Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

William Rehnquist totally destroys "Separation of Church and State" myth ^ | William Rehnquist

Posted on 08/27/2003 8:52:37 AM PDT by Sir Gawain

click here to read article

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-6061-80 ... 141-146 next last
To: Sir Gawain
I have a question, S.G., for those more knowledgeable than I.

Does the word "CHURCH", as in "separation of," mean Christianity, or does it apply equally to Hinduism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Shinto, Buddism, VooDoo, Wicca et al?

41 posted on 08/27/2003 11:48:28 AM PDT by nightdriver
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Republic; risk; Robert_Paulson2
Far be it for me, an immigrant to these shores, to take issue with such a learned and revered person as William Rehnquist, but there are several things that are not quite right in his dissent, the first of which is attributing the "wall of separation" comment to Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson actually borrowed the phrase from Roger Williams, a devout Baptist who organized the government of Rhode Island around the principle of separation of the civil and ecclesiastical powers. The "hasty metaphor" appeared once more in Jefferson’s writings, as well as in the works of James Madison, who in his "Monopolies, Perpetuities, Corporations, Ecclesiastical Endowments" warned of the encroachment of religion into the field of civil government, and pointed to already existing instances: "Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government 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." -- Source.

I also find the dismissal of Thomas Jefferson’s ideas, the very man whose pen and mind helped author what may yet come to be known as the defining document in the history of man’s rights, based on his absence from the convention, befuddling at best. But then again, knowing that Rehnquist can dismiss Jefferson so off-handedly, helps me feel better about my equally dismissing Judge Rehnquist.

Ideas are no more constrained by geography than they are by time. If Jefferson’s ideas still hold up today, so many years after he first penned "We the People..." how could distance diminish his clarity of thought on the issue of human freedom from every sort of tyranny?

Jefferson’s absence from the Constitutional convention in no way should detract from his contributions to the American experiment; Madison, who worked on the Constitution and was present at the convention, and who drafted the first version of the Bill of Rights, worked intimately with Jefferson on his "Bill For Religious Freedom In Virginia", the defining argument for the separation of Church and State in the newly-founded United States of America, had ideas nearly identical to Jefferson on the subject.

Finally, Jefferson’s "hasty metaphor" appeared one more time, in his letter to the Virginia Baptists in 1808. We may argue as to the exact nature of the definition of "separation", but I believe that upholding that separation keeps both institutions free from the possibility of corruption, and what we should never do, is to dismiss the warnings from those men who engineered the system that enables all of us to debate this point freely, and without fear of repercussions.

"Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the "wall of separation between church and state," therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society."

"We have solved ... the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort, which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion, which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries."-- Thomas Jefferson, to the Virginia Baptists (1808).

42 posted on 08/27/2003 12:14:22 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (There's no such thing as a stupid question, there are however, many inquisitive morons out there...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: tpaine
>> North Carolina flatly refused to ratify the Constitution in the absence of amendments in the nature of a Bill of Rights. Virginia and North Carolina proposed identical guarantees of religious freedom:

>> "[A]ll men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience, and . .
. no particular religious sect or society ought to be favored or established, by law, in preference to others.
-from the dissent-

>> The lines above totally destroy William Rehnquist's contention that "Separation of Church and State" was an unwanted 'myth'.

There you go again, sonny. When are you going to stop misrepresenting the meaning of the First Amendment?
43 posted on 08/27/2003 12:14:37 PM PDT by PhilipFreneau
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Sir Gawain; general_re; sinkspur
Awesome and Great. Rehnquist knocked the cover off the ball here, and it shocks me any Judge would be non-persuaded by this reasoning. The Lemon test is *wrong*! The anti-Judge Moore folks really need to see this! I am also gratified that we "good guys" have one our side Justice Story and pretty much the whole of American Jurisprudence and enlightened thinking on the 1st up until Everson:

Thomas Cooley's eminence as a legal authority rivaled that of Story. Cooley stated in his treatise entitled Constitutional Limitations that aid to a particular religious sect was prohibited by the United States Constitution, but he went on to say:

