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Atheists Sue President Over National Prayer Day
Fox News ^ | October 3, 2008 | Associated Press

Posted on 10/04/2008 2:27:00 AM PDT by AndyTheBear

MADISON, Wis. — The nation's largest group of atheists and agnostics is suing President Bush, the governor of Wisconsin and other officials over the federal law designating a National Day of Prayer.

(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: agnostics; americanheritage; antiamerican; antichristian; atheists; christianheritage; lawsuit; natldayofprayer; ndop; prayer
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To: JasonInPoland

I know I don’t sound exactly like an atheist. It certainly confuses the Jehova’s Witnesses who occasionally come to my door. But I am.

“I do not think we have seen that an atheist society cannot maintain any morality”

I don’t mean to say that some atheists can’t maintain morality, only that an atheistic society tends to drift, and usually downwards. While we see that in theistic societies as well, I personally think that such drifts are directly attributable to the extent to which members of such a society are losing their faith. It is one thing to go to church. It is quite another to truly believe in the moral principles of a religion, and to practice them. That is a direct matter of faith, which atheists of course do not have.

“It is quite possible that the world can have a prosperous, stable, and morally sound society founded on atheistic principles.”

Well, okay. But based upon which, exactly, atheistic principles? There is no particular principle that I can think of that might be intrinsically common to or directly attributable to atheism.

“And let’s not confuse the discussion by lumping atheism together with every other belief system.”

If anything, I’d call atheism a lack of belief system. And I’m not trying to make an argument against atheism. I’d have to argue against myself to do that. I only argue that a theistic society provides a better society in which to live, for an atheist such as myself. Less bad things, generally, to put up with and more checks and balances to keep my own standards up.

I would argue against a religious state, for that can be oppressive. Our constitution prohibits that at the federal level, which gives me the benefit of being able to openly be atheist and still benefit from the high moral base of American theism. Pity that the latter is giving way to liberalism at an alarming rate.

I’ve never been oppressed by religion in the USA. However, I’ve been terribly oppressed by liberalism. I can tell the door to door missionaries to get lost, but liberals use the state to steal both my treasure and my liberty. They’ve managed to bypass the constitution quite handily to that effect. A national prayer day is the least of my worries.


51 posted on 10/04/2008 3:07:30 PM PDT by wgflyer (Liberalism is to society what HIV is to the immune system.)
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To: metmom

“I doubt that the number of atheists is that high to begin with.”

Here’s one site that claims there are over 16 million atheists in America:

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_Atheists_live_in_the_US

And I don’t think they’re trying to cater to any religious or non-religious persuasion, but I cannot attest to the validity of their statistics. However, I’ve seen similar numbers elsewhere. I can find a better source of information, if you require it, metmom.

“An atheistic community would still have the heavy influence of the Judeo-Christian heritage that this country was founded on.”

That might be stretching things a bit. I would say that our country was partially founded on a Judeo-Christian traditions and philosophy, but it was also based on secular traditions and philosophy as well. We cannot ignore the role of secularism in American history. In fact, the USA was the first country to found itself on a separation of church and state, and secularism helped define the American experiment as such.

“If you think that China is not so bad, you are far more deceived than you even have a clue of.”

I never said China wasn’t so bad. But they are a powerful nation, not a failing one. That was my only point.

“If you think that France is not in such bad shape, yo don’t know your history very well. Google up *French Revolution* to find out what happens to a society or nation that rejects God.”

I don’t need a history lesson, thank you. My point, again, is that France has survived and is now a strong member of the European Union.

So, no, I don’t think there is enough evidence to conclude that nations which reject God and radically embrace secularism are doomed to failure.

But please note the following point: I am not basing my argument on the examples of China and France. I only mentioned them because you asked for examples. Rather, I am basing my argument on the fact that we simply don’t have enough evidence to form a conclusion here.

The problems and failures of most atheistic nations are the problems and failures of communism and fascism, not atheism.


52 posted on 10/05/2008 1:45:05 AM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: metmom

“Funny thing is, evolution scientists say that man has evolved to believe in God. So, those smug elitists who like to think that they’re so superior to believers, really aren’t according to science. Oh, the irony.”

Can you reference any studies by scientists about that? I know that some scientists have hypothesized that religious belief is an evolved trait. But that is not a fact. It’s just an hypothesis. It has not been supported by evidence, as far as I know.

But, let’s say, hypothetically, that it is true. That does not really matter. Because lots of things that hurt us are evolved traits. Consider wisdom teeth. We don’t want’em, and we’re better off when we get them removed. Yet, scientists will tell you that they are the product of evolution.

