Driving back to south Alabama from Tennessee last Thanksgiving I was passed by a sheriff's deputy whose patrol vehicle had "IN GOD WE TRUST" printed on the side. The labeling was as large, if not larger, than the word "POLICE." This happened in one of the northern counties, not sure which one. It was a surprisingly jarring moment for me. In my mind, this was screaming passed the line of separation of church and state. Then today, I noticed a local Baldwin County sheriff's department vehicle with the same phrase printed much smaller on the back of the patrol vehicle. My personal belief is that all such verbiage on public property should be removed, especially when it's on law enforcement vehicles.
 

cuddlemonkey

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Driving back to south Alabama from Tennessee last Thanksgiving I was passed by a sheriff's deputy whose patrol vehicle had "IN GOD WE TRUST" printed on the side. The labeling was as large, if not larger, than the word "POLICE." This happened in one of the northern counties, not sure which one. It was a surprisingly jarring moment for me. In my mind, this was screaming passed the line of separation of church and state. Then today, I noticed a local Baldwin County sheriff's department vehicle with the same phrase printed much smaller on the back of the patrol vehicle. My personal belief is that all such verbiage on public property should be removed, especially when it's on law enforcement vehicles.

I agree, and there are groups that push back against this kind of stuff with legal challenges, but since it's the motto, it's almost never removed.
 

zztop

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The new Mississippi state flag has those words on it too. I guess that is better than still having a confederate symbol as part of your state flag
 

wardorican

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Driving back to south Alabama from Tennessee last Thanksgiving I was passed by a sheriff's deputy whose patrol vehicle had "IN GOD WE TRUST" printed on the side. The labeling was as large, if not larger, than the word "POLICE." This happened in one of the northern counties, not sure which one. It was a surprisingly jarring moment for me. In my mind, this was screaming passed the line of separation of church and state. Then today, I noticed a local Baldwin County sheriff's department vehicle with the same phrase printed much smaller on the back of the patrol vehicle. My personal belief is that all such verbiage on public property should be removed, especially when it's on law enforcement vehicles.
Well, belief in God, or a Creator isn't tied to a particular religion or Church. i.e. it doesn't establish a national religion and it doesn't prevent the free exercise of religion.



Robert N. Bellah has argued that although the separation of church and state is grounded firmly in the Constitution of the United States, this does not mean that there is no religious dimension in the political society of the United States. He used the term “civil religion” to describe the specific relation between politics and religion in the United States. His 1967 article, “Civil religion in America,” analyzes the inaugural speech of John F. Kennedy: “Considering the separation of church and state, how is a president justified in using the word ‘God’ at all? The answer is that the separation of church and state has not denied the political realm a religious dimension. ”
 

SystemShock

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Well, belief in God, or a Creator isn't tied to a particular religion or Church. i.e. it doesn't establish a national religion and it doesn't prevent the free exercise of religion.



Like not paying attention to "well regulated militia".

It is very clear which god is meant in the phrase "In God we trust". And off the top of my head, I can't think of any god that is not tied to a religion, at least not one that'd be relevant to a U.S. government vehicle with a "in god we trust" message.
 

samiam5211

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Like not paying attention to "well regulated militia".

It is very clear which god is meant in the phrase "In God we trust". And off the top of my head, I can't think of any god that is not tied to a religion, at least not one that'd be relevant to a U.S. government vehicle with a "in god we trust" message.

Even if you could argue they don't mean the Christian god, it still puts theism over non theism.

That said, the establishment clause was intended to protect religion from the government, not the other way around.

I do not believe that religious beliefs should be have any special protection beyond any other strongly held belief though. The part of the first amendment that deals with religion, is discriminatory against non theists though. It places religious beliefs on a pedestal.
 

SystemShock

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That said, the establishment clause was intended to protect religion from the government, not the other way around.
The clause was intended to protect the people from the likes of the Church of England and the Catholic Church.

The part of the first amendment that deals with religion, is discriminatory against non theists though. It places religious beliefs on a pedestal.
It does neither.
 

samiam5211

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The clause was intended to protect the people from the likes of the Church of England and the Catholic Church.

In England the state was preventing the free exercise of religion. The Church of England came into existence because the King (the state) wanted control of the religion instead of the Pope. The state used it's power to suppress other religions.

It does neither.

yes, the first amendment gives special protections to religious beliefs that is not given to other deeply held beliefs.
 

SystemShock

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In England the state was preventing the free exercise of religion. The Church of England came into existence because the King (the state) wanted control of the religion instead of the Pope. The state used it's power to suppress other religions.
I don't know where to begin.

The Church of England came into existence centuries before it renounced the authority of the Pope, after Henry VIII threw a tantrum because the Pope wouldn't allow him to get a divorce.

The "state" as you call it, was comprised of both the monarchy and the church. The "state" suppressed other religions because they imposed Christianity as the only religion. And this is the very thing the 1st amendment protects the people from: a religion imposed by the government, and being persecuted for not following a particular religion.

yes, the first amendment gives special protections to religious beliefs that is not given to other deeply held beliefs.
Such as... ?
 
