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Pledge 'under God' uproar dividing Estes residents, recall election date to be set for trustee
Rocky Mountain News ^ | December 9, 2004 | Deborah Frazier

Posted on 12/09/2004 12:52:41 AM PST by ajolympian2004

In Estes Park, there's discomfort on all political sides that the flap over a town trustee's refusal to recite the Pledge of Allegiance is redefining the community.

"Estes Park is becoming known as a town that wants to recall someone instead of as a tourist attraction," said Linda Wagner, a 12-year resident.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: Colorado
KEYWORDS: 1stamendment; allegiance; colorado; david; estes; estespark; god; habecker; park; pledge; pledgeofallegiance; trustee; under; undergod
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"I want to see it resolved without dividing our community," she said.

Trustee Lori Jeffrey-Clark succeeded in making the pledge part of meetings in May.

In September, Trustee David Habecker said he would stay silently seated during the pledge because the founding fathers wanted to separate church and state.

The pledge was written in 1892, but the words "under God" weren't added until 1954 during Sen. Joe McCarthy's witch hunt for godless communists, Habecker said.

Richard Clark, Jeffrey-Clark's husband, started a drive in November to recall Habecker and gathered enough signatures for a special election.

A date for the recall election will be set Tuesday.

Life in Estes Park is usually harmonious. In winter, there are few tourists and many of the summer residents have gone. Many businesses close.

Folks catch up on bookkeeping, chores and friendships and get ready for the holidays.

Not this year.

There's talk of business boycotts, secret agendas and grudges.

"It's gathered a lot of attention," said Lisa Pogue, news editor at the Estes Park Trail Gazette. "We get an abundance of letters on the issue every week."

Norm Pritchard helped gather signatures for the recall because he didn't think a public official should use dramatics to air a personal view.

But he agrees with Habecker on one issue - the rising political power of conservative Christians is troubling.

"Any fanatically religious group scares me, especially as a voting block," said Pritchard, who owns a bed and breakfast lodge.

And, when he was gathering signatures, Pritchard said many of the residents who signed did so for what he considers the wrong reasons.

"They thought it was unpatriotic," said Pritchard, who believes Habecker has a constitutional right to free speech but is going about it in the wrong way. "(Some petition signers) don't give a damn about constitutional rights."

The authors of the Constitution intentionally kept God out of the document and guaranteed the right to free speech.

In fact, the author of the Pledge of Allegiance, minister Francis Bellamy, presumably would have not wanted God in the oath, said Lief Carter, a professor at Colorado College.

"He supported a separation of church and state," said Carter, who has a law degree from Harvard and a doctorate in political science.

"He didn't want us to think of this as a country under God in the same way that Osama bin Laden thinks that what he does is the will of God," said Carter.

Wagner is voting against the recall because, "there's nothing more American than protesting." But she wishes the conflict would go away.

"It's almost depressing that our town is focusing on this, and the real business that we need to focus on - such as parking and the environment - is being ignored," she said.

1 posted on 12/09/2004 12:52:42 AM PST by ajolympian2004
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To: ajolympian2004

You know, I could possibly see not voting for this guy again because of this, but does sitting down during the pledge for religious really justify the expense of a recall and subsequent special election?


2 posted on 12/09/2004 12:56:03 AM PST by Melas
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To: ajolympian2004

I'm really glad to see that parking and the environment are equally weighty issues in Estes.


3 posted on 12/09/2004 12:58:08 AM PST by shibumi (John Galt is alive and well. He tends bar in a casino restaurant.)
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To: ajolympian2004

...maybe 'under allah' would work better for them...


4 posted on 12/09/2004 1:00:26 AM PST by ApesForEvolution (You will NEVER convince me that Muhammadanism isn't a death cult that must end. Save your time...)
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To: Melas
Gunny Bob Newman also covered this on his show here in Colorado on 850am KOA from 7pm to 10pm last night. He also said the trustee was turning his back to the flag as the Pledge of Allegiance was being recited by everyone else. That's bush league... and worth a recall.

The silent majority is wide awake in America. Red states will become redder and some of the blues will be flipped in the next election in 2008. The backlash against those like the ACLU who want remove 'God' from public view and thought has really just begun, in my humble opinion of course.

5 posted on 12/09/2004 1:03:05 AM PST by ajolympian2004
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To: ajolympian2004; All

If he chose simply not to speak, I would suggest tolerance.

When an elected representative turns his back on the flag, IT'S TIME TO GO!


