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Survey: 65 Percent of Americans Support Prayer in Public Schools
The Christian Post ^ | Feb. 14 2011 | Jennifer Riley

Posted on 02/14/2011 12:04:23 PM PST by wmfights

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To: armordog99

Rationality shouldn’t be expected.

Great arguments, loved your posts.

I wonder is there a “God centered” or “Godless” way to teach Literature, Art, the theory of universal gravitation of mass, the history of China?


51 posted on 02/14/2011 10:23:20 PM PST by allmendream (Tea Party did not send the GOP to D.C. to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism.)
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To: IIntense

Totally understand why you would question that. I work with the husbands and the wives are homeschooling, but they get involved at times when they can.


52 posted on 02/15/2011 12:41:23 AM PST by napscoordinator
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To: armordog99
I think the most neutral prayer is the Our Father. I remember that even Hindus and Moslems have no problem with saying it, so far less any Christian denomination.

btw, sneaky trick you played ;-P
53 posted on 02/15/2011 4:17:43 AM PST by Cronos ("They object to tradition saying that they themselves are wiser than the apostles" - Ire.III.2.2)
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To: allmendream
Thank you. I can understand the viewpoint of there is no such thing as neutrality in education when it comes to religion. For those people then what do you do? I think the system we have set up is the best you can do. You have a public school system and parents have the option to get things changed or opt out and home school or send to a private school.

My big issue is that there is nowhere in the US constitution that authorizes the federal government to be involved in education. I would abolish the department of education tomorrow. If Americans want the federal government to be involved they need to pass an amendment. I would fight against that tooth and nail.

54 posted on 02/15/2011 5:20:18 AM PST by armordog99
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To: Cronos
Our father would be great for the majority of people but what about wiccans, atheist, and such?

I see many “conservatives” on free republic that have no problem with using federal, state, or local government force to impose their religious world view on others. That is human nature though, if you think you have the truth then that is what should be taught.

When I was in officer candidate school I had two good buddies that when we had down time we would discuss many issues. The one guy was an atheist and the other a home-schooled inerrant bible believing christian.

We were talking about government and what the best form of government is. My christian buddy stated that theocracy is the best form. My athiest friend and myself were taken aback by that. He explained his reasoning that if there is a god that created us that we should lived our lives according to his principles.

I had to say that his logic was accurate. Both my athiest buddy and I agreed that it would be the best form of government. I then brought up the fact of how would you know that your leaders were actually talking to god. My christian friend agreed that this is the problem. Unless god starting talking from a burning bush or something like that again you couldn't know for sure if your leader was talking to god or just insane. We all had a good laugh at that.

55 posted on 02/15/2011 5:30:35 AM PST by armordog99
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To: allmendream; armordog99
I wonder is there a “God centered” or “Godless” way to teach Literature, Art, the theory of universal gravitation of mass, the history of China?

If you had attended Catholic school from 1st to 10th and godless government schools from 11th to 12th, and Catholic university followed by state university graduate school, you would know that, YES, there is a difference between a godless and God-centered way of teaching the above.

Honestly, when I read a statement like yours above I conclude that there are only three possible explanations for this thinking:

1) It is like a fish in water, those who swim in the godless worldview are incapable of knowing that they are doing it. I think if I told a fish that he was swimming in water he would get mad at me.

2) They are lying. They do fully understand the complaints and arguments of those who object to state sponsored godless schools but deny that they do.

3) They are financially benefiting directly or indirectly from the government temples of godlessness. ( Misnamed "schools").

What I find odd, is that is it rare to find a Freeper that is determined to impose their God-centered worldview on the children of those who are godless. What is seen here on the pages of Free Republic are calls for vouchers, tax credits, charters, and a move toward eventual complete privatization.

Why would the godlss support a system of compulsory funded, compulsory-attendance, state sponsored "schools" than impose godlessness on other people's children? Are they fundamentally bullies?

56 posted on 02/15/2011 5:35:48 AM PST by wintertime
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To: armordog99
wiccans, atheist, and such?