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JRad

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Like not paying attention to "well regulated militia".

It is very clear which god is meant in the phrase "In God we trust". And off the top of my head, I can't think of any god that is not tied to a religion, at least not one that'd be relevant to a U.S. government vehicle with a "in god we trust" message.

Yea, the capital G is not ambiguous. While those government vehicles generally have all-caps font, I don't think it's a stretch to figure out which God is god.

I believe I've said it before, but just to make sure I'm clear on this first: I have no issue with anyone's choice of religion. However, I do feel like it's a choice, and has no place in government. The religion someone chooses shouldn't dictate laws everyone has to follow. Stamping stuff like that on government vehicles anythings really feels like it should fall under that same umbrella.
 

bird

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I just want to point out that our motto isn’t “In god we trust”

its “e pluribus unum”

“Out of many, one”
Sadly, the so-called modern motto came into existence in 1956 during Eisenhower's administration as a result of the cold war and the push by conservatives to show the difference between the U.S. with freedom of religion and "godless" communism. Of course, that the god many worship is the golden calf of the market is lost on people.


My updated version is Unum, de multis: many out of one.
 

wardorican

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Like not paying attention to "well regulated militia".

It is very clear which god is meant in the phrase "In God we trust". And off the top of my head, I can't think of any god that is not tied to a religion, at least not one that'd be relevant to a U.S. government vehicle with a "in god we trust" message.
The point is that the Establishment Clause is just that, not the "separation of church and state" clause (even though, that's close), and it's not the "any mention of God" Clause.
 

wardorican

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I don't know where to begin.

The Church of England came into existence centuries before it renounced the authority of the Pope, after Henry VIII threw a tantrum because the Pope wouldn't allow him to get a divorce.

The "state" as you call it, was comprised of both the monarchy and the church. The "state" suppressed other religions because they imposed Christianity as the only religion. And this is the very thing the 1st amendment protects the people from: a religion imposed by the government, and being persecuted for not following a particular religion.


Such as... ?
But the fear was having an official state religion, thus forcing people to change theirs.

Interesting enough, it isn't a freedom to avoid all or any religion. It's just about being forced into any particular one.
 

wardorican

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Like not paying attention to "well regulated militia".

It is very clear which god is meant in the phrase "In God we trust". And off the top of my head, I can't think of any god that is not tied to a religion, at least not one that'd be relevant to a U.S. government vehicle with a "in god we trust" message.
Tied to a specific religion. Not any religion.
 

SystemShock

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The point is that the Establishment Clause is just that, not the "separation of church and state" clause (even though, that's close), and it's not the "any mention of God" Clause.

So you are arguing what? That constitutionally the State and the Church can be one and the same, or co-govern, whichever church that is?

Again, off the top of my head, I can't think of any god that is not associated with a religion, or a godless religion (you may be tempted to say Buddhism as they don't have a Creator per se, but they still have devas and tantric deities).

But the fear was having an official state religion, thus forcing people to change theirs.
Not exactly. You only have to be aware of the time when the 1st Amendment was written, and from who the U.S. were claiming independence, to understand its purpose. Both the Church of England and the Catholic Church exerted tremendous influence on monarchies and politics across Europe. That is what the founding fathers wanted to nip in the butt. Side note, that's also why Maoist China and Leninist Russia persecuted churches.

Interesting enough, it isn't a freedom to avoid all or any religion. It's just about being forced into any particular one.
Interestingly enough, you are incorrect. If I am not forced into any religion, I am free to not only profess any religion, but also not profess a religion at all. The 1st Amendment doesn't say "as long as you believe in any religion".

Tied to a specific religion. Not any religion.
How is this relevant?
 
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UncleTrvlingJim

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But the fear was having an official state religion, thus forcing people to change theirs.

Interesting enough, it isn't a freedom to avoid all or any religion. It's just about being forced into any particular one.

Practically though, once you have religion enter politics, that creates a tremendous amount of pressure for people to conform to that religion else there is fear that they will suffer adverse effects.

Let's take an example of a court setting. An atheist goes to trial, but before the trial, the judge decides to lead everyone in prayer. That is automatically putting pressure on the atheist to participate in that prayer for fear that standing out would cause them to be viewed unfavorably by the judge.

You can't protect religion from the government without protecting the government from religion.
 

samiam5211

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But the fear was having an official state religion, thus forcing people to change theirs.

Interesting enough, it isn't a freedom to avoid all or any religion. It's just about being forced into any particular one.

I don't think you can have freedom of religion without freedom from religion. Otherwise the implication is that you may choose any religion you want, but you have to choose one.

The freedom to choose no religion should be equally valid. In that respect, "In God we trust", "In god we trust", and "Praise Allah", are all equal statements to someone who does not believe in any religion at all.
 

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