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What Media Won't Tell You About Separation of Church and State
Newsbusters ^ | October 20, 2010 | Noel Sheppard

Posted on 10/20/2010 10:03:03 AM PDT by opentalk

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To: opentalk

“Is it any wonder that the newest Supreme Court justice, Elena Kagan, did not require the study of constitutional law when she was dean of Harvard Law School — but did require the study of foreign law? Those future federal judges graduating Harvard might catch onto the fable liberal activists have gone to such trouble weaving.”

The answer is simple boycott anyone with a legal degree from Harvard law school.


51 posted on 10/20/2010 12:28:33 PM PDT by Monorprise
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To: a fool in paradise
None of the four strawmen you put up would be Constitutional to teach, and none of them would be scientific in the slightest, sad that I have to point this out to you.

“Did God spring forth from the Big Bang or was the Big Bang an Act of God?” Science cannot answer the question nor is it an appropriate area of discussion when discussing the EVIDENCE for the Big Bang and how it fits the theory.

“Or was God surprised by the whole Big Bang thing?” Same as above

“Or does God just not exist?” Same as above.

“Those are the 4 “Big Bang stories of creation” to consider.”

Isn't that just 3? Either way neither has ANYTHING to do AT ALL with the scientific theory of the “Big Bang” or the evidence that supports it.

If a teacher were to say “Science proves my religion of atheism” they should and would be fired - just as if a teacher were to say “Science proves my religion of Christianity” or “History proves my religion of Mormonism” or “Science proves my religion of Islam”.

Science is not atheism. Atheists of course must accept physical explanations for physical phenomena, but does it follow that believers must therefore always and exclusively accept supernatural explanations for physical phenomena?

Most scientists in the USA have faith in God.

52 posted on 10/20/2010 12:34:48 PM PDT by allmendream (Income is EARNED not distributed. So how could it be re-distributed?)
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To: Publius6961

Even if there was a big bang, something had to exist to blow up. What was it that went bang? Nothing?


53 posted on 10/20/2010 12:37:45 PM PDT by ducdriver (judica me, Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta. (Ps. 42))
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To: a fool in paradise

The problem that I see is that the anti-creationists insist that their view is “neutral”. There is no such thing.
It’s even worse when creationists try to concede that point.


54 posted on 10/20/2010 12:38:12 PM PDT by MrB (The difference between a (de)humanist and a Satanist is that the latter knows who he's working for.)
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To: allmendream

“Did God spring forth from the Big Bang or was the Big Bang an Act of God?”

These are 2 different things. Have trouble parsing the concepts did you?


55 posted on 10/20/2010 12:52:05 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (The establishment clause isn't just against my OWN government establishing state religion in America)
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To: Diamond

Good catch. I used the wrong word.

I used “right” instead of “power”

“It’s a power that was given to the states. Not a right to the people.”

Thomas explains it much better than I do.

Here’s what he says.

the Clause made clear that Congress could not interfere with state establishments

the prevailing view that the Constitution left religion to the States. ... History also supports this understanding: At the founding, at least six States had established religions.

the Establishment Clause is best understood as a federalism provision–it protects state establishments from federal interference but does not protect any individual right. These two features independently make incorporation of the Clause difficult to understand.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2610810/posts


56 posted on 10/20/2010 12:53:27 PM PDT by truthfreedom
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To: a fool in paradise
Seems two sides of the same question to me. Neither of which has anything to do with science.

Having trouble differentiating the concepts of science from theology again?

57 posted on 10/20/2010 12:59:36 PM PDT by allmendream (Income is EARNED not distributed. So how could it be re-distributed?)
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To: skeeter

No, we stay on message.

We know that Christine will talk against the Everson line of cases. We want her in there.

Now is not the time to get off message.

If Christine can make a TV ad out of this controversy, and make Coons look stupid or a liar or terrible in some way, better than the other things she has to look bad, she should do it.

But, there’s nothing wrong with people who kinda have an understanding of the 1A talking as if they’re experts. We have freedoms and whatnot.

Coons makes millions of dollars from making Gore-tex. Gore-tex is made from teflon. Teflon need PFOA to make it. PFOA is a particularly bad poison. Coons makes money from poisoning people. No one here really seems to care. I’ll be writing something about that for Red State. A “news” article.


58 posted on 10/20/2010 12:59:55 PM PDT by truthfreedom
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To: allmendream

Ok, good catch. I used the word right instead of power. I could’ve used the word “thing”.