Let them eat cake....

;-P

But seriously - ok, you have a point, something can always upset someone. Perhaps an option to opt out?

57 posted on 02/15/2011 6:23:28 AM PST by Cronos ("They object to tradition saying that they themselves are wiser than the apostles" - Ire.III.2.2)
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To: wmfights

I don’t support prayer in government-controlled schools. The heart of secular government schools is opposed to Christian faith, so the “artifacts” (e.g., prayer) that arise out of such an ungodly educational philosophy will be opposed to the Christian faith.

Maybe our tax dollars can be directed (by parents) to the educational option *they* choose for their children. Maybe magnet schools and charter schools and private schools and home schools could offer a different fundamental philosophy — one more amenable to a Christian worldview. In *that* case, I suppose “prayer in school” would be acceptable.


58 posted on 02/15/2011 6:27:39 AM PST by Theo (May Rome decrease and Christ increase.)
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To: wintertime

How in the world are public schools supposed to include God in the educational process? Are you aware of what the constitution says? There is no way to include religion except as part of current events or history classes. Do you think teachers are supposed to say prayers during the classes and include the students? Ridiculous. Leave praying and religion for church and home. Unless, or course, students want to gather in private in their free time during school hours.


59 posted on 02/15/2011 6:34:22 AM PST by driftless2 (For long-term happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
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To: wintertime
I do understand your viewpoint, I just don't agree with it. You are presenting an either/or argument otherwise know as the black or white fallacy of argumentation. I assume your are catholic, please correct me if I am wrong. So you believe that the catholic church is the body of christ on this planet. I could reverse your fish argument and use it as equally against you.

Those who swim in the catholicism worldview are incapable of knowing what they are doing. They cannot see that people can disagree on god and the nature of god and because of this the best that government schools can do is have a position of neutrality.

If you are catholic I find it interesting that you would be against neutrality in public schools because for much of the nation's history the protestant majority discriminated against catholics in those schools. This is one of the reasons that there are so many private catholic schools.

You of course have the right to petition the government towards your view and attempt to abolish all government schools. I believe education is primarily the purview of parents. That is one of the reasons I want the federal government out of the education business. This allows more local control of education.

Again I find that vouchers and charter schools take my tax money and provide it to religious schools which makes me support religions I do not agree with. Such as catholicism, islam, and others. Therefore I believe that public schools should be neutral to all religious belief and allow parents to educate their children in religion however they wish. However, I understand in your world view that there is no such thing as neutrality and therefore by not promoting god the are promoting godlessness. You do not want your money going for that. So know we go to the ballot box and see who can get their views inacted as law.

60 posted on 02/15/2011 6:45:16 AM PST by armordog99
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To: driftless2
How in the world are public schools supposed to include God in the educational process?
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

They can't! It is IMPOSSIBLE for a government school to include or exclude God in a neutral manner. It is impossible for **any** school (private or government) to include or exclude God in a neutral manner.

Solution: ( How many times must I post this?)

Begin the process of privatizing K-12 education. Vouchers, tax credits, and charters can help build the private infrastructure needed. Eventually move toward complete separation of school and state.

Decisions regarding worldview ( godless or God-centered) must be privately decided between the parents, and the private teachers, and private principals who work for private schools.

61 posted on 02/15/2011 6:52:01 AM PST by wintertime
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To: Cronos
I do not like the opt-out option. During my elementary school years we had a jehovah’s witness in my class. She would leave the classroom every morning during the recitation of the pledge of allegiance. Kids being kids we would make fun of her for it. It was very rough for her.

Of course the conundrum is that people such as wintertime believe that there can be no neutrality when it comes to god. That all education must come from a theistic worldview, and most likely their specific theistic worldview.

So in a free society what do you do? I think the best answer is neutrality in the public schools with the parents having the option to opt out entirely. However, you are still taking money from those people to promote a view they do not agree with.

