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.
 

DaveXA

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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 Mississippi Flag promotes the Christian God on their flag.



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.



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).



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.

1. No it's not. That option extends beyond a "Christian" option. Regardless, that's not stopping you from practicing what you believe.

2. Yes, but...Mississippi. A step up from the Confederate flag. Wouldn't bother me if they decide to take God out of their flag. It's their flag and their state though.

3. And each local department can decide if they want it or not. It's a local issue.

4. I know you'll disagree with this, but putting God on something isn't an endorsement of any specific religion. So no, it's not unconstitutional. What part of it is being violated?

5. I'm already on record as stating that I don't really care if the government uses Allah, God or Cthulhu is on the walls or money. I'm still gonna be the same person regardless. As long as the government allows everyone to make their own decisions about what they believe, I don't really care.

6. I can't fix the past. No one should have to face injustice because of what the believe or what they look like.

7. If all mention of god or gods are removed from every part of the government, that's fine. But just because God is in parts of government language, buildings and what not, that doesn't make the government a theocracy.
 

samiam5211

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4. I know you'll disagree with this, but putting God on something isn't an endorsement of any specific religion. So no, it's not unconstitutional. What part of it is being violated?

Isn’t an endorsement of religion though? Even if not a specific one?

At least, can’t you see how someone might see it as an endorsement of religion?
 

DaveXA

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Isn’t an endorsement of religion though? Even if not a specific one?

At least, can’t you see how someone might see it as an endorsement of religion?

I can see how one might see that, but God isn't indicative of a specific religion. Could mean Allah, Christian God, Jewish God, Hindu, or anything else. There's nothing saying what you have to believe about God, up to and including not believing in any god at all.
 

samiam5211

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I can see how one might see that, but God isn't indicative of a specific religion. Could mean Allah, Christian God, Jewish God, Hindu, or anything else. There's nothing saying what you have to believe about God, up to and including not believing in any god at all.

Does the “we” in “in god we trust” include people who do not believe in a god?
 

J-DONK

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No, which is why I'm not really a fan of the motto. I like the motto personally because it fits my worldview...but that's certainly not the case for all Americans.

I'm surprised it's never been struck down by the SC. It was added during the red scare to show those atheist communist.
 

DaveXA

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I'm surprised it's never been struck down by the SC. It was added during the red scare to show those atheist communist.

Yeah, I think it's probably too ingrained in the DC culture to change it right now, but I think that could change in the not too distant future.
 

SystemShock

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Isn’t an endorsement of religion though?
Of course it is.

Even if not a specific one?
But it is a specific one, Christianity. We know this. Anyone who says otherwise is just being dishonest, trying to make this talk about "some god" or "some religion" a sort of abstract pseudo intellectual exercise. "In God we trust", "so help me God", "God bless America"... they all refer to one god, the 3 headed god of Christianity.

And you better believe people will be up in arms if a police car said "Allahu Akbar" or even worse, "there is no God".
 

Heathen

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1. No it's not. That option extends beyond a "Christian" option. Regardless, that's not stopping you from practicing what you believe.

Of course it is. Seriously, you see absolutely no advantage that the Christian religion has over others when there is an extra plate option for Christians that says "In God We Trust"? You think that Muslim or Hindu people are able to co-opt that?

Come on now...

2. Yes, but...Mississippi. A step up from the Confederate flag. Wouldn't bother me if they decide to take God out of their flag. It's their flag and their state though.

"It's their flag and state though" is a slippery slope. While I'm aware states have their own jurisdiction on certain matters, it's a dangerous precedent to think states can circumvent certain constitutional tenets just because 'they've been here long enough and it's just the norm now'.

It just doesn't bother the majority of the population because the majority IS of that religious persuasion. Would it bother you if they were majority Islamic and bore that religion's insignia on so many state property items?

Of course it would. And it would bother me, too.

4. I know you'll disagree with this, but putting God on something isn't an endorsement of any specific religion. So no, it's not unconstitutional. What part of it is being violated?

Wait what? Putting the Christian God's name on our government property is not an endorsement of any specific religion? Not trying to be rude, but that makes zero sense.

Would putting Allah's name on our currency also not be an endorsement of Islam?

Genuinely puzzled at that response.

5. I'm already on record as stating that I don't really care if the government uses Allah, God or Cthulhu is on the walls or money. I'm still gonna be the same person regardless. As long as the government allows everyone to make their own decisions about what they believe, I don't really care.

You really should care.

