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I thank Tysim for the above post. While I don't agree with everything, I found it to be well thought out. He presented his arguments well.


There's too much stuff in the post for me to attempt to address everything, but I'd like to address this portion:


"Turn the situation around a bit.

Let's say the Federal Court House in DC decided that they were going to promote Pagan Holidays (And being a Pagan myself I can say these things without it being Pagan Bashing :-P)

Suddenly you drive by and see a scene of a nude woman being chased by a Satyr, or worse yet, having sex with said Satyr. (for those interested, cf Pan and Fertility Festival)


How offended would you be?

Would you then allow your daughter to go on a field trip to that same court?"


If the United States were mostly Pagan as the above premise suggests and I was a Christian man who saw the picture and other marks like it on Federal Buildings . . .


I would not be offended at all. I would try to see it as a work of art and continue to do my Christian duty and raise my children with our own religious tradition.


Would I allow my daughter on a field trip to that court? Yes. I would want her to learn to accept the fact that our religiion is in the minority and expect her to learn to deal with it.


As long as I'm snowed in, I'll take a crack at TySim's example of praying in the nude. First of all, if the majority of the country was in the habit of praying naked in school, the 14 year old boys would probably be very used to it and it wouldn't have the same effect. If we were all naked all the time, the ones in clothing would be sexy. If my kid, who prays with his clothes on, was living in a culture