In a pluralistic society like ours there is no good answer. If you completely get government out of the education system you will have alot of children not see the inside of a classroom due to their parents not being able to afford it or not caring. This is how government schools began in the first place.

For full disclosure I did teach in public schools for a few years. All of it in city schools and I do not miss it. Many freepers like to beat up on teachers but it is one of the toughest jobs out there. I would rather deploy to Iraq again or Afghanistan before I would go back to teaching.

62 posted on 02/15/2011 6:58:02 AM PST by armordog99
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To: Cronos

Hindus and Muslims do not see the Creator as a “Father.”

Such an intimate and relational view of God emerges only through Judeo-Christian tradition.


63 posted on 02/15/2011 7:01:18 AM PST by Theo (May Rome decrease and Christ increase.)
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To: Theo
Hindus do -- remember that Hinduism is a constantly morphing, umbrella religion. Moslems, perhaps not.

In any case, my point was from experience, I've seen them not objecting to this in Catholic schools in India for instance.
64 posted on 02/15/2011 7:03:31 AM PST by Cronos ("They object to tradition saying that they themselves are wiser than the apostles" - Ire.III.2.2)
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To: wintertime
It is IMPOSSIBLE for a government school to include or exclude God in a neutral manner.

Why do they need to be neutral???

There is nothing in the Constitution or Bill of Rights that requires that.

For further reference, I repeat my post from yesterday, plus a comment from one reply.

For those who don’t know:

- The words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

- The 1st Amendment says: “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.” {emphasis added}

- The words "separation of church and state" originate from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Convention who feared a state run religion would be implemented much like the church of England. They wanted to be assured they would not be forced by the state to practice any certain form of Christianity. Jefferson assured them they would be able to practice their brand of Christianity without state intervention. That letter has been twisted 180 degrees to prevent public displays of Christianity. It was never Jefferson’s intent.

- It wasn’t until the early 1960’s that prayer in public school was “outlawed” by a new interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

- The history of the U.S. includes prayer and Bible readings in all sorts of public places, including schools and Congress.

- In 1782, the United States Congress passed the following resolution: “The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”

- William Holmes McGuffey, the author of the McGuffey Reader (used ofr over 100 years in U.S. public schools), declared: “The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it are derived our notions on the character of God, on the great moral Governor of the universe. On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free institutions. From no source has the author drawn more conspicuously than from the sacred Scriptures. From all these extracts from the Bible I make no apology.”

- Of the first 108 universities founded in America, 106 were distinctly Christian, including the first, Harvard University, chartered in 1636.

- In the original Harvard Student Handbook, rule number 1 was that students seeking entrance must know Latin and Greek so that they could study the Scriptures: “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, (John 17:3); and therefore to lay Jesus Christ as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of him (Proverbs 2:3).”

{Certain excerpts from AllAboutPopularIssues.org}

65 posted on 02/15/2011 7:05:04 AM PST by jda ("Righteousness exalts a nation . . .")
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To: armordog99; wintertime

The thing is that I agree with wintertime that everthing has a theistic worldview. But I need to think more to give you an adequate response.


66 posted on 02/15/2011 7:05:16 AM PST by Cronos ("They object to tradition saying that they themselves are wiser than the apostles" - Ire.III.2.2)
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To: wintertime
I do see your point but you are failing to see our point. In our worldview there is a neutral position. So we have no problem with the government neither promoting a theistic worldview or promoting a non-theistic worldview.

I do see your point and it is very logical from your worldview. I just disagree with it and do not believe that entirely privatizing education is the best course of action for our nation.

Perhaps though you may be right. As we become more pluralistic as a nation maybe we will have to completely separate government and schools.

I do have a question for you. If in your worldview there is no neutrality how do you support the United State of America? We have a secular government that is neutral to all religions.

In fact it is my understanding that pope pious the IX condemned as false in the syllabus of errors that the Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church and that it is also false every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true. He also condemned as false that some countries had wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship.(Syllabus Errorum,1964)

This seems the antithesis of American ideals. Don't get me wrong you have every right in this country to think however you want and to even try and get laws passed that support your worldview. It is one of the reasons I serve in the military because I believe that freedom is worth defending. I would however fight you or anyone else at the ballot box who tried to change our American ideal of religious freedom.