So, finding an evolutionary source of religious belief would not count as an argument for (or against) religious belief. It would just be an explanation for how we got it.


53 posted on 10/05/2008 1:45:06 AM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: wgflyer

wgflyer,

Okay, atheism is not generally thought of as a belief system. But I think it is, because a person who lacks belief in God would not bother to call themself an “atheist” unless they had some reason to do so. Atheism is the belief that not believing in God is something to embrace and identify with.

Atheistic principles are principles which reject notions of divine authority or intervention.

A society can be democratic and capitalistic and reject all notions of divine authority and intervention. They can regard authority as a man-made issue, as a matter of man-made laws and politics. They can regard morality as something which is concerned with this life, with how human beings live and work together.

We don’t need religious books or leaders to tell us how to live. In fact, I think even some of the most religious of us tend to look skeptically upon religious texts and leaders, even within their own faith.

We can think for ourselves. About morality, about politics, about life. We don’t need religious authority to tell us how to be good people. We feel it and we negotiate it together, as civilized human beings.

An atheistic society, as I see it, is one that regards human beings as responsible for their own morality and culture. It regards human beings as responsible for their own lives.

It’s all about responsibility.

For atheists, the National Prayer Day is part of a bigger picture which involves funneling tax dollars towards religious institutions and providing a state-sponsored shield which protects religious authority from criticism.

Again, it’s about responsibility. We want to be able to subject religious institutions to the same controls and criticisms we apply to everything else. That is what it means to live in a free society.


54 posted on 10/05/2008 2:18:01 AM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: JasonInPoland

Basically, what you describe is liberalism. I see no difference in what you say and liberal America today. Right now my money is stolen to support, for example, homosexual misbehavior, and the results, addicts of various narcotics, sloth, apathy, European boondoggles and, now, the failure of Congress and their cronies in the housing and real estate industry. All of these things are the result of irresponsibility. All the results of behavior by people who no longer know the difference between right and wrong. And you’re worried about possible tax dollars going to a prayer day? (and I don’t get the connection between a national prayer day and a state religion funneling tax dollars anywhere) Rejection of divine authority is simply that. It is no principle. It is merely a disbelief. When you “negotiate” your rights with other people you ultimately are saying that your rights are negotiable. Our constitution was written to suggest that our rights are definitely not negotiable. I notice that the more atheistic our society becomes, the more my own rights are negotiable...to other people.

No, my friend, I would say that to maintain your faith requires maintaining a very high set of principles that atheism can not compete with. And I applaud the faithful for that.

Now, if you wish to debate the actual existence of God, I’ll probably jump over to your side, for I haven’t seen a good argument yet, which is why I’m atheist. But I see very clearly the difference between the behavior of those of faith and those without. And I don’t like what I see in the latter.


55 posted on 10/05/2008 4:35:06 AM PDT by wgflyer (Liberalism is to society what HIV is to the immune system.)
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To: JasonInPoland; betty boop; Alamo-Girl; hosepipe; MrB; tpanther; Fichori
A society can be democratic and capitalistic and reject all notions of divine authority and intervention.

And it won't last long that way. You keep referring to countries which are atheistic and successful. Please give us examples of ANY country which has been successfully established based on a rejection of God. Please give us an example of any country which has continued to be successful when it has rejected God.

Our country is in the rejecting God stage and is beginning to bear the fruit of that rejection. Moral values are being lost; human life is being devalued; crime and corruption are increasing. Nothing good comes from a rejection of God.

Atheists have no standard on which to base a value system. Situational ethics don't work. What it finally gets down to is might makes right and people who manage to get into power impose their belief and value systems on others with the heavy hand of tyranny.

We want to be able to subject religious institutions to the same controls and criticisms we apply to everything else.

I'll bet you do.

That is what it means to live in a free society.

No, it isn't.

Our Constitution restricts what the federal government can do in regards to religion. What you are championing violates the Constitution.

56 posted on 10/05/2008 5:40:02 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: wgflyer

I don’t see how I’m describing liberalism here. I have problems with liberalism, too. No, I think “secularism” is a better word for what I’m talking about. Secularism, not liberalism, is the political manifestation of atheism.

“And you’re worried about possible tax dollars going to a prayer day? (and I don’t get the connection between a national prayer day and a state religion funneling tax dollars anywhere)”

The issue is whether or not we want a government that promotes religious devotion and offers tax breaks and financial protections to religious organizations. When I mentioned actively funneling tax dollars, I was thinking more about the Faith-Based and Community Initiatives program. The separation of church and state is being eroded. The National Prayer Day is just one part of that bigger picture.

“Rejection of divine authority is simply that. It is no principle. It is merely a disbelief.”

