John F. Kennedy, Sarah Palin, And Separation Of Church And State

In her new book, Sarah Palin puts forward a view of the role of religion in politics that is in direct contrast with America's own traditions.

Kathleeen Kennedy Townsend, the former Governor Lieutenant Governor of Maryland and niece of the 35th President takes on Sarah Palin’s recent attacks on her uncle’s 1960 remarks about the role of religion in politics:

In her new book, “America by Heart,” Palin objects to my uncle’s famous 1960 speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, in which he challenged the ministers – and the country – to judge him, a Catholic presidential candidate, by his views rather than his faith. “Contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic candidate for president,” Kennedy said. “I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president who happens also to be a Catholic.”

Palin writes that when she was growing up, she was taught that Kennedy’s speech had “succeeded in the best possible way: It reconciled public service and religion without compromising either.” Now, however, she says she has revisited the speech and changed her mind. She finds it “defensive . . . in tone and content” and is upset that Kennedy, rather than presenting a reconciliation of his private faith and his public role, had instead offered an “unequivocal divorce of the two.”

Palin’s argument seems to challenge a great American tradition, enshrined in the Constitution, stipulating that there be no religious test for public office. A careful reading of her book leads me to conclude that Palin wishes for precisely such a test. And she seems to think that she, and those who think like her, are qualified to judge who would pass and who would not.

If there is no religious test, then there is no need for a candidate’s religious affiliation to be “reconciled.” My uncle urged that religion be private, removed from politics, because he feared that making faith an arena for public contention would lead American politics into ill-disguised religious warfare, with candidates tempted to use faith to manipulate voters and demean their opponents.

Kennedy cited Thomas Jefferson to argue that, as part of the American tradition, it was essential to keep any semblance of a religious test out of the political realm. Best to judge candidates on their public records, their positions on war and peace, jobs, poverty, and health care. No one, Kennedy pointed out, asked those who died at the Alamo which church they belonged to…

The most important thing to note here, I think, is the fact that Palin completely misunderstands the purpose behind Kennedy’s 1960 speech. Kennedy wasn’t running away from the Catholic Church, he was seeking to reassure voters that his Catholic faith wouldn’t mean that the Pope would be running America from the Vatican. It may sound like a strange view today, but it was a not-uncommon view of Catholics at that time and, back in 1928, it was one of the primary reasons that New York Governor Al Smith’s campaign for the Presidency was an utter electoral disaster.  Suspicion of the Catholic Church was still widespread among Protestants even as recently as 1960, and that’s what Kennedy was addressing in his speech. Palin either doesn’t know that, or she simply chooses to ignore it in order to make a point that advances her own religious/political agenda.

Townsend points out that Palin contrasts Kennedy’s 1960 speech with the speech that Mitt Romney made in December 2007 when he was being subjected to questions about his Mormon faith. The problem is that Romeny’s speech presented a far different vision of the proper role of religion in politics than Kennedy’s did:

Romney has already declared war on secular America. In December 2007, you may recall, he delivered a speech in which he defended his Mormon religion at a time when he was under assault from evangelical Christians. It was, in many respects, a sensible plea for religious tolerance.

Except that Romney called for tolerance only among believers, explicitly omitting non-believers. “Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me,” Romney said. “And so it is for hundreds of millions of our countrymen: we do not insist on a single strain of religion – rather, we welcome our nation’s symphony of faith.”

As New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote the next day, “Romney described a community yesterday. Observant Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Jews and Muslims are inside that community. The nonobservant are not. There was not even a perfunctory sentence showing respect for the nonreligious.” Brooks – a conservative, though a secular one – warned that Romney was calling for “a culture war without end”.

Townsend points out the serious contrast between Kennedy’s vision and Romney/Palin’s:

Palin praises Romney for delivering a “thoughtful speech that eloquently and correctly described the role of faith in American public life.” But if there should be no religious test in politics, then why should a candidate feel compelled to respond to misplaced questions about his belief in Jesus?

When George Romney, Mitt Romney’s father, was a presidential candidate in 1968, he felt no such compulsion. Respect for the Constitution and the founders’ belief in the separation of church and state suggests that those kinds of questions should not play a role in political campaigns.

Palin contends that Kennedy sought to “run away from religion.” The truth is that my uncle knew quite well that what made America so special was its revolutionary assertion of freedom of religion. No nation on Earth had ever framed in law that faith should be of no interest to government officials. For centuries, European authorities had murdered and tortured those whose religious beliefs differed from their own.

To demand that citizens display their religious beliefs attacks the very foundation of our nation and undermines the precise reason that America is exceptional.

Palin’s book makes clear just how dangerous her proposed path can be. Not only does she want people to reveal their beliefs, but she wants to sit in judgment of them if their views don’t match her own. For instance, she criticizes Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), a Democrat and a faithful Catholic, for “talking the (God) talk but not walking the walk.”

Who is Palin to say what God’s “walk” is? Who anointed her our grand inquisitor?

It seems to me that that is a question that could apply to anyone. It strikes me as wholly inappropriate for anyone, be it Sarah Palin or anyone else to sit in judgment of other people’s religious beliefs. In fact, that’s exactly what the whole idea of “separation of church and state” was designed to prevent.

Palin and those like her like to repeat some variation on the phrase that “America is a Christian nation.” In reality, the Founders were in fact more influenced by the writings of men like John Locke and Algernon Sidney than they were by anything in the Bible. Jefferson’s most famous phrase “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” came from Locke’s “Life, Liberty, and Property,” for instance. More importantly, at the time of the American Revolution, the natural rights tradition that the Founders relied upon owed more to the Greeks than it did to Christianity or theology:

In reality, neither Jewish nor Christian traditions know anything of the ideas of natural rights and social contract found in Hobbes, Gassendi and Locke. That’s because those ideas were inspired by themes found in non-Christian Greek and Roman philosophy. Ideas of the social contract were anticipated in the fourth and fifth centuries BC by the sophists Glaucon and Lycophron, according to Plato and Aristotle, and by Epicurus, who banished divine activity from a universe explained by natural forces and taught that justice is an agreement among people neither to harm nor be harmed. The idea that all human beings are equal by nature also comes from the Greek sophists and was planted by the Roman jurist Ulpian in Roman law: “quod ad ius naturale attinet, omnes homines aequales sunt” — according to the law of nature, all human beings are equal.

Moreover, the Founders own religious beliefs are far less orthodox that religious conservatives would like to believe. Jefferson, for example, was a Diest who believed in a Creator who played absolutely no role in the affairs of the world, and considered much of the New Testament to be mere superstitions, which is the reason he created his own version of the teachings of Jesus which completely deleted any reference to his being of Divine origin.

And Jefferson wasn’t alone. John Adams signed a treaty with the pirates of Tripoli that contains this famous phrase:

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 [Muslims]; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] 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.

And, Adams and Jefferson weren’t alone:

[H]ow about the tenth president, John Tyler, in an 1843 letter: “The United States have adventured upon a great and noble experiment, which is believed to have been hazarded in the absence of all previous precedent — that of total separation of Church and State. No religious establishment by law exists among us. The conscience is left free from all restraint and each is permitted to worship his Maker after his own judgment. The offices of the Government are open alike to all. No tithes are levied to support an established Hierarchy, nor is the fallible judgment of man set up as the sure and infallible creed of faith. The Mohammedan, if he will to come among us would have the privilege guaranteed to him by the constitution to worship according to the Koran; and the East Indian might erect a shrine to Brahma, if it so pleased him. Such is the spirit of toleration inculcated by our political Institutions.”

Was Tyler too minor a president to be considered an authority on whether the U.S. is a Christian republic or not? Here’s George Washington in a letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island in 1790: “The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy — a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support … May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants — while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

What this history makes clear is this; while the Founders were religious men in keeping with the customs of their times, there is simply no evidence to suggest that they intended to create a nation whose government played any role at all in the religious lives of its citizens.

The vision that Palin presents in her book is not only in contrast to what America’s first Catholic President had to say about the role of religion in public life, but it is also in sharp contrast to the Founders themselves, as Townsend notes in her closing paragraphs:

Palin fails to understand the genius of our nation. The United States is one of the most vibrant religious countries on Earth precisely because of its religious freedom. When power and faith are entwined, faith loses. Power tends to obfuscate, corrupt and focus on temporal rather than eternal purposes.

Somehow Palin misses this. Perhaps she didn’t read the full Houston speech; she certainly doesn’t know it by heart. Or she may be appealing to a religious right that really seeks secular power. I don’t know.

I am certain, however, that no American political leader should cavalierly – or out of political calculation – dismiss the hard-won ideal of religious freedom that is among our country’s greatest gifts to the world. As John F. Kennedy said in Houston, that is the “kind of America I believe in.”

But, apparently, not the kind of America Sarah Palin believes in.

Addendum: Since it’s worth watching here’s the full video and text of Kennedy’s 1960 speech:

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Politicians, Religion, Sarah Palin, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Melissa says:

    Did you read the book, Doug? Or are you going strictly off the quotes of the Kennedy clan? Palin certainly addresses the historical context. You should read the passage in question to see if you come to the same conclusion. It was clear to me that she was choosing the Romney view of church and state delineation over the Kennedy view.

  2. Melissa,

    It was clear to me that she was choosing the Romney view of church and state delineation over the Kennedy view.

    And that is precisely the problem.

  3. Jay Tea says:

    Shorter Doug: No, he hasn’t. He’s willing to outsource his thinking when it comes to Palin.

    There’s an awful lot of that among Palin critics…

    J.

  4. So I’m required to read every nonsense book that comes out?

    Townsend’s synopsis is pretty much the same thing Palin has been saying for two years now I don’t need to spend $ 29.95 at Amazon and read it again.

    Besides if it’s Romney/Palin on one side and JFK on the other on this issue, then I’m fine being a “critic”

  5. ponce says:

    Palin’s latest book is a bomb, currently skulking at #26 on Amazon’s bestseller list.

    Why should anyone care what this ditz said in it?

  6. floyd says:

    Long article, no insght.

  7. Tano says:

    Doug,

    A minor correction…
    Kathleeen Kennedy Townsend never made it to be Governor of MD. She was Lt. Gov. for 8 years, then lost her bid for the top job.

  8. Tano says:

    Basically Doug, this is a very well argued and well written post. I agree with your points completely.

  9. just me says:

    So I’m required to read every nonsense book that comes out?

    Pretty much I think if you are going to comment on or criticize a book, then yes you should read it first.

    That said discussing the actual position on the role of religion in politics is a legitimate pursuit. Just better I think to use sources you have seen or read than one you haven’t.

  10. Another thing the “America is a Christian nation” never explain is our legal system. One would expect a “Christian” nation to use the biblically derived Civil Law system common throughout most of Europe, rather than the Norse (i.e. pagan) Common Law system.

  11. Eric Florack says:

    She is a political force of nature. She should be taken seriously. She has a tremendous amount of political capital and would be a contender if she chooses to run in 2012.

    In addition, Palin has driven the political debate since President Obama has taken office. She, more than any other Republican, has been a philosophical counter-point to Barack Obama, and really, to the establishment Republicans in Washington, D.C.

    Her book deserves to be read on all these grounds. And anyone who claims to be an intellectual but refuses to engage intellectually by refusing to read her book deserves to be ignored.

    Guess who said that?

    Oh… and they’re correct, BTW

  12. ponce says:

    “She should be taken seriously.”

    Palin lost the…right to be taken seriously the moment she abandoned her post in Alaska.

    Now all she is a a fringe-right entertainer.

    And judging by her lousy book sales, one whose 15 minutes are about up.

  13. Eric.

    The last ghostwritten book by a politician that I read was Profiles In Courage. I don’t have time to waste on political polemics that basically just repeat what I hear on cable news every day.

  14. Jay Tea says:

    So, Doug, the book isn’t important enough to read, but important enough to critique? How’s the work, exactly?

    OK, longer version of Doug: “This is what critics of Sarah Palin say about her book, and here’s a tiny quote that they cite. I can’t be bothered to see if it’s a fair representation, but I’ll just pass it along approvingly.’

    Like I said: outsourcing. Trusting others to do your thinking for you. Taking the word of partisan hacks with a history of deception and political chicanery just because they affirm your prejudices.

    J.

  15. Jay Tea,

    Palin has said exactly the same thing that Townsend summarizes several times over the last two years. If someone is telling me that Townsend lied about what Palin wrote, then I’m gonna have to see some proof of that.

  16. Jay Tea says:

    Here’s an alternate interpretation, Doug, one as informed as yours, but not by a Kennedy:

    JFK’s speech was a tacit endorsement of “public officials should be functional atheists.” They are entitled to their religious beliefs, but must not let them interfere in the least with their public duties. Palin could be saying that we have evolved enough as a society that we can have public officials who not only hold private religious beliefs, but let them — as one of many factors — influence our public actions, even when holding public office. And if the official (or would-be official) is up-front about that when seeking office, that should not be a disqualifying factor in elections.

    It might be disqualifying for some voters, but not automatically for everyone.

    I’m an agnostic, and don’t agree with Palin on a lot of social issues. But she’s not only upfront about her religious beliefs, she has an established record as governor and mayor of NOT using those offices to push those beliefs. They are a factor in her decision-making, but they are not the only factor. I don’t conflate “I’m a Christian” with “I intend to dedicate this nation to Christ.”

    There. A plausible, alternate interpretation of Palin’s words, based on the quotes you cited and no more.

    On the other hand, if you want to outsource your analysis to Ms. Kennedy Townsend, that’s certainly your business. I can’t imagine anyone with her astonishing pedigree ever acting dishonestly or in a politically-biased fashion.

    J.

  17. PD Shaw says:

    Wow, John Tyler was a Founder? Would a Whig’s view of the Founder’s intent be equally relevant here?

    The Founders believed in separation of church and state? How many of them helped draft laws and constitutions that established a state church?

    And the religious “test” Palin is accused of making here is that that Lincoln held to:

    “I do not think I could myself, be brought to support a man for office, whom I knew to be an open enemy of, and scoffer at, religion. Leaving the higher matter of eternal consequences, between him and his Maker, I still do not think any man has the right thus to insult the feelings, and injure the morals, or the community in which he may live.” (A. Lincoln 1846)

  18. michael reynolds says:

    Nice job, Doug.

    But of course you’re wasting your time reasoning with Palinites. The more you reason, the more you rely on facts and evidence, the more you reveal yourself as a Palin enemy.

    I’d say facts don’t matter to these people, but they do matter insofar as their use is an identifier for their enemies.

  19. Jay Tea says:

    Oh, Michael, you wound me.

    Oh, wait, my bad. My criticism was based on how Doug didn’t actually rely on actual facts and evidence, but simply parroted the words of Ms. Kennedy Townsend.

    Unless, of course, the “facts and evidence” you were referring to was “a Kennedy doesn’t like Palin.” In which case, I have no choice but to respond with an overwhelming “well, duh.”

    J.

  20. PD Shaw says:

    michael, historically there was a word for people who did not want personal values entered into the realm of political discourse . . . slaveowners.

  21. PD,

    Your comment makes two assumptions. First, that only people who are religious have moral values. Second, that people who are religious have moral values.

    The first is simply untrue

    The fact that those slaveowners you talked about were in fact religious in nearly all cases pretty much disproves the second hypothesis.

  22. PD Shaw says:

    Not true, Doug.

    I do not believe only religious people have moral values. I believe most people cannot discuss moral values without reference to religion or their views on religion. To artificially create a construct of discussion in which religious affiliation is a private matter is to take evidence off the table. To mislabel that a religious test reflects Townsends’ discomfort with discussing values.

  23. michael reynolds says:

    PD:

    Sorry, bad history here:

    michael, historically there was a word for people who did not want personal values entered into the realm of political discourse . . . slaveowners.