67 posted on 02/15/2011 7:22:20 AM PST by armordog99
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To: jda
Here is a point by point rebuttal of your argument.

- The words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

Correct. However, neither does the phrase “right to privacy” appear in the Constitution or the bill of rights. Those are both phrases that capture the overall meanings of provisions in the Constitution and the bill of rights. Sidebar, I hate the phrase bill of rights. The first ten amendments do not tell us what our rights are but places limits on what government can do.

- The 1st Amendment says: “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.” {emphasis added}

This is correct and it also only applied to the federal government until the 14th amendment and the incorporation principle.

- The words “separation of church and state” originate from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Convention who feared a state run religion would be implemented much like the church of England. They wanted to be assured they would not be forced by the state to practice any certain form of Christianity. Jefferson assured them they would be able to practice their brand of Christianity without state intervention. That letter has been twisted 180 degrees to prevent public displays of Christianity. It was never Jefferson’s intent.

I would disagree with your interpretation of Jefferson’s intent. Here is a quote from a letter he wrote while president discussing national days of prayer or celebration;
I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling in religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment, or free exercise, of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the United States. Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in religious discipline has been delegated to the General Government. It must then rest with the states, as far as it can be in any human authority.
But it is only proposed that I should recommend, not prescribe a day of fasting & prayer. That is, that I should indirectly assume to the US an authority over religious exercises which the Constitution has directly precluded them from.... I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct it's exercises, it's discipline, or it's doctrines; nor of the religious societies that the general government should be invested with the power of effecting any uniformity of time or matter among them. Fasting & prayer are religious exercises. The enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises, & the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and this right can never be safer than in their own hands, where the constitution has deposited it. I am aware that the practice of my predecessors may be quoted.... Be this as it may, every one must act according to the dictates of his own reason, & mine tells me that civil powers alone have been given to the President of the US and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.
— Thomas Jefferson, to Samuel Miller, January 23, 1808

Clearly he believed that the first amendment restricted him from making a religious proclamation as president. Even though his two predecessors had done so. In my opinion every president that does so is not following a strict reading of the constitution.

- It wasn’t until the early 1960’s that prayer in public school was “outlawed” by a new interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

I disagree with you on this. It was not a new interpretation but a return to the correct interpretation. Since the great awakening in the early 1800’s the protestant majority in America had used governmental power to enforce a generic brand of Protestantism within public schools.
Also you are wrong that it wasn’t till the early 1960’s that prayer and bible reading was found to be unconstitutional in this country. Many of the first attempts were by catholics who objected to their children reading the king james version of the bible.
In 1890 the Wisconsin supreme court ruled that reading the king james version of the bible in public schools violated the Wisconsin constitution. Now this was a state supreme court ruling on their state constitution. This case was never appealed to the supreme court so they did not get to rule on it. From my study of the history of the US supreme court cases against prayer and bible reading in public schools did not start coming to their attention until the mid 1900s. This is of course when we began to be more diverse as a nation in our religious beliefs and practices.

- The history of the U.S. includes prayer and Bible readings in all sorts of public places, including schools and Congress.

You are absolutely right on this. However I attribute this to the same disconnect the founders had to the idea that all men are created equal while at the same time allowing slavery. In fact James Madison had this to say on congressional chaplains;
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. The Constitution of the U S forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them, and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does this not involve the principle of a national establishment...?
— James Madison, “Essay on Monopolies” unpublished until 1946
Now you can see that this wasn’t published until 1946. Why might that be?

- In 1782, the United States Congress passed the following resolution: “The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”

See post above and comment on the disconnection.

- William Holmes McGuffey, the author of the McGuffey Reader (used ofr over 100 years in U.S. public schools), declared: “The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it are derived our notions on the character of God, on the great moral Governor of the universe. On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free institutions. From no source has the author drawn more conspicuously than from the sacred Scriptures. From all these extracts from the Bible I make no apology.”