The point is that states can establish religion.

But nice catch. You caught me on a word slip. 2 people did. Excellent of you.

Please, explain the relationship, if any, between “Everson” and “a wall of separation between church and State.”

Try to explain law in such a way that it references things less than 200 years old.

Read Elk Grove. Please. Pretty please. We’re having a Constitutional law debate, and you’re quoting Ronald Reagan.

Federalism. States Rights? Ever hear of States Rights? Anybody?


59 posted on 10/20/2010 1:05:12 PM PDT by truthfreedom
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To: truthfreedom
We're talking past each other... all I'd like to see is Steele, or McConnell, or Boehner etc simply take an opportunity to say 'you know, she was correct about that - there is absolutely nothing in the Constitution regarding a seperation of church and state. Look it up.' Doesn't require going off message at all, just deny them the use of Alinsky rules 5 & 13 for a change.

I'll look forward to reading your article.

60 posted on 10/20/2010 1:12:57 PM PDT by skeeter
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To: allmendream

There is a man who put a lightbulb in place or turning on the lights made the man appear. Yep, same thing?!


61 posted on 10/20/2010 1:14:16 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (The establishment clause isn't just against my OWN government establishing state religion in America)
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To: allmendream

And you let the issues of schools redefining what is and is not sin with regards to homosexuality and the whole Gaia matter of Lord Al Gore...


62 posted on 10/20/2010 1:15:04 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (The establishment clause isn't just against my OWN government establishing state religion in America)
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To: sickoflibs

sure.

I’m making the assumption that she might’ve had something up her sleeve with the “thats”. But if not, it would’ve been better to just clean that up. What would’ve been better would have been “that’s in the constitution ...? government?” To point directly at one of his errors.

Yes, I would think that Scalia and Thomas could debate the Constitution well.


63 posted on 10/20/2010 1:17:34 PM PDT by truthfreedom
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To: skeeter

Ok cool, yes, I agree.

I’d like to see Fox get some constitutional scholars up there who back Christine up.


64 posted on 10/20/2010 1:24:43 PM PDT by truthfreedom
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To: truthfreedom
Yes, I quoted Ronald Reagan. Sorry if that was above your head along with my talk about the natural rights of man.

Both Jefferson and Madison referred to the desired effect of the 1st Amendment being a separation between Church and State. Jefferson used the term “wall”, Madison called it a “perfect separation”.

65 posted on 10/20/2010 1:28:16 PM PDT by allmendream (Income is EARNED not distributed. So how could it be re-distributed?)
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To: truthfreedom
RE :” Yes, I would think that Scalia and Thomas could debate the Constitution well.

I have seen Scalia debate Breyer twice on CSPAN and every minute was a pleasure. He is one person who can explain why an evolving constitution is no constitution in terms everyone can understand. I don't know that Thomas has that articulate ability.

RE :”What would’ve been better would have been “that’s in the constitution ...? government?” To point directly at one of his errors.

We cant undo the damage of a video clip by argument anymore than a Democrat can for theirs. When you watch that last exchange it comes across as a 'Huh?' moment. "That is in the constitution ?" which is why there was loud laughter.

Unless she feels really comfortable with the topic after dummy practice debates she should avoid it. Face it, she is on trial and the jury already had their minds mostly made up after that previous debate when asked what her favorite disagreed case is and she really looked surprised . I am not trying to be critical just trying to see it through average voters eyes to guess what they will do .

66 posted on 10/20/2010 1:38:50 PM PDT by sickoflibs ("It's not the taxes, the redistribution is the federal spending=tax delayed")
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To: sickoflibs

That’s because the dumbasses at that crappy law school laughed.

Christine happens to be right on that one.

She can make the case on that if she wants too.

I don’t watch TV news much. Is this something that is being discussed on TV news much?


67 posted on 10/20/2010 1:46:34 PM PDT by truthfreedom
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To: allmendream

Cmon there, ok. Here’s a question. Please answer.

What is the relationship, if any, between “Everson” and “a wall of separation between church and State”?


68 posted on 10/20/2010 1:48:23 PM PDT by truthfreedom
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To: truthfreedom
Both the decision and the dissent used the phrase in their arguments and both sides seemed to agree with Jefferson and Madison that the desired effect of the religious clauses of the 1st Amendment was for there to be separation between Church and State.

