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NeoNote — Religion & government

WH, you are way off base with your opinion about Islam having no Constitution protections. Religion is between you and the Divine and no one else.

That being said, *ahem*





It may be a religion, but if it relies on force, any and all opposition is justified. And if someone chooses to walk away, that's their right.

If your religion depends on force, you're doing it wrong.



That's not your place to decide. And Story was wrong.

If you start excluding religions from protection, sooner or later someone else is going to exclude yours. No other nation has America's pluralism. It's what threatens all monotheistic Islam. Religious choice is exactly that, choice,

On the other hand, we must insist on an even playing ground. Islam gets no special treatment and no special protections.

I'd be perfectly happy seeing a law that required anyone, regardless of faith, who participated in an honor killing or female genital mutilation to be executed, wrapped in pigskin, boiled with pig dung, and buried under a pig farm. Of course, the pigs might object…



Religion is a hot button topic for me, if for no other reason than I have had Christians use theirs against me, and tell me in no uncertain terms that any religion except Christianity should not be allowed. I'm related to some of those people.

Story himself specifically excluded Judaism. Which is interesting considering (among other things) the history of the Newport, Rhode Island Hebrew Congregation.

Here's what both you and Story are completely overlooking. The English Civil War was relatively recent. No proto-American wanted another church telling their church what to do. But that is minor. No, the big thing is that for the very first time (that we know of) in the history of Western Civilization, the defining document did not say that government power derived from the Divine. Except for the date, there is no mention of any god in the Constitution.

The SCT made a mistake with the Mormon ruling. It wouldn't be the first or last time that the Court goofed. Kelo v. New London comes to mind, as does Pace v. Alabama. There is nothing in the Constitution that gives the Federal government authority over marriage, and certainly nothing that gives it authority over religion. Under the Tenth (and yes, I know politicos love to ignore the Tenth), that means the no power, period.

Most importantly, there were many things that did not exist in 1791. Radio, automobiles, telegraph, and baseball come to mind. There were many things that were unknown in 1791. No American had seen the Mariana Trench, the Grand Canyon, Mount McKinley, or a coyote.



Story was commenting well after the fact, he was not a signatory to either the DOI or Constitution. The fact that he excluded Judaism reflects on him and not the Founders. Jews may have been a minority faith, but they were a well established faith.

Using law to force the rules of your religion was wrong then and it is wrong now. I'm sure you'd object if Muslim prayer calls were enforced in American law, or if Kosher dietary restrictions were part of the legal system. Almost all of the mala prohibita laws have a religious basis. It's no secret that I believe most of the problems in American society are because of too much government and mala prohibita laws. If your religion says no shopping on Sunday or no selling liquor, that's up to you. Using the law to restrict other's choices based on your religion, well, that doesn't say much for your faith.

Start respecting the "commonalities of Christianity" and you're going to fast approach respecting the commonalities of faith. The Ethic of Reciprocity or "Golden Rule" is the keystone of Western Civilization. It is arguably the single most important and universal basis for human advancement and is the basis for all true liberty. But it did not begin with Judaism or Christianity.

Once you eliminate specific mentions of any god, pluralism between sects pretty much leads to pluralism between religions. It may have been an accident. I suspect some of those Deists took a hand, or pen as it were.

I can't stress that enough. That simple idea takes religion and religious choice out of the public sphere and puts it back into individual behavior where it belongs. The teachings of a faith should matter only to the individual, not to the state. I don't want a Congresscritter demanding that I observe the Christian sabbath, any more than you want another Congresscritter demanding that you participate in ritual sex with same sex partners under the next full moon. And no, I don't do that.

Because that sets up the next bit. Radical Islam demands that the state require and prohibit according to the interpretation of the imams. The state becomes an extension of Islam. There is no provision for other faiths except in very subservient ways. The state becomes religion.

The ideas of liberty expressed in the Constitution reflect the universal ideals well beyond "Judeo-Christianity." Parts of it originated with the ancient Greeks and the Roman Republic as you've pointed out. It's a good idea because it works and not because of it's origins.

When the Founders wanted to limit freedom, be it slavery, restricting the vote to male landowners, or originally not enumerating human rights, it was wrong and it failed miserably. There was no way the Founders could foresee what would follow. We celebrate the universality, the protection of liberty from government and those who would abuse government power.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.



It's not your place to decide if you require others to sacrifice their freedom for yours. And as a citizen of this country, that's something I will defend fight against.

Constitutional America was not founded as a Christian nation. Nations are not Christian, individuals are. Yes, even the nations with established churches. Just as one very obvious example, nations can't participate in the Christian rite of communion. If a "Christian nation" goes to war, does that mean that Jeshua ben Joseph signed the marching orders?

Story may have been closer chronologically, but that doesn't mean he was right. I've already told you the biggest piece of evidence. The Constitution clearly states that political power comes from the people and not the Divine. This was unheard of, as far as we know it had never happened before.

Protecting rights means protecting people from the whims of the majority. You don't stop having freedom of speech because your city voted for "free speech" zones.

As I explained to WH above, radical Islam means that the state becomes an extension of Islam. Pluralism is pretty much the only thing that can resist that and not become tyranny.

Radical Islam is depending on special privileges and protections not granted to others. They can't do it on a level playing field.

Since the practices I mentioned are exclusive to the more radical versions of Islam, then the rest of us don't have to fear that punishment, do we?



Story was still wrong on this. Veritas. No one person, no one group has all the answers. I distrust anyone who says that they do. I refer back to the source document. The Constitution remains one of the clearest pieces of English ever put to paper. There are reasons why the Founders, some of the best educated people of their time, deliberately chose not to include the Christian Deity in the Constitution. It's not because of their faith. It's not because they were not pious. It's because they didn't trust men when they claimed to speak for the Divine.

Religion can not be allowed the coercive power of the state and the state can not be allowed the moral justification of faith. That's one of mine.

I'm not advocating paganism and especially not my version. I am saying that your religion does not govern my behavior. Just as mine does not govern yours.

Our nation was founded on principles that transcended Christianity. Some of them predate Christianity. The Founders were wise enough to know that they didn't know everything. The Enlightenment thinkers did not spontaneously create their philosophy, they drew heavily on history. There's no need to label these ideas as Christian or Hottentotten, it's enough that some very wise men found ways to pass along truths that worked. Civilization rises from wisdom after disaster. You're arguing over the labels so "your side" can take credit. Yes, Christian people (as opposed to Christianity) have done some wonderful things. And Christians have done some terrible things with huge costs to humanity. The vice or virtue is not in the label, it's in the individual. Labels borrow merit, although they do get blamed.

I didn't say the EoR was universal, I said it was the keystone of Western Civilization. Our best law and principles rest on the simple idea that we're fair to others because we expect them to be fair to us.

I've said it before, Christianity is not the source of all that is good and righteous in our society. Christians are better and nicer when they aren't the only game around. “One path among many” means Christians usually pay attention to what others say. It means Christians have to defend what they say and do without hiding behind scripture or a "higher truth."

Our law should not be defined in terms of A religion. Certainly not if everyone doesn't share that religion.

We should celebrate the ideas, not the labels.
NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.

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