One man’s personal opinion.

- Of the first 108 universities founded in America, 106 were distinctly Christian, including the first, Harvard University, chartered in 1636.

Any one can found a college on their religious beliefs in this country. Freedom of religion.

- In the original Harvard Student Handbook, rule number 1 was that students seeking entrance must know Latin and Greek so that they could study the Scriptures: “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, (John 17:3); and therefore to lay Jesus Christ as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of him (Proverbs 2:3).”
{Certain excerpts from AllAboutPopularIssues.org}

See post above.

There have been people since this country was founded that believed the constitution provided a separation of church and state. With the majority of Americans being some form of protestant they were absolutely fine with imposing a generic protestantism in the public schools. As the people with power are want to do. It wasn’t until the country became much less homogenous in its religious make-up and the protestant majority lost the power to enforce there view that people starting protesting that prayer was being outlawed in public school.

This of course is nonsense. What the supreme court outlawed was the government, in the form of your local school board, forcing students to say a certain prayer or read a certain bible. I think conservatives can agree that we do not want the government in any form to be forcing religion on children. This is the sole purview of their parents.

Students are allowed to pray in schools, as long as it is not disruptive. They are also allowed to form religious groups that meet before or after school.

68 posted on 02/15/2011 11:14:42 AM PST by armordog99
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To: armordog99
You obviously miss the whole point.

In regard to Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Church, I suggest that, instead of disagreeing with what you think his intentions were, you read more about him and the other Founders (yes, all of them). Here are a few more Jefferson quotes:

"[N]o power over the freedom of religion . . . [is] delegated to the United States by the Constitution." Kentucky Resolution, 1798

"In matters of religion, I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the general [federal] government." Second Inaugural Address, 1805

"[O]ur excellent Constitution . . . has not placed our religious rights under the power of any public functionary." Letter to the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1808

"I consider the government of the United States as interdicted [prohibited] by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions . . . or exercises." Letter to Samuel Millar, 1808

"[T]he clause of the Constitution which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity through the United States; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians and Congregationalists. The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes and they believe that any portion of power confided to me will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly."Letter to Bejamin Rush, 1800 [8]

Furthermore, if the 1st Amendment is intended to keep religion out of government (i.e., freedom from religion as opposed to freedom of religion:

- Why do the Congressional Records from June 7 to September 25, 1789, the months of discussions and debates of the ninety Founding Fathers who framed the First Amendment never mention the phrase "separation of church and state." It seems logical that if this had been the intent for the First Amendment – as is so frequently asserted - then at least one of those ninety who framed the Amendment would have mentioned that phrase; none did. Incidentally, Jefferson was not one of the 90 framers of the 1st Amendment.

- Why did the Constitutional Congress appoint chaplains for each house of Congress?

- Why did the Constitutional Congress, and every Congress since, open with prayer?

- Why did Ben Franklin, during a particularly contentious debate, recommended that they stop and pray before proceeding?

- Why was the Capitol used for church services before it was occupied by Congress?

- Why did both houses of Congress approve the use of the Capitol for church services ... in 1800?

- Why are there so many references to Chritianity (quotes, pictures, and even the Ten Commandments) throughout government buildings in D.C.?

- Why does the Declaration of Independence reference the "Creator" as the source of our unalienable rights?

- Why did Congress authorize and fund the printing of Bibles in 1782?

I could go on and on, but the point is that, yes, there are a few references which, when taken out of context, indicate that we should be free from religion, but there are orders of magnitude more that show the intent that we have freedom of religion, as the 1st Amendment says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; . . ."

69 posted on 02/15/2011 12:46:32 PM PST by jda ("Righteousness exalts a nation . . .")
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To: armordog99
Of course the conundrum is that people such as wintertime believe that there can be no neutrality when it comes to god. That all education must come from a theistic worldview, and most likely their specific theistic worldview
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

No, I do NOT argue that all education must be, and can only be, from a theistic worldview. Heavens! NO!

