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Court rules Pledge of Allegiance 'unconstitutional'

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Merlyn,

What's your objection to government refunding school tax dollars to parents who chose not to use the government "atheist" schools in favor of private schools that fit more closely with their personal ideals?

 

Further, your interpretation of the basis for the findings on the cases determining the constitutionality of teaching evolution and Creation as theories of evolution was inaccurate and misleading.

 

What's your objection to groups having fellowship with people of similiar beliefs? Why don't you start some atheist organizations with the purported millions rather than disrupting?

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Zorn,

 

I have not read all of your posts, so I am a little hesitant to throw my name in a hat with yours. If this hesitation is unwarranted, then I offer my apologies (I simply don't know that much about your beliefs). Having said this, I agree with your last post. There is definitely a huge double standard in our society. Anyone who fails to see it needs to ask himself why. Majorities don't create racism. Attitudes create racism. Despite the rantings of some in the media, it is possible to be a minority and be a racist. The thing that kills me - are the hate crimes laws. Frankly, while someone's motivation might be dumber than the next person's, murder is murder - rape is rape - a beating is a beating. All victims suffer the same. All victims bleed. And the family and friends of the victim suffer the same agony. It's stupid, and insulting to all victims, to insinuate that a crime is more heinous simply because a bigot was the perpetrator.

 

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And, of course, I disagree with your blanket assertion that the government has the power to promote a belief in god; of course, if it does, it equally has the power to *discourage* a belief in god, and if the powers-that-be decide that god belief is something to be discouraged, you won't have a leg to stand on. After all, official government statements saying that "gods are myths" aren't telling you what religion to follow, either. Constitutional in your view, right?

 

First, if our official government did proclaim all "gods are myths", it would be completely opposed to the beliefs and character of the founding fathers and their writings about government.

 

Second, if such statements were made shortly after 1776, they probably would have inspired a second revolution (but this one against the newly established U.S. Government).

 

I agree that it would be Constitutional. Such declarations ("gods are myths") would not constitute the "establishment of a state religion" and/or hinder the public from freely exercising their religious beliefs. However, the said declaration would be contrary to the will of the people and counter productive to the state. It would encourage animosity against the federal government and promote rebellion amongst the people. The compelling interest of the federal government IS to recognize that God exists.

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"Zorn, lets say I agree with you, what is the remedy?"

 

Respect for the "right to exercise" clause as well as the "establishment clause", "freedom of speech" being observed by all groups. People of all religious faiths standing up for God. Teaching our children that peer pressure exists and how to stand for their beliefs with pride.

 

 

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ScoutParent:

What's your objection to government refunding school tax dollars to parents who chose not to use the government "atheist" schools in favor of private schools that fit more closely with their personal ideals?

 

I don't remember voicing an objection; however, I wouldn't call it a "refund", since people with NO children also pay for public schools, and a family with 4 children in a public school isn't taxed more than a family with 1 child in the school.

 

Further, your interpretation of the basis for the findings on the cases determining the constitutionality of teaching evolution and Creation as theories of evolution was inaccurate and misleading.

 

Your claim might have a little weight if you would say exactly WHAT was inaccurate and/or misleading.

 

What's your objection to groups having fellowship with people of similiar beliefs?

 

None (assuming such a group isn't getting e.g. government funding, special access to public facilities, etc)

 

Why don't you start some atheist organizations with the purported millions rather than disrupting?

 

How is fighting for equal government treatment of atheists "disrupting"? Is this anything like what "outside agitators" did when promoting racial equality in the 60s?

 

Rooster7, in reply to me "After all, official government statements saying that "gods are myths" aren't telling you what religion to follow, either. Constitutional in your view, right?"

 

First, if our official government did proclaim all "gods are myths", it would be completely opposed to the beliefs and character of the founding fathers and their writings about government.

 

So? I doubt many of the founding fathers would agree with current government campaigns to promote racial equality, given that so many of them owned slaves.

 

In any case, I don't agree with your view that either is constitutional, though at least you're consistent.

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Here's a thought, why can't the government just stay out of religion entirely? Not promote it, not interfere with it, just leave it alone. And I mean religion in the broadest possible sense, meaning all "belief systems" -- including promotion of the belief in God generally, and including both non-belief and belief in all of their various forms. I just don't think there is any justification for the government to be involved in any of it, and such involvement inevitably leads to the use of public resources (whether it be public funds, the courthouse lawn or more intangible resources) to promote one belief or type of belief over another.

 

The fact that the majority may wish to use "their" publicly owned town square to display a religious symbol does not somehow bring it into compliance with the Establishment Clause, in fact the Bill of Rights as a whole was adopted for the very purpose of preventing the majority, acting through "their" government (including state and local government, as a result of the Fourteenth Amendment) from taking action on certain limited subjects. Religion is one of those subjects. If you want to promote religion (generally or specifically), please do it on your own property, with your own money, on your own time, and to the extent I wish to do so, I will do the same. That strikes me as being very reasonable (well, I guess it would, since I said it.)

 

I also think that some of the issues that are often brought up in this type of debate are just unnecessary and irrelevant diversions. I really don't care if it says "In God We Trust" on money, or if Congress opens its session with a prayer, or if some judge wants to post the Ten Commandments in his courtroom (but not in a public school classroom). In my opinion, such perfunctory displays have become part of our culture and have no religious significance -- they are, in the words of the late, great Justice William Brennan (a matter of opinion of course, but one of the greatest in history, and a New Jersey guy besides), "ceremonial deism." If they really did have religious significance, they would clearly be unconstitutional, so it is their very meaninglessness that puts them into the grey area, and probably makes them ok constitutionally. "Under God" is much more difficult, as there clearly was a religious purpose behind its adoption and the issue of public school prayer comes into play, but I think that eventually this will be classified as "ceremonial deism" as well, which I don't have a big problem with either.

 

None of this justifies organized prayer in public school, even if it is optional and "generic." None of it justifies teaching the Bible as science. A law or rule sanctioning such a thing is a "law respecting establishment of religion." The Supreme Court isn't always right, but they are right on this. And to bring this post full circle, there is no need for it. Please pray your prayers and teach your chosen beliefs in your own places and on your own time, and leave my children and "my" taxpayer-funded property out of it. I will show you the same respect.

(This message has been edited by NJCubScouter)

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"Go ahead, turn around and walk away. That's a classic response." So are you saying that you ARE a white supremacist? That's about all I can interpret from the response...?

 

Or are you avoiding the question?

 

Or... well, what?

 

They Might Be Giants, Flood, 1990, You and Your Racist Friend... btw

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Rooster7

 

"Frankly, while someone's motivation might be dumber than the next person's, murder is murder"

 

Well, that's true. But there's a next step in the thought process, I think. Not a justification, just a step.

 

Most murders - wrongful actions, certainly - are committed by folks known to the victims, and for reasons that make PERSONAL sense. She dumped him, he was fooling around, whatever.

 

Another large group of murders are committed during the commission of other crimes, often in panic, to avoid being caught, etc.

 

Gang-related drivebys probably Venn right in between the two.

 

But in a hate-crime, you are targeted not simply because of belief, or orientation or skin-color. It's probably not someone who knows you (though if it is, psychological motive gets a lot murkier). Regardless that, you've been targetted for no reason other than stuff you can't help. I grant that ALL the lines are fuzzy in this, but it's not like you can say, oh, let's avoid the bad part of town, or hey, that looks like a questionable establishment.

 

With a person known to you, MAYBE you can defuse the situation. When you're the victim of an ordinary crime, MAYBE you just hold still, follow directions and not get hurt, or maybe just run like the dickens. But when someone goes out hunting, for a black or a Jew or a gay, and it's your random number that comes up, well, there's no heat of passion - it's coldblooded and calculated.

 

Yes, murder is murder. But when it's because of your color or the way your mama raised you, when it's 'nothing personal', then it's basically the same thing as genocide on the installment plan.

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A law or rule sanctioning such a thing is a "law respecting establishment of religion." The Supreme Court isn't always right, but they are right on this.

 

What did you base your decision that they are right about this on? How do you reconcile this decision with the right to exercise clause?

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Yes, murder is murder. But when it's because of your color or the way your mama raised you, when it's 'nothing personal', then it's basically the same thing as genocide on the installment plan.

 

Okay, I understand a couple of your points and disagree with a couple of others. Using murder as the example, hate crimes do demonstrate cold-bloodedness. However, so do lots of other crimes. There is a case going on right now that deals with the execution of four white friends. There would have been a fifth, but she managed to live through it. Two young black men (in their twenties) killed these folks. They marched them out to the middle of a field, one at a time, and shot them in the head. The girls were also raped. These murders are not being treated as a hate crime. Why? Apparently, robbery and rape is being claimed as the killers' motivation. But let me ask you some questions - Do you think you could shoot someone in the head, point blank, without hating them? Even if race was not a factor, do you think this crime was any less heartless? Do you think the families of these kids (also in their twenties) hurt any more or less knowing that the killers were racists? Would this crime be any less cold-blooded if these men were white? Do whites in society have less to fear when they hear about crimes such as these?

 

As for your "genocide on the installment plan", you seem to be implying that if there isn't a special penalty for hate motivated crimes, that they will go on unabated. There seems to be an inference that genocide is inevitable unless there are harsher penalties for these racist killers. I say hogwash. Take the case in Texas, for which minorities and liberals "looking for a cause" criticized Bush. These men were sentenced to death. If we simply enforce the laws we have, and get rid of bleeding heart judges, the current system works. If the argument is, "we want to make sure there will always be an appropriate penalty - therefore, let's raise the stakes." Then I say fine, but let's do it for all violent crimes. That way, we can both go sleep at night knowing that if someone harms one of our loved ones, an appropriate punishment will be dealt out.