"But while thus careful to establish, protect, and defend religious freedom and equality, the American constitutions contain no provisions which prohibit the authorities from such solemn recognition of a superintending Providence in public transactions and exercises as the general religious sentiment of mankind inspires, and as seems meet and proper in finite and dependent beings. Whatever may be the shades of religious belief, all must acknowledge the fitness of recognizing in important human affairs the superintending care and control of the Great Governor of the Universe, and of acknowledging with thanksgiving his boundless favors, or bowing in contrition when visited with the penalties of his broken laws. No principle of constitutional law is violated when thanksgiving or fast days are appointed; when chaplains are designated for the army and navy; when legislative sessions are opened with prayer or the reading of the Scriptures, or when religious teaching is encouraged by a general exemption of the houses of religious worship from taxation for the support of State government. Undoubtedly the spirit of the Constitution will require, in all these cases, that care be taken to avoid discrimination in favor of or against any one religious denomination or sect; but the power to do any of these things does not become unconstitutional simply because of its susceptibility to abuse. . . ." Id., at * 470--* 471.

Cooley added that

"[t]his public recognition of religious worship, however, is not based entirely, perhaps not even mainly, upon a sense of what is due to the Supreme Being himself as the author of all good and of all law; but the same reasons of state policy which induce the government to aid institutions of charity and seminaries of instruction will incline it also to foster religious worship and religious institutions, as conservators of the public morals and valuable, if not indispensable, assistants to the preservation of the public order." Id., at *470.

44 posted on 08/27/2003 12:14:57 PM PDT by WOSG
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Sir Gawain
Philip Hamburger, Separation of Church and State (Harvard Univ. Press 2002).
45 posted on 08/27/2003 12:21:33 PM PDT by aristeides
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Yeah, like I said, Lemon is probably not long for this world. Judge Roy's supporters are grasping a slender reed if they think it'll be his case that does it in, though - he's way too hot for the court to touch him. In the meantime, he's stuck with it, and so are we.

Anyway, the line between church and state will probably be drawn differently, but there will still be a line. Otherwise, you get crap like this. This is not so much for you, but for all those supporters of Judge Roy out there who were purporting to argue based on the principle of the thing, I certainly hope you're prepared to eat that crow and support the state of California as it establishes that one particular religion has primacy over all others when it comes to property development ;)

46 posted on 08/27/2003 12:23:01 PM PDT by general_re (Today is a day for firm decisions! Or is it?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: All
Daniel L. Dreisbach, Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation Between Church and State (N.Y.U. Press 2002).
47 posted on 08/27/2003 12:23:32 PM PDT by aristeides
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: Luis Gonzalez
Would you not agree that it could be as dangerous to build a wall of separation as it could be dangerous to sanction a named course of faith when determining the course of justice within our rule of law, according to our moral system of mutual equality and responsibility?
48 posted on 08/27/2003 12:27:39 PM PDT by Republic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: Sir Gawain
49 posted on 08/27/2003 12:27:47 PM PDT by Pagey (Hillary Rotten is a Smug, Holier - Than - Thou Socialist)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Sir Gawain
50 posted on 08/27/2003 12:29:09 PM PDT by mtbrandon49
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
A Crack in the Wall: Two recent books help explain Thomas Jefferson's intent for "separation of church and state."
51 posted on 08/27/2003 12:32:14 PM PDT by aristeides
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: Luis Gonzalez
Watch it... posting quotes from jefferson, in contraindication of the losing view, aka "dissenting" view from Judge Rehnquist... might cause some rather "on the edge" freepers, to hit the abuse button...

Also avoid quoting scriptures that confirm God's desire to keep church and state separate as well.. you know pestky things like that "render to caesar" and "render to God" stuff that Jesus talked about...

After all, moving that rock statue in Alabama today is going to mysteriously close the doors to every church in America... cause believers to go on unrestrained orgies of commandment breaking... and cause great confusion in Heaven. And here I thought God was omnipotent and omniscient!

Prayer now will apparently stop, love of fellow man and God, will come to a screeching halt and all our prayers will no longer be heard...

All because somebody moved a stone away from a particular location... in alabama... REASSERTING our nation's constitutional commitment to separation of church and state, which guarantees we will have freedom of both for generations to come.

Of course there are those of us who believe that the only "rock move" that affects or eternal, national and moral well-being, was the one that was in front of the tomb, where the Savior USED to be, before His resurrection. But don't bring that up either... after all, somebody will go ballistic and hit the "abuse" button on ya.

btw... GREAT response from Jefferson's pen.
Thanks for the quotes.