Having a state-sponsored religion has historically been a reason to discriminate, naturally, against anyone who doesn't subscribe to said doctrine. A secular government by its very nature, nonbiased toward one religion or another is what is desired precisely because it is held to a standard of not holding any religion or non-religion over any other belief.

6. I can't fix the past. No one should have to face injustice because of what the believe or what they look like.

We agree. Which is the very reason I see 'not caring' about a quite obviously religiously biased nation (and we can get very deep very quickly into all of the rules the religious majority put into motion that effect mine and others' lives every day) as a problem. I care about this because I do not want to see decisions made that adversely effect others or hold others at a inherent disadvantage. This is why we shouldn't 'brush it off' just because we perceive it doesn't effect us in our everyday lives.

7. If all mention of god or gods are removed from every part of the government, that's fine. But just because God is in parts of government language, buildings and what not, that doesn't make the government a theocracy.

I never said that the US was, at least in a western view, a theocracy. What I have said and repeat because I'm surprised that so many here view it as 'no problem' is the shrugging off of a particular religion's name in our government.

Again, we'll never know because it won't happen - but without a shadow of a doubt those that couldn't care less now about it would really see it from a different view were it a different or new religion's god trying to be forced into their schools, effecting their everyday rights, on their money, on their state legislative grounds, the list goes on.

I'm just asking we consider if our view would be different in that scenario.
 

DaveXA

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Of course it is. Seriously, you see absolutely no advantage that the Christian religion has over others when there is an extra plate option for Christians that says "In God We Trust"? You think that Muslim or Hindu people are able to co-opt that?

Come on now...



"It's their flag and state though" is a slippery slope. While I'm aware states have their own jurisdiction on certain matters, it's a dangerous precedent to think states can circumvent certain constitutional tenets just because 'they've been here long enough and it's just the norm now'.

It just doesn't bother the majority of the population because the majority IS of that religious persuasion. Would it bother you if they were majority Islamic and bore that religion's insignia on so many state property items?

Of course it would. And it would bother me, too.



Wait what? Putting the Christian God's name on our government property is not an endorsement of any specific religion? Not trying to be rude, but that makes zero sense.

Would putting Allah's name on our currency also not be an endorsement of Islam?

Genuinely puzzled at that response.



You really should care.

Having a state-sponsored religion has historically been a reason to discriminate, naturally, against anyone who doesn't subscribe to said doctrine. A secular government by its very nature, nonbiased toward one religion or another is what is desired precisely because it is held to a standard of not holding any religion or non-religion over any other belief.



We agree. Which is the very reason I see 'not caring' about a quite obviously religiously biased nation (and we can get very deep very quickly into all of the rules the religious majority put into motion that effect mine and others' lives every day) as a problem. I care about this because I do not want to see decisions made that adversely effect others or hold others at a inherent disadvantage. This is why we shouldn't 'brush it off' just because we perceive it doesn't effect us in our everyday lives.



I never said that the US was, at least in a western view, a theocracy. What I have said and repeat because I'm surprised that so many here view it as 'no problem' is the shrugging off of a particular religion's name in our government.

Again, we'll never know because it won't happen - but without a shadow of a doubt those that couldn't care less now about it would really see it from a different view were it a different or new religion's god trying to be forced into their schools, effecting their everyday rights, on their money, on their state legislative grounds, the list goes on.

I'm just asking we consider if our view would be different in that scenario.

I'm not there on a bit of it, but you make some thoughtful points. Good discussion. :9:
 

MT15

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I don’t have religious discussions with a lot of Hindus, but I’m pretty good friends with a young woman at work. She is devout in her beliefs. She says things like “God will provide” and “See how God has made this all work out”.

To the point that one of our Evangelical co-workers was stunned when we told her that she is most assuredly not Christian. (She has a bindi, which is a pretty good indication, lol)

No huge point, just thought that it was interesting that either the language of religion is pretty similar or my co-worker just couldn’t wrap her head around the similarities and thought that any religious talk must be Christian in origin.
 

samiam5211

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Of course it is.


But it is a specific one, Christianity. We know this. Anyone who says otherwise is just being dishonest, trying to make this talk about "some god" or "some religion" a sort of abstract pseudo intellectual exercise. "In God we trust", "so help me God", "God bless America"... they all refer to one god, the 3 headed god of Christianity.

I agree with you that it is referring to the Christian god.

I just wanted to explain to him that even if it was a generic "god", it would still exclude people who follow non monotheistic religions, and people who aren't religious at all, so i was willing to concede that point.