 

Our society claims that it wants to be color-blind and to ensure justice for all. Yet, we keep creating laws that focus on color and assume justice will be served. I don't mind seeing a bigot fry for a merciless murder. But I don't want to see a brutal murderer and rapist go free after 20 years, because it was assumed that race had nothing to do with it. If that's my daughter, I don't give a damn what the liberal intellectuals and lawmakers have to say about race. I want justice for my daughter, my family, and all of society. That should translate into the electric chair.

 

As to your comment that MAYBE one is able to defuse a situation that is not race related - okay MAYBE he/she can. BUT MAYBE he/she can't. The point is, each case should be treated separately, and the heinousness of each case should also be view separately. As for your comment that every hate crime is completely cold-blooded, even that can be argued. If a bigot and another driver gets into a traffic accident, which escalates into name-calling, which escalates into assault - who can say what played the biggest part in the crime - racism or flaring tempers from the accident or the heat of the day? Yet, jurists are going to be asked to make a decision about a person's heart with little to go on. Potentially they will sentence someone to jail for a number of years based on that finding. For all they know, prior to the accident, the bigot had a change of heart and wasn't acting out on his prior prejudices. There's too much mind reading going on in these cases. Look at the facts. If the crime was heartless and cruel, the punishment should be all that more severe.

(This message has been edited by Rooster7)

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"Go ahead, turn around and walk away. That's a classic response." So are you saying that you ARE a white supremacist? That's about all I can interpret from the response...?

 

See, still the classic response. If I don't yell out that blacks deserve special treatment and that being white is horrible, I must be a white supremacist.

 

Here's the deal . . . blacks don't deserve special treatment, Jews don't deserve special treatment, WASPs don't deserve special treatment. Got it? The only group that deserves special treatment are first generation Romanian-Americans (just joking there).

 

The black culture seems enamored with in self-pity. Look at Bill Cosby, called a traitor to his race because he's educated, successful and doesn't play the stereotyped black man. If I was black, I'd be offended as hell by the likes of Martin Lawrence and his cohorts that portray black men as sexually obsessed, illiterate, buffoons.

 

The Japanese think that America is filled with crime because they watch our TV and movies. What is a white man from a small town in Iowa supposed to think about blacks when is only exposure to blacks has been on the WB?

 

Got it?

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ScoutParent,

 

I asked you on the other thread for a viable scientific alternative to the theory of evolution. Your inability to provide me with one should answer your question to Merlyn about the justification for the US Supreme Court decisions denying the constitutionality of teaching creationism as science.

 

To put it simply, the legislative intent of both the Arkansas and Louisianna statutes was to establish a specific form of Christianity - biblical literalism - in the public schools as a state sanctioned scientific theory. Although the proponents of both bills claimed earnestly that the intention was fairness for all scientific theories dealing with the cause of biological species, it was clear from the testimony in the trials that there was nothing scientific about creationism.

 

Knowing several science teachers that are required to cover this material in their classes, I find your claims about persecution quite ironic on several levels. One, most Christians throughout the world have no issue with evolution at all. Two, you fail to see that teaching these very specific religious views of yours (that have no scientific basis) do indeed establish your religion as favored by the state. Three, I know of a number of cases of harassment and even firing of teachers for teaching the biology curriculum as established. One teacher of my son told me that discussion of creationism was allowed because he was tired of being verbally abused by late night phone calls from concerned "Christians" using foul language. Another teacher I know says the word evolution will not be used in class until after her tenure is awarded because the kids tell parents and the parents pressure the school board and principal into firing untenured "evolutionists". A teacher claims he was fired in a small town in NW Minnesota because he would not soft pedal evolution and allow creationism to be discussed in the science classroom.(This message has been edited by firstpusk)

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I asked you on the other thread for a viable scientific alternative to the theory of evolution.

 

As Issac Asimov said about Einstein and relativity, it is only a theory. Creationism is also a valid theory because no one can disprove it. Scientific? What is science? Science is observing the natural world and drawing conclusions from your observations. We've observed the world and concluded that God made the world. That's science at its purest and as valid as an unprovable theory of evolution.

 

 

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Sorry Zorn,

 

I am pretty sure that Einstein was not a theory but a man. I think that you are confusing the common understanding of theory with the scientific understanding. In common parlance, a theory is a guess, postulation or hypothothes. In science a theory is an idea that has moved well beyond this level of a guess. In other words, a theory is an idea that has been tested and confirmed by observations. Therefore, gravitation, relativity, plate techtonics, the expanding universe and evolution are all ideas that have been confirmed and elevated to the status of theory. A theory is testable and can be falsified (contradicted by observation).

 

It is precisely because creationism can not be falsified that it can not be considered a theory. Any objection brought up will be answered by, "...because God did it (that way)". A scientific theory explains the observations that have been made. Creationism and its "God did it" answer for every contingency simply tries to explain away the observations made.

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I think that you are confusing the common understanding of theory with the scientific understanding.

 

Not really, I have degrees in Math, Physics and Mechanical Engineering. A postulate, hypothosis and a theory are all different animals. None are fact.

 

Theories remain theories until they are proven for all cases. Gravity is still not understood. Nothing about evolution has been proven for all cases.

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