There are many examples of secular ( godless) schools. Many private schools are secular ( godless in their worldview. All government schools are.

In a completely private system of schools, parents would chose, or reject, this godless education for their children. That is fine with me but no one should fool themselves into thinking that secular is the same as religiously neutral. It isn't.

The content of a godless education, the choices made by the teachers and principals, in a godless school are different ( and **not** religiously neutral) in content than one that is God-centered, and NEITHER ( godless or God-centered) is religious neutral in consequences for the child or the nation.

>>”. If you completely get government out of the education system you will have alot of children not see the inside of a classroom due to their parents not being able to afford it or not caring.”<<

Well...What do we have now? There are a lot of children not getting an education now in the government schools.

In fact, there are government schools in this nation soooooo horrific that it would be better for the children to NEVER attend. I seriously mean it. Illiteracy and innumeracy can be fixed. Permanent damage from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse very often can't.

I have repeatedly asked for the controlled scientific studies that prove that children actually learn something in the classroom. No one has ever provided the links.

We have huge prison-like structures, that are VERY expensive to build, maintain, and staff, and do we really know if children are learning anything there??? Really?

I ask this question because when I quiz the parents of academically successful institutionalized children and compare their home lives to those of successful homeschoolers, I find **NO** difference. Both groups of children ( Homeschool and institutionalized) are spending about the **same** amount of time in formal homework at the kitchen table. Both homeschoolers and institutionalized children have similar home habits with bedtimes, meals, exercise, and control of electronics. Both have parents that read to them, take them on educational trips, and encourage learning in the home.

So?...The question that jumps out at me is, “Hm? How much is due to the school and how much is entirely due to the parents and children's efforts?”

It is entirely possible that the only thing that government schools are doing is sending home a curriculum for the parents and child to follow in the home.

70 posted on 02/15/2011 1:40:18 PM PST by wintertime
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To: jda
I will attempt to answer your questions.

- Why do the Congressional Records from June 7 to September 25, 1789, the months of discussions and debates of the ninety Founding Fathers who framed the First Amendment never mention the phrase “separation of church and state.” It seems logical that if this had been the intent for the First Amendment – as is so frequently asserted - then at least one of those ninety who framed the Amendment would have mentioned that phrase; none did. Incidentally, Jefferson was not one of the 90 framers of the 1st Amendment.

Perhaps because they felt the wording was easily understandable.

- Why did the Constitutional Congress appoint chaplains for each house of Congress?

Let me again point out this quote;
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. The Constitution of the U S forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them, and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does this not involve the principle of a national establishment...?
— James Madison, “Essay on Monopolies” unpublished until 1946
So James Madison did not believe that a congressional chaplain was constitutional by a strict interpretation of the 1st Amendment. However, he voted for it anyways. When you have a population where 90%+ is some type of protestant Christianity then there will be nobody to complain and bring a case to the supreme court.

- Why did the Constitutional Congress, and every Congress since, open with prayer?

See above.

- Why did Ben Franklin, during a particularly contentious debate, recommended that they stop and pray before proceeding?

He did propose this. However only 3 or 4 other people at the convention thought it was a good idea and it was never implemented.

- Why was the Capitol used for church services before it was occupied by Congress?

It was a public building and I would think that anyone who wanted to use it would be allowed to.

- Why did both houses of Congress approve the use of the Capitol for church services ... in 1800?

See above

- Why are there so many references to Christianity (quotes, pictures, and even the Ten Commandments) throughout government buildings in D.C.?

