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.
 

insidejob

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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).
The closest thing I can think of when it comes to a god that isn't attached to a religion would be the enlightened state of being achieved by reaching Nirvana through Buddhist practice. The Buddha himself said that as humans we need not bother ourselves with the question of the existence of god and should just follow the Dharma. The idea being that if we followed that path, we'd all be living in such a beautiful world that the need for an external god to pray to or try to imitate would be unnecessary. His last words before dying when the monks were trying to force him to anoint someone (a particular cousin of his is the person most widely claimed to be their choice) as his replacement to be leader or main authority on his teachings were (something along the lines of - there are a plethora of differing translations from the original Pali), "Be a lamp unto yourself."
 

DaveXA

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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.

Freedom of religion doesn't necessarily preclude one from not believing any religion. The establishment clause was never meant to mean freedom from religion.
 

samiam5211

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Freedom of religion doesn't necessarily preclude one from not believing any religion. The establishment clause was never meant to mean freedom from religion.

My point is about the motto "in God we trust" used in the context of the government.

As a christian, would you be ok if it was "Allahu Akbar" instead of "in God we trust"?
 

DaveXA

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My point is about the motto "in God we trust" used in the context of the government.

As a christian, would you be ok if it was "Allahu Akbar" instead of "in God we trust"?

I honestly wouldn't care. Lol. My beliefs will remain the same whatever the government does.
 

Taurus

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Freedom of religion doesn't necessarily preclude one from not believing any religion. The establishment clause was never meant to mean freedom from religion.

If true, then that's the problem.
How is it that a believer's position is more valid than mine? In the official government sense, that is. That seems to be what you're saying. My atheism is less valuable than your theism, no matter what sky-fairy you pray to.
If we're a free society, then my right to proceed with life like there are no deities is precisely as valid as your right to act like there are. The only way to balance that is for our government to have "no comment" as the official position.
 

DaveXA

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If true, then that's the problem.
How is it that a believer's position is more valid than mine? In the official government sense, that is. That seems to be what you're saying. My atheism is less valuable than your theism, no matter what sky-fairy you pray to.
If we're a free society, then my right to proceed with life like there are no deities is precisely as valid as your right to act like there are. The only way to balance that is for our government to have "no comment" as the official position.

But it doesn't make any belief any more or less valid than anyone else's. That's not how I see it. I see it as essentially saying the government can't tell you what to believe. Of course, the prevailing thought at the time was most people were religious in some sort of way. The founders certainly didn't all believe the same way, and I'm pretty sure not all of them were Christians. But the idea was that all can be however religious or non-religious they wanted to be.

I think value is intrinsic in people, so what we all think isn't necessarily what determines value, although a debate can be had on that point. But from a practical government for all people point of view, a comparative view doesn't necessarily need to be made.
 

brandon

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My point is about the motto "in God we trust" used in the context of the government.

As a christian, would you be ok if it was "Allahu Akbar" instead of "in God we trust"?
For what it's worth, technically "Allahu Akbar" is Arabic, and if they translated it to English, it would be "God is great," which I don't think most Christians would have a problem with.

Just don't leave it in Arabic or it's the debil.
 

samiam5211

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For what it's worth, technically "Allahu Akbar" is Arabic, and if they translated it to English, it would be "God is great," which I don't think most Christians would have a problem with.

Just don't leave it in Arabic or it's the debil.

We have Latin all over the place, why can’t we have Arabic?
 

samiam5211

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I honestly wouldn't care. Lol. My beliefs will remain the same whatever the government does.

Do you think if a Judge had a plaque in his courtroom that said “Allahu Akbar” that it would violate the first amendment?

What if the plaque said “God is a joke”? Would your answer change?
 
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wardorican

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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).


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.


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".


How is this relevant?
I'm going to have to get back to you about this. I am busy and about to go to an outdoor pod concert tonight (covid safe!). Also, I wanted to read up on the SCOTUS rulings, since the court thinking over the years has shifted, mostly in the last 50 or so years. So, I may need to adjust some points, or use better phrasing.

I'm basically seeing this as a "not a specific religion" vs "not any religion, or grouping of religions" issue. You're seeing it as the other, right?
 

Heathen

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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.

The one that is being referred to on our money, our flags, squad cars, license plates, (the list goes on a while..) is very clearly the one of the Christian persuasion. I'm really not sure in what universe that isn't a violation of the idea of separation of church and state.
 

DaveXA

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The one that is being referred to on our money, our flags, squad cars, license plates, (the list goes on a while..) is very clearly the one of the Christian persuasion. I'm really not sure in what universe that isn't a violation of the idea of separation of church and state.

Well, license plates can be customized, you can put whatever you want within reason. Standard plates don't typically have God in them in just about every state that I'm aware of. The US flag doesn't and neither do almost all other flags. I've not really noticed many cop cars with God on them. Maybe more on local police departments, but state police? The Feds? Money is probably the most obvious place, but even cash is getting more and more scarce as it's mostly electronic transactions these days.

That said, regardless how much or how little God appears doesn't matter much to me. As I said earlier, people should believe what they want, and as as long as the government allows us to be what we want, that's all I can ask for. If you want to be a Christian, Islam, Hindu or atheist, you can freely practice it as long as you're not harming anyone else.
 

Heathen

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Well, license plates can be customized, you can put whatever you want within reason. Standard plates don't typically have God in them in just about every state that I'm aware of.

Maybe standard ones don't, but every state has an option to put the Christian god on theirs in an "In God we Trust" slogan or similar. That in itself is putting one god at an advantage before others.

The US flag doesn't and neither do almost all other flags.

The Mississippi Flag promotes the Christian God on their flag.

I've not really noticed many cop cars with God on them. Maybe more on local police departments, but state police? The Feds?

I'd venture to say confidently that every state in America has dozens of police departments promoting Christianity on their squad cars. I've noticed it many places, more frequently in the South for obvious reasons.

Money is probably the most obvious place, but even cash is getting more and more scarce as it's mostly electronic transactions these days.

It's still blatantly unconstitutional, unless one is to argue that one religion has a right to promote itself at a governmental level (federal money).

That said, regardless how much or how little God appears doesn't matter much to me. As I said earlier, people should believe what they want, and as as long as the government allows us to be what we want, that's all I can ask for. If you want to be a Christian, Islam, Hindu or atheist, you can freely practice it as long as you're not harming anyone else.

It may not matter to you, but I have a feeling it would if you were to take the "God (of Christianity" out of every place it is labeled and every institution this religion has infiltrated in our country and replace it with a religion that you do not agree with and/or which is foreign to you, you may have a difference of opinion.

I can't take the attitude of "look the other way as long as you aren't hurting me" whenever a system that has been rigged from the start (in favor of one religion, or one race) is in place.

To truly live up to the ideal of the separation of church and state, we should take any mention of god or gods off of government property. Period. Otherwise, we simply are defending theocratic rule, which many conservatives truly do want.
 

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