I don’t want to argue semantics here. Rejecting divine authority is meaningless unless it is done on principle. And for atheists like myself, it is a matter of principle.

It is the idea that together we can act rationally to make our lives and the world better. In political terms, we call it secularism. Not liberalism.

“No, my friend, I would say that to maintain your faith requires maintaining a very high set of principles that atheism can not compete with.”

I don’t understand. To maintain what faith?


57 posted on 10/05/2008 5:55:57 AM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: wgflyer

“I see very clearly the difference between the behavior of those of faith and those without. And I don’t like what I see in the latter.”

You are talking about yourself there, and many great people who have served humanity through the ages.

Now, certainly the world has problems. You may be correct that there is some connection between the world’s greatest problems and the decline in faith and religious devotion. However, let’s not jump to conclusions about what the connection may be, if in fact there even is one.

It could be that there is merely a correlation here. Perhaps a decline in religious faith is correlated to irresponsible behavior, because there aren’t enough secular institutions in place to clean up the mess left in the wake of the failures of religious organizations.

It is quite possible that a lot of the irresponsibility in the world today is not the result of a lack of religion, but the result of a lack of education and clear thinking.

Of course you can’t just take away religion and expect the world to be a better place. We still need to educate our children and encourage a responsible and rational approach to humanity. That’s not gonna happen without some work.


58 posted on 10/05/2008 5:55:58 AM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: metmom

“Please give us examples . . .”

Metmom, I’ve given the examples of China and France already.

“Nothing good comes from a rejection of God.”

I don’t think that’s accurate.

And let’s face it, governments generally tend to be corrupt. Religion does not protect governments or individuals from corruption. It does not eliminate sin. It does not protect people from pain, sorrow, or suffering.

I don’t see the world’s ills coming from a rejection of God. However, I do see a number of them stemming from an irrational devotion to religious dogma.

“Atheists have no standard on which to base a value system.”

The standard is rationality.

“Our Constitution restricts what the federal government can do in regards to religion. What you are championing violates the Constitution.”

How is championing secularism a violation of the Constitution?


59 posted on 10/05/2008 6:12:57 AM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: JasonInPoland; metmom

In fact, history has shown that atheists can form morally upright communities.

France and China?

What, no Cuba, North Korea? :)

Somehow if one asks which atheistic “community” is a “moral” one, France and China are not only not good examples of moral perfection, but don’t get onto most people’s radar.


60 posted on 10/05/2008 6:24:44 AM PDT by tpanther (All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Edmund Burke)
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To: tpanther

Please don’t put words in my mouth, tpanther. I was not offering those as examples of morally upright communities. (Though I wouldn’t lump France and China together, if we’re going to talk about moral uprightness.)


61 posted on 10/05/2008 6:57:42 AM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: JasonInPoland; metmom

Actually, I pasted your words:

“In fact, history has shown that atheists can form morally upright communities.

China is one example. Though, of course, I am not holding China up as an example of moral perfection”.

If China is a morally upright community, forget about perfection, then the rams are going to win the superbowl.

“France is way more aggressively secular than the USA, and they’re not so bad off.

My point is, we have no grounds for concluding that all atheistic nations are doomed to immorality. I wouldn’t jump to such conclusions”.

France is pitiful. Their secularism has allowed militant Islam to backfill their moral vacuum and we see riots, terrorism and the like.


62 posted on 10/05/2008 7:16:49 AM PDT by tpanther (All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Edmund Burke)
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To: tpanther
I was quite clearly not presenting China and France as examples of morally upright communities. But you make it look like I was. Yes, when you take various parts of different posts and paste them together irresponsibly, you can effectively put words in my mouth. Thank you for that demonstration.
63 posted on 10/05/2008 10:04:40 AM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: metmom
Thanks for the ping!

Truly, our Constitution guarantees the freedom of religion - not the freedom from religion. The restriction is that congress shall not establish a (state) religion.

64 posted on 10/05/2008 10:36:04 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl

More specifically, Alamo-Girl, the first amendment says there shall be no laws “respecting an establishment of religion.”

It does more than prevent the government from establishing a religion. It prevents the government from making any laws which support or decry religion.


65 posted on 10/05/2008 10:59:21 AM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: JasonInPoland

“I was quite clearly not presenting China and France as examples of morally upright communities.

China is one example. Though, of course, I am not holding China up as an example of moral perfection.

France is way more aggressively secular than the USA, and they’re not so bad off.

My point is, we have no grounds for concluding that all atheistic nations are doomed to immorality. I wouldn’t jump to such conclusions”.


Ok, so show us a NON-failed NON-immoral atheistic society already!!!!!