For myself, I don't see how the government paying to bus kids to whatever school the kids (parents) want is an establishment of religion, and the majority opinion agreed, IIRC.

69 posted on 10/20/2010 1:55:50 PM PDT by allmendream (Income is EARNED not distributed. So how could it be re-distributed?)
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To: allmendream

And that was the first time the quote was ever used by the supreme court.


70 posted on 10/20/2010 1:57:31 PM PDT by truthfreedom
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To: truthfreedom

RE :”I don’t watch TV news much. Is this something that is being discussed on TV news much?”

I think that one link I pulled was yahoo news which is MSM and its all over youtube.

Remember she ended with “That’s in the constitution?”, not “You are wrong, the constitution doesnt say that” even after that exchange even though the audience was laughing. It didnt come across like she was stating the obvious as ‘government is not the same as congress’.

The problem with this is it ruined the overall point that the First Amendment DOESNT say “Separation of Church and state”, meaning the viewers came away not believing her on that more obvious argument. That was really the point that needed to be sold. ‘State Church’ is not the same as supporting Christianity.


71 posted on 10/20/2010 2:03:42 PM PDT by sickoflibs ("It's not the taxes, the redistribution is the federal spending=tax delayed")
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To: sickoflibs

Ok. I read what you said.

On the other hand, she was correct. If she chooses to make an issue of it going forward, she will be able to show how she was right and he was wrong.

But I get that you’re trying to say something negative about Christine. I get it. You don’t like Conservatives.

And the 1A DOES ALLOW a state church, or did, pre Everson.

I’ve been reading news accounts of the debate today. The constitution was not discussed. So, it appears that both sides would prefer at this point not to make this particular race about Incorporation Doctrine and the Establishment Clause.


72 posted on 10/20/2010 2:09:37 PM PDT by truthfreedom
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To: hosepipe
"The Constitution separates the State from the Church... NOT the church from the State.. "


--Looking at the writings of Madison it looks very clear that it indeed was meant to go both ways.

From the "Detached Memoranda":

"The establishment of the chaplainship to Congs is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional pnnciples: The tenets of the chaplains elected by the majority shut the door of worship agst the members whose creeds & consciences forbid a participation in that of the majority."

""Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative."

"Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history".

"But besides the danger of a direct mixture of Religion & civil Government , there is an evil which ought to be guarded agst in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by ecclesiastical corporations."

And in a letter wrote:
"Every new and successful example, therefore, of a perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters , is of importance; and I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together."
73 posted on 10/20/2010 2:44:47 PM PDT by goodusername
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To: All

So.... are we pretending this is a religious thread? Looks a lot like the Catholic vs Protestant discussions that crop up. Major lack of civility brewing.

Consider this a friendly reminder that demeaning the character of your fellows does not detract from their arguments, nor does it strengthen your own. All it does is serve to irritate those of us entering the discussion and give us the inclination to dismiss whatever otherwise valid contributions you might make.

In other words, just make your points and stop calling each other names. This isn’t an elementary school playground or the DU.

Thanks.


74 posted on 10/20/2010 2:47:16 PM PDT by HushTX (Numbers 11:18-20)
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To: truthfreedom
RE :”But I get that you’re trying to say something negative about Christine. I get it. You don’t like Conservatives.

I am not a cool aid drinker. I gave it up after the past Republican train wreck when we were told Republicans were moving ahead in 2006 just before the elections. I remember Hannity telling his audience the day before election 2008 that Republicans were going to win and wondered what they would think the next day.

I really ripped Rand Paul when he went on MSNBC Maddow program and she made him out to be a racist. I was much less polite with him than I am with CO'D. He thought a principled well thought out position would help him and ended up spending the show saying “I am against racism over and over”. Then he released a couple of clarifications. Why he thought she would be fair to him is beyond me. he must have not watched the show. The libertarians were upset with me on that one. If you always tell them they are doing the right thing even when it is hurting them (A+E Intervention) you dont help them, and you end up surprised yourself in the end.

I was complaining about Sharon Angle for a while till she did that illegal immigration attack Reid ad that turned things around, then I posted the ad myself and called her campaign. Yes, I got some grief about those opinions too. That is the way it goes.