I am not sure what you are referring to here. I have been to D.C. and have not seen references to Christianity throughout government buildings. Perhaps you are referring to the supreme court building and the sculpture called “Justice the Guardian of Liberty” by Herman A. McNeil. Here is the description of that sculpture from the Smithsonian website:
Relief figures on the pediment illustrate the contributions of Eastern and Mediterranean civilizations to the development of the law. In the center is a seated figure of Moses, with the tablets of Hebraic law held in each hand. To the left is a standing figure of Confucius, the great lawgiver of China; on the other side is a standing figure of Solon, master codifier of Greek law. On the left of the central grouping there is a kneeling man holding a child with his proper right hand and the Roman symbol of authority, fasces, over his proper left shoulder. He symbolizes the means of enforcing the law. On the right of the central grouping there is a kneeling woman also holding a child and fasces. She symbolizes the tempering justice with mercy. Soldiers carrying shields flank these two figures. The soldier on the left represents the settlement of disputes between states through enlightened judgment while the soldier on the right represents the protection of maritime and other rights by the Supreme Court. The soldiers are flanked by reclining figures. On the left, a reclining woman represents the study and pondering of judgment, and right, a reclining man illustrates the high character of the Supreme Court. In the corner of the left side of the pediment is a hare and in the corner of the right side is a tortoise. They symbolize the slow but sure course of Justice.

- Why does the Declaration of Independence reference the “Creator” as the source of our unalienable rights?

The founding fathers were heavily influenced by the enlightenment ideas of the time. This was a common phrase used by enlightenment thinkers and deist of the time who did not believe in a personal god. It was also a term that Christians of the time would accept.

- Why did Congress authorize and fund the printing of Bibles in 1782?

I am not aware of this action by congress. Could you please give me a source so that I can look into it further.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the liberals are completely wrong when they say that this county was not founded on judeo-christian ideals. I also think that religious conservatives are wrong when they say it was only founded on judeo-christian ideals. From my study of this country the most accurate statement would be that this country was founded on Greco-roman, English common law, judeo-christian, and enlightenment ideals in more or less the same proportions.

Now I have some questions for you. If the founding fathers wanted protestant Christianity to be the official religion why did they not say so in the constitution or the bill of rights? Why did they specifically saw that there would be no religious test for public office?

Why in the treaty of Tripoli, which was ratified by the senate and signed by John Adams, state;
As the Government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the law, religion or tranquility of Musselmen; and as the states never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mohometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever produce an interruption of harmony existing between the two countries.

The Journal of the Senate, including The Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate, John Adams Administration, 1797-1801, Volume 1: Fifth Congress, First Session; March-July, 1797. Edited by Martin P. Claussen. Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier, Inc., 1977.

This treaty was read in the senate and passed without one dissenting vote. It was then published in three major newspapers of the day and there was no public outcry by anyone.

Now I have no idea how the supreme court in the early days of our republic would have decided if a school prayer case had come before them. However the supreme court has been fairly consistent on this issue. On a side note I have enjoyed this intellectual debate with you.

71 posted on 02/15/2011 4:35:06 PM PST by armordog99
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To: armordog99
- Why do the Congressional Records from June 7 to September 25, 1789, the months of discussions and debates of the ninety Founding Fathers who framed the First Amendment never mention the phrase “separation of church and state.” It seems logical that if this had been the intent for the First Amendment – as is so frequently asserted - then at least one of those ninety who framed the Amendment would have mentioned that phrase; none did. Incidentally, Jefferson was not one of the 90 framers of the 1st Amendment.

Perhaps because they felt the wording was easily understandable.

Pure supposition on your part. The fact is that the Founders did not want a repeat of England - they did not want a national religion, but they did want the freedom to practice whatever form of Christianity they chose, thus the words ". . . shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

- Why are there so many references to Christianity (quotes, pictures, and even the Ten Commandments) throughout government buildings in D.C.?

I am not sure what you are referring to here. I have been to D.C. and have not seen references to Christianity throughout government buildings. Perhaps you are referring to the supreme court building and the sculpture called “Justice the Guardian of Liberty” by Herman A. McNeil.

I, too, have been to D.C. several times and noticed many others, including:

 The Ten Commandments engraved on each lower portion of each of the two huge wooden doors as you enter the Supreme Court.

 The Ten Commandments on the wall right above where the Supreme Court judges sit.

Some would argue that the symbols of the Ten Commandments around and in the Supreme court are something else, but that is mere speculation and wishful supposition, with no basis in fact.