FWIW an immoral society IS a failed society.


66 posted on 10/05/2008 11:10:48 AM PDT by tpanther (All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Edmund Burke)
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To: JasonInPoland; metmom; betty boop

You gave France and China as examples of what exactly?

You continue to deny that they’re moral societies, but WHAT ARE you mentioning them for then?

Specifically?

You don’t want us to lump atheism with communism/socialism/liberalism, then fine...

“And let’s face it, governments generally tend to be corrupt. Religion does not protect governments or individuals from corruption. It does not eliminate sin. It does not protect people from pain, sorrow, or suffering”.

don’t lump false religions and cults in with Christianity then.

There simply isn’t any reason to believe that if a person is doing as the New Testmanet directs them to do, that they’ll somehow BE corrupt.

Human beings are failed on their own. Christians fail too, but they can’t blame it on Christianity.


67 posted on 10/05/2008 11:30:50 AM PDT by tpanther (All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Edmund Burke)
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To: JasonInPoland; Alamo-Girl; metmom; MrB; betty boop

It prevents the government from making any laws which support or decry religion.


Which begs the original question of this thread...by what authority do atheists sue to silence Christians?


68 posted on 10/05/2008 11:38:53 AM PDT by tpanther (All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Edmund Burke)
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To: JasonInPoland; metmom; betty boop
It does more than prevent the government from establishing a religion. It prevents the government from making any laws which support or decry religion.

The caselaw involving the Establishment Clause is much more complex than your simplistic retort suggests.

Findlaw: Cases and Codes, Constitution, First Amendment, Establishment Clause

''[F]or the men who wrote the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment the 'establishment' of a religion connoted sponsorship, financial support, and active involvement of the sovereign in religious activity.'' 41 ''[The] Court has long held that the First Amendment reaches more than classic, 18th century establishments.'' Supp.3 However, the Court's reading of the clause has never resulted in the barring of all assistance which aids, however incidentally, a religious institution. Outside this area, the decisions generally have more rigorously prohibited what may be deemed governmental promotion of religious doctrine.

Be sure to read the footnotes and the continuing pages.

I also suggest reading this very important decision:

7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Kaufman v. McCaughtry

For purposes of this discussion, emphasis goes to pages 3-5 where the court affirms that "atheism" is a "religion" in interpreting the First Amendment.

This of course demolishes the atheist argument under the Establishment Clause, since atheism is a religion per Supreme Court caselaw.

I will be buying popcorn on the day this Kaufman decision is used in litigation for an expanded publicly funded science curriculum vis-à-vis evolution. The legal theory would be that limiting publicly funded explanations of origins to metaphysical naturalism (atheism) is unconstitutional since it is an establishment of religion based on the same caselaw plus Kaufman.

69 posted on 10/05/2008 11:40:51 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl (b)
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To: tpanther

Thanks for the ping - and please consider yourself pinged to my last post!


70 posted on 10/05/2008 11:42:25 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl (b)
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To: tpanther

Why do you insist on continuing to post cut-up, jumbled, and therefore misleading, representations of my posts?

Are you hoping that people who haven’t read my actual posts (or who just don’t remember them) will see what you posted and think I actually wrote those words in that order?

It’s dishonest and manipulative posting, and it shows an unwillingness to treat me and this forum with respect.

Please try to be more respectful and . . . yes, moral . . . tpanther. We all would appreciate it.

As for the moral uprightness of China and France, I’m not expert enough in their cultures to say much about them.

Hey, we all have issues with China’s government and many of their practices. However, I would not condemn the Chinese people as immoral. And, considering China’s powerful position on the world’s stage, I don’t think it is accurate to call it a failed nation. The same goes for France, though I have fewer qualms with their government.

But really, this whole discussion of France and China is somewhat tangential to the issues here.

Religion has been a dominant institution throughout the world for a very long time, and it is only quite recently that secular institutions have even attempted to replace them. So, when we look back throughout history, we see many failing nations, most of them religious.

Yes, we have also seen frightening atheistic nations, communist and fascist nations, though I think they were terrible because of their fascism and corruption, and not their atheism.

We have also seen the USA and France set examples as powerful, forward-thinking nations able to erect a boundary between church and state. We are only beginning to see what a rational, democratic and capitalistic atheistic society could look like.

That is why I say that there is not enough evidence to conclude that all atheistic societies are doomed to failure and/or immorality.


71 posted on 10/05/2008 12:08:36 PM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: Alamo-Girl

“The caselaw involving the Establishment Clause is much more complex than your simplistic retort suggests.”

I don’t think I was suggesting anything very simplistic. In fact, what I said is a fair interpretation of the Constitution, which as you know is much more complex than your simplistic original statement suggests.