52 posted on 08/27/2003 12:33:48 PM PDT by Robert_Paulson2 (We need a new war... the *--WAR on GLUTTONY--* to save America...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: Republic
I'm sorry my friend, I'm not sure that I understand your question.
53 posted on 08/27/2003 12:46:09 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (There's no such thing as a stupid question, there are however, many inquisitive morons out there...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]

To: Sir Gawain
The "crucible of litigation," ante, at 2487, is well adapted to adjudicating factual disputes on the basis of testimony presented in court, but no amount of repetition of historical errors in judicial opinions can make the errors true. The "wall of separation between church and State" is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned.


54 posted on 08/27/2003 1:00:53 PM PDT by aristeides
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Sir Gawain; scripter

read later
55 posted on 08/27/2003 1:02:54 PM PDT by EdReform (Support Free Republic - Become a Monthly Donor)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PhilipFreneau
When are you gonna stop making inane comments? Give your obsession a rest, -- go bother someone else.
56 posted on 08/27/2003 1:05:37 PM PDT by tpaine ( I'm trying to be Mr Nice Guy, but politics keep getting in me way. ArnieRino for Governator!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: Luis Gonzalez
That's ok, I not sure I do either upon rereading it! LOL

The gist of it is: we do not have to deny the very foundation of our rule of law, our moral codes, nor do we have to promote those codes in a way that offends others.

If the name of God is on our money, in the prayers before our congress everyday, in our hearts and instilled in our rule of law via the founding Father's careful acknowledgement in the Bill of Rights, perhaps it is ok to allow certain symbols that HONESTLY relate to our heritage to remain, no matter how the minority rails against this 'offense'. There cannot be a WALL dividing religion and government when the foundations of one are noted in the formulation of the other. That is not to say one religion is to be sanctioned above all others-but to DENY its historical relevance is somehow, well, clintonian in that the truth, once again, gets crushed under the weight of of the false wall.

How does an oath have any meaning without a higher authority overseeing it? Why does our President lay his (or her) hand upon a Bible when swearing in-and the same with all judges, etc. THERE IS NO WALL HERE....nor is there a wall between our code of moral behavior within our system of laws and religious rules for conduct.

The wall is just as the Judge indicates-a very bad metaphor. Regardless of who first stated the wall concept.

God flows throughout our system of laws, and tho no one religion is to be held above others, and certainly not state sanctioned, a higher ruling authority does deserve acknowledgement. It is in our Bill of Rights. Precious and not to be denied.

57 posted on 08/27/2003 1:07:19 PM PDT by Republic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 53 | View Replies]

To: Republic
First, we must erect a wall of separation between the concepts of a belief in God, and religion; they are by no means one and the same.

When Roy Moore began specifically promoting his sectarian view of God, is when this issue entered a different plane.

One of the questions that seemed not to have been asked in any reports on this controversy, is exactly WHICH Ten Commandments are inscribed in that monument.

They are certainly not the same Ten Commandments I learned growing up in a Catholic (if repressed) household, nor are they the same Ten Commandments that are inscribed in the walls of the synagogues that I've visited in the past, and they are not the Ten Commandments traditionally taught by mainstream Protestant Churches.

If we can't agree on the exact wording of these Commandmens amongst ourselves, the people to whom they truly pertain to, how can Roy Moore expect all those who enter the building to acknowledge what's written on that monument as being the Word of God?
58 posted on 08/27/2003 1:17:16 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (There's no such thing as a stupid question, there are however, many inquisitive morons out there...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 57 | View Replies]

To: tpaine
>> When are you gonna stop making inane comments? Give your obsession a rest, -- go bother someone else.

Talk about obsession. You have been posting incessantly on this subject for days using the same, erroneous left-wing arguments. No one in their right mind would believe you.
59 posted on 08/27/2003 1:20:14 PM PDT by PhilipFreneau
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 56 | View Replies]

To: Luis Gonzalez
Please tell me the ten commandments as you first learned them. The Ten Commandments that our nation under at its birth are the judeo-christian ten commandments. I was unaware there was another version.

I am not for mushing up our foundations, or denying them, under some clintonian PC diversity sensitivity crapolla.

60 posted on 08/27/2003 1:23:34 PM PDT by Republic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 58 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-6061-80 ... 141-146 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson