Opinons Please--Church-State division?

by patio34 44 Replies latest social current

  • patio34

    I saw this in this morning's news on lucianne.com. They have a posting opinion section and 100% of the people were against this guy. What do you think? 1) Should there be a more absolute division of Church and State in the U.S.? 2) Is the guy nuts or is this a valid issue that protects the public from religious intrusions? 3) Is this necessary to prevent religion from ever gaining the power that it has in the Middle East? 4) Should public funds/tax $$ go to fund this religious activity? +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 'Under God' Critic Goes After Congress Constitutionality Of Congressional Chaplains Questioned Posted: 2:34 p.m. PDT August 30, 2002
    Updated: 2:47 p.m. PDT August 30, 2002 SAN DIEGO -- The California atheist who challenged the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is now going after taxpayer-funded chaplains in Congress.

    PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE SurveyIs Ruling Appropriate?
    Pop-upChanges To Pledge
    Pop-upU.S. Flag Through History
    StoryText Of Pledge Of Allegiance
    StorySenate Resolution On Pledge
    WebsiteRead The Decision
    "If they want a pep talk, then go get a football coach, but stop getting chaplains and religious folks to come in. It's forbidden," Michael Newdow, a Sacramento-based lawyer and physician, said in an interview Friday.

    In a suit filed in U.S. District Court here this week, Newdow said House and Senate chaplain positions compromise a constitutional ban on government-sponsored religion and religious requirements for public servants. The suit names as defendants the Congress and other administrators.

    Newdow's suit seeks to abolish the jobs, but makes no specific request for damages.

    "It's a civil rights case, atheists are second-class citizens in this society," Newdow said in the telephone interview. "Even if (the chaplains) weren't getting paid, it's wrong for government to be saying that there's a God. These are religious ideals and the government's not supposed to be weighing in."

    Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., said most people are "comforted by the fact that our chaplains lead us in seeking guidance from a superior power."

    All House and Senate chaplains since 1789 have been Christians, the lawsuit notes. The House chaplain now earns $148,500, and Senate chaplain makes $130,000.

    A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco sided with Newdow in June, finding unconstitutional the phrase "one nation under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. That decision drew an onslaught of criticism from Capitol Hill, and the Justice Department has since asked the full 9th Circuit court to review it.

    Copyright 2002 by TheSanDiegoChannel.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

    Edited by - Patio34 on 31 August 2002 10:8:50

  • bigboi
    1) Should there be a more absolute division of Church and State in the U.S.?

    IMO, no. As long as ppl are religious, governments by and for the ppl will have to allow religious leaders input.

    2) Is the guy nuts or is this a valid issue that protects the public from religious intrusions?

    I'm leaning more towards this dude falling off his rocker. Yet in a free country he has the right to express his opinion. Just lie evryone else. No one is trying to stifle his, so why should he be allowed to stifle anyone else's?

    3) Is this necessary to prevent religion from ever gaining the power that it has in the Middle East?

    No. Religion has always been a major factor in the Middle East. Hell, some folks say it's where religion started for chrissakes! Relgious extremism is a bad thing and unfortunately now holds sway over many of the ppl of that region. That is what Micheal Newdow sounds like to me, an extremist.

    4) Should public funds/tax $$ go to fund this religious activity?

    I say let the taxpayers decide. Put it on a ballot and let the ppl decide whether or not they want their seular leaders to consider the advice or counsel of their religious leaders.

  • Kenneson

    Mr. Newdow is anti-God, anti-religion. From its inception Congress has had chaplains. It never was its intention to be an enemy of God and religion.


  • willy_think

    The House chaplain now earns $148,500, and Senate chaplain makes $130,000.

    A congregation with 100 members pays 100,000+ yearly to a man of God when thousands of preachers would do it for free? (A politicians ear can be worth more then money)
    I don't want to subsidizes a preacher who only preaches to 100 rich people! Why am I paying for this with churches all over Washington, DC? they should cut the job, Americans go to the church of there choice on there own time and pay for it with there own dime, that is how it is, and should be for all free men, even men who want it all for free.

  • patio34

    Thanks Bigboi, WillyThink, and Kenneson for your ideas. The guy may be nuts but I fall on his side of the issue. I think, for what it's worth, that there should be absolute separation of church and state. I don't think tax dollars should fund any sort of religious activity. I do think that offering public prayer before a public meeting is an imposition of religion on a purely secular activity. It doesn't seem that the government in any way would be anti-religious to cut this activity, but would be a furtherance of what the writers of the constitution intended. Religion should have no part in government, imo. Further it suggests that all are Christians and that this is a superior religion. The government should not favor one religion over another.

    That's my 2 cents. But it seems the majority think the guy's nuts. I think he's admirable.


  • Kingpawn

    1) Should there be a more absolute division of Church and State in the U.S.?

    I think the two have become dangerously intertwined with Bush's "faith-based initiatives." The danger I see is the Religious Right assuming they have a mandate from the State (besides the one they think they have from God) to (a) push their social agenda, which is their right as citizens, and (b) to squash other viewpoints because we are a "Christian" nation (yeah, right). Applicants for services could be considered "captive converts-to-be" and maybe be denied services because of what you are, who you voted for, how you feel about particular issues and so on. Earlier in his term, the Bush Administration was working on a deal with the Salvation Army that would've exempted them from civil-rights laws in hiring, etc. for GLBT people. Public exposure nixed the deal.

    2) Is the guy nuts or is this a valid issue that protects the public from religious intrusions?

    It's a valid issue, but to me we need consistency. I think the US Supreme Court has a copy of the Ten Commandments posted on or in the building while telling others they can't do it. Either let them all show it or take it down from the Court's premises as well. Does it protect? Considering the scandals Congress has had over the decades, a good case could be made for keeping these guys or getting guys with more pull Upstairs. Congress is living proof that just because someone is exposed to prayer they won't be a saint.

    3) Is this necessary to prevent religion from ever gaining the power that it has in the Middle East?

    I'd like to think an alert citizenry would always keep them in check because of some of the fanatacism I've seen from their more vocal members. But will we? Might be easier to do this now than a century later.

    4) Should public funds/tax $$ go to fund this religious activity?

    My gut reaction is to say no. Then I might well be a hypocrite. The University of Wisconsin (I think--don't have the news item any more) once fended off a lawsuit that's kind of a reverse of your question. Christian students had objected to a part of their fees going to support groups they disagreed with on religious grounds--specifically, a gay/lesbian group. The college said it had a role preparing students for the world, including exposing them to diverse viewpoints and cultures, and Christian's stands on this issue isn't America's or the whole world's. The court sided with the college. This has been over a year ago, closer to two. So I don't know what to say.

  • Yerusalyim

    No, there should not be an absolute seperation of Church and State, to do so would end up infringing on EVERYONE's rights. The Constitution does NOT mention seperation of Church and state. What it does mention is that Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion (i.e. not make a state religion) nor prohibiting the free exercise there of. The constitution ensures freedom OF religion not FROM religion.

    Is this guy off his rocker? No, he's a publicity hound. He has no real issue. He's not attacked the fact that "IN GOD WE TRUST" is on our Money, or that a CREATOR is mentioned in our declaration of independence, etc.

    yes, it's always necessary to stop religion from taking control of a government.

    public funds to religious activities? I believe religions should have equal access to public funds as do NON religious institutions. I support school vouchers because it gives public school much need competition (if you want to see an institution change, introduce comptetion). Also, religions have done a MUCH better job of taking care of the poor than have private ones. the scenario Kingpawn mentions is the exact opposite of reality. The state would hamstring religious outreach programs and not allow them even the opportunity to preach to those willing to listen. KINGPAWN, do you know of a single religious outreach program that has rejected someone due to religion (I mean OTHER THAN the WTS).

  • Pancho
  • patio34

    Hello Pancho! Thanks for the site--I've bookmarked it so's I can keep up with these sorts of issues. Ain't the net grand?

    Hi Yerusalyim, thanks for that information. I hadn't realized that that was the exact wording of the Constitution. However, I still think that religion, in the form of zealots, is a dangerous thing to be influencing governmental policy. The intolerance of religion alone should prevent it from having a say, other than an individual's rights to participate.

    Hey Kingpawn, You made the point that it's easier to prevent now than in 100 years. Nip it in the bud. But as far as consistency, maybe what Dr. Newbow is doing is keeping the ball rolling to establish precedent.

    There needs to be a clear difference between religious beliefs (such as you mentioned, gay people) and government-funded policies and practices. There is such a wide variety of belief and practices and everyone's civil rights need to be protected.

    After all, if people were to try to apply Bible law as fundamentalists in the government, we'd be taking people outside of city limits and stoning them, even gay people. The world is much more civilized in many respects than it was in those times and we protect, rather than victimize, people's rights. Mostly anyway. Or at least that's the effort. . . .


  • Elsewhere

    In order to ensure free exercise of religion, it is VITAL that the government make no establishment of religion.

    Because of this, I have to agree with his actions.

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