75 posted on 10/20/2010 5:30:45 PM PDT by sickoflibs ("It's not the taxes, the redistribution is the federal spending=tax delayed")
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To: opentalk

I wish O’Donnell would have asked Coons where in the Constitution is the part that allows the Federal Government to control education in the first place - and see him justify that. If the Feds weren’t controlling so many areas of our lives, so much land that should be under state/local control, etc., their “separation of church and state” mantra wouldn’t be so onerous since it would at least be limited.


76 posted on 10/20/2010 5:40:07 PM PDT by utford
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To: sickoflibs
If you always tell them they are doing the right thing even when it is hurting them (A+E Intervention) you dont help them

Try raising a kid and telling them they do everything right, no matter what. Never, ever, say a critical word.

You will have raised an egomaniac. Hmmmm... sounds a lot like some of our politicians.

77 posted on 10/20/2010 6:01:45 PM PDT by calcowgirl ("In politics the middle way is none at all." -- John Adams)
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To: calcowgirl
RE :”Try raising a kid and telling them they do everything right, no matter what. Never, ever, say a critical word. You will have raised an egomaniac. Hmmmm... sounds a lot like some of our politicians.

Your analogy reminds me of the mom that picks up her kid from the police caught shoplifting and complains about the police not having anything better to do... 5 years later the kid is in jail. By then Mom has a long list of everyone else at fault.

Try : "We have to defend them no matter what. This is life and death. You are with us or against us. Pick a side. Are you with the enemy or ME ?? You hate her don't you? Mary had a little lamb. Humpty Dumpty fell off a wall. Ga-Ga-Goo-Goo, more coolaid please "

The best is "She's right!, covers nearly everything!

78 posted on 10/20/2010 6:21:54 PM PDT by sickoflibs ("It's not the taxes, the redistribution is the federal spending=tax delayed")
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To: hosepipe

And secularism is more or less a religion. As is atheism.


79 posted on 10/20/2010 7:55:47 PM PDT by BigSkyFreeper (In 2012: The Rookie and The Wookie get booted from the White House.)
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To: allmendream
The “Big Bang” is based upon actual evidence.

It's based on theory.  Scientific theory.  There is no evidence to suggest that the universe begun with a bang, big or small.

It's like arguing that man is totally responsible for the melting of the icecaps.  Where's the evidence?

80 posted on 10/20/2010 8:00:03 PM PDT by BigSkyFreeper (In 2012: The Rookie and The Wookie get booted from the White House.)
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To: truthfreedom
The establishment clause isn’t. It’s a right that was given to the states. Not to the people.

No it's not.  The Establishment Clause prohibits the federal government from creating a state religion.

Go read the Tenth Amendment,

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Federal law trumps state law except in this instance.  States are granted power by the Tenth Amendment to introduce laws of their own, which the federal government cannot prohibit. A recent example of that is Arizona's SB1070, the immigration law, based on federal law itself, which the Department of Justice and the White House says is "unconstitutional".

81 posted on 10/20/2010 8:11:26 PM PDT by BigSkyFreeper (In 2012: The Rookie and The Wookie get booted from the White House.)
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To: truthfreedom
And the 1A DOES ALLOW a state church, or did, pre Everson.

The First Amendment has never allowed a state church. Everson had nothing to do with religion.  The plaintiff in this case was against a tax funded school district that provided reimbursement to parents of both public and private schooled children taking the public transportation system to school. The taxpayer contended that reimbursement given for children attending private religious schools violated the constitutional prohibition against state support of religion, and the taking of taxpayers' money to do so violated the constitution's Due Process Clause.  Of the private school that benefitted from the payment policy, 96% of them were Catholic schools.

Hugo Black based his opinion on the First Amendment.  He stated:

"The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State.'" 330 U.S. 1, 15-16.

The dissenting opinion (by Justice Jackson) stated:

"The funds used here were raised by taxation. The Court does not dispute nor could it that their use does in fact give aid and encouragement to religious instruction. It only concludes that this aid is not 'support' in law. But Madison and Jefferson were concerned with aid and support in fact not as a legal conclusion 'entangled in precedents.' Here parents pay money to send their children to parochial schools and funds raised by taxation are used to reimburse them. This not only helps the children to get to school and the parents to send them. It aids them in a substantial way to get the very thing which they are sent to the particular school to secure, namely, religious training and teaching." 330 U.S. 1, 45.

The "wall of separation" didn't start with Everson, it started with Thomas Jefferson writing in the Federalist Papers. Jefferson himself was an atheist, but he understood that the federal government should not endorse or sanction a state religion, which was common in England (The Church of England was a state-sanctioned and endorsed church).