 Along the stairway to the top of the washington Monument are 190 carved quotations from Scripture -- "Holiness to the Lord" (Exodus 28), "Search the Scriptures" (John 5:39), "The memory of the just is blessed" (Proverbs 10:7) -- and such invocations as, "May Heaven to this Union continue its Benefice."

 Although I didn't see either with my own eyes, I understood from our guide and from other sources that:

- The cornerstone of the Washington Monument contains many items including the Holy Bible presented by the Bible Society.

- The words Laus Deo (or "Praise be to God") are etched on the aluminum cap atop the Washington Monument.

 On the 140-foot landing of the Washington Monument, a memorial stone is inscribed with the following prayer: "May Heaven to this union continue its beneficence; may brotherly affection with union be perpetual; may the free constitution which is the work of our ancestors be sacredly maintained and its administration be stamped with wisdom and with virtue."

 On the 260-foot landing of the Washington Monument stones quote Proverbs 10:7, Proverb 22:6, and Luke 17:6.

 The prayers that the "mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away" and that "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." are carved in granite inside the Licoln Memorial.

- Why did Congress authorize and fund the printing of Bibles in 1782? I am not aware of this action by congress. Could you please give me a source so that I can look into it further.

On January 21, 1781, Robert Aitken petitioned the Unites States Congress to authorize, and if possible even fund, the printing of a complete Bible in the English language of the King James Version. On September 10, 1782, Aitken received authorization from the United States Congress to commence his American printing of the Bible in English.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the liberals are completely wrong when they say that this county was not founded on judeo-christian ideals. I also think that religious conservatives are wrong when they say it was only founded on judeo-christian ideals. From my study of this country the most accurate statement would be that this country was founded on Greco-roman, English common law, judeo-christian, and enlightenment ideals in more or less the same proportions.

Fifty-two of the 55 founders of the Constitution were members of the established orthodox churches in the colonies, and many of them were theologians.

James Madison made the following statement "We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."

Patrick Henry said, "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians...not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ".

The very first Supreme Court Justice, John Jay, said, "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." John Jay in a private letter to Jedidiah Morse in 1797.

The is so much more evidence that our country was founded on Christian principles (recognizing that there were other influences), by Christian men (none of them perfect).

Now I have some questions for you. If the founding fathers wanted protestant Christianity to be the official religion why did they not say so in the constitution or the bill of rights? Why did they specifically saw that there would be no religious test for public office?

At the time, Christianity was basically the only "religion", although there were different denominations - the intention was that all would be free to practice, but no single one would be the "state" religion.

Why in the treaty of Tripoli, which was ratified by the senate and signed by John Adams, state; As the Government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the law, religion or tranquility of Musselmen; and as the states never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mohometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever produce an interruption of harmony existing between the two countries.

See other quotes above, as well as other quotes by Adams - you can't rely on just one quote from one person.

In summary, if the original intent by the Founders was to exclude all forms of religious symbolism and expression from government, as is the case today, they would not have allowed such in Washington. Furthermore, excluding all forms of religious expression from our government is in fact promoting a state religion - that of secular humanism. I believe the results of our expulsion of God from our government are unmistakable - exponential increases in crime rates, drug usage, teen pregnancy, lower SAT scores, etc., etc.

The liberals want to impose "separation of church and state" on us like is explicit in the former Soviet Union, whose constitution says: "In order to ensure to citizens freedom of conscience, the church in the U.S.S.R. is separated from the State, and the school from the church. Freedom of religious worship and freedom of antireligious propaganda is recognized for all citizens" (Article 124). Article Twelve of the 1918 Soviet Constitution decrees that no church or religious organization "shall enjoy the rights of judicial person." Instruction of children under age 18 in religious matters, whether in public or private, is against the law. The problem is that neither our Constitution or Bill of Rights say that.

72 posted on 02/16/2011 12:11:40 PM PST by jda ("Righteousness exalts a nation . . .")
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