    On the contrary, slaveowners in the American South were closely allied to Christian denominations that supplied the with all sorts of moral support for slavery. Many slave-owners imagined they were doing the negro a favor, bringing the poor not-quite-humans closer to civilization.

    They thought they were obeying God’s will. They were in no way indifferent to morality, just to morality that differed with theirs.

    Most evil-doers have found moral rationales for what they were doing, whether religious or secular. The number of people who do evil and believe themselves to be doing evil is far smaller than the number who believe they are doing what is good and right. Faith — religious and secular — is often very deadly. Savonarola was quite convinced he was doing the Lord’s work.

  24. Michael,

    Not to mention the fact that the Bible itself never condemns slavery as immoral or forbidden

  25. michael reynolds says:

    The home of Christianity — Europe — is also one of the most historically war-torn, bloodiest places on earth. We literally could not begin to count the skirmishes, battles, slaughters, wars, civil wars and genocides carried out in Europe. And in every case “God” was appealed to by both sides.

  26. michael reynolds says:

    Doug:

    Even goes so far as to suggest some workplace rules for slaves. Which were at least less vicious and pitiless than the biblical rules governing wives.

  27. Jay Tea says:

    Mr. Reynolds, I’m no expert on Christianity, but it’s my understanding that its “home” — as in “place of birth” — is a wee bit south and east of Europe.

    But I’ll agree with you about the bloody history of Christianity’s birthplace.

    J.

  28. It seems to me that the issue is not whether Doug read the book or not, as he is not offering a review of the book. This issue would be whether what is in the post is accurate or not.

    Do those who think he should have read the book have an example of where he is in error?

    Just pointing to the issue of whether he has read the book is a deflection, at best. It is hardly an actual counter-argument of any kind.

  29. michael reynolds says:

    Jay:

    Again, bad history. Jesus — if he existed — was born in the Middle East. But Christianity was created by Paul in various outposts of the Roman Empire and Rome itself while Israel remained Jewish under pagan (Roman) domination.

    Christians held partial sway in the land of Israel from arguably the 4th century until the Muslim conquest in the mid 7th. By contrast Christianity was the dominant religion in Europe from the 4th century (again, necessarily sketchy dates since history refuses to obey timetables) until the present.

    Europe is the home of Christianity, Israel is just the birthplace of its founder.

  30. Jay Tea says:

    I went and read the actual section in question (pages 155-159), and Kennedy Townsend’s interpretation of it is disingenuous at best — and Doug’s reliance upon it very ill-advised.

    Palin characterizes Kennedy’s speech as a concession of a de facto “religious test” in and of itself — if someone is willing to acknowledge their faith and that it influences their actions and policies, then they have no business in elected office. Religious beliefs must be walled off from public service — the “functional atheists” notion I cited above.

    What Palin is saying, to me, is that it is just as wrong to impose a “religion-free” test to public service as it is to impose a “religious-only” test. And Kennedy’s speech was a tacit endorsement of the “religion-free” argument.

    At the time, it was pretty much the only viable option he had — the nation wasn’t ready to trust a full-blown Catholic. And, fortunately, the Kennedys who’ve sought public office have been, by and large, very poor Catholics. Witness their stances (and practices) on abortion, divorce, adultery, and a host of other things the Church vehemently disapproves of.

    That’s the real issue — do we want to impose a de facto ban on people who are overly devout from holding public office? That’s what Palin seems to be discussing.

    But then again, I’m just using my own judgment here after going and reading her actual words. I lack the education and intellect to simply place blind faith in Ms. Kennedy Townsend to accurately and impartially interpret those words for me, and to selectively quote the parts that reinforce her position, and omit the fuller context that would only confuse us proles.

    J.

  31. Jay Tea,

    Except for the fact that Palin and Romney impose a different test, and it’s one where the community of shared American values is closed to non-believers or the non-observant. It’s the same attitude that is at the heart of the “Christian nation” fallacy, and it says that only Christians (or if they’re being generous “Judeo-Christians”) can be real Americans.

    That’s the kind of attitude that Kennedy was speaking out against in 1960, because there were many Protestants who believed that Catholics were not “real Christians.” Some of them still do, I suspect. There’s nothing in the speech that requires the “functional atheism” you would refer to. In fact, I would argue that even today American politics encourages politicians to engage in acts of public piety largely as a method of garnering political support. Frankly, who cares, if the President goes to Church, for example ?

    As much as you might not want to see it, the interpretation you gave to Palin’s words isn’t substantively different from what Townsend put forward as her interpretation. The difference is that she argues that there’s something troublesome about political leaders who set themselves up as moral and religious authorities and who attempt to shove their faith down the throat of the public. I agree with her.

  32. Jay Tea says:

    Except for the fact that Palin and Romney impose a different test, and it’s one where the community of shared American values is closed to non-believers or the non-observant.

    I don’t see that. I actually read the section, and there is no “keep out the godless heathens” anywhere. The actual tone is inclusive — “let the devout in” — and not exclusive “only the devout should be allowed in.”

    The difference is that she argues that there’s something troublesome about political leaders who set themselves up as moral and religious authorities and who attempt to shove their faith down the throat of the public. I agree with her.

    Again, I’m not seeing what you see. I’m a devout, born-again agnostic, and I don’t see Palin (or Romney) declaring themselves as “moral and religious authorities” or trying to “shove their faith down the throat of the public.” (Perhaps you ought to look at the current First Lady’s policies towards childhood nutrition for a really good example — they’re currently trying to regulate what foods can be sold at school bake sales for being insufficiently “healthy.) I see them as acknowledging their beliefs, stating that they are guided by them, but wholeheartedly NOT trying to pronounce their faith as supreme and trying to impose it on anyone.

    Is that how it works? If someone expresses a religious belief, then they are automatically trying to evangelize? If they say they hold a certain faith, then they want to compel all others to do the same? If someone says that their faith is important to them, then it is the only factor that enters into any and all issues?

    That hasn’t been my experience. And it certainly doesn’t jibe with anything Palin or Romney have ever said or done publicly. Take into account that both have been very popular governors, and that means they’ve had ample opportunity to do so — and haven’t.

    Doug, you’re criticizing them over things they have never done, and never said they wanted to do. You’re forcing them into your stereotype of what you think a devout Christian (or Mormon) should be, and punishing them for not living down to your stereotype.

    That ain’t right, that ain’t fair, and it ain’t American. “No religious tests” means just that — no excluding someone just because of their faith, or lack thereof. I find your de facto demand that all public officials be “functioning atheists” utterly unacceptable.

    J.

  33. michael reynolds says:

    Jay:

    It has nothing to do with “functional atheism.” It has to do with functional Constitutionality. The President doesn’t swear to uphold the Bible, he swears to uphold the Constitution.

    The Bible comes down in favor of slavery, capital punishment for dietary and marital crimes, and for a parent’s right to execute their own children. Now you may say that’s not your interpretation, but the point is that people have interpreted the Bible in a number of bizarre ways down through history, and are free to go right on doing so.

    Doesn’t matter for the POTUS, because the POTUS obeys the Constitution. The Constitution (as interpreted in our system) takes a rather dim view of capital punishment for mixing dairy and beef. The POTUS is free to believe the Biblical version, but he must, while in office, obey the Constitution.

    The point JFK was making was that he didn’t take his marching orders from the Pope, he took them from the Constitution. That really shouldn’t be controversial — unless of course you’re a bimbo half-term governor of state with the population smaller than Cleveland who is trying to appeal to imbeciles — in which case then it’s controversial because controversy sells books. Er, garners votes. For Bristol Palin’s dance routine. Whatever..

    If Palin and her supporters had any sense they’d realize that separation of church and state protects religion more than it protects the state. It’s one of the reasons we remain far more religious than the vast majority of Christian countries — because we have not intermingled government and religion. When you intermingle the two, people’s natural distrust of State rubs off on Church. The smart move — as the Founders understood — was to keep the two estates separate.

    Once again demonstrating the vast, vast gap in wisdom and experience between the Founders and the latest Fox News talking head.

  34. Jay Tea says:

    Here, let’s just look at the actual section. Here are two key paragraphs from Palin’s book.

    But what was it, exactly, that JFK did? As an adult I’ve revisited Kennedy’s famous speech and have discovered that it is actually quite different from the way it is often described. Instead of reconciling his religious identity with his role in public life, Kennedy entirely separated the two. “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute,” he said unequivocally. In the best American tradition, he nobly defended religious tolerance and condemned official governmental preference of any faith over any other. But his language was more defensive than is portrayed today, in tone and content. Instead of telling the country how his faith had enriched him, he dismissed it as a private matter meaningful only to him. And rather than spelling out how faith groups had provided life-changing services and education to millions of Americans, he repeatedly objected to any government assistance to religious schools.
    In fairness, Kennedy was speaking at a different time. His repeated assertions that he would heed no “instruction on public policy from the Pope” may very well have been politically necessary in an America that had had only one previous (and unsuccessful) Catholic nominee for president, New York governor Al Smith. Still, his vaunted speech didn’t represent a successful reconciliation of faith and public office, but an articulate and unequivocal divorce of the two. It is perhaps not surprising, in light of this fact, that his brother Ted Kennedy would go on to have a long career advocating positions directly at odds with his Catholic faith (which was by all accounts sincere).

    She’s a hell of a lot kinder to the Kennedys that I would be, but I don’t see the big problem with what she said.

    I’d quote more, but there are issues of copyright and fair use that I don’t want to get within a mile of — especially on someone else’s site.

    J.

  35. michael reynolds says:

    I don’t see that. I actually read the section, and there is no “keep out the godless heathens” anywhere. The actual tone is inclusive — “let the devout in” — and not exclusive “only the devout should be allowed in.”

    “All white people are welcome to attend the picnic.”

    Hey, it doesn’t say no black people. It’s just inclusive, welcoming the white people.

    Now you’re just being ridiculous.

  36. PD Shaw says:

    Based upon what Jay Tea says, I think Palin is right (though I can’t imagine a universe in which I would vote for her unless she’s running against Townsend).

  37. Jay Tea says:

    Mr. Reynolds, kiss my agnostic ass.

    You’re seeing it as black and white — one is either utterly dominated by one’s faith, or utterly able to set it aside while in public office. There’s a huge middle ground — when people of good faith and good character can reconcile the two without turning into raging theocrats.

    News flash, Mr. Reynolds: the Constitution is NOT hostile to religion. It is entirely possible to believe fully in both Constitution and God. And might I remind you that the Constitution originally explicitly endorsed slavery and explicitly sanctions capital punishment? Further, the franchise was strictly limited to white male landowners.

    Not all Christians are stealth theocrats. Get over your phobia.

    J.

  38. Jay Tea,

    Read Romney’s speech, which Palin explicitly endorses. He envisions an America of only observant religious people. In his America, there is no room for atheists, agnostics, or people who quite frankly just want to sleep in on Sunday morning.

    Given the choice between the two, I will go with JFK

  39. mannning says:

    Seems to me the point of view being expressed by Doug is that of an atheist or secularist (or both) trying to interpret the Christian mindset, and to extend the idea of the First Amendment from its real purpose to that of total separation of church and state. To buttress this concept, he employs various statements in correspondence from members of the Convention that use the phrase- Separation..etc,- but which have absolutely no legal standing from a Constitutional point of view–none! A few of the members had such an idea, but they did not prevail in the end, and signed the Constitution without modification along the lines of explicit separation, and ditto for the First Amendment. So the legal case for total separation of church and state is not only erroneous, it is contrary to the intent of the Constitution.

    Furthermore, in performing our duty to make informed decisions as to who should be elected to offices on the nation, one of the judgemental factors is indeed the religion of the candidates, since that is one measure of a man’s moral character, virtues, and mindset.
    To ignore that aspect of the use of religion is completely contrary to the intent if the election process. Lacking the use of such a measure of the moral worth of a candidate, we will very likely get what we deserve in offices.

  40. Jay Tea says:

    PD, don’t take my word for it. Go and read it yourself. (No, you don’t have to buy the book — just browse it at your local store. The section starts on page 156.)

    Ms. Kennedy Townsend is hardly an unbiased source in this, and you shouldn’t just blindly trust me, either.

    J.

  41. PD Shaw says:

    michael, the value of separating church and state took off in the 19th century among the party of Jefferson, which was largely composed of low-church Protestants and slave-holder elites. For national power, the Democrats required support from states like New York. The idea of “Separation” did not exist at the founding, it was an ideology that took root in the seed bed of necessity for forming a national coalition in which the slave power could hold the whip hand. And at the grass roots, it was not anti-Christian or hostile to Christianity, it helped frame an opposition to values outside the community.

    The Whig Party embraced high church Protestants and certain strains of Christian evangelicalism, from which the politics of anti-slavery was formed (as well as public education, temperance). “Seperation” was an anethema, though disestablishment, which is what the First Amendment is about, was supported since it freed religious speech.

    In short, the wall of seperation was used to defend slavery, no less than state’s rights.

  42. michael reynolds says:

    PD:

    You’re arguing half the evidence and carefully excluding the rest. Slaveowners attended church. And churches supported slaveowners and slaveholders. Those facts alone disprove your initial thesis. Now you’re throwing a lot of dust in the air trying to distract from the fact that your initial remark is factually, historically, absurd.

  43. Jay Tea says:

    Doug, I just went and read the text of Romney’s speech. And I don’t see anything scary about it.

    But that’s because I know a bit more about Romney, and know the full context. He had NEVER made his faith an element of his public service, but that didn’t keep his detractors from trying to make it an issue. For the first time in years of public service, he actually talked about it.

    Never before had he ever even hinted that he wanted to impose his Mormon faith from the governor’s office, or the Oval Office.

    What I took away from that was that, in the name of “tolerance,” an attitude of intolerance towards the faithful had been imposed upon the electorate. They had to deny or suppress their faith if they wanted to hold public office.

    There, I went and read Romney’s speech. Will you do the same and read the four pages from Palin’s book for yourself now, or will you continue to outsource your judgment?

    J.

  44. mannning says:

    I should add that using religious affiliation as a shortcut credential for assessinhg moral worth presents the non-religious candidate with the necessity for spending a lot of time, energy and words to assure the public of his moral convictions, despite his lack of a religious credential. Perhaps this is why till now we haven’t had an avowed atheist as President, especially since 85% of the public do have such a credential, and ecpect to use that device in every future election to aid the evaluation of candidates.

  45. michael reynolds says:

    News flash, Mr. Reynolds: the Constitution is NOT hostile to religion. It is entirely possible to believe fully in both Constitution and God.

    Where did I say different?

    You’re arguing against a strawman and getting yourself worked up in the process. The result is just babble. You don’t have the chops to make this debate interesting.

  46. PD Shaw says:

    michael, I don’t think you know what my thesis is. It is not that all Christians opposed slavery. That would be as silly as thinking that the founders united behind separation of church and state.

    My thesis is that removing religion from the realm of public discourse is the slave power argument in the antebellum era. This is because opposition to slavery arose from a religious point of view and carried it’s way though a political ideology that thought religious views had merit.

  47. ponce says:

    “This is because opposition to slavery arose from a religious point of view”

    Well, with all due respect to the god botherers, blacks were kinda against slavery before they were.

  48. PD Shaw says:

    Jay: I don’t know how long you’ve read here, but if you want to understand Doug’s p.o.v., you would might sample one of his other posts:

    “Christine O’Donnell: Creationist

    For some reason, the Republican Party continues to attract people who believe in fairy tales rather than science.”

    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/christine-odonnell-creationist/

    IOW, people’s religious views are some times an important part of the public discourse.

  49. Yes PD you caught me.

    I don’t believe pseudo-science based on a creation myth should be taught in a science classroom.

  50. Jay Tea says:

    Thanks, PD, but I’m familiar with Doug’s POV — all I have to do is take Charles Johnson, add in writing talent, and subtract musical ability.