6 posted on 12/09/2004 1:06:36 AM PST by shibumi (John Galt is alive and well. He tends bar in a casino restaurant.)
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To: ajolympian2004
The silent majority is wide awake in America. Red states will become redder and some of the blues will be flipped in the next election in 2008.

If only you were really talking about red and blue, but you're not, you're actually talking about religion. Maybe I shouldn't, but I have these paranoid fears that vindictive theists want to burn me and those who believe like me at the stake, even if metaphorically.

7 posted on 12/09/2004 1:09:00 AM PST by Melas
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To: ajolympian2004; All

Obviously this guy Carter, while getting his Harvard Law Degree and his PhD (Piled Higher and Deeper) in Political Science, failed to notice that the term "...separation of church and state..." occurs NOWHERE in the founding documents of this nation.


8 posted on 12/09/2004 1:10:31 AM PST by shibumi (John Galt is alive and well. He tends bar in a casino restaurant.)
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To: Melas
If only you were really talking about red and blue, but you're not, you're actually talking about religion. Maybe I shouldn't, but I have these paranoid fears that vindictive theists want to burn me and those who believe like me at the stake, even if metaphorically.

I'm talking about people like myself who will be voting for candidates based on our beliefs and the long held traditions of our great country. Take my sister's church in Orlando for example... all 1200+ eligible voters in their membership all turned out to the polls and voted early for President Bush.

If Christians becoming even more politcally active and speaking up for our beliefs sounds vindictive it's too bad from my perspective.

This is about making a stand againist the left who preach tolerance, but their actions are based on intolerance.

I am fired up more than ever! A passionate conservative Christian is more powerful than any liberal can ever imagine.

9 posted on 12/09/2004 1:25:00 AM PST by ajolympian2004
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To: ajolympian2004
Wagner is voting against the recall because, "there's nothing more American than protesting." But she wishes the conflict would go away.

I hope the rats continue to protest, and loudly proclaim their Godless American hating elitist liberalism. Then I hope they continue to whine when the voters proclaim that those who would represent the people must represent the people.

10 posted on 12/09/2004 1:25:14 AM PST by Once-Ler ("He lives in Madison, WI. No wonder he thinks Bush is a conservative!")
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To: ajolympian2004

smug idiots need to learn some more history instead of parroting secular extremist talking points


11 posted on 12/09/2004 1:53:43 AM PST by Texas_Jarhead
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To: Melas

It's all good until the Federal Government gets involved.

The biggest problem we have in this country is that the Federal Courts get involved in these local disputes.

The 1st Amendment says: Congress shall make no law respecting religion or the free exercise thereof.

Then the more recent equal rights amendment militated against the first amendment. Now the communities are required by the judiciary to make laws so that local communities have to follow a certain religious script. The 'equal rights under the law' is construed to require these communities to grant people the right to not be offended.

And that is the situation in which we find ourselves. The misuse of the ERA, the tinkering with the constitution has caused a tyranny to erupt from the federal government which we will not be able to control without the christians of this country rising up to take the government back from the atheists. That way we can bring back the tolerance.

Now when I say 'bring back the tolerance' I mean that we need to return control of the communities back to the communities. Give the states control of the states and reduce the power of the federal government to control behaviors. Along the same lines, I am pleased to see that many states are having to raise their local taxes. This local effect will effect changes into the government as the populations vote out the wasteful politicians for more efficient people. This is the efficiency of the local community to manage their own expenses and affairs.

So with respect to this 'person' who wants to turn his back on the flag and misuse his office in order to make political statements, if the local community wants to vote him out then let it be so. If that local community wishes to establish Christianity as their religion of choice then that is okay too. If that local community wants to establish islam as their religion of choice that is their choice. The federal Courts MUST NOT get involved in that choice. And where a person does not feel 'comfortable' or 'welcomed' in a community, there are other communities for him to go to. Or perhaps that person can establish himself in that community without the help of the federal government, perhaps that person can be tolerant and respectful of the community. Perhaps that community requires a lesson in tolerance. That lesson cannot be taught by Judicial Fiat!

The federal courts might get involved in the MOST AGGREGIOUS cases of outright bigotry, crossburnings and lynch mobs. But to the extent the Feds are active today they have become the problem.

It's all good until the feds get involved.


12 posted on 12/09/2004 2:00:06 AM PST by Samurai_Jack (just a thought)
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To: Melas

There's something off-putting about someone in public office who doesn't respect American values. If he wants to be seated, fine but not at taxpayers' expense. The Left has for too long acted like they can do as they please but the public has to follow their dictates. I'm sick and tired of the hypocrisy.