82 posted on 10/20/2010 8:32:00 PM PDT by BigSkyFreeper (In 2012: The Rookie and The Wookie get booted from the White House.)
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To: sickoflibs
I have seen Scalia debate Breyer twice on CSPAN and every minute was a pleasure. He is one person who can explain why an evolving constitution is no constitution in terms everyone can understand. I don't know that Thomas has that articulate ability.

Scalia and Thomas are two Justices that I know of that can explain the Constitution and written law in ways that your average citizen can understand.



83 posted on 10/20/2010 8:44:05 PM PDT by BigSkyFreeper (In 2012: The Rookie and The Wookie get booted from the White House.)
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To: Monorprise
Here is Thomas' letter to the Danbury Baptists:

 

Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists
The Final Letter, as Sent

To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.

Gentlemen

The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole 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 & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

Th Jefferson
Jan. 1. 1802.

 "[...]make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," is the "wall"

84 posted on 10/20/2010 8:54:24 PM PDT by BigSkyFreeper (In 2012: The Rookie and The Wookie get booted from the White House.)
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To: BigSkyFreeper

If the establishment clause applied to the states then it would not have been necessary for Jefferson to write his own Virgina Statute for Religious Freedom. The first amendment left the question of religious establishment up to the states to decide.


85 posted on 10/20/2010 10:02:16 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: allmendream

If the establishment clause applied to the states, then why was it necessary for Madison to write his own “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments” which says that the duty of every man to pay homage to his Creator is precedent to the claims of civil society?


86 posted on 10/20/2010 10:11:29 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: BigSkyFreeper

I will point out to you again Elk Grove.

Here’s Clarence Thomas.

This textual analysis is consistent with the prevailing view that the Constitution left religion to the States. ... History also supports this understanding: At the founding, at least six States had established religions.

Anyway, yes, we are in agreement that the Federal Government is what’s being restrained by the establishment clause.

Think states rights, think federalism. I think we’re in agreement here, but not sure?


87 posted on 10/20/2010 10:15:44 PM PDT by truthfreedom
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To: goodusername
The Virgina Bill of Rights which Madison helped write says that it is the "mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other!"

Liberals think the Virgina Bill of Rights just as unconstitutional as the Declaration of Independence!

88 posted on 10/20/2010 10:18:36 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: BigSkyFreeper

We had state establishments, they weren’t struck down until 1947 or after.

Here’s Clarence Thomas again.

This textual analysis is consistent with the prevailing view that the Constitution left religion to the States. ... History also supports this understanding: At the founding, at least six States had established religions.

The “Wall of Separation” TJ quote from Danbury was a little known footnote in history until 1947, not a famous pillar of jurisprudence. Hugo Black wanted to find something, anything, to justify himself, maybe just to get the idea in there later, and found this obscure TJ quote. It’s Hugo Black that made this quote famous. It wasn’t a famous quote that Hugo Black used.


89 posted on 10/20/2010 10:22:42 PM PDT by truthfreedom
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To: truthfreedom
As I stated earlier, "[...]make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," is this so-called "wall".

Thomas Jefferson wrote it, and I clearly understand it.

Jefferson was an atheist, but he understood that religion was an issue that was between man and his god. (Notice he used "g" instead of "G" because I believe it to mean he's not singling out one religion over another.)

Atheism, in my view, is a religion.  Because religion means that you have a fervent belief in "something" even if that "something" is "nothing" (as in "there is no 'supreme being'")

Additionally, secularism is a religion because it believes that the earth has domain over man.  Whereas, Christianity believes that man has domain over the earth and everything within it.

90 posted on 10/20/2010 10:38:34 PM PDT by BigSkyFreeper (In 2012: The Rookie and The Wookie get booted from the White House.)
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To: BigSkyFreeper

As the former Chief Justice pointed out what Thomas Jefferson had to say on the matter of the 1st amendment is not only subjective,(by legislator he probably meant congress which is the federal legislator) it is at best of 2ndary importances to to both the text and the people who wrote & radiated the amendment.

Thats right Jefferson was in France at the time, and had little to no say in the matter. The letter is not only being misunderstood, even if it wasn’t being misunderstood its author was never of any kind of special authority to speak on the matter in the first place. Simply put he wasn’t there, he didn’t write it, and he didn’t ratify it.

never forget the first part of the 1st ammedment which you left out in your quote instead replaying it with this “[...]” them first 2 words are “Congress shall”

So we have:
1: The text.
2: The anther(Madison in others in convention)
3: The radifyers.
4: The common practice at the time(State religions didn’t fall completely out of favor until after the “Civil War”.)