    My concern is zealots. I am deeply troubled by the thought of zealots of any denomination getting into power. I just don’t see either Palin or Romney (especially Romney — the guy’s a technocrat!) as zealots.

    Both were successful and popular governors, as well as having very public careers prior. Both had ample opportunities to engage in their zealotry, and haven’t.

    As far as the creationist BS… I believe that people have the right to believe whatever the hell they want in private. Creationism, evolution, FSM, The Great Green Arkleseizure — whatever. I care about what they DO.

    Palin and Romney have never done anything that could be construed as zealotry from public office, and that’s what counts to me.

    J.

  51. sam says:

    @Manning

    “Perhaps this is why till now we haven’t had an avowed atheist as President,”

    Poor wording, I think — you’re not asserting that Obama is an avowed atheist, right?

  52. michael reynolds says:

    PD:

    Your initial statement was:

    michael, historically there was a word for people who did not want personal values entered into the realm of political discourse . . . slaveowners.

    This is refuted in toto by the fact that most slaveowners were devout and that they supported those churches which offered moral support for their pro-slavery stand. And that they regularly and consistently cited the bible’s pro-slavery position to support their own.

    As to your later attempt to re-interpret your initial careless statement, the Whigs never took a united stand against slavery, and never called for slavery to be ended, they took a stand against the spread of slavery into new territories. The Republicans took that same stand. In fact Lincoln’s Republicans initially rejected abolition as did the Whig Party.

    As to your implication that the CSA was against involving religion/morality in its politics:

    Preamble of the US Constitution:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    Preamble of the Confederate constitution:

    We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity — invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God — do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America.

    Interesting that much of the CSA con quotes the US con — except in this explicit invocation of God.

  53. michael reynolds says:

    Oh, and this:

    “[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God…it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation…it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts.” Jefferson Davis, President, Confederate States of America.

    Hmmm.

  54. sam says:

    @Manning

    “So the legal case for total separation of church and state is not only erroneous, it is contrary to the intent of the Constitution.”

    Well, without getting into the constitutional weeds, I’ve never yet got a clear answer from someone who thinks the doctrine of the separation of church and state is bogus as to just what is involved in the nonseparation of church and state. Let’s assume, arguendo, that the DSCS (for short) is bogus, what does this mean? Does it mean that tax dollars can be used to directly support churches? Does is mean that certain religions can have a favored status in the state vis-a-vis others? Favored as to which churches get those tax dollars and which don’t? Which churches get to display their symbols in public and which don’t? Does it mean that a state can recognize marriages only with a certain religious traditions as valid?

    What is involved in saying the DSCS is bogus? What is involved in the nonseparation of church and state? Can someone tell me?

  55. Jay Tea says:

    Interesting, Michael, but not surprising. The Confederacy believed in the Constitution, and believed that it included the right to secede. They argued that they were the rightful heirs of the Founding Fathers (who were also largely slaveowners), and by adding in God, they hoped to add moral reinforcement to their position.

    Understandable. Wrong, but plausible and understandable.

    Don’t see the point of bringing it up in this context, but it’s interesting.

    J.

  56. Dan says:

    As much as many prognosticators and so-called experts are saying President Obama is going to have a tough time getting re-elected, the reality of the situation is that President Obama will get re-elected against almost any potential GOP challenger.

    However, one candidate cannot be over-looked. If we learned anything from 2008, we should’ve learned that organization and social media skills are paramount to a campaign. No one is actually going to “come out of nowhere”. To become the most powerful person in the world, you have to build quite an organization. That’s why only one person has a chance to beat President Obama in 2012.

    This will make it all clear:
    http://mittromneycentral.com/2010/05/07/no-apology-song-the-case-for-american-greatness/

  57. anjin-san says:

    > the religion of the candidates, since that is one measure of a man’s moral character, virtues, and mindset.

    Not really. Their actions are the measure of a man’s (or woman’s) moral character. For example, when the Rev. Jesse Jackson was “counseling ” then President Clinton about his marital problems, he had his mistress parked in a White House waiting room. Not very moral. Similar examples on both left and right abound. The more noise one makes about how Godly they are, the less credible they are in my eyes…

  58. sam says:

    Dan says:
    Sunday, December 5, 2010 at 19:22

    ….

    GTF out and quit spamming sites. You posted exactly the same thing on Volokh in the comments to a piece on IP (http://volokh.com/2010/12/04/valuing-intellectual-property-an-experiment/#comments).

    Can we ban this Romtroll?

  59. ponce says:

    “Can we ban this Romtroll?”

    Romney supporters are infinity more pleasant to have around than the Palin cultists.

    I vote to keep the spammer.

  60. ponce says:

    “the religion of the candidates, since that is one measure of a man’s”…hypocrisy.

  61. steve says:

    “Both were successful and popular governors, as well as having very public careers prior.”

    Nope, only Romney was. Palin left when oil prices dropped. My son could function as governor of Alaska with oil at $140.

    At any rate, shouldn’t we assume that Palin makes frequent references to her faith for some reason? She is a politician, so there must be some political reason for doing so. If it is just a matter of bonding with her base, I am not that concerned, but I was brought up in a very strict evangelical culture. I think that at some point, they want some quid pro quo for their support. That seems likely to come in the form of creationism in the classrooms, abortion repealed and prayer back in schools. Having gotten that far, will they stop there? Look around the world now, or anytime in history, and try to convince yourself that the direct mix of religion with politics has bee been positive. I think that there is plenty of evidence that faith is a positive outside of politics, just not in it.

    Steve

  62. PD Shaw says:

    michael, one of the reasons I adopted the (Mike Mignola) Lincoln head as my avatar was to signal a bit of singularity to my thought process. That is, WWLD? So when I refer to history, I am thinking antebellum history, not pre-history. I don’t believe any serious scholar that studies that era believes that the anti-slavery movement is anything but a religious based movement which was accepted into the political discourse by a political party that rejected separation of church and state. For reference, I cite “What Hath God Wrought — The Transformation of America, 1815-1848” by Daniel Walker Howe.

    It’s not that religious defenses of slavery did not exist, but in a country where the slave power controlled the federal mails to prevent the transmission of what were perceived to be anti-slavery tracts and petitions against slavery were shouted down in Congress, the whole artifice was based upon a conspiracy of silencing the discussion.

  63. PD Shaw says:

    sam: The Constitution prohibits the federal government from establishing a church. Most of the states had established churches, supported either by taxation or attendance mandates. It was clear that the federal government could not do that.

    Disestablishment of state churches occurred by virtue of politics. More democratic representation meant that a good way of courting minority church members was to advocate that states disestablish. Tax avoidance is always popular too.

    Disestablishment is generally associated with the Second Great Awakening, it made religion more intimate and more open to discussion once it was untethered to politics and government. And then it became so passionate and powerful that politics had to respond to it.

    The Fourteenth Amendment ended the disparate treatment btw/ state and federal government.

    “Does it mean that tax dollars can be used to directly support churches?”

    No, but the government can give money to churches to further non-religious purposes.

    “Does is mean that certain religions can have a favored status in the state vis-a-vis others?Favored as to which churches get those tax dollars and which don’t?”

    No, sounds like a religious purpose.

    “Which churches get to display their symbols in public and which don’t?”

    No, but this starts to get to a problem. We have not lived in a separation of church and state country, which means there are religious symbols on public buildings older than your or me. This is what drives me insane about the “separation” nonsense. Go to a public building of any importance from a hundred years ago, it’s got religious symbols all over it. How can anybody with a straight face make an historical argument for separation?

    “Does it mean that a state can recognize marriages only with a certain religious traditions as valid?”

    More difficult. In Christianity, a marriage was a contract between a man and a woman and the church. In our civil society, a marriage is a three-way contract between a man and a woman and the state. Civil religions are not supposed to be religious, though they evolved from the same concept.

  64. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Jay Tea, you are my hero. A real blogger with real information brought into the lefty wasteland.

  65. michael reynolds says:

    PD:

    First, I admire the avatar, and your use of it. I should mention that my pen name is “Michael Grant,” and that I used Grant in recognition of Ulysses — a great general, a great man, a mediocre president, but one who died writing. (I might have used Lincoln but I admire him so much as a writer that it would have felt like I was calling myself Shakespeare.)

    I don’t believe any serious scholar that studies that era believes that the anti-slavery movement is anything but a religious based movement which was accepted into the political discourse by a political party that rejected separation of church and state.

    I don’t think we’re terribly far apart in reality. I think your first remark to me was flippant and now it’s difficult to defend. Having made roughly ten thousand flippant remarks in my life I don’t hold it against you, or demand further that you defend it. (In the hopes that you will someday let me off the hook for an overly facile remark on my part.)

    I agree that abolition was religious in its origins. And it stands as a testament to the best that is to be found in religion. But I think it’s a stretch to assert that either the Whigs or the infant GOP embraced abolition. Or that the secessionist crowd used the church-state argument as anything but a pretext.

    Having said that, I have a lovely whiskey to consume, so perhaps we could shake hands and move on?

  66. mannning says:

    @ sam, others

    1. Well, I didn’t say that a man’s religious connection was the ONLY measure to be used, but simply A worthwhile measure that is in fact widely used in the US.
    2. I have no real measure of the President’s adherence to any religious precepts. I said “till now”, because I gave him credit for stating his belief in God and Christianity, even when I have considerable doubt as to just how genuine his Christian faith is.
    3. Later decisions of the Supreme Court have in fact introduced a much different interpretation of Establishment that strengthens the wall between church and state. Some 19 states have passed Religious Freedom Laws recently that appear to roll back some of the ACLU victories, however. It is an on-going battle that progressives seem to be winning at the moment. To my consternation, the Madison letter was quoted in one SCOTUS decision paper, which gives it some stature legally, I guess. Not being a lawyer, and not being a Constitutional scholar, I am running with a considerable handicap in this battle, but basically, I am on the side of simple interpretations, such as Establishment in its original interpretation.In any event, the ACLU on this matter is decidedly the enemy, while it is the friend when it comes to Religious Freedom. Go figure.

  67. PD Shaw says:

    Yes, Michael, my first remark was flippant, to the extent it was self-amused and ambiguous. You’ll get my Irish up by suggesting it wasn’t heartfully felt; I do think that removing religion from public discouse was an effective slave power strategy, the implications of which should be given thought. I will also confess religion has been used for much awfulness.

    Grant is my Fifth Cousin, Six Times Removed (not as close as that seems), so anybody who honors him, I respect, unless, of course, they say something crazy.

  68. ponce says:

    “It is an on-going battle that progressives seem to be winning at the moment. ”

    Manning,

    Do you really expect mankind’s belief in primitive superstitions to get stronger as we evolve?

    Only if we find something scary while exploring the cosmos…

  69. anjin-san says:

    > even when I have considerable doubt as to just how genuine his Christian faith is.

    Yea. He may not be a good Christian. Say like Ted Haggard. You know, a God fearing conservative, real American man.

  70. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Ponce, please explain the the image on the Shroud of Turin. You need to be careful to have and use the most up to date information.

  71. ponce says:

    And Bam!

    Zels knocks it out of the park…

  72. anjin-san says:

    > Ponce, please explain the the image on the Shroud of Turin

    I see things far more miraculous that the Shroud of Turin looking out the bedroom window every morning while I enjoy my first cup of coffee. It’s not that miracles are few, it is that they are so abundant that people tend to mistake them for the mundane.

  73. sam says:

    PD, most of the answers you gave flow from the separation doctrine — “no religious purpose”, etc. And I do agree that some of the more zealous advocates of the wall come off as pretty silly, eg, trying to get the cities of Las Cruces, NM and Corpus Christi, TX to change their names. (Silliness, since I cannot imagine many people think of the names of those cities in a religious context). I’ve no problems with creches on public property at Christmas time, nor with menorahs at Hanukkah, nor with whatever the Buddhist symbol would be for the Buddha’s enlightenment day (December 8), nor the Muslim’s symbol for Mohammed’s ascent to heaven (if they have such a symbol) at the appropriate time, and so on.

    To me, those deployments of religious symbols accomplish a secular purpose: They represent an acknowledgement by the wider community of the religious beliefs of members of, what may be, minority communities within larger community. I treat them as gestures of respect, and thus as reinforcing of the bonds of community. Of course, one can imagine the freakout in certain quarters if some of those symbols were deployed. And that’s just the problem we face: the desire of some to have their religious symbols and practices be placed in a position of supremacy over other religious symbols and practices.

    In our society, no religion can occupy such a position of supremacy — we are not Saudi Arabia. The doctrine of the wall is meant to prevent the conflicts that would inevitably arise in our society if one religion is accorded favored status over all the others. To borrow, let a thousand religious flowers bloom, but let no one through state action dominate the others. Unfortunately, this history of mankind and its religions is that one always tries to dominate. There’s no problem if the attempt to dominate is through suasion. There is a severe problem if the machinery of the state is employed to effect the domination. The wall is meant to prevent that.

  74. george says:

    Combining state and church is great, so long as its your church, and you get to decide what is allowed and what isn’t. Not so good otherwise.

  75. sam says:

    This shows, I think, what the wall is meant to forestall (via Mark Kleinman):

    SREC Member: “I got into politics to put Christian conservatives into office.”

    When emails first appeared calling for dumping current Speaker Joe Straus [a Jew] in favor of “Christian conservative” leadership, Straus’ more visible opponents initially dismissed accusations of anti-Jewish/pro-Christian bias. “I’ve never heard any one talk about Mr. Straus’ religion,” said Michael Quinn Sullivan, the head of Empower Texans and a vocal leader of the anti-Straus crowd. “There is no place in the speakership race for discussions of people’s religion or lack thereof.” Shortly afterwards, Straus’ opponents took a new approach, condemning the emails and distancing themselves from the statements. “There is absolutely no place for religious bigotry in the race for Texas Speaker, and I categorically condemn such action,” said state Rep. Ken Paxton, who’s challenging Straus for the position.

    It seemed like things had died down, until I obtained an email exchange Tuesday between two members of the State Republican Executive Committee—Rebecca Williamson and John Cook. After Williamson sent a fact sheet to SREC members defending Straus, Cook responded by dismissing her claims and saying that “We elected a house with Christian, conservative values. We now want a true Christian, conservative running it.”

    Does anybody doubt that folks of possessed of the mindset revealed in that last sentence would use the machinery of the state to further their particular religious interests at the expense of others?

  76. mannning says:

    @ ponce

    I sign up to the bell curve of believers versus non-belivers, which is currently skewed to the left rather mightily, with non-believers way out at the right-hand tail of the distribution. When I consider what is necessary for a person to shift from believer to non-believer, my thought is that they quail at the prospect of being cut off from their religion, and the necessity to think through so many aspects for themselves, which is damn hard work for most people–perhaps too hard to make the change. Most people in America are reasonably comfortable with their religion, and simply do not see any necessity for major changes.

    Most also consider the meddling, shouting, and strange argumentation of atheists to be sinful, offensive, unsettling, unnecessary, and even secditious, unpatriotic.and un-American. They do not see any value whatsoever in making such a change. But, you go ahead and try to sell that idea to middle-class Americans as see what happens. This is not to say that one has no right to be an atheist, but simply to say that it is not generally accepted in this society now, and probably never will be.

    The only way progressives have been successful is by subverting the legal and legislative pocesses over the heads of, and against the will of the common people, by outright bribery of the people with freebees, or by outright lying to the people, none of which tactics I admire.

  77. sam says:

    “The only way progressives have been successful is by subverting the legal and legislative processes over the heads of, and against the will of the common people”

    Nonsense.

  78. ponce says:

    “I sign up to the bell curve of believers versus non-belivers, which is currently skewed to the left rather mightily, with non-believers way out at the right-hand tail of the distribution. ”

    Then why do you believe progressives are winning the battle?