But thanks for posting those interesting links.

About atheism being regarded as a religion for the purposes of interpreting the first amendment, I found this part of the decision particularly interesting:

“Without venturing too far into the realm of the philosophical, we have suggested in the past that when a person sincerely holds beliefs dealing with issues of ‘ultimate concern’ that for her occupy a ‘place parallel to that filled by . . . God in traditionally religious persons,’ those beliefs represent her religion.”

Frankly, I’m not persuaded by that reasoning. I don’t think that definition of “religion” is what the framers of the Constitution had in mind. And the court’s unwillingness to deal with the philosophical issues here is a little embarrassing. If the court is going to allow such an unconventional definition of “religion” into the law, they should at least try to back up that action with some philosophical argument.

But in any case, as flawed as that decision may be, I do not think it will lead to much popcorn eating for you. The ruling does not suggest that science itself is a religion. Any education about origins in the classroom should be done on scientific grounds, and not explicitly atheistic grounds. (The fact that science and atheism are closely connected for many people is not reflected in the law books, so far as I know.)

Perhaps what you are hoping for is a day when we will no longer be able to distinguish between science and religion, and so the science classroom will be indistinguishable from a theological discussion group. Is that the case?


72 posted on 10/05/2008 12:32:36 PM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: JasonInPoland; metmom; betty boop; tpanther
Thank you for your reply!

I don’t think I was suggesting anything very simplistic. In fact, what I said is a fair interpretation of the Constitution, which as you know is much more complex than your simplistic original statement suggests.

LOLOL! I brought the original meaning and subsequent caselaw to the table.

Perhaps what you are hoping for is a day when we will no longer be able to distinguish between science and religion, and so the science classroom will be indistinguishable from a theological discussion group. Is that the case?

Not at all, but I do find the Kaufman decision to be particularly relevant for such cases in the future.

At the root, the intelligent design movement had as its objective the elimination of methodological naturalism as a presupposition in scientific investigations. Or to put it another way, it wanted to bring all disciplines of science to be more like physics where postulates apply to the specific investigation at hand.

In that regard, the intelligent design movement was a frontal assault to metaphysical naturalists (Dawkins, Singer, Pinker, Lewontin et al) who do "theology" or "philosophy" under the color of science (methodological naturalism.) Therefore we see the mantra that intelligent design is religion under the color of science and that mantra's success so far in the courtroom.

But thanks to Kaufman, the legal argument now cuts both ways. So, we'll see. At the very least, it will be entertaining.

73 posted on 10/05/2008 12:54:12 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: JasonInPoland

Rather than debate point by point, which is beginning to create some rather lengthy posts, let me just say that I think your attacks on religion are misplaced, if you are conservative. Conservatism and religion are allies against liberalism, secular or otherwise. They compliment one another. I’ve lived 57 years without once being threatened or oppressed or otherwise cheated by religion in this country. Liberals do it every day. When I look at the cess pools that are the coastal liberal enclaves and compare them with what they call, with disdain, “fly-over country”, I see clearly where the high standards and solid knowledge of right from wrong reside. I see good people being trashed by liberal scum, and most of those good people, to some degree or another, are of faith. They don’t attack atheists. Atheists attack them, and for what? Why ally yourself with folks who guarantee chaos at best? You’ll find you have no enemies among the faithful, only lively debate. If you’re conservative, in their company you’re among friends.

I leave you to your thoughts, friend.


74 posted on 10/05/2008 1:44:53 PM PDT by wgflyer (Liberalism is to society what HIV is to the immune system.)
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To: Alamo-Girl

“I brought the original meaning and subsequent caselaw to the table.”

I know that. And from what I see, my original statement was neither inaccurate nor overly simplistic. I think yours was, however.

But we don’t need to bicker about that, do we?

“I do find the Kaufman decision to be particularly relevant for such cases in the future.”

I have my doubts, as I said. But I guess we’ll see how it plays out. Intelligent Design just isn’t science, as you well know. That has nothing to do with whether or not we interpret the first amendment’s establishment clause as applying to atheism.

But we’re getting pretty far off-topic, I think. The issue here is about this lawsuit against the National Prayer Day, right?

In any case, it’s getting late here on a Sunday night. I’ve got a very full week ahead of me, and I doubt I’ll be able to keep up with this discussion very much. So, to everyone who’s engaged me in this discussion, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back from me for a while. Sorry if that’s a disappointment for any of you.