13 posted on 12/09/2004 2:03:49 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: ApesForEvolution
If we were in a position where "under Allah" were part of the pledge, what would happen to him for refusing to say it? Would they cut off an ear? Or a hand? Or a the tongue?

Whether you are religious or chose not to be, your liberty is still vested in one nation under god. Nobody is asking anyone to be religious....that is a separate and private matter we respect, because we respect the freedom of the individual. It seems perfectly clear to me.

14 posted on 12/09/2004 2:22:47 AM PST by NetValue (Trust the cobra before you trust the liberal.)
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To: goldstategop

If he does not respect American values he should not hold public office in America. The public has a right to expect that the people elected ARE true Americans. If he deceived the voters, they have the right to remove him. Since he is a fraud having misled the voters, he should be required to repay his allowance.


15 posted on 12/09/2004 2:26:48 AM PST by NetValue (Trust the cobra before you trust the liberal.)
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To: ajolympian2004
"a town trustee's refusal to recite the Pledge of Allegiance is redefining the community"

No, it's clarifying the community's values. The so-called "trustee" is correctly seen as a trouble-maker. He does not have to be religious to pledge allegiance.

16 posted on 12/09/2004 2:36:26 AM PST by NetValue (Trust the cobra before you trust the liberal.)
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To: Samurai_Jack
So with respect to this 'person' who wants to turn his back on the flag and misuse his office in order to make political statements, if the local community wants to vote him out then let it be so. If that local community wishes to establish Christianity as their religion of choice then that is okay too.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. And you'd be ok with penalties for not sharing in the community relgion? Sorry, not on board, won't come on board, not my party.

17 posted on 12/09/2004 2:40:53 AM PST by Melas
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To: goldstategop

In your opinion, is not believing in gods somehow a slap in the face to American values?


18 posted on 12/09/2004 2:41:26 AM PST by Melas
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To: Melas
You know, I could possibly see not voting for this guy again because of this, but does sitting down during the pledge for religious really justify the expense of a recall and subsequent special election?

Yeah, I'm afraid in this day and age, it does. He could just mumble the words "under God", but he needs to say the pledge.

19 posted on 12/09/2004 2:44:17 AM PST by Caipirabob (Democrats.. Socialists..Commies..Traitors...Who can tell the difference?)
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To: Melas

What penalties? Did I say 'penalties' anywhere?

And what gives you the right to dictate how a community of amish people will live their lives? What gives me the right to tell the city of Los Angeles that they must remove the cross from their city seal? If the ACLU decides that all religion must be expunged from the public square, I guarantee it will use the federal government to enforce that tyranny.

We MUST return control of the local communities to the local communities. We MUST return control of the states to the states. Those right not SPECIFICALLY enumerated within the constitution must be granted to the States and the Individual respectively. Specifically does not mean 'prenumberances' either.


20 posted on 12/09/2004 3:00:36 AM PST by Samurai_Jack (just a thought)
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To: ajolympian2004

A passionate conservative Christian is more powerful than any liberal can ever imagine.

Amen to that and I'm fired up also as many of us are and proved it in this election. They are really going too far by trying to get rid of Christmas.


21 posted on 12/09/2004 3:13:57 AM PST by garylmoore (God Bless you W, you have prevailed.)
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To: shibumi
the term "...separation of church and state..." occurs NOWHERE in the founding documents of this nation.

But if you repeat a LIE long enough and often enough it becomes accepted fact.

22 posted on 12/09/2004 3:20:49 AM PST by trickyricky
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To: ajolympian2004
Someone tell me again why citizens of a free country are reciting pledges. This is something I would expect in North Korea or China.

Francis Bellamy was a socialist nutjob obsessed with preventing another attempt at secession: one nation, indivisible...It's like he's rubbing the South's face in it. Is the "indivisibility" of our "one" nation anywhere in the Constitution? Are any states currently trying to split? It's as relevant as a pledge that insists on our autonomy from Britain.

23 posted on 12/09/2004 3:38:41 AM PST by Tristram Shandy (The Dude abides)
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To: Tristram Shandy
Someone tell me again why citizens of a free country are reciting pledges. This is something I would expect in North Korea or China.

I think the difference is that we are pledging our allegiance to our country that believes in liberty and justice for all...

... versus in North Korea, Cuba, Iran, China and others where you are pledging to the person whose picture is posted anywhere you might look throughout the country.

24 posted on 12/09/2004 4:09:54 AM PST by ajolympian2004
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To: Melas
Maybe I shouldn't, but I have these paranoid fears that vindictive theists want to burn me and those who believe like me at the stake

Which fears have no basis in historical or present reality.