  79. mannning says:

    The majority opposed Obamacare. The majority opposed the Stimulus.. The majority opposes Cap and Trade. Perhaps each and every legislative process of the Obama administration has been disfavored by the majority of the electorate. The list of Obama statements about his care program is turning out not to be true for the bill as passed. That is “over the heads of the common people”, and in the end, against their excpressed will.

    So back at you.

  80. mannning says:

    Add the Dream Act to the list also, where Reid id maneuvering to get it passed while knowing that it is not favored by the public.

  81. Trumwill says:

    It strikes me as wholly inappropriate for anyone, be it Sarah Palin or anyone else to sit in judgment of other people’s religious beliefs.

    So… I shouldn’t sit in judgment of the FLDS? What about the Davidians? How do we excise religion from criticism of Ted Haggard’s hypocrisy? I agree that it’s an area where people should tread cautiously, but that statement strikes me as a bit extreme.

  82. Trumwill says:

    On the subject, a fun fact I ran across the other day: A majority of governors in the United States are either Catholic or Jewish.

  83. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Ponce, I did not think you had the firepower to answer that which I posed. If you think adherence to a religious belief is somehow the equivalent of some ancient superstition, it demonstrates a lack of edification on your part. Sad thing is, Ponce is if I am wrong about what I believe, I lose nothing and have tried to live a principled life. If you are wrong, however, you lose if you are right or wrong.

  84. mannning says:

    @ponce

    For the past 50 or 60 years, there has been a strong SCOTUS contingent that is basically progressive in outlook, and forward in their decisions to expand, subvert, and otherwise mangle the Constitution. Some of it was at the bidding of the ACLU, and some of it was a few very strong justices that decided that activism was the way to go to get things moving in their way, and to hell with public opinion. Liberal justices, then, have been the reason, despite the public’s opinions, and of course, a liberal contingent in the Congress votes things that the justices can validate, again without the majority public opinion affecting anything, It is a matter of timing and constituencies. It will get worse in the next few years.

  85. mantis says:

    A longstanding hatred of the Kennedy family and a constant hard-on for Sarah Palin motivate Jay Tea to enthusiastically join those who would rather see his kind (or at least agnostics, if not nonsensical “devout, born again agnostics”) relegated to second-class citizenship. He doesn’t really care whether you’ve read Palin’s ghostwriter’s book. He only cares that you have agreed with a Kennedy over his current fap fodder. That’s a sin, even if only of the “born again agnostic” variety.

    He pulls out his other obsessions quite effortlessly, and completely out of context, as well: Charles Johnson, who Jay seems to consider the antichrist, and Michelle Obama (who all wingnuts hate because, well….).

    I don’t see Palin (or Romney) declaring themselves as “moral and religious authorities” or trying to “shove their faith down the throat of the public.” (Perhaps you ought to look at the current First Lady’s policies towards childhood nutrition for a really good example — they’re currently trying to regulate what foods can be sold at school bake sales for being insufficiently “healthy.)

    See, when Romney told the nation that America was only for the believers, and any non-believers certainly did not have a friend or ally in him, with which Sarah Palin agrees, Jay does not see moral and religious authorities pushing their faith. However, when the First Lady works to try to make sure public school lunches are healthy, well she’s a religious fundamentalist shoving her faith that not eating crap will keep you from being an unhealthy fatass like Jay. And guess who thinks this is terribly wrong and all children should be taught to be unhealthy fatasses? Jay’s muse, Sarah Palin.

    Let me ask you, Jay, have you read the proposed legislation, or are you just “outsourcing” your thinking to the snowbilly grifter?

  86. sam says:

    @Manning

    “For the past 50 or 60 years, there has been a strong SCOTUS contingent that is basically progressive in outlook, and forward in their decisions to expand, subvert, and otherwise mangle the Constitution.”

    So, Manning, would you please list out the SCOTUS decisions that you find offensive to your view of the Constitution so that we may judge for ourselves the validity of your claim?

    I’d like to get the jump, though, and ask you if, say, Loving v Virginia was a subversion of the Constitution? And if you think it was, please tell us why. Equally important, you think it was not, please tell us why. Can you do that? We’d all appreciate it,

  87. mannning says:

    @ sam
    who elected you chief spokesman?

    Try to understand the pattern of the following decisions, lkargely sponsored or supported by the ACLU in its campaign to drive Christianity out of the publoic square, which is the fundamentl objection I have to them.

    Gitlow vs New York, 1925, is the first one, becuse it introduced the Incorporation Doctrine into jurisprudence, which then was used via the 14th amendment to be able to apply limits to government to the states.as well as the feds.

    Everson vs Board of Education, 1947, provided the foundation for the rigid separation of church and state.

    McCollum vs Board of Education 1948 used the wall of separation concept to rule against the Board

    Engel vs Vitale 1962 knocked out public prayer in NY

    Abington School District vs Schempp( 1963) knocked out just about any religious event in public schools

    Lemon vs Kurtzman, 1971, The Court defined rules for determining whether a violation of the establishment clause had occurred, which thereby expanded the definition of establishment, and thus set up a constitutional doctrine that made religion in the public square problematic.

    Wallace vs Jaffree, 1985, knocked out meditation and voluntary prayer in Alabama, and promoted the idea that the establishment clause should be used to prevent any government endorsement of religion.

    There are about 15 more I could cite covering a lot of other subjects, such as RvW, but these are the beginnings of the secularization push. that is being attacked today by the states.

    I start here with a 1925 decision and it is 2010 now, so that adds up to 85 years of anti-religious decisions, sparked by liberals every time they had chance.

    Look them up, each one..

    .

  88. mannning says:

    On Loving, I have no objection to the court’s actions, You looking for a racial argument? How crass!

  89. matt says:

    So basically Mannning only wants religion running politics when it’s his religion. The thought of sharia law causes his head to explode yet he cannot see that he’s no different then those advocating sharia…

    I can still pray in school if I want I can still pray in public if I want I can still put up a nativity scene I can still wear crosses I can still put crosses up outside my house I can still stand on the corner condemning others for not being the proper christian (happens every week near me complete with blowhorn) I can still do whatever the hell I want as a christian or hell about any religion. So for an “anti-religious war” with so many “victories” they seem to be doing pretty shitty. Just get over the fact that you cannot force non believers to bow their head to your god at public schools anymore…

  90. matt says:

    Gitlow vs New York, 1925 : So you’re upset that the courted ruled that the first admendment applied to states and that states couldn’t discriminate against people.. Instead of seeing this as an affirmation of your protected rights you’re angry because the states aren’t allowed to discriminate against people/religion/thoughts that you don’t agree with… How anti-freedom of you..

    Everson vs Board of Education, 1947 : So you’re upset that people aren’t being paid transportation costs for taking their kids to a private religious school? I thought the free market would make stuff cheaper and all that jazz 😛 Seriously though I wouldn’t say this provided the foundation for a rigid separation of church and state I would say something like Thomas Jefferson’s “wall of separation” and such a couple hundred years earlier to be the foundation of the separation of church and state.

    McCollum vs Board of Education 1948 : Here’s a case you would be cheering on if the time set aside was to instruct your kids in Islam but since it was used for Christianity you’re all about it. Personally I think it would be fine to have some voluntary classes to learn about a variety of religions but that’s a different discussion..

    Engel vs Vitale 1962 : Yes it said that a public school cannot legally force people to recite prayers anymore.

    Abington School District vs Schempp : That ruling invalidated a state law (Pennsylvania) that required “at least ten verses from the holy bible be read, without comment, at the opening of each public school on each school day”. You would be cheering on this ruling if it had been the Koran..

    Lemon vs Kurtzman, 1971 : You probably hate the “lemon test” which came as part of this ruling.

    1. The government’s action must have a secular legislative purpose;
    2. The government’s action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion;
    3. The government’s action must not result in an “excessive government entanglement” with religion.

    I’m guessing you’re most upset with number 2 since it means you cannot get government to advance your religion into everyone’s lives. Religion is expressed daily by millions of people in millions of public squares so I have no idea why you believe that not being to force others to follow your religion suddenly equals OMG I”M BEING DISCRIMINATED AGAINST AND RELIGION IN THE PUBLIC IS UNDER ASSAULT!!!1

    Wallace vs Jaffree, 1985 : On the surface voluntary prayer and meditation sounds like a great idea. The problem is all it takes is a few Mannnings as teachers and suddenly the class is being forced into Christian prayers or non Christians are discriminated against/ridiculed by the class.

    So did you know that “in god we trust” didn’t appear on most money till the 1950s? Yeah you can thank the communist “scare” and the ensuring stupidity for that. Anyone reading your list will quickly realize that you’re upset because the government refuses to enforce adherence to your religion in public areas.

  91. matt says:

    Just for the record I grew up in a very religious and conservative family and even some of them would find your outrage to be misplaced..

    I was a faithful follower capable of rattling off all the books and even quoting out of each of them from memory. I had an epiphany when I realized that yelling out my religion wasn’t required by the bible and that quiet contemplation and internalization was just as real and allowed as the most boisterous and loud service.

    John 4:20-24
    Psalm 51:6

  92. george says:

    “Ponce, please explain the the image on the Shroud of Turin. You need to be careful to have and use the most up to date information.”

    Not sure what that has to do with anything, or what it might prove, except there are a lot of things we can’t explain? If he’s going to be explaining things we’re not sure about, I’d rather he solve the problems in string theory, or maybe something smaller like the riddle of where the mass of a neutrino comes from?

  93. sam says:

    @Manning

    “On Loving, I have no objection to the court’s actions, You looking for a racial argument? How crass!”

    Well, you’re full of it, Manning. I was looking for an account by you as to why Loving</i. was correctly decided, or not, so I could gauge your understanding of the constitutional issues. You didn't provide anything along those lines in that comment.

    And I see from your list of cases that you are in the camp that believes the state has the right, and I guess, the duty, to see that the religious views of one segment of the population is, by force of law, imposed on the rest.

    More fundamentally, the fact that you find the Court's holding in Gitlow, with its implicit curtailment of the state’s power over individuals, distasteful, is evidence to me that your outlook is totalitarian.

  94. Jay Tea says:

    You’re pulling quite the heel turn, mantis… but I ain’t gonna swing back at you. I remember when you were a hell of a lot more rational, and I miss that guy.

    J.

  95. mantis says:

    You’re pulling quite the heel turn, mantis

    Only in response to your inglorious decent from halfway reasonable independent conservative who thinks for himself occasionally to another garden variety, hackish Redstate-style twerp without a shred of decency. My response to that is quite rational, as am I generally.

  96. Jay Tea says:

    I still recall your swan song, mantis… it was when I chose to parrot Obama’s statement to the bankers about how “we’re the only ones standing between you and the pitchforks.” Even when I spelled out the direct and conscious parallels, stating that if you found me alarming, you oughta really be freaked about Obama, you refused to acknowledge my source material and laid it all at my feet.

    (shrug) Best wishes, mantis.

    J.

  97. mantis says:

    Even when I spelled out the direct and conscious parallels

    You mean when you ignored an obvious metaphor to make threats of violence yourself?

    Even when I spelled out the direct and conscious parallels, stating that if you found me alarming, you oughta really be freaked about Obama, you refused to acknowledge my source material and laid it all at my feet.

    I was criticizing you for repeatedly issuing veiled threats of violence, and constantly making Democrats and liberals out to be enemies of the state. Your “conscious parallels” were for the most part completely absurd or outright lies. The ones that weren’t (Sarah Palin effigy, tire-slashing) were tiny in number compared to similar actions on your side. The others were protests where no violence of any kind occurred (and your shining example of pitchforks at a protest happened long, long after Obama made the metaphor), some dumb thing a Democratic politician said (which also had nothing to do with violence), and the Black Panthers in Philly who destroyed America by standing there for a couple of hours.

    The point I made was that your response to overzealous protests and one incident of vandalism is to advocate violent revolution, after you had spent the past several months putting up post after post about how the Democrats and liberals were literally destroying America and taking everyone’s freedom away (what freedoms have you lost, Jay?). And, of course, you’ve just kept it up since.

    Democrats say mean things about Republicans?
    Jay’s response: “the side they’re calling evil is, as a general rule, far better armed and better trained in violence. “

    We get it. If you don’t get your way you’ll start shooting people.

    When a couple of Republicans were mugged in New Orleans, with zero evidence it had anything to do with politics, Jay’s response?

    We aren’t starting this war, assholes. But we are the ones far better equipped to end it.

    Bring it on.

    Whoops, my bad. You already brought it. It’s just on.

    More threats.

    Hell, you endorsed the same sentiment just last week:

    I will note, though, that olsoljer’s comment might carry an implicit threat, but it is true: far more conservatives have guns, and are proficient in their use, than liberals. That should be in the foremost thoughts of liberals who threaten conservatives with violence.

    Of course, you think it should be in the foremost thoughts of liberals in general, just for disagreeing with you in a way you don’t like (or at all), as you have made abundantly clear.

    Then there’s this recent post, where you imply that Obama intends to confiscate guns, despite the fact that there is absolutely zero evidence of anything of the kind (and plenty of evidence the other way), you claim Obama doesn’t recognize the individual right to bear arms even though he has explicitly confirmed it quite recently. You claim free speech has been curtailed, but your evidence of it is the fact that Mel Gibson and Michael Richards can’t get work, and citizens have put pressure on Glenn Beck’s advertisers, just as the right does all the time with their boycotts. So, since Obama has taken away the right to own guns and speak freely, even though he hasn’t, the last thing good Americans can count on is election integrity, which you conclude is entirely gone in the wake of all the stolen elections you can’t present any evidence for. And what’s your conclusion? That’s right, threats of violence from the revolutionary right.

    we’re the side with the most guns.

    we “moderates” are the ones standing between the liberals and the extremists on our side. We’re the ones keeping them in check.

    Rein in your nutcases (ACORN, New Black Panthers, Organizing For America, SEIU, and all the rest) before “my” side decides to do the cleaning up themselves.

    Because it won’t be pretty.

    So basically, if we don’t get rid of unions and political organizations on the left you think it will be right for “your side” to start killing us all.

    I laid your own words at your feet, not someone else’s. And it wasn’t a swan song, it was a last straw. You, like your violent revolutionary friends, are beyond reason.

  98. mannning says:

    Just about every decision cited is a two-edged sword: there are aspects to admire and accept but there are also aspects to reject. If I only have the option to accept or reject the decisions in whole, I reject them with the proviso that the bad parts are dead and the good parts can be reinstituted. Selective use of either all good or all bad provisions to justify acceptance or rejection can always be used to misdirect (my) intent, as several commenters have done.

    One insidious aspect of these decisions is that they enshrine an anti-Christian philosophy into jurisprudence, even as they actually corrected some specific abuse or other. So even if you agree that the abuse must be stopped, you are caught later by the application of the newly-minted philosophy to yet another aspect of separation.

    So, rather than parsing here each decision to retain the good and weed out the bad, I prefer to state my own positions:

    1. “Establishment” should be treated in the narrow sense that the government cannot establish a national religion. That would take care of much of the problem as I see it.

    2. The government should be neutral with respect to religions, except when the so-called religion presents a verifiable national threat.

    3. Non-sectarian Prayer in school or meditation or opting out, say in study hall, should be allowed. Zealous teachers can and should be handled by proper supervision.

    4.The historical presentation of religious artifacts in the public square should remain in place, be allowed to continue during periods of public holidays, and not be subject to ACLU witchhunts. This should apply to “in God we trust”, The Ten Commandments, Nativity Scenes, crosses, etc. No one is forcing anyone to be influenced by these artifacts, and their own religion should be strong enough to bear the exposure, such driveby views as they normally are. One can readily believe that these assaults are not directed at the blindingly oversensitive souls of other religions, but rather at the suppression of one religion–Christianity.