75 posted on 10/05/2008 2:01:02 PM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: wgflyer

Thanks for the thoughts. As I just wrote to Alamo-Girl, I’m not gonna be able to participate much in this discussion for a while. To address your last thoughts, though: I’d say I lean closer to Liberatian Conservatism, as opposed to Christian Conservatism. And as for why I align myself with atheists: It’s because I value rational thought as a tool for understanding ourselves and our place in the world.


76 posted on 10/05/2008 2:01:05 PM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: Alamo-Girl

Oh, just one more thing Alamo-Girl:

“At the root, the intelligent design movement had as its objective the elimination of methodological naturalism as a presupposition in scientific investigations.”

I’m not sure why you used the past tense there. Is that no longer an objective of the movement?

In any case, the notion of a “supernatural science” is an oxymoron. It just doesn’t make sense.


77 posted on 10/05/2008 2:01:26 PM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: JasonInPoland
[ Atheism is perfectly compatible with democracy and capitalism. ]

Democracy is now and always has been MOB RULE by mobsters..
-----------------------
Democracy is the road to socialism. -Karl Marx

Democracy is indispensable to socialism. The goal of socialism is communism. -V.I. Lenin

The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism .-Karl Marx

78 posted on 10/05/2008 2:02:24 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole....)
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To: wgflyer

Also, I forgot to respond to this:

“I think your attacks on religion are misplaced . . .”

I don’t think I’ve said anything that could be construed as an attack against religion.


79 posted on 10/05/2008 2:28:59 PM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: wgflyer

Sorry, I wrote “Liberation Conservatism,” when I meant to write, “Libertarian Conservatism.”


80 posted on 10/05/2008 3:25:59 PM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: JasonInPoland; Alamo-Girl; tpanther; betty boop
It does more than prevent the government from establishing a religion. It prevents the government from making any laws which support or decry religion.

That is NOT true.

The First Amendment is very specific about what it says. It restricts the powers of the federal government when it comes to meddling in religion. It specifically addresses what can and cannot be done and by whom. It specifically prohibits Congress only from making laws. It says NOTHING about supporting or decrying, or even endorsing, religion.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

And in typical liberal or atheist fashion, you totally ignored the second clause in the First Amendment which is *prohibiting the free exercise thereof*.

There is nothing unconstitutional about the President proclaiming a national day of prayer.

81 posted on 10/05/2008 3:33:01 PM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: JasonInPoland

So just how do you consider China and France *successful?

You admit that China, at least, is not morally upright. Then what’s successful? Human rights? Working conditions for the people? Freedom for the people? Standard of living? Health? Justice system?

How is France successful? They’re about ready to be overrun by Islam. That doesn’t sound too successful to me.


82 posted on 10/05/2008 3:36:15 PM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: JasonInPoland
And as for why I align myself with atheists: It’s because I value rational thought as a tool for understanding ourselves and our place in the world.

Excuse us. So just because we have faith, we're not rational? Or capable of rational thought?

Newsflash.... Atheists have no monopoly on rational thought. As a matter of fact, behavior such as demonstrated by the lawsuit that this thread is about is a clear demonstration of that.

83 posted on 10/05/2008 3:39:11 PM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Fichori
I feel as an atheist (but not one of THOSE atheists) I can speak to this.

Atheists pretend we live in a religion-neutral country, and that this country was founded to be a secularist nation.

We have religious freedom, but we are essentially a Judeo-Christian nation.

Atheists don't want to believe this simple fact. They think that somehow it's pure coincidence that we've gotten along this way for 200+ years, and that we are on the verge of becoming a theocracy.

84 posted on 10/05/2008 3:46:57 PM PDT by Darkwolf377 (I've got a bracelet, too. From Sergeant..... uuuuuuuhhhhhhh...)
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To: JasonInPoland
My point is, we have no grounds for concluding that all atheistic nations are doomed to immorality. I wouldn’t jump to such conclusions.

Of course they are doomed to immorality because they have no standard by which to base their morals on.

Our country is a perfect example as it is happening now.

France is another example especially the French Revolution, a bloodbath following the rejection of God if there ever was one.

Without some outside source of absolute moral values, people create their own, in which case you get what's happening in England today where they're stating that the old and sick have a *duty* to die to save resources for the young and healthy. Or like Nazi Germany where they slaughtered those who were infirm, or didn't toe the party line.

Rejecting the Judeo-Christian moral system dooms any society to failure and decadence.

85 posted on 10/05/2008 4:59:47 PM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: JasonInPoland; metmom; Alamo-Girl; betty boop

Why do you insist on continuing to post cut-up, jumbled, and therefore misleading, representations of my posts?

I have no idea why you're so defensive, nor do I care, but I've very consistently pasted your very words, nothing jumbled or misleading about it! Unless one of course sees your message this way in the first place!