Your neighbors whom you apparantly fear are the most kindly and tolerant people in the history of humankind.

25 posted on 12/09/2004 4:12:29 AM PST by Jim Noble (FR Iraq policy debate begins 11/3/04. Pass the word.)
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To: ajolympian2004
Mike Dukakis did something very much along these lines when he sat on the Brookline (Mass.) Board of Selectmen.

'Nuff said!
26 posted on 12/09/2004 4:29:24 AM PST by Gay State Conservative
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To: ajolympian2004

ROFL, serves the goober right. He could have just skipped the part he didn't like. Sitting for the PoA just shows he's and anti-Amercian Clymer.


27 posted on 12/09/2004 4:31:27 AM PST by Constantine XIII
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To: Melas
In your opinion, is not believing in gods somehow a slap in the face to American values?
"If you live your life like there's no God - you'd better be right."
28 posted on 12/09/2004 4:32:04 AM PST by oh8eleven
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To: Melas
Oh come on, when was the last time a Baptist went on a Jihad and started slaying innocent Athiests and Pagans?

:P

I think you're overstating the problem just a little bit.

29 posted on 12/09/2004 4:33:29 AM PST by Constantine XIII
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To: ajolympian2004
"Any fanatically religious group scares me, especially as a voting block,"
said Pritchard, who owns a bed and breakfast lodge.

Ahhhh, I see, Christians are now defined as fanatics.
I wonder if the Dems getting 98% of the black vote every year scares him?
Unbelievable.

30 posted on 12/09/2004 4:37:47 AM PST by oh8eleven
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To: ajolympian2004

BELLAMY WAS AN UNBELIEVER-AND A SOCIALIST. THE GUY HAS A
RIGHT TO NOT PARTICIPATE.AND A PETITION FOR HIS REMOVAL OUGHT BE ON GROUNDS OF INCOMPETANCE--NOT RESTRICTED TO HIS
IGNORANCE,OR MISUNDERSTANDING OF AMERICAN HISTORY. I ALWAYS
BELIEVE DESTES PARK WAS JEALOUS OF ASPEN AND VAIL TOO RICH
AND ELITIST FOR MY FAVOR.


31 posted on 12/09/2004 4:56:17 AM PST by StonyBurk
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To: Melas

The culture war rages on...


32 posted on 12/09/2004 5:08:14 AM PST by Brilliant
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To: ajolympian2004

MORON ALERT!!

The authors of the Constitution intentionally kept God out of the document and guaranteed the right to free speech.

Yo - dipwad, James Madison authored the Constitution. And FYI, Thomas Jefferson authored the Declaration of Independence (where God is referenced).

And jacka$$, explain this if 'God' is NOT in the Constitution:

Preamble
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.
Now if not God, exactly whom were 'we' asking to secure "blessings", huh?!? The frigging King of Siam?!?
33 posted on 12/09/2004 5:48:26 AM PST by Condor51 (May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't. - Gen G Patton)
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To: ajolympian2004

Conservative Christians are fanatics?

YAY! I've made the big time!! I'm a fanatic!!


34 posted on 12/09/2004 6:10:08 AM PST by Tennessee_Bob (Come on you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?)
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To: Jim Noble; Constantine XIII
You know when you quote me, I'd appreciate a little less editing.

Maybe I shouldn't, but I have these paranoid fears that vindictive theists want to burn me and those who believe like me at the stake

reads a lot differently than:

If only you were really talking about red and blue, but you're not, you're actually talking about religion. Maybe I shouldn't, but I have these paranoid fears that vindictive theists want to burn me and those who believe like me at the stake, even if metaphorically.

That last clause is essential in underlining that I'm not really talking about being burned at the stake. Without it, I sound like a rambling nutbar who's afraid the good christians are going to come kill me, not merely marginalize or censure me.

35 posted on 12/09/2004 6:56:15 AM PST by Melas
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To: shibumi
When an elected representative turns his back on the flag, IT'S TIME TO GO!

It's time also if he remains seated.

He is presumably capable of standing and placing his right hand over his heart. He is not forced to do this; neither is he forced to be a public official paid by the public

36 posted on 12/09/2004 7:02:10 AM PST by mtntop3 ("He who must know before he believes will never come to full knowledge.")
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To: Samurai_Jack
And what gives you the right to dictate how a community of amish people will live their lives?

Well, obviously, I have no right personally. However, as a greater society we have a great deal to say about how the Amish live their lives. Ask the Mormons about sticky religious practices that were proscribed across the country.