    5. The ACLU should be enjoined to stop its campaign to remove Christianity from the public square. This should apply to all religions as well, but there should not be a forced “equal display” law.

    6. Religious freedom should remain free and open, and not be subject to government interference, with the same caveat as before, where serious and provable threats to the nation and its citizens are apparent.

    7. Religious teaching in the schools should be on an fully elective basis, and, if a suficient quorum of students, for example, 10 or more, wish to have some religion other than Christianity taught on an elective basis then that should be able to be arranged, but not mandatory to implement or to attend. While the proper place for teaching moral responsibilities in our society to our children lies with the parents and their church, there are many, many students that receive guidance from neither. An elective of this sort may be quite helpful here.

    8. There should be no discrimination in schools on the basis of race, color, sex, or creed. However, the concept of balancing, by bussing or other federal court or federal government-directed means, should be stopped. Education should fundamentally be a state responsibility, not a federal responsibility, although the feds can and should assist poorer states to raise their standards by providing funding with no strings (the how of this is a good question!). As an aside, mere throwing money at education doesn’t solve the problems we have in producing grads with a decent educational background.

    In my view, then, there is to be no coersion by the federal government in any aspect of religion, with the one exception cited of a verifiable national threat. There should not be inhibitions imposed on public speech against religious subjects, either. The public always has the on-off switch or their legs to use if they object to what is being said. Why should anyone object to the President using the word Jesus in speeches?

    So that is about it. Again, I suppose that I must repeat what I said earlier. I am no lawyer, and am certainly not a constitutional scholar, nor am I a religious scholar, but I do have opinions on the subject at hand, that are most certainly not totalitarian in intent, yet I am willing to fight for the preservation of Christianity in our society against those who would suppress it and drive it underground.

  99. sam says:

    “One insidious aspect of these decisions is that they enshrine an anti-Christian philosophy into jurisprudence, even as they actually corrected some specific abuse or other… I am willing to fight for the preservation of Christianity in our society against those who would suppress it and drive it underground.”

    Dude, c’mon, really. A bit hyperbolic, wouldn’t you say? In the city where I live, Christianity, judging from the number of churches in place and being built is one of the most successful businesses in town. And who here has advocated suppressing anything other using the power of the state to force Christianity on the unwilling. But you’re OK with that, right?

  100. @manning:

    The problem is that this:

    The government should be neutral with respect to religions

    Cannot exist with:

    Non-sectarian Prayer in school or meditation or opting out, say in study hall, should be allowed.

    Once you privilege prayer over non-prayer, government has ceased to be neutral in regards to religion.

    Once you privilege religion over non-religion, government has ceased to be neutral.

    There is just no way around these basic facts.

    And I say this and church-attending, professing Christian.

    And I have to agree with many of the above commenters: Christianity is doing quite well in the US. I know that it is preached from the pulpit that the faith is under attack, but the honest truth is that Christianity thrives in the US.

    Another thing I do not understand: the notion that, from a conservative point-of-view, that Christianity needs the state at all.

  101. Jay Tea says:

    mantis, I’m not interested in hashing out your grievances with me here. It’s simply not an appropriate place.

    Sorry.

    J.

  102. mantis says:

    Whatever.

  103. matt says:

    2. The government should be neutral with respect to religions, except when the so-called religion presents a verifiable national threat.

    awww cute you carved out a spot to legitimize your irrational Islamic phobia. SO who would get to decide which religion is a verifiable national threat?

    3. Non-sectarian Prayer in school or meditation or opting out, say in study hall, should be allowed. Zealous teachers can and should be handled by proper supervision.

    THis is already allowed you’re just not able to force people to pray..

    4.The historical presentation of religious artifacts in the public square should remain in place, be allowed to continue during periods of public holidays, and not be subject to ACLU witchhunts. This should apply to “in God we trust”, The Ten Commandments, Nativity Scenes, crosses, etc. No one is forcing anyone to be influenced by these artifacts, and their own religion should be strong enough to bear the exposure, such driveby views as they normally are. One can readily believe that these assaults are not directed at the blindingly oversensitive souls of other religions, but rather at the suppression of one religion–Christianity.

    Great so you’ll have no issue with the satanic alter I want displayed next to your ten commandments which will be next to the star and crescent which will be next to the spaghetti monster painting which will be next to the rastafarian pot tree which of course would be seated next to a large picture of L. Ron Hubbard etc etc. You don’t seem to understand that either you’re going to exclude non christians and use government to promote christianity or you’re going to deal with litterly hundreds of religions deserving their fair share of space.

    5. The ACLU should be enjoined to stop its campaign to remove Christianity from the public square. This should apply to all religions as well, but there should not be a forced “equal display” law.

    This is a classic example of how you just completely depart from reality. The ACLU isn’t campaigning against Christianity it’s campaigning against ALL government endorsement of religion. Christianity just happens to be the popular religion right now. I don’t understand what you’re intending with your last sentence as you seem to be saying that no religion should be displayed and then you say there shouldn’t be an equal display law. You know damned well that without an equal display law people will only put up Christian crap. It’s really sad that you cannot see how priveleged you are as a Christian compared to the crap minority religions such as Islam or Sikhs have to take from ignorant people most of whom claim to be Christians..

    6. Religious freedom should remain free and open, and not be subject to government interference, with the same caveat as before, where serious and provable threats to the nation and its citizens are apparent.

    That is what you’ve been railing against for the last couple posts. You want interference to ensure your religion dominates the public square..

    7. Religious teaching in the schools should be on an fully elective basis, and, if a suficient quorum of students, for example, 10 or more, wish to have some religion other than Christianity taught on an elective basis then that should be able to be arranged, but not mandatory to implement or to attend. While the proper place for teaching moral responsibilities in our society to our children lies with the parents and their church, there are many, many students that receive guidance from neither. An elective of this sort may be quite helpful here.

    agree.

    8. Add religion in there and we can get some agreement..

    So that is about it. Again, I suppose that I must repeat what I said earlier. I am no lawyer, and am certainly not a constitutional scholar, nor am I a religious scholar, but I do have opinions on the subject at hand, that are most certainly not totalitarian in intent, yet I am willing to fight for the preservation of Christianity in our society against those who would suppress it and drive it underground.

    What is up with Christians and this insistance on always being persecuted. You’re part of the most popular religion in the world and this country yet you’re behaving like everyone hates you jeesh. Christianity will never be driven underground or supressed in this country as long as we keep the church and state seperate..

  104. matt says:

    Want to see real persecution? Look at how Christians are treated in Iraq or the woman being threatened with execution in Pakistan..

  105. floyd says:

    Looks like “authoritis” (lol)
    Some here “think that they shall be heard for their much speaking”

  106. mannning says:

    Stephen:Where is it that prayer in schools has harmed anyone? What is it that this simple act causes the judiciary and assoorted intellectuals to tremble and froth at the mouth? People of other religions that do not recognize our non-sectarian prayers can have their own version of prayer or none at all in the schools if they are arranged for it. No one is or should be forced to pray, or to listen to prayers from an alien religion. I find this fear of prayer in the schools to be hogwash and a trumped up issue in this predominantly Christian, yet tolerant, nation.

    Historically, we have had both prayer, significant tolerance, and essential government neutrality side by side for centuries, until some legalists and purists decided to pursue prohibition of prayer, assuming that in the end the government would exercise force to ensure a one religion nation, I guess. That is a rather ignorant and insulting view of Christianity today, and of the government itself, as well as the people and the law. It does seem that non-Christians, and perhaps some of those intellectuals, actually fear both the government and Christians, as if there would be a pogrom or something at any minute, ignoring some three centuries of religious freedom here.

    Perhaps it is a reflection of the same idea held in the heart by non-Christians were they to have the chance to effect a religious takeover or reformation in their direction? I do know of one religion that espouses that idea. For that reason, there should be government support to defend both our religious institutions, all of them, and ourselves, from a rogue religious sect That is the duty of government in any event: to keep us safe from harm.

    As to sam’s accusation of hyperbole, I strongly suggest that he read up on the ACLU and its avowed objective to drive Christianity out of the public square, step by step, using the courts and the judicial philosophies that have been put in place, with more to come. There are a few references I can give, if google doesn’t succeed. I am merely advocating whatever preventative action is needed to stop them right now.

    So the ACLU is campaigning against ALL government endorsement of religion, hey Matt?. That, then, includes Christianity, and to the degree that what they advocate and manage to gain through the courts harms Christianity, its members and its public presence in any way, you have helped me to show who the enemy really is. Thank you! (Maybe you ought to talk to sam.)

    As to dominating the public square, Christianity does so to the extent of their churches and symbols, which have grown along with the nation, its affluence, and its overwhelming membership in Christian sects. That is reality. Live with it. There are also thousands of Mosques here, large and small. Live with that too. There are many Jewish buildings, synagogues, and such. Live with them also. Etc, Etc, Etc.

    .

  107. matt says:

    “Stephen:Where is it that prayer in schools has harmed anyone? What is it that this simple act causes the judiciary and assoorted intellectuals to tremble and froth at the mouth? People of other religions that do not recognize our non-sectarian prayers can have their own version of prayer or none at all in the schools if they are arranged for it. No one is or should be forced to pray, or to listen to prayers from an alien religion. I find this fear of prayer in the schools to be hogwash and a trumped up issue in this predominantly Christian, yet tolerant, nation.”

    When someone doesn’t want to do it and is then bullied later by their classmates. That is assuming the teacher etc doesn’t do the actual bullying themselves first. There have been modern cases of teachers assaulting the religions of non Christians in a classroom as is so I cannot imagine that it’d suddenly get better. Why do you have to froth at the mouth demanding sanctioned christian prayers when any student is free to pray on their own at pretty much any moment of time in school.

    “Historically, we have had both prayer, significant tolerance, and essential government neutrality side by side for centuries, until some legalists and purists decided to pursue prohibition of prayer, assuming that in the end the government would exercise force to ensure a one religion nation, I guess. That is a rather ignorant and insulting view of Christianity today, and of the government itself, as well as the people and the law. It does seem that non-Christians, and perhaps some of those intellectuals, actually fear both the government and Christians, as if there would be a pogrom or something at any minute, ignoring some three centuries of religious freedom here.”

    No historically we were a white male christian dominated society where minorities were oppressed and marginalized.

    “Perhaps it is a reflection of the same idea held in the heart by non-Christians were they to have the chance to effect a religious takeover or reformation in their direction? I do know of one religion that espouses that idea. For that reason, there should be government support to defend both our religious institutions, all of them, and ourselves, from a rogue religious sect That is the duty of government in any event: to keep us safe from harm.”

    You’re right the government does need to protect us from Christianity and the Christian conservatives who want to see this country ran as a Christian version of Saudi Arabia..

    “As to sam’s accusation of hyperbole, I strongly suggest that he read up on the ACLU and its avowed objective to drive Christianity out of the public square, step by step, using the courts and the judicial philosophies that have been put in place, with more to come. There are a few references I can give, if google doesn’t succeed. I am merely advocating whatever preventative action is needed to stop them right now.”

    Dude you think that refusing to force people to pray in school is “driving prayer out of school” so your opinion on this topic is slightly batshit crazy. You think that unless your religion has it’s boot on my neck that you’re being persecuted and it’s just plain sad to see you spewing this.

    “So the ACLU is campaigning against ALL government endorsement of religion, hey Matt?. That, then, includes Christianity, and to the degree that what they advocate and manage to gain through the courts harms Christianity, its members and its public presence in any way, you have helped me to show who the enemy really is. Thank you! (Maybe you ought to talk to sam.)”

    Cause Christianity is the most common religion in this country and thus the most prevalent? Your inability to use logic when discussing your religion is just amazing. How does it harm you as a Christian when you can no longer force people to pray to your religion? You scared you might lose in the market place of ideas or something?

    “As to dominating the public square, Christianity does so to the extent of their churches and symbols, which have grown along with the nation, its affluence, and its overwhelming membership in Christian sects. That is reality. Live with it. There are also thousands of Mosques here, large and small. Live with that too. There are many Jewish buildings, synagogues, and such. Live with them also. Etc, Etc, Etc. ”

    For every mosque there are several SEVERAL thousand Christian Churches. Dude you’re not a minority religion and you’re not being persecuted. I know Christians like to believe they are still living back in the days of Rome but you’re not. In my hometown there were 14 churches and 0 mosques/synagogues etc in a town of 5000ish in rural Illinois. They damned near rioted when a couple of wiccans tried to start up a book store. There were Christian groups openly threatening violence in front of the police at the town hall meetings and some of the cops even told the wiccans they should leave town for their own safety. Yes CHRISTIANS groups who were organized by local priests under the banner of “do not suffer a witch”. So yeah sure shed your crocodile tears for those poor repressed Christians. Meanwhile real religious minorities are under very real assault every day across this country.

    I don’t understand you. You seem to think that anytime you cannot force people to bow before your Christ and god that you’re somehow being persecuted. That unless you can force people to pray to your god that you’re being persecuted. It’s facking ridiculous and below someone of your intellect….

  108. matt says:

    In case your wondering the wiccan thing happened about 7 or so years ago so it’s quite fresh. The wiccans eventually scaled back their plans and opened a small modest bookstore. Th interesting thing is once they opened up there was some push back in the Christian community against the original agitators. I’m fairly certain at this time even some of the more fanatical anti-wiccan people feel kind of stupid about what they did..

  109. mannning says:

    Your usual screed brings up force by Christians, and especially me. I fail utterly to see where in any of my writings I advocated forcing religion or prayer down anyone’s throat. I think you have a stuck record or a missing cell in your braIn. Where in the world of logic does it say that a religion must be suppressed simply because it is the most prevalent? That is pure malarky.

    I refer you to Google, especially ACLU pages 6 and on, where the anti-ACLU writings are more plentiful. But, then, you seem to be of set mind anyway, so reading about the many ACLU sins against Christianity would roll off your back. Anyone that has not been aware of the insidious campaign of the ACLU against Christianity has had his head up his ass.

    “””Dude you think that refusing to force people to pray in school is “driving prayer out of school” so your opinion on this topic is slightly batshit crazy. You think that unless your religion has it’s boot on my neck that you’re being persecuted and it’s just plain sad to see you spewing this.”””

    Just where did you learn to read? More than once I have said that prayer in schools should be voluntary and not forced. That religion is not something to force anyone to accept. You had best take a remedial course in the English language, and cease making up word issues where there aren’t any.

    After that convoluted interpretation, I sign off on responding to your stuff.

  110. matt says:

    “Your usual screed brings up force by Christians, and especially me. I fail utterly to see where in any of my writings I advocated forcing religion or prayer down anyone’s throat. I think you have a stuck record or a missing cell in your braIn. Where in the world of logic does it say that a religion must be suppressed simply because it is the most prevalent? That is pure malarky.”

    Several of the court rulings you listed as proof of discrimination against Christianity were against forced prayer or the forced reading of the bible in public school. At the very least you have to see that the abington school district vs schempp case was about forcing people via Pennsylvania law to read the bible every school day. I’m not saying a religion should be suppressed and if I am please quote me so that I can understand your convoluted logic. I also don’t see in any of the court cases you listed any example of oppression of religion. Trust me dude if they do start trying to suppress your ability to worship via law I’ll be out the forefront fighting for you. That’s a promise that I take very very seriously.

    “I refer you to Google, especially ACLU pages 6 and on, where the anti-ACLU writings are more plentiful. But, then, you seem to be of set mind anyway, so reading about the many ACLU sins against Christianity would roll off your back. Anyone that has not been aware of the insidious campaign of the ACLU against Christianity has had his head up his ass. ”

    Then at the very least you gotta admit they are doing a piss poor job at committing this conspiracy of yours. You’re still able to worship and perform the same religious activities now as a Christian as you could 60 years ago (excluding some nutjob cults etc)..