You've been asked several times, and not just by me, to give examples of atheistic societies either moral or successful as you have asserted and yet the only two instances I can see you've listed are China and France. No thinking (and yes moral) person could see either country in either light. China shows financial success with no freedoms and consistently poor human rights. France is plagued with terror within it's borders due to secular humanism allowing it's subsequent moral vacuum to be filled with militant Islam.

Are you hoping that people who haven’t read my actual posts (or who just don’t remember them) will see what you posted and think I actually wrote those words in that order?


I pasted your words! and I don't know what order has to do with anything, they're either moral societies or they are not!...indeed your words ARE still there for all to see! Therefore I don't NEED to hope for anything.

It’s dishonest and manipulative posting, and it shows an unwillingness to treat me and this forum with respect.

Please try to be more respectful and . . . yes, moral . . . tpanther. We all would appreciate it.


SPARE me the feigned indignation and projections! If you can't coherently make your argument, then I would suggest not making it in the first place.


It's best for the both of us to just move on.

86 posted on 10/05/2008 6:20:52 PM PDT by tpanther (All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Edmund Burke)
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To: metmom

Our Constitution is good for the governance of a good and religious people, it is inadequate for any other - John Adams.

Adams is stating the truism that freedom must come with a set of COMMON internal controls on behavior. Situational ethics cannot provide this framework or society. Only a “good and moral people” can live in such freedom.


87 posted on 10/05/2008 7:17:53 PM PDT by MrB (0bama supporters: What's the attraction? The Marxism or the Infanticide?)
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To: JasonInPoland
Thank you for your reply! I look forward to your further replies when you have the opportunity.

That has nothing to do with whether or not we interpret the first amendment’s establishment clause as applying to atheism.

That is the point. Our interpretations of the Constitution do not have the force of law. The interpretations of the Supreme Court do.

And at this point, atheism is a "religion" under the Establishment Clause according to "controlling legal precedent."

But we’re getting pretty far off-topic, I think. The issue here is about this lawsuit against the National Prayer Day, right?

Indeed, but if you read through the links provided up-thread it is obvious the atheists' suit has little to no chance of success.

88 posted on 10/05/2008 10:54:27 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: JasonInPoland
I’m not sure why you used the past tense there. Is that no longer an objective of the movement?

As far as I know, the objective is still on the table - but being a movement, many other factors enter into the "calculus." In this case, publicly funded education has moved to the front burner, methodology of scientific investigations to the back burner.

89 posted on 10/05/2008 11:02:15 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: metmom
There is nothing unconstitutional about the President proclaiming a national day of prayer.

Indeed. And as you, many atheists skip right over the "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" clause.

90 posted on 10/05/2008 11:06:39 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: tpanther

If you look at the history of this discussion, you will see that I brought up France and China specifically as an answer to the following question, asked by metmom:

“Failure of *some* atheistic nations? Which atheistic nations have not failed?”

I did not provide those as examples of morally upright communities. Yet, by rearranging my words as you have, you make it look like I did. That is dishonest, irresponsible, and immoral.

I have not made any pronouncements about France and China’s morality or lack thereof.

Your continuing failure to misunderstand and misrepresent this fact, which I have explained more than once now, forces me to conclude that there is no point in trying to engage you in a constructive discussion here.


91 posted on 10/06/2008 12:06:35 PM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: metmom

I am not ignoring any part of the Constitution here, metmom.

I am not trying to prohibit the free exercise of religion.

There is a difference between a government which allows for the free exercise of religion and a government which actively supports the exercise of religion. It is the latter that I oppose, not the former.

You are free to pray any day you want. It is none of my business, and it’s none of the government’s business, either.


92 posted on 10/06/2008 12:06:37 PM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: metmom

“So just how do you consider China and France *successful?”

My point is not that they are particularly successful, or successful to any particular degree, but only that they have not yet failed. They are surviving, flawed and troubled as they are. And they hopefully will improve.


93 posted on 10/06/2008 12:06:37 PM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: metmom
I did not say you or anyone else was incapable of rational thought. What I said is that I call myself an atheist because I place a particular value on rational thought. Specifically, I highly value rational thought as a tool which can help us understand who we are and what life is about. Religion requires that one put a lesser value on rationality. I did not say that I am an atheist because I am rational. And I did not say that religious people are irrational. But, I would say that religious devotion does require a certain allegiance to irrationality. This is not to say that the religious devout are not rational, of course. It only means they have a unique fondness for irrationality which expresses itself in particular ways.
94 posted on 10/06/2008 12:06:38 PM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: Darkwolf377

“We have religious freedom, but we are essentially a Judeo-Christian nation.”

