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The Separation of Church and State, a Communist idea???

by Ted_Percival / January 16, 2015 6:11 AM PST

Santorum replied:
"... the words 'separation of church and state' is not in the U.S. Constitution, but it was in the constitution of the former Soviet Union. That's where it very, very comfortably sat, not in ours."

"You can trust a Conservative to get his facts wrong every time." E. D. Percival. Jan. 16, 2015
Santorum is correct in one small particular. the words don't appear in the Constitution, but their meaning does in the First Amendment.

"The phrase "separation of church and state" is generally said to be a derivation of this 1644 quote from American Baptist theologian and founder of Rhode Island, Roger Williams:

"...[A] hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world..." "

And he wasn't an American either, neither born, nor bred, nor even died. (He died in "the colonies".)

Now Jefferson, who quoted Williams in 1802, was an American:
"in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists of Connecticut: "American people which declared that their "legislature" should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State."

So was James Madison:

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.".
1797, Treaty of Tripoli.

Isn't it funny just how many simple, easy, obvious, well known and fundamental things about the United States and its founding that Conservatives get wrong? You know, All of them. But every time they get the chance they wrap themselves in Betsy Ross's flag (the one she didn't design or, in fact, have anything to do with) and swear that they are strict Constructionists, and are only adhering to the true principles of the founders of our Nation.

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separation of church and state
by James Denison / January 16, 2015 7:24 AM PST

doesn't promote state over that which is greater, the church. After all, God's govt is greater than man's.

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What part of a secular government don't you understand?
by Diana Forum moderator / January 16, 2015 9:46 AM PST

Besides which God? Separation of church and state does mean that secular laws are the law of the land, not the church's law. If you want to go to a country where God's law rules, you should try the Middle East.

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Read it
by James Denison / January 16, 2015 4:15 PM PST
"make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

Now plug in other words.

make no law respecting states rights, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

Hmm, puts the state ahead of the federal govt when it comes to what's done in that state, wouldn't it?

It would also mean any union of states would tell the federal govt what to do, or create a new separate united govt, while retaining the autonomy of their own powers which THEY do not relegate to that current federal govt and can take back at any time. I'm guessing that wouldn't please you, it didn't please Lincoln, who put "union" and enslavement of states, evidenced by Reconstruction, ahead of citizen's self determination.

Means the same when applied to religion, it trumps the government. The government is supposed to look to religious principles for moral guidance, not the lint in their belly navel, or their libido driven lusts from their other body parts. The church is greater because it survives from free will offerings, whereas the govt can only survive by using force to take the funds required for it's continuance. The church lives, while the govt steals. The church is stronger than all govts. It has survived many govts through the ages and will still be here when this present govt is gone. Those who put their faith in govt will be disappointed, those who place it in Jesus and his Father will not.

Nevertheless, even if Jefferson misguided and concealed the truth meaning of that phrase for his own secular purposes, I accept it at face value, because it recognizes that God who is over religion, is the one who truly rules.
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I agree that the original intent of the Founding Fathers
by Ted_Percival / January 16, 2015 8:14 PM PST
In reply to: Read it

was much more a loose federation of independent states with the States supreme. However the unrecognized and rather surprising historical movement to more centralized government. In Europe both Italy and Germany were fragmented until late in the 19th Century, but ultimately unified simply because the interests of a common language group were better served by cohesion. Switzerland is still a federation, with 4 languages supreme in 4 separate languages, but rights for the other language groups recognized nation-wide. Canada too balances two language groups as does Belgium. Canada is a federation which tries to balance the individual interests of the Provinces with the central government handling trans Provincial and international needs.

"Misguided and concealed the truth" is an odd way to express his concept of the Union, however. Nor was he the only anti-religious person among the rather large group who created the Union. Since the previous three centuries in Europe were scarred by religious wars, and England had fought a Civil War at exactly the time of the founding of the Plymouth and other colonies, that consciousness of the tendency of religion to divide people was uppermost in the minds of the Founding Fathers. It was also the guiding principle of The Enlightenment, often called The Age of Reason in order to differentiate it from The Age of Faith, which essentially was the period from between 300 to 600 AD, and the late 17th/ early 18th Century, say 1650 to 1700. Roger Williams was a Baptist minister, and the foundation of Rhode Island was essentially in order to found a purely Baptist colony. A great deal of the division of the colonies in the 17th century was the separation of various sects attempting to establish their own areas of predominance.

The division between church and state was addressed by Jesus himself. "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's." I don't think we can say either sphere is "above" or dominant over the other. They take care of different things. Religion, and many non-religious belief systems take care of the spiritual realm while government takes care of the secular, day to day, legal, interpersonal and inter-everything-else realm. If some of us neglect the spiritual that is our loss and damages us, but it isn't something that any power on earth can force as solution on, despite what the jihadis and the nutbar Islamists think.

It might be useful to remember that Islam is in its later adolescence compared to Christianity. It's still only 1400 years old, which was exactly when the religious wars among Christian countries and sects began. The great Schism, Protestantism and the Wars of Religion (meaning the Christian religion) began in the 15th Century and didn't end until the late 17th. Even the English Civil War was a War of Religion. And if that isn't depressing (i.e. that Islam is entering its period of Religious War) I don't know what is. Actually, I do think we're seeing the last gasp of Islamic conflict, though whether it will end in anything less than a century, I don't know. I think or maybe it should be I hope that this is the death throes of the lunatic fringe of Islam. And please, dear God, let it be a quick death.


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The wording of the First Amendment is fairly clear
by Steven Haninger / January 16, 2015 10:20 PM PST

The asides of a few who debated and wrote those words offer some insights as to the intention but we cannot use those as the law all by themselves. The Bill of Rights to the Constitution of the United States merely expresses some of the limitations of government as far as laws it can make. It tells us what government cannot and will not do. It doesn't tell us what citizens must or must not do in regards to their relationship with government. As for making no law respecting an establishment of religion, this simply says government will show no favoritism of one over the other. Not prohibiting "free exercise" means just what it says. It doesn't mean that one is free to go to the church of choice and worship within the building structure as they please as some want to think. I'd say that free exercise also allows that one can use moral guidance, from where ever it's derived, when exercising voting rights. It would make no sense to not do so. Unlike a CAPTCHA, no matter how we try to bend the words that were written, they still read the same way.

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