    “Just where did you learn to read? More than once I have said that prayer in schools should be voluntary and not forced. That religion is not something to force anyone to accept. You had best take a remedial course in the English language, and cease making up word issues where there aren’t any.”

    Do you not remember your school days? Voluntary = enforced in those days. You didn’t have to stand and pledge allegiance to the flag and yet everyone does cause they feel intense pressure to do so. Those that don’t stand and recite end up in serious trouble either with their classmates or the actual school itself. Will Phillips is a fluke which is why he received so much attention from the media. There’s also the fact that you KNOW teachers will stretch any “meditation or prayer time” as far as they can into possibly leading the class in prayer themselves or worse. I do not believe the child of a baptist should be forced to say a Catholic prayer either. There’s also the issue of dealing with the variety of faiths that exist. Do you want to have your school providing prayer mats and facilities for the few muslim kids in your school? How about providing space for a pagan ritual during prayer time? Would you want a satanist performing a prayer next to your kid? There will also be kids that are aware of alternative religions and are likely to utilize that knowledge to cause problems(granted that’s wouldn’t be a huge issue). SO where are the limits established with this time?

    So here’s my perspective on prayer in school. There’s a lot of down time at the beginning and sometimes the end of each class resulting in plenty of time for anyone to pray as they see fit. I grew up in the edge of the bible belt with a devout christian extended family. I had many devout Christian friends who would pray in school with no issues. IF anything the current system favors religions like Christianity which doesn’t require elaborate prayer methods.

    “Just where did you learn to read? More than once I have said that prayer in schools should be voluntary and not forced. That religion is not something to force anyone to accept. You had best take a remedial course in the English language, and cease making up word issues where there aren’t any.”

    I’m basing my responses off the court rulings you listed as being responsible for “driving Christianity out of the public square”. So I’ve been debating based on the assumption that you disagreed with the rulings…

  111. matt says:

    “I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.”

    –Napoleon

  112. mannning says:

    @matt–a repeat

    Just about every decision cited is a two-edged sword: there are aspects to admire and accept but there are also aspects to reject. If I only have the option to accept or reject the decisions in whole, I reject them with the proviso that the bad parts are dead and the good parts can be reinstituted. Selective use of either all good or all bad provisions to justify acceptance or rejection can always be used to misdirect (my) intent, as several commenters have done.

    The effort to parse the decisions was too much so I invented a shortcut. I wrote down my own ideas. Now you have to shift your thinking to realize that I agreed with most of the outcomes of spercific nature, while disagreeing with the phiulosophies behind them.

  113. matt says:

    Two cheers for laziness!! 😛

  114. matt says:

    In all seriousness is there a method of communication you would like to use should you get a sudden burst of motivation to elaborate your opinion? You’re an articulate intelligent person with an obviously differing opinion and I believe I would be enriched as a person to better understand your position..

  115. mannning says:

    OK, one more shot.

    If I get that urge, however, I will post a more detailed response on my blog at the above URL. Not sure in my past 600-odd posts that I have covered exactly this set of issues to any real extent. Yes, I am a lazy one; I will find the more economical way to achieve something if I have to stay up all night to think.

    I begin with a compelling desire to defend the Constitution against any and all changes that go around the prescribed way–by the amendment process. I consider judicial activism to be anti-Constitutional, so decisions from the SCOTUS that extend the Constitution, are really outside of the Constution altogether, or bend words, such as “establishment”, to an entirely different interpretation, to be false and disingenuous, and there are many, many examples of this kind of activism. In my view, it is largely liberals in Congress and in the SCOTUS that are prone to such progressive activism, because it fits their philosophies and is far easier to put in place. (Note that I said “largely”, because there have been a few cases of Republican judicial activism also.).

    The next step is to recognize that our defining documents, the DOI, and the Constitution, are based upon Natural Law and Natural Rights, and behind them is Devine Law, which you can read about in St. Thomas Aquinas, in Cicero, and in the laws of the early Israelites. A recent book, “The 5000-Year Leap” covers this ground rather well. You can trace our system of tripartite government way back in Greek and Roman philosophy (Plato’s Republic is one example), where each division of the government has its role, and the overlaps are adjudicated. The Legislature legislates, the Administrative handles day to day affairs,and the Judiciary interprets the law and its consequences without inventing its own additions. Thus, I start out with a heavily influenced position that judges have been far too proactive in the past 50 or 60, or even 100 years.

    Then comes the ACLU, which I rate as super-progressive, communistic in origin, atheistic in outlook, and slyly supportive of religious freedom (which is a core belief of mine also) in order to protect their own non-religion religion. Their campaign to rid the vestiges of Christianity from the public square, from the schools, from government property, and from the minds of malleable youngsters, is nothing less than a preliminary round in a long range plan to reduce Christianity and its influence in America as far down as possible.

    One weapon in this battle is secularism, which finds support in advocates for Secular Humanism, whose atheistic credo opens up the ideas of progressive education solely by the state (no parents involved at all), one world government, and the need to reduce the Constitution to an interesting relic. Read the Humanist Manifestos I, II and III, but you will have to find an older version of H I, because it has been edited and watered down recently to gather more adherents, but without compromising the original ideas at all, just to hide certain provisions of their philosophy from outsiders.

    In the end, they are championing an oligarchical society, with progressive/atheistic intellectuals in command of the entire planet, say, by the year 3000 or so. These Manifestos have been signed up to by a large number–in the thousands– of academics, liberals, and even some 50 congressmen at one point in time. How many there are now I do not know.

    This cannot happen if the US remains a bastion of Christianity, hence Christianity must be brought down over time. We are witnessing the early and timy steps of this attack now.

    Thus, I am immediately defensive about the many ACLU pushes to rid the public square of Christianity, the support they get from the SCOTUS and the Congress and the implications of the atheistic Secular Humanism program. You can read about this in “How Now Shall We Live” by Charles Colson and other books in the market devoted to the defense of Christianity over the long haul.

    So this is some of the background that leads me to approve of some specific outcomes of the SCOTUS decisions in defense of religious freedom, but to reject the insidious philosophies being promoted inside the decisions that further the long range plans of the ACLU and the atheistic Secular Huminists. You might also see, if dimly, how greater and greater centralization of the government, and less and less rights accorded to the states and the people fits into this scheme to remake our government in a radical way, hence my further objections to the big government ideas of the progressives—especially Obama at this time.

    It is hard to do justice to these ideas in such few words One stray thought occurred to me. Even if you believe that I am stroking a big fat conspiracy theory by evoking the ACLU and SH, the actions I propose are harmless to the people, the Nation and the Constitution, while preventative of further intrusion into our government of such ideas as they are advocating.

    A second thought that must be said is that of Marxism, where one of the main ideas is the total go that far. Progressive (read Marxist) ramaking of society should raise any patriotic American’s hackles. Even some intellectuals understand that stable Utropian societies are an practical impossibility.
    destruction of society in order to rebuild it along communistic/atheistic lines and to reeducate the people to accept their socialistic/communistic/atheistic leaders and their rules.
    There is much more that can be said, and illustrated, in this vein, but I simply do not have the time to do this subject justice.

  116. mannning says:

    Last paragraphs should read:

    A second thought that must be said is that of Marxism, where one of the main ideas is the total
    destruction of society in order to rebuild it along communistic/atheistic lines and to reeducate the people to accept their socialistic/communistic/atheistic leaders and their rules.

    Progressive (read Marxist) ramaking of society should raise any patriotic American’s hackles. Even some intellectuals understand that stable and benelovent Utropian societies are a practical impossibility.

    There is much more that can be said, and illustrated, in this vein, but I simply do not have the time to do this subject justice.

  117. matt says:

    You’re right progressives do engage in more “judicial activism” then conservatives. Then again I have no issue with the judicial activism that allowed women to vote or the judicial activism that gave blacks the right to be citizens then to be able to vote then to be treated like other people. Left solely to conservatism (or even liberals) we’d be a much poorer country.

    “Then comes the ACLU, which I rate as super-progressive, communistic in origin, atheistic in outlook, and slyly supportive of religious freedom (which is a core belief of mine also) in order to protect their own non-religion religion. Their campaign to rid the vestiges of Christianity from the public square, from the schools, from government property, and from the minds of malleable youngsters, is nothing less than a preliminary round in a long range plan to reduce Christianity and its influence in America as far down as possible. ”

    Dear god did you miss any fear mongering keyword there? Seriously back to the red scare? That’s so 50s of you.

    http://www.aclu.org/religion-belief/aclu-tn-successfully-advocates-behalf-student-preachers
    http://www.aclu.org/aclu-defense-religious-practice-and-expression

    Do some simple searches on google and you’ll find many many cases of the ACLU representing devout people who were denied the right to free worship. The facts simply do NOT back up your assertion that the ACLU is anti-religious. I even included a case involving specifically the practice of religion in a public square.

    “One weapon in this battle is secularism, which finds support in advocates for Secular Humanism, whose atheistic credo opens up the ideas of progressive education solely by the state (no parents involved at all), one world government, and the need to reduce the Constitution to an interesting relic. Read the Humanist Manifestos I, II and III, but you will have to find an older version of H I, because it has been edited and watered down recently to gather more adherents, but without compromising the original ideas at all, just to hide certain provisions of their philosophy from outsiders.”

    YOu make a gigantic leap of logic and you provide no basis for this other then your own opinion. Surely by now you must realize that everyone has varying opinions on every subject. While it’s true religious sects tend to walk in lockstep (organizing around core religious beliefs). Getting Atheists and secularists to walk in lockstep is like trying to herd cats. My fiancee and I are probably considered secular humanists by you yet we both believe in strong parenting because we’ve seen (her mother is a professor and her grandpa was a deacon while my grandfather taught middle/high school most of his life) the effects of bad/weak parenting in our school systems. I have no interest in a one world government and I have no idea what this humanist manifestos is (probably locked up next to the unabomber’s manifesto or the zodiac manifesto or any thousands of manifestos by crazy people)..

    “In the end, they are championing an oligarchical society, with progressive/atheistic intellectuals in command of the entire planet, say, by the year 3000 or so. These Manifestos have been signed up to by a large number–in the thousands– of academics, liberals, and even some 50 congressmen at one point in time. How many there are now I do not know.”

    We already live in an oligarchical society where the rich control the government through lobbiests or directly via large cash infusions.

    the oligarchy (from Greek ὀλιγαρχία, oligarkhía[1]) is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small segment of society distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, corporate, or military control.

    “This cannot happen if the US remains a bastion of Christianity, hence Christianity must be brought down over time. We are witnessing the early and timy steps of this attack now.”

    So that’s why Christians are hunted and persecuted so that their numbers have dwindled? Oh wait that’s never happened….

    “Thus, I am immediately defensive about the many ACLU pushes to rid the public square of Christianity, the support they get from the SCOTUS and the Congress and the implications of the atheistic Secular Humanism program. You can read about this in “How Now Shall We Live” by Charles Colson and other books in the market devoted to the defense of Christianity over the long haul.”

    It’s not Christianity but religion and it’s not the public square it’s public property which follows the word and spirit of the constitution. Frankly Charles Colson is a nutjob and convicted crook (obviously you don’t agree he’s a nutjob but the second part is a fact).

    “So this is some of the background that leads me to approve of some specific outcomes of the SCOTUS decisions in defense of religious freedom, but to reject the insidious philosophies being promoted inside the decisions that further the long range plans of the ACLU and the atheistic Secular Huminists. You might also see, if dimly, how greater and greater centralization of the government, and less and less rights accorded to the states and the people fits into this scheme to remake our government in a radical way, hence my further objections to the big government ideas of the progressives—especially Obama at this time.”

    Quite frankly you’re taking a variety of disparate unconnected things and smashing them together in a grand theory/conspiracy of everything. Unlike Einstein you don’t have to rely on facts or reality to make your theory/conspiracy work. That’s the great thing about conspiracies. Everything/body that doesn’t agree with your conspiracy is part of the conspiracy or can be added in a way to promote your conspiracy. You have a lot of what ifs and maybes but nothing resembling concrete evidence. I can twist your own words actions and such into being part of a grander scheme to undermine the USA by linking you to some obscure manifesto but I won’t because it’s not worth the time and it helps no one.

    “It is hard to do justice to these ideas in such few words One stray thought occurred to me. Even if you believe that I am stroking a big fat conspiracy theory by evoking the ACLU and SH, the actions I propose are harmless to the people, the Nation and the Constitution, while preventative of further intrusion into our government of such ideas as they are advocating.”

    I know you are as anyone with 5 minutes of time and access to google can find many many cases of the ACLU doing exactly the opposite of what you claim. Might I suggest you look deeper into the ACLU and it’s activities.. You might even find some fights of theirs that you support.

    The fact that you cannot even comprehend that there’s a difference between marxism and progressives is just mind boggling. I’m progressive but I’m sure as hell not a marxist..

    “Even some intellectuals understand that stable and benelovent Utropian societies are a practical impossibility.”

    An Utopian society might be impossible but I don’t see any harm in working to improve society as much as possible…

  118. matt says:

    It was very impolite of me to not thank you for the author and book information though so I apologize for that. While I obviously disagree with some of his other writings I will give the book “How Now Shall We Live” a read in the coming days. Thank you for that information. A brief look has shown me that this book is way above the quality of the one I tried to read a while back.

  119. matt says:

    Do you believe that everything not somehow related to Christianity is inherently bad?

  120. mannning says:

    Well, now, you should look into the history of the use of progressive. That was once the official term for American communists themselves, then it was picked up by Leftists who didn’t want to use the term communist, and even later on it has become the label for the current Left. Since the term was derived from communism itself, it is a fair presumption that it is no accident that more modern leftists are using the term., since their ideas appear still to be drawn from socialism/communism/humanism, and that subset of this mashup—Marxism.

    I was right that you would seize on conspiracy thinking. Interesting way to avoid the real issues of radicalists making trouble for the nation. Never believing that a conspiracy is true is a sure way to get the surprise of your life, and probably too late to do anything about it.

    One of the reasons I could not treat this subject adequately is the anticedent socialism and communism that clearly undergirds the Left even today, and to assemble all the proof is a herculean task. The origins of the ACLU are communist, for example, and they have been charged with being the handmaiden of the Left, not by me, but by those much closer to the problem.

    So, on we go, you to be a left wing progressive and me to be a right wing conservative, and never the twain shall meet.

  121. matt says:

    Do you believe that everything somehow not related to Christianity is inherently bad?

    I have utterly no idea how you came up with this “history” of “progressive” being code word for communist. American Communists called themselves “the communist party” not the progressive party (and a couple called themselves the socialist party). McCarthy himself went after the communist parties not the progressive party and never once mentioned progressive. So you’re just creating an imaginary history for the word progressive at this point.

    Dude you’re entire post consists of giant conspiracy as to how everyone left of you is a communist intent on destroying religion/USA/thingsyoulove so naturally I would “seize” upon it. I believe that radicals on ALL sides are a threat and should be marginalized as much as possible not just the ones I don’t agree with.

    “One of the reasons I could not treat this subject adequately is the anticedent socialism and communism that clearly undergirds the Left even today, and to assemble all the proof is a herculean task. The origins of the ACLU are communist, for example, and they have been charged with being the handmaiden of the Left, not by me, but by those much closer to the problem.”

    You talk about how I am avoiding the real issues yet you continue to avoid the issue that the ACLU has hundreds upon hundreds of cases of fighting for the right of your fellow religious brothers to worship in public. You continue to dismiss evidence that doesn’t fit your world view. Considering you just invented a history for the word progressive out of whole cloth it doesn’t surprise me that you invent a history stemming from communism for everyone you don’t believe in. AT the rate you’re going I’m expecting you to claim Islam sprung from communism. Seriously man your getting to be ridiculously paranoid about communists at this rate.