All telling us one thing, and you have on the other hand a federal court in 1947 telling us anther on the basis of something Thomas Jefferson said.

Sounds like a real solid case against religious self-deterioration. But of course our Federal court doesn’t need solid cases, they just look for the most expendent way to justify their ends. An unfortunate habit as it inevitably leaves a real legal mess behind in addition to constitution-less government.


91 posted on 10/21/2010 1:26:25 AM PDT by Monorprise
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To: Tailgunner Joe

“If the establishment clause applied to the states then it would not have been necessary for Jefferson to write his own Virgina Statute for Religious Freedom.”

—The Constitution didn’t exist. The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was written well before the first amendment.

If the Constitution with the Bill of Rights did exist, than I think it likely that Jefferson wouldn’t have bothered creating the Statute. Same with Madison and the “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments”, which was written before the Constitution.


92 posted on 10/21/2010 8:14:45 AM PDT by goodusername
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To: goodusername

Determining “original intent” for the religion clauses may not be very useful in determining their correct application. The founders seem to have had disparate views on what they actually meant. There are at least three distinct views of thought that can be discerned from the time of the founding:

1) The evangelical view: that “worldly corruptions...might consume the churches if sturdy fences against the wilderness were not maintained.” (mainly from Roger Williams)

2) Jefferson’s view that the church should be walled off from the state in order to protect secular interests (public and private) against “ecclesiastical depredations and incursions.”

3) Madison’s view that religious and secular interests alike would be advanced best by diffusing and decentralizing power so as to assure competition among sects rather than dominance by any one.

The problem is further compounded by the changes in the country since that time. The founders knew differences primarily between Protestant sects; the country is far more heterogeneous religiously today.

Moreover, with regard to the Crevo debate occurring on this thread, public education did not exist, as we know it, at the time of the founding. It is difficult to apply their conception of the religion clauses to situations they could not have imagined.

For instance, views passed down from the 18th century will have little use in deciding how our conception of public education being “available to all citizens” informs what might constitute an “establishment of religion” with regard to public schools.

Essentially, the divergent views of the framers makes it possible for those on all sides of the debate to invoke history in support of their propositions. This is often the case in answering constitutional questions. For this reason, I’m often frustrated by appeals to “original intent.” Whose intent, exactly?

According to which document? For instance, many FReepers are fans of the Federalist. I am too, but one ought to keep in mind that they were newspaper editorials designed with a very specific purpose. They wanted to convince the people of New York State to ratify the Constitution. They may have emphasized aspects which New Yorkers would find appealing and glossed over or “spun” others that they might not have agreed with so easily.

Furthermore, people often conflate “literalism” or “plain meaning” of the text with “original intent.” But they’re actually quite different. For instance; the Constitution says that Congress shall have the power “To establish Post Offices and post Roads...” Read literally, this, along with the 10th Amendment, might suggest that Congress only has the power to operate Post Offices and build post Roads, but not actually to deliver the mail using those Post Offices and post Roads. Maybe the States were supposed to deliver the mail. But both common sense and original intent tell us that, no, the founders intended the Federal Government to deliver the mail as well, using those Post Offices and post Roads.

And what if applying the text literally or according to founders’ intent creates perverse consequences which actually contradict the underlying purpose (as opposed to intent)?

For instance, does Congress have the power to use the mail as a weapon? Nowadays, we don’t think of it as a very big deal, but way back when, the Post Office was how the Federal Government extended its power throughout the union. Without it, commerce came to a halt. So can the Federal Government use it as a coercive tool by threatening to withhold it, as it does highway funds? If not, why not? IF it has the power to operate a Post Office, why can’t it withhold that service from a State?

All I’m trying to say is... “Plain meaning,” “original intent,” and “underlying purpose” usually don’t get you very far in practice, even with something as simple as the post office. The Constitution is vague and ambiguous, and it was likely “intended” that way.


93 posted on 10/21/2010 9:35:29 AM PDT by ivyleaguebrat
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To: Diamond
"States only have "Powers", and only persons have rights."

Good point, Diamond.

94 posted on 10/21/2010 10:25:41 AM PDT by YHAOS (you betcha!)
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