I don't believe you can have freedom of religion, without freedom from religion, by which I mean that a deeply held belief of an agnostic should be given the same protections as deeply held religious beliefs.
 

DaveXA

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I agree with you that it is referring to the Christian god.

I just wanted to explain to him that even if it was a generic "god", it would still exclude people who follow non monotheistic religions, and people who aren't religious at all, so i was willing to concede that point.

I don't believe you can have freedom of religion, without freedom from religion, by which I mean that a deeply held belief of an agnostic should be given the same protections as deeply held religious beliefs.

All should be afforded equal protection under the law. I don't really care what the government says about religion as long as everyone gets treated fairly.
 

samiam5211

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All should be afforded equal protection under the law. I don't really care what the government says about religion as long as everyone gets treated fairly.

We agree there.

I think we were disagreeing over whether the 1st amendment (or at least it's interpretation) gives religious beliefs a special protection that places religion on a pedestal above deeply held beliefs that are not based on a religion... but I think we're beaten that horse enough for now.
 

insidejob

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I don’t have religious discussions with a lot of Hindus, but I’m pretty good friends with a young woman at work. She is devout in her beliefs. She says things like “God will provide” and “See how God has made this all work out”.

To the point that one of our Evangelical co-workers was stunned when we told her that she is most assuredly not Christian. (She has a bindi, which is a pretty good indication, lol)

No huge point, just thought that it was interesting that either the language of religion is pretty similar or my co-worker just couldn’t wrap her head around the similarities and thought that any religious talk must be Christian in origin.
My ex is from India and her mom is very devout. I've done my fair share of studying Hinduism and the similarities between Hinduism and Catholicism are astounding. Hindus have a god devoted to every single thing possible just like Catholics have Saints. The focus on and importance of rituals and ceremonies is another really big similarity. I can only really compare it to Catholicism because I was raised Catholic but I don't think other Christian sects are as attached to the rituals and ceremonies that have been around for a thousand years. The big difference I noticed is the private practice of Hindus' rituals and whatnot compared to the lack thereof for most Catholics I grew up with or know today. Her mom (and all of her family and friends) has a prayer room in her/their house(s) that you can't even go into unless you just cleaned yourself and aren't wearing shoes. She was always saying things like your coworker too. Just really strong religious faith.
 

SystemShock

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My ex is from India and her mom is very devout. I've done my fair share of studying Hinduism and the similarities between Hinduism and Catholicism are astounding. Hindus have a god devoted to every single thing possible just like Catholics have Saints. The focus on and importance of rituals and ceremonies is another really big similarity. I can only really compare it to Catholicism because I was raised Catholic but I don't think other Christian sects are as attached to the rituals and ceremonies that have been around for a thousand years. The big difference I noticed is the private practice of Hindus' rituals and whatnot compared to the lack thereof for most Catholics I grew up with or know today. Her mom (and all of her family and friends) has a prayer room in her/their house(s) that you can't even go into unless you just cleaned yourself and aren't wearing shoes. She was always saying things like your coworker too. Just really strong religious faith.

They also have a much earlier version of Jesus :hihi:
 

insidejob

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They also have a much earlier version of Jesus :hihi:
I know! Like 5000+ recorded years earlier! Quite a few religious scholars also believe that Jesus spent like 20 years in Asia studying Hinduism, Buddhism, I'd assume Sikhism (if it was around back then too) and that's why there is a huge gap about his life in the Bible. One of the books I read says there are ancient scrolls found in Nepal that were written by Buddhist monks that talk about the years that "Saint Issa" - which translates to Jesus - spent mastering Buddhism with them after having spent a long time in India studying mysticism before returning home having apparently learned that love was the answer and message he was going to spread, believing that people were too hung up on the rituals, rules and ceremonies of religion.
 

zztop

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I'm surprised it's never been struck down by the SC. It was added during the red scare to show those atheist communist.

This topic got me curious about the pledge of allegiance, and the "under god" portion. I discovered that it was only added in 1954, for the previous 50+ years that the pledge existed, there was no mention of god.

Also, it seems like something shifted in the last few decades. Because I have seen interviews of JFK being adamant he would adhere to separation of church and state. I think back then a lot of people were leery of electing a catholic and what he'd do once in office. Fast forward to now, and not many express those types of concerns and you see laws being passed in places like Arkansas, that, for example, give doctors an excuse not to perform certain procedures if it conflicted with their religious beliefs
 

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