    “So, on we go, you to be a left wing progressive and me to be a right wing conservative, and never the twain shall meet.”

    For a democracy to function properly there needs to be communication and at least a basis of common facts. I’m not sure how this country is supposed to function when there are people like you who are so convinced of their ways that the cannot answer simple questions that result in answers that contradict their worldview.

    I didn’t claim the title left wing progressive I was given that title by the likes of you and others. I prefer to think of myself as an American that cares about his country the constitution and his fellow citizens. I eagerly await your dissertation as to how that makes me a secret communist bent on destroying religion and the USA.

  122. matt says:
  123. mannning says:

    Such wild interpretations you make are getting to be amusing! You read on half of a paragraph and jump off from there more than once. It is becoming a bit tedious to respond to your leaps to erroneous conclusions.

    The use of the Progressive label by Communists is a fact, not an invention of mine. It is amusing that you don’t realize the antecedents of progressive and leftist thinking and the reason for the label shifts by many avowed communists. It provided them a bit of cover at a critical time, for one thing. Today, I suggest that quite a number of communists of various subset beliefs–Marxists, Trotskyites, and some American brews–are hiding under the label Progressive, and are very active in the Democratic Party, although I cannot prove it in a court.

    The first person that showed clearly these methods and directions of the communists in America was Irving Kristol in his manifold writings. Kristol was a communist in his school years, but was convinced fairly soon of its evils. Some of his insights on why he repudiated communism and embraced conservatism are in his book ” Neoconservatism”. He often equated progressivism with communism, especially in the periodicals he edited and wrote for. (Kristol was an original Neoconservative, in that he was a Jewish radical and communist that came over to the other side through his own intellectual investigations.) He was not a “Neocon” as some were labeled for their aggressiveness towards the Middle East.

    The point, I believe, is that the label Progressive is a very elastic term that can enfold many radicals of all socialistic and communistic sects, along with simple Leftists and kooks that really aren’t quite sure who is steering their boat. It would be difficult for someone wearing the label communist or socialist or atheist to be elected into office, don’t you agree? Not impossible, but very difficult. However, wearing the label Progressive, there is not so much stigma attached to the term, is there?

    I cannot readily pull up the reference to the Italian Communist that wrote the book on how America could be subverted from within, but this guy, whose name was Antoniio Gramsci, laid out the steps that sub rosa elements of the CPUSA has been following for some time now. Neo-gramscism is a subject of interest even today in certain American intellectual circles, which seem to be more leftist than rightist. But as I have said, to map all of these threads out in writing to demonstrate the degree to which they have had success by myself is quite impossible. Kristol comments at length on the subversions he personally witnessed and subsequently observed in being. It is a long forgotten fact that of the 20-odd goals of the Socialist Party of 1928, virtually all of them had been achieved by 1950, which is a factual measure of the progress of leftist ideas in the US.

    You did not give attention to the line I wrote on the ACLU, which was that it was an enemy on secularism and a friend on religious freedom. Yes, they have taken many cases on religious freedom. But as the ACLU is driven by leftism and quite probably by Progressives currently in control of the directions of the Left, it sees secularism to be a wedge in the log that can create fissures.in our legal system, if only to tie up many courts across the land in considering cases they deem important, or to intimidate local School Boards and City Councils with threats of suing if they do not follow their secular suggestions. This has been very successful for them.

    Perhaps the most laughable of your leaps is your rather brazen attempts to box me into a Christians Only mindset. I write from a Christian perspective, yes, but I was brought up to be good American citizen and tolerant of other’s race, religions, thoughts and ambitions to live a good life, and so on. And so I practice that tolerance in my daily life. One can be tolerant, while at the same time disagreeing a lot with aspects of other’s positions and actions

    There is a limit, however, to my tolerance when I am convinced that someone or some group is threatening our way of life, endangering me and my family and friends, ultimately all citizens, and attacking the structure and functions of the government in a harmful way. Those people are to be opposed and defeated, and the sooner the better. I include you tax and spend Progressives here that have expanded the National debt to a highly dangerous degree, jeopardizing our financial stability among a dozen or so other sins.

    It is the insidious, long-term, gradual erosion of our laws, our morals, and our principles that is the most difficult to eradicate, and I lay some of the blame here on progressives, or at least that subset of them that are simply evil..

    I do not believe, for instance, in our Constitution being used as merely a guideline, or a “living document”, which immediately puts me in opposition to those that have altered or want to alter the Constitution by unconstitutional means, such as by judicial activism. What, pray tell, is the limit placed on judicial activism, especially when it is supported by some in the legislature because they could not achieve such a law within the legislative system? That is a fundamental violation and subversion of the law, in my opinion. Who gave the SCOTUS the right to make law? If you believe that this is a proper function of the Supremes, then I completely disagree.

    Yet another aspect of judicial activism, in effect, is Executive Orders of the President, whose limits have not been spelled out, and they can be done in direct opposition to the legislature, the Judiiciary and the will of the people. They have the force of law.

    If you are a secret communist bent on radical changes to the US, then you are my enemy. How could I possibly know whether you are or are not a communist? All I know about you I read here; in these funny papers. You claim to be a Progressive. Hmmmmm!

  124. matt says:

    “Such wild interpretations you make are getting to be amusing! You read on half of a paragraph and jump off from there more than once. It is becoming a bit tedious to respond to your leaps to erroneous conclusions.”

    I’m responding to your posts piece by piece if I’m leaping to erroneous conclusions then either you’re not being clear enough or you’re not even sure what you mean. You on the other hand continue to completely ignore the clear facts and links I’ve presented to you.

    “The use of the Progressive label by Communists is a fact, not an invention of mine. It is amusing that you don’t realize the antecedents of progressive and leftist thinking and the reason for the label shifts by many avowed communists. It provided them a bit of cover at a critical time, for one thing. Today, I suggest that quite a number of communists of various subset beliefs–Marxists, Trotskyites, and some American brews–are hiding under the label Progressive, and are very active in the Democratic Party, although I cannot prove it in a court.”

    It’s a fact because you say it is and the lack of evidence supporting your statement is irrelevant…

    “The first person that showed clearly these methods and directions of the communists in America was Irving Kristol in his manifold writings. Kristol was a communist in his school years, but was convinced fairly soon of its evils. Some of his insights on why he repudiated communism and embraced conservatism are in his book ” Neoconservatism”. He often equated progressivism with communism, especially in the periodicals he edited and wrote for. (Kristol was an original Neoconservative, in that he was a Jewish radical and communist that came over to the other side through his own intellectual investigations.) He was not a “Neocon” as some were labeled for their aggressiveness towards the Middle East.

    The point, I believe, is that the label Progressive is a very elastic term that can enfold many radicals of all socialistic and communistic sects, along with simple Leftists and kooks that really aren’t quite sure who is steering their boat. It would be difficult for someone wearing the label communist or socialist or atheist to be elected into office, don’t you agree? Not impossible, but very difficult. However, wearing the label Progressive, there is not so much stigma attached to the term, is there?”

    Congratulations you’ve discovered that words have elastic meanings that can change over time. A simple example would be the evolution of gay from being a good thing to it’s modern day possible definition as an insult (while still maintaining it’s original meaning as a possible definition). You can replace progressive with conservative and get the same results if you wished. Labels are meaningless to me in politics as it’s actual policy and action that matters much as a generic “as seen on TV” wonder cleaner makes claims galore but rarely delivers. What you perceive as a left wing radical can be and is often seen in other countries as being centrist or even conservative. TLDR left/right liberal/conservative is a matter of perception..

    “I cannot readily pull up the reference to the Italian Communist that wrote the book on how America could be subverted from within, but this guy, whose name was Antoniio Gramsci, laid out the steps that sub rosa elements of the CPUSA has been following for some time now. Neo-gramscism is a subject of interest even today in certain American intellectual circles, which seem to be more leftist than rightist. But as I have said, to map all of these threads out in writing to demonstrate the degree to which they have had success by myself is quite impossible. Kristol comments at length on the subversions he personally witnessed and subsequently observed in being. It is a long forgotten fact that of the 20-odd goals of the Socialist Party of 1928, virtually all of them had been achieved by 1950, which is a factual measure of the progress of leftist ideas in the US.”

    I can readily pull up references to conservative militia writings on how to subvert America from within. Hell there’s many many books by Evangelical Christians calling for the subversion of America from within with the ultimate goal of converting the USA to a theocracy. So once again why are you so up in arms about the Communists and other nut job lefties trying to subvert the USA when there’s just as many rightwingers and conservative Christians actively engaging in the subversion of the USA? The fact is there are no Democrats willing to stand up and preach the greatness of communism or socialism but there’s plenty of ELECTED Republicans running around declaring that this country should be ran under the Christian version of Sharia. Since you proclaim yourself so well educated in the communist threat surely you see that the current batch of Democrats are espousing things that would be considered right wing in other parts of the world especially in real socialist countries. Your assertion that somehow socialists have achieved all their goals by 1950 have been completely contradicted by your own posts here complaining about the latest socialist activity (HCR etc).

    “You did not give attention to the line I wrote on the ACLU, which was that it was an enemy on secularism and a friend on religious freedom. Yes, they have taken many cases on religious freedom. But as the ACLU is driven by leftism and quite probably by Progressives currently in control of the directions of the Left, it sees secularism to be a wedge in the log that can create fissures.in our legal system, if only to tie up many courts across the land in considering cases they deem important, or to intimidate local School Boards and City Councils with threats of suing if they do not follow their secular suggestions. This has been very successful for them.”

    The facts do not support your assertion as there are hundreds upon hundreds of cases contradicting you. Unless you’re a psychic and can read the minds of the thousands of people involved with the ACLU you really have no clue what their real motivations are. You still manage to amaze me with your completely unfounded but confident statements of the motivations behind people. Why don’t you just admit that you’re pissed off at the ACLU because they are trying to uphold the wall of separation of church and state while you believe we should be a theocracy (based off your religion of course). Stop with the excuse making and the convoluted thinking and just admit that you’re not happy with the constitution or even some of the founders themselves.

    “It is the insidious, long-term, gradual erosion of our laws, our morals, and our principles that is the most difficult to eradicate, and I lay some of the blame here on progressives, or at least that subset of them that are simply evil..”

    Yeah it’s terrible that black people and women can vote. I hate how poor people think they should have the same rights as the rich. Damned that erosion of the laws.. My morals and principles haven’t been eroded and I call into question your integrity as a person if you allow outsiders to influence you in such a way. Evil appears in all forms and your inability to acknowledge that people that are on your team can be evil is just depressing..

    “I do not believe, for instance, in our Constitution being used as merely a guideline, or a “living document”, which immediately puts me in opposition to those that have altered or want to alter the Constitution by unconstitutional means, such as by judicial activism. What, pray tell, is the limit placed on judicial activism, especially when it is supported by some in the legislature because they could not achieve such a law within the legislative system? That is a fundamental violation and subversion of the law, in my opinion. Who gave the SCOTUS the right to make law? If you believe that this is a proper function of the Supremes, then I completely disagree.”

    I have no real clue what you want from me in response to that statement.

    “Yet another aspect of judicial activism, in effect, is Executive Orders of the President, whose limits have not been spelled out, and they can be done in direct opposition to the legislature, the Judiiciary and the will of the people. They have the force of law.”

    Ah some good ol common ground. I knew if we kept plugging away for a while we’d intercept on something. I raged about executive orders when Bush did them and I rage when Obama does them. Executive orders are nothing more then the granting of the powers of a king on the president something which I’m reasonably sure the founders would be completely horrified about.

    “If you are a secret communist bent on radical changes to the US, then you are my enemy. How could I possibly know whether you are or are not a communist? All I know about you I read here; in these funny papers. You claim to be a Progressive. Hmmmmm!”

    I am an American that cares about his country the constitution and his fellow citizens. I am also interested in protecting religion by keeping it out of the political system. Humanity’s history is chock full of examples of politics corrupting religion in countries that lacked a barrier separating church and state.

  125. matt says:

    I’m wrong there’s probably a Democrat somewhere that is willing to stand up and espouse the greatness of socialism. I should of better articulated my point as there are no Democrats willing to go on national TV and espouse the greatness of a godless socialist country like there are Republicans willing to go on TV to preach about how we need to be a Christian nation of Christian laws..

  126. matt says:

    So do you consider everything that isn’t connected to Christianity as being inherently bad?

  127. mannning says:

    “So do you consider everything that isn’t connected to Christianity as being inherently bad?”

    This needs clarification. I can find connections of some kind to Christianity and its religious philosophy in just about everything, good or bad. But, if I interpret it correctly, the answer is a simple no. There are other good things such as honest and unbiased science, or aesthetic concepts such as beauty, universal moral concepts, and plain unvarnished truth.(all of which have been God-given, so I must have interpreted your question improperly.) Even atheism must have been given too, and even Progressivism. and Islam., Imperfectly understood, of course, and laced with mere man’s ideas as well, but the root premises are often on the right track, just really messed up in policy, execution and direction. It is this man-made messup that provokes many of my comments.

    Now you have used a common tactic of trying to expand the argument, creating obfuscation and avoiding answers. The issue is Liberalism and its subsets and secularism, and not right wing radicals which you try to bring into the discussion. That is the focus. The subject of rightwing sins is another argument for another day. All I will say on that now is that I deplore radicalism of all kinds, and you have thus made yet another wrong assumption..Another wrong assumption is that I assumed anything about the ACLU. My opinions are derived from both ACLU writings and critiques of their actions by people, mostly lawyers, close to the scenes. That is a fact.

    You espouse the philosoply that the ends justify the means. Thus you permit evil to provide the means to effect what you believe to be a good thing. May God protect us from such nihilism. That is not the rule of law we want from those activist judges or power-hungry Presidents.

    Yet another erroneous assumption: that I wish to have a theocracy! Not sure how that one was derived. It is more of an ad hominem remark..Similar in origin to my labeling you an atheist.

    While we need is to protect the church from undue lawsuits and nationwide assaults on traditional practices, and we also need to protect the state from religious actions that harm the state and its people. For example, we need to enforce a wall to ensure that Islam can make no progress in subverting our government or our other religions.. There must be certain protections to and from religions, but I see no reason to try to denude the nation from public desplays of both a religious and an historical meaning and from other annoying attacks.. Especially from the secular humanist type of thinking which is atheist to the core, and from socialist/communist atheists, and would destroy the churches if they could.

    So it appears that this argument really comes down to the kinds and degrees of separation of church and state for specific reasons and in specific instances we must have, and not just a blanket shutdown.or a total separation, which is not psychologically possible anyway in my opinion here in the US. We are still about 85% Christian, and I defy anyone to take the basic teachings of Christianity out of a newly elected Christian congressman, or somehow to make him forget them in his work and voting. I see prayer as another weapon used to denigrate the church in the public’s eyes, but I have stated my position on that before.

    You find labels meaningless in politics. So you would vote for a Muslim, or a Marxist into high office because those labels are meaningless, even if those people believe in their adopted labels and would act within the scope of those radical philosophies. That is very plainly stupid, if not also Anti-American. Labels have meaning, and should be taken into account.

    You may have the last word. I am done now. Too may false assumptions.

    .

  128. matt says:

    “This needs clarification. I can find connections of some kind to Christianity and its religious philosophy in just about everything, good or bad. But, if I interpret it correctly, the answer is a simple no. There are other good things such as honest and unbiased science, or aesthetic concepts such as beauty, universal moral concepts, and plain unvarnished truth.(all of which have been God-given, so I must have interpreted your question improperly.) Even atheism must have been given too, and even Progressivism. and Islam., Imperfectly understood, of course, and laced with mere man’s ideas as well, but the root premises are often on the right track, just really messed up in policy, execution and direction. It is this man-made messup that provokes many of my comments.”