We MUST return control of the local communities to the local communities. We MUST return control of the states to the states. Those right not SPECIFICALLY enumerated within the constitution must be granted to the States and the Individual respectively. Specifically does not mean 'prenumberances' either.

I've had this argument with many, many a Southern type, and the answer remains the same: There is no going back. For good or for bad, state citizenship means little in the 21st century. In the early 20th century, according to the census's then, most people still died within 50 miles of their birth. Today, chances are you'll live in at least 3 states in your lifetime.

You can argue the philosphy back and forth until the cows come home, but that won't do a damned thing to turn back the clock and erode the growing national citizenship at the expense of a diminished state citizenship. IBM, Oil companies, the military, et al will still continue to move their people to and fro. The population of many states will continue to include more out of staters (and even foreign born) that natives. It's just a fact of modern day life.

37 posted on 12/09/2004 7:05:11 AM PST by Melas
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To: Melas
Maybe I shouldn't, but I have these paranoid fears that vindictive theists want to burn me and those who believe like me at the stake, even if metaphorically.

That last clause is essential in underlining that I'm not really talking about being burned at the stake. Without it, I sound like a rambling nutbar who's afraid the good christians are going to come kill me, not merely marginalize or censure me.

If the community decides on a set of morals and you do not live up to those morals then you should be marginalized and/or censured. This is not the same as being burned at the stake by any stretch of the imagination.

The point that was made is that the local community should have control over the local community. There is no constitutional prohibition against a local community enforcing Christianity (or any other religion)

38 posted on 12/09/2004 7:32:08 AM PST by John O (God Save America (Please))
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To: Melas
For good or for bad, state citizenship means little in the 21st century. In the early 20th century, according to the census's then, most people still died within 50 miles of their birth. Today, chances are you'll live in at least 3 states in your lifetime.

no one said anything about state citizenship. The point was that States should control what happens in those states

39 posted on 12/09/2004 7:35:44 AM PST by John O (God Save America (Please))
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To: Melas
If only you're actually talking about these paranoid fears vindictive me and those who believe like me, even if. That sounds about right, I agree with this. ;)
40 posted on 12/09/2004 7:35:54 AM PST by ajolympian2004
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To: Melas
I sound like a rambling nutbar who's afraid the good christians are going to come kill me, not merely marginalize or censure me

If you think the Christian people of this blessed nation are coming to marginalize or censure you, you ARE a rambling nutbar.

41 posted on 12/09/2004 7:38:55 AM PST by Jim Noble (FR Iraq policy debate begins 11/3/04. Pass the word.)
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To: Jim Noble

42 posted on 12/09/2004 7:50:37 AM PST by ajolympian2004
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To: Jim Noble
If you think the Christian people of this blessed nation are coming to marginalize or censure you, you ARE a rambling nutbar.

See reply #38.

43 posted on 12/09/2004 8:18:13 AM PST by malakhi
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To: Melas

Doesn't it help that I said it with a smile? ;)


44 posted on 12/09/2004 8:52:07 AM PST by Constantine XIII
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To: John O
The point that was made is that the local community should have control over the local community. There is no constitutional prohibition against a local community enforcing Christianity (or any other religion)

That's perhaps the most unamerican idea I've ever read on Free Republic. Now it's ok to "enforce" religious observance. So much for the supposedly unalienable right of a man to hold his own conscience eh?

45 posted on 12/09/2004 10:11:10 AM PST by Melas
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To: Melas

' have these paranoid fears that vindictive theists want to burn me and those who believe like me at the stake, even if metaphorically.'

Geez, can you be a bigger drama queen or pansy?


46 posted on 12/09/2004 10:25:59 AM PST by xone
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To: ajolympian2004; All

Ever since the election I'm seeing more of a backlash against the ACLU more.. It seems that that ACLU does not get the message.


47 posted on 12/09/2004 10:28:03 AM PST by KevinDavis (Let the meek inherit the Earth, the rest of us will explore the stars!)
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To: Melas
That's perhaps the most unamerican idea I've ever read on Free Republic. Now it's ok to "enforce" religious observance. So much for the supposedly unalienable right of a man to hold his own conscience eh?

Read the constitution. Not only is it an American idea for locals to control their own communities but it is a constitutionally protected idea. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF..."

48 posted on 12/09/2004 11:45:20 AM PST by John O (God Save America (Please))
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To: xone

Please, please, please live in Texas.


49 posted on 12/09/2004 1:41:14 PM PST by Melas
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To: John O

Prohibiting the free exercise of, which you chose to highlight has nothing whatsoever with coercing belief. That's not belief pal.


50 posted on 12/09/2004 1:42:13 PM PST by Melas
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