Can you elaborate on this point?

Are you saying that America’s political system is essentially Judeo-Christian? Or that our legal system reflects a Judeo-Christian ethic? Or that our culture is essentially Judeo-Christian?

I think you are wrong to suggest that atheists don’t recognize the huge role Judeo-Christian philosophy (and, perhaps even more so, Christian institutions) have played in the shaping of America.

The well-known atheist, Sam Harris—who I don’t always agree with, mind you—even titled one of his books, “Letter to a Christian Nation.” That suggests he, at least, recognizes the dominant role Christianity plays in America.

But I just wonder what you think defines the essence of our nation, and in what way you think that essence reflects Judeo-Christian philosophy and/or traditions.


95 posted on 10/06/2008 12:07:45 PM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: Alamo-Girl

“Our interpretations of the Constitution do not have the force of law. The interpretations of the Supreme Court do.”

Of course. I was using “we” to refer to us as a nation, as a law-creating entity which includes the actions of the Supreme Court.

Again, the point is this: The fact that the Supreme Court interprets atheism as a religion for the purposes of interpreting the first amendment has no impact whatsoever on the laws regulating what counts as science or on the laws keeping evolution in, and Intelligent Design out of, the classroom.

I just don’t see anything here which will further the Intelligent Design movement. Thus, I predict that you will have to find another reason to eat popcorn.

As for the lawsuit regarding the National Prayer Day, I’m not so sure it is doomed to failure. This is not to say that I think it will succeed. If I had to guess, I’d say it will probably fail, actually. But I am hopeful.


96 posted on 10/06/2008 12:27:04 PM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: Alamo-Girl; metmom

Just to explain my perspective on the legal issues here in a little more detail . . .

There is a three-pronged test to decide if a law runs contrary to the establishment clause. One prong says that the law must serve a secular function. The question then is, what secular function is served by declaring a National Prayer Day?

If the answer is “none,” then the National Prayer Day is unconstitutional.

That is, unless you want to argue that, by declaring a National Prayer Day, President Bush was not enacting a law, but merely decorating our calendars.


97 posted on 10/06/2008 12:27:09 PM PDT by JasonInPoland
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To: JasonInPoland; metmom; betty boop
Thank you for your reply!

Of course. I was using “we” to refer to us as a nation, as a law-creating entity which includes the actions of the Supreme Court.

Under the Constitution, only the Legislative Branch creates law. The Judicial Branch interprets law and their interpretations have the force of law, e.g. Rowe v. Wade.

If laws were created by popular vote, they might as well throw away the Constitution.

Again, the point is this: The fact that the Supreme Court interprets atheism as a religion for the purposes of interpreting the first amendment has no impact whatsoever on the laws regulating what counts as science or on the laws keeping evolution in, and Intelligent Design out of, the classroom.

It depends on the legal theory argued before the court. So far, the one side has successfully argued that I.D. is religious. The I.D. side has not yet argued that naturalism (metaphysical or methodological) is religious.

If anyone picks up that legal theory, IMHO, it will be quite entertaining to watch the court try to keep the government out of the establishment of atheism as the state religion through publicly funded education.

From your other post:

There is a three-pronged test to decide if a law runs contrary to the establishment clause. One prong says that the law must serve a secular function. The question then is, what secular function is served by declaring a National Prayer Day?

It is no more difficult for the court to uphold a National Prayer Day than to uphold Thanksgiving, prayers in Congress, use of Holy writ in Judicial Oaths or printing "In God we Trust" on currency. Indeed, ruling in favor of the atheists on this point would open the door to all of them because atheists are anti-Christ, anti-God and cannot be appeased. They are indeed very "religious" and "evangelical" in their contempt for God, hence the importance of Kaufman.

The "free exercise" clause and legal precedent cannot and I aver, will not, be dismissed by this Supreme Court. They will not favor one belief (including disbelief) over another.

98 posted on 10/06/2008 12:58:48 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Darkwolf377
Same here. Atheist. And I have no problem with National Prayer Day. Or "under God" in the pledge.

People like this make atheists look bad.

99 posted on 10/06/2008 1:01:43 PM PDT by Publius (Atlas is getting ready to shrug.)
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To: Alamo-Girl; metmom

Here’s a piece on the National Prayer Day which seems to support my views. It’s by a site called “Religious Tolerance”:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/day_pray3.htm

Here’s another piece that supports my view, and which has supporting quotes from religious leaders as well as such historical figures as Thomas Jefferson:

http://www.au.org/site/DocServer/National_Day_Of_Prayer_FAQ.pdf?docID=153


100 posted on 10/06/2008 1:08:49 PM PDT by JasonInPoland
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