    Awesome so it’s just a matter of perception and not just a strict religious dogma that is causing our differences of opinion. I also love how you’re able to see that disparate things can be connected to Christianity through the assumption of god’s omnipotence as the creator of all. The book you linked earlier is giving my the impression that the author believes non Christian people/things to be inherently bad so I was curious if you shared that notion.

    “Now you have used a common tactic of trying to expand the argument, creating obfuscation and avoiding answers. The issue is Liberalism and its subsets and secularism, and not right wing radicals which you try to bring into the discussion. That is the focus. The subject of rightwing sins is another argument for another day. All I will say on that now is that I deplore radicalism of all kinds, and you have thus made yet another wrong assumption..Another wrong assumption is that I assumed anything about the ACLU. My opinions are derived from both ACLU writings and critiques of their actions by people, mostly lawyers, close to the scenes. That is a fact.”

    The focus was never liberalism for me but radicals in general. You gave no indication that you had issues with radicals on your side. You had on the other hand listed several court rulings that placed your opinion on the same side of those rightwing radicals. So my natural assumption was that you agreed with the radicals since you agreed with their objections to those rulings. Since we’ve obviously got differing views on what constitutes radicalism I’ll attempt to list some generic points that I believe constitute a radical. I believe that this country was founded on a strong principle of separation of church and state based off the writings of the founders and the treaty of Tripoli. I believe the founders made that choice because humanity has demonstrated for eons that whenever we mix religion with government religion always ends up corrupted and disfigured. To me the separation of church and state is as much about protecting religion from government interference as it is about keeping religion out of government policy. With that in mind I believe anyone that advocates changing this country to be a theocracy or communist state of any kind is a potentially dangerous radical. I believe anyone that espouses the need to force anyone into worship or to block anyone from being able to worship peacefully as being a radical.

    TLDR : This country is founded on separation of church and state and freedom of religion so anyone attempting to alter that framework is a radical.

    Obviously I disagree about your opinion on the ACLU. My opinion is generated not only by reading the arguments of the ACLU in the cases you listed but by also the actions of the organization as a whole. The fact is the ACLU does often stand up for religious freedoms whether that freedom is to worship or to be free of said religion. I obviously prefer to see for my own eyes (court rulings briefings arguments etc) instead of relying on he said she said secondary accounts. Have you ever done the telephone game where you sit in circle with a group of people? The first person is told a sentence and then that sentence is passed from person to person till it completes the circle and is always completely stripped of it’s meaning or original intent by that point. That noise is what I seek to avoid.

    “You espouse the philosoply that the ends justify the means. Thus you permit evil to provide the means to effect what you believe to be a good thing. May God protect us from such nihilism. That is not the rule of law we want from those activist judges or power-hungry Presidents.”

    I have no idea where you got this from and I would appreciate it if you could please quote where you got this from.

    “Yet another erroneous assumption: that I wish to have a theocracy! Not sure how that one was derived. It is more of an ad hominem remark..Similar in origin to my labeling you an atheist.”

    Well dude you’ve been arguing the slippery slope argument with me most of this thread (omg we can’t force people to pray CHRISTIANITY IS GOING TO BE ERADICATED etc) so I was just engaging in the same activity as you. You are upset with a ruling that invalidated a state law that FORCED bible reading on students in a public school. You were upset that a court ruled that states cannot discriminate against people based on religion. You were upset that a court ruled against states forcing people to recite prayers in public schools. So taken as a whole you’re upset that the government cannot force you to pray to it’s god in school and read it’s holy book and discriminate against you because you’re not following the state religion. That sounds an awful lot like the beginnings of a theocracy to me when there’s a state established religion with the laws to force you to follow said religion. Taking the leap of logic from the separation of church and state to the systematic elimination of Christians is a whole other ballgame…

    “While we need is to protect the church from undue lawsuits and nationwide assaults on traditional practices, and we also need to protect the state from religious actions that harm the state and its people. For example, we need to enforce a wall to ensure that Islam can make no progress in subverting our government or our other religions.. There must be certain protections to and from religions, but I see no reason to try to denude the nation from public desplays of both a religious and an historical meaning and from other annoying attacks.. Especially from the secular humanist type of thinking which is atheist to the core, and from socialist/communist atheists, and would destroy the churches if they could.”

    WE no more need a wall against Islam then we do against Christianity buddy. The most infuriating thing about this discussion is your team player mentality. It’s alright if it’s your team doing it but don’t let them dirty Muslims do it. You can publicly display religious symbols all you want as a christian. I regularly see Jesus fishs crosses and more on cars. I see crosses and virgin Mary statues all over town. Now if you tried to do the same as a Muslim you would be physically/verbally assaulted on a daily basis. I know this because my fiancee has a Persian last name which “sounds muzlim” to the unenlightened. The irony is she comes from a Catholic family and her grandfather was even a deacon (he passed on recently). I’ve also seen the ignorance and hatred displayed against the Sikhs who frankly have a lot of my sympathy.

    I’ve already touched on the problem with displaying religious symbols on public owned grounds. You’re automatically favoring and supporting religion if you allow it’s symbols to appear but not the symbols of others. The all or nothing problem is something you want to overcome by state sanctioning of Christianity 🙁

    I’m pretty much labeled an atheist by my religious friends and family but I have no interest in destroying religion. While it is true that religion is responsible for a great amount of suffering and death around the world I do wonder if we’d even be better off if the weaker members of our society didn’t have that crutch to rely on and what their morals would end up being like. Now don’t think for a moment that I believe you rely on religion as a crutch because I believe you’re a smart enough and strong moral enough fellow that you could function fine as a good human without religion. The fact is though there are a lot of people who are too weak as a person to behave without a motivating factor such as hell or a comforting factor such as a heaven awaiting them..

    “So it appears that this argument really comes down to the kinds and degrees of separation of church and state for specific reasons and in specific instances we must have, and not just a blanket shutdown.or a total separation, which is not psychologically possible anyway in my opinion here in the US. We are still about 85% Christian, and I defy anyone to take the basic teachings of Christianity out of a newly elected Christian congressman, or somehow to make him forget them in his work and voting. I see prayer as another weapon used to denigrate the church in the public’s eyes, but I have stated my position on that before.”

    Yeah you’re right and I don’t believe anyone should be trying to purge religion out of those in government. I just believe that all peaceful religions should be treated the same by government. Yes 83% of Americans claim to be christian but a large chunk of those don’t go to church don’t study the bible and probably rarely pray and quite frankly shouldn’t be calling themselves Christians. I know way way wayyyy too many people that identify as Christian and don’t know a lick about the religion or bother to even expend a minimal amount of energy to worship (except when they need help in life).

    “You find labels meaningless in politics. So you would vote for a Muslim, or a Marxist into high office because those labels are meaningless, even if those people believe in their adopted labels and would act within the scope of those radical philosophies. That is very plainly stupid, if not also Anti-American. Labels have meaning, and should be taken into account.”

    Yes I would vote for a Muslim Marxist or a satanist if their voting record and other factors are in line with mine. It’s the second part you seem to be having problems with. Just because someone is a Muslim doesn’t mean they want to force the government into a theocracy anymore then just because someone is a Christian they want to force the government into a theocracy. Labels are generally assigned to people by others which inherently have bias. If the person is self labeled as an extremist Marxist then yeah I would have issues because obviously our political beliefs will not line up.

    “You may have the last word. I am done now. Too may false assumptions.”

    That sucks because I believe we’ve managed to destroy quite a few of those false assumptions by continuing this conversation. I personally have a much higher level of appreciation for your comments now that I’ve had a chance to poke you a bit. You generally come across as being an extremist Christian openly hostile to thoughts that disagree with your own. I’ve now had a chance to see that it’s the limitations of a text based environment that is resulting in that impression and not your actual core beliefs. The depths of human beliefs is difficult to catch in a two dimensional space 🙁

  129. matt says:

    Somehow I failed to mention that Religion has also been the source of a lot of good in this world. So in the end I have no idea if we as a species is better off with or without religion. I was playing with the structure of the paragraph and in the process I lost part of the sentence 🙁

  130. matt says:

    Once again thank you for your time and I hope you got at least a little something out of those conversation 😛

  131. mannning says:

    Yes, Matt, this discussion has had a beneficial impact on me, in that I see the need to present my ideas in a different way that would tend to preclude the reader from making erroneous assumptions about my personal belief system. Which system, by the way, I have developed into a tome of some length, partly for the very reason that core beliefs need to be translated into every day situations, and that is often not an easy task to accomplish on the fly. You are absolutely right that this two-dimensional medium is far too limiting.

    The other benefit I received is a bit more careful thought about separation of church and state in our society. There is a need for certain restrictions both ways: church against state, and state against church. You do not agree with my position here, but I would expect that, since I am in the defensive mode for Christianity in the public arena, in the case of keeping things as they are, yet allowing others their rights to display religious symbols too (if they can defend them from the more adamant defenders of the faith!), while you are more eclectic, I suppose, and also favor reducing the presence of Christian symbols.

    Sunday Christians is an ancient phenomena, and I have no feeling for the percentage of people that label themselves Christian but do not practice it. I would believe, say, 25%. There is the other aspect: those who practice their Christianity in private and in their daily life as it were, and not worshiping in church.

    Your position on voting runs afoul of the old saying about stocks: past performance is no guarantee of future performance.

    I cannot say that I enjoyed your “pokings” as they irritated me mightily, but perhaps they served their purpose after all. 🙂

  132. mannning says:

    Wallbuilders.com summarizes many objectionable ACLU lawsuits, and provides references to the next level of info. I am reviewing this list now to see whether I agree with the objections.
    They seem to hinge quite often on the interpretation of the scope and application of the First Amendment.

  133. matt says:

    “The other benefit I received is a bit more careful thought about separation of church and state in our society. There is a need for certain restrictions both ways: church against state, and state against church. You do not agree with my position here, but I would expect that, since I am in the defensive mode for Christianity in the public arena, in the case of keeping things as they are, yet allowing others their rights to display religious symbols too (if they can defend them from the more adamant defenders of the faith!), while you are more eclectic, I suppose, and also favor reducing the presence of Christian symbols.”

    Actually in an ideal world where people of all peaceful faiths were allowed to express their religious beliefs without fear I would totally agree with you. I have no issue with Christian displays on public property if other faiths are allowed space too. I’m just a worry wort and a pessimist so I assume people will not allow the lesser religions an equal opportunity or people will abuse it etc etc.

    “Sunday Christians is an ancient phenomena, and I have no feeling for the percentage of people that label themselves Christian but do not practice it.”

    hehe I had forgotten about that term.

    “There is the other aspect: those who practice their Christianity in private and in their daily life as it were, and not worshiping in church.”

    I know a few of those too and oddly enough they tend to be closer to what I imagine as being a real Christian then some of the loud “church people” I’ve come into contact with..

    “Your position on voting runs afoul of the old saying about stocks: past performance is no guarantee of future performance.”

    You got me there buddy. I’m a bit of a naive optimist when it comes to some things like say a certain president that promised to have an open administration and to quit the various illegal activities the government is engaged in (wiretapping torture etc). Sometimes I get bitten sometimes not..

    “I cannot say that I enjoyed your “pokings” as they irritated me mightily, but perhaps they served their purpose after all. :)”

    Words cannot describe how happy I am. Once again I’d like to thank you for toughing it out and having the patience to enlighten me.

    There’s something goofy with clicking on your name BTW.

  134. Patrick says:

    I hardly see where some people get their reasoning.

    Kennedy declared his right to be a Catholic, and the right of others to judge him on the issues, not his faith. And this was the heart and purpose of the address, nothing else. He went on to articulate the sacrifices made by Catholics in American history who were not first required to prove they had a suitable religious faith. He mentioned his brother and his own service to this country – not at all defensive but very revealing.

    The speech is not a sacred cow because a popular president gave it. It is sacred because it embodies a classic expression on what a free democratic republic expects from their leaders, and what leaders expect from an informed and intelligent electorate. He wasn’t being defensive (per Sarah Palin), he was mounting an offensive for freedom of conscience and religious affiliation – protestant, catholic, Jewish, etc. He was taking a stand for his right, and any citizens right, to be Roman Catholic, or of any other faith, and to run for the presidency ON THE ISSUES, and thereon to be fairly judged. And finally he was against the danger of religious arrogance and denominationalizm from infecting the American governing process.

    I respect Sarah Palin but she can do a revisit on what amounts to many people as a rather reckless and shallow view on this matter.

    “… I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source… and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all…But I do not intend to apologize for these views to my critics of either Catholic or Protestant faith, nor do I intend to disavow either my views or my church in order to win this election…” JFK September 12, 1960

  135. mannning says:

    “”where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source.””

    Surely not orders, but why not instruction, that is, educational instruction, on the views of a large group of citizenry and their leaders? That happens very often today, and I believe such educational exchanges are useful to both the government in formulating legislation that would affect all citizens,.and it would help the religious groups to understand the government viewpoint.

    There is no need to cut off effective communication between the government and religious groups.is there?

  136. Patrick says:

    Today we have a president who receives a heavy amount of instruction and influence from a ill complex of New Age and socialistic gospel flavoring. Are traditional Roman Catholics, mainline evangelicals, and Sarah Palin OK with this? If not I refer them to JFK’s wise address.

    I am 100% for faith believing Americans remaining true to her Judeo Christian Heritage in national spirit and essence, and even for elected officials to honor this vital ingredient in America’s historical soul by giving audience to wholesome religious views (which JFK did by the way). But the student of history finds serious complications in America’s freedom when Puritans or other particular zealous religious groups did most of the peculiar instructing in governing policy.

    There is a fine line in this debate and JFK wisely leaned toward one side of it. He won the election by a slim margin. Had he not taken the stance he did, he very well could have lost the election. And remember he was campaigning for the presidency, not as a spokesman for religious America.

  137. mannning says:

    @ Patrick

    My opinion is that our President must be true to his faith while ideally being able to receive a balanced set of alternative religious and non-religious views and wise council. Then, to promote policies and decisions that a majority of the people can live with, simply.because those policies and decisions can be seen to be fair, just and proper under our system of Constitutional and civil laws and the exegencies of the times.

    This ideal cannot be achieved in reality—you can’t please all of the people all of the time– but you can try to a certain extent. Obviously, the President must lead the nation, sometimes in the strife and turmoil of war, for instance, where there is no chance whatsoever of pleasing everyone.

    Nor is it feasible for the President to foster ideological “hope and change” when such a course does untold violence to the basic principles of our Constitution.and way of life, which then raises great opposition within the people to his brand of leadership.

  138. Patrick says:

    Manning,

    I agree with what you stated in your first paragraph (last post), but I don’t see where JFK failed in this balance, or in being true to his faith. He went to Mass constantly, attended Catholic ceremonies, attended protestant prayer breakfasts on occasion, constantly received various ministers on official visits, listened to what Martin Luther King Jr. had to say, listened to what Billy Graham had to say, listened to what Norman Vincent Peale had to say, remembered the wisdom of Peter Marshall, sought to establish just policies and laws based on their ‘religious’ input in combination with his own ethics and visions… he quoted from the scriptures in numerous addresses, implored the blessings of Almighty God… What else should he have done, religiously speaking? He fought for civil rights, human rights, freedom and peace internationally… Yet according to Sarah Palin, along with various evangelical and Catholic critics, the man didn’t quite express himself religiously enough during his administration – ???

    My opinion is that JFK said it as best and balanced as it can possibly be said, or accomplished, this side of heaven. I recommend that everyone listen carefully to the entire speech he gave to the Houston minister’s Association. I personally thank God we have been blessed with such leaders.

  139. JohnJay60 says:

    Palin and Romney write words that would be perfectly at home on a Taliban website: a passionate hatred for secular democracy. I don’t see how a Palin-Romney-Taliban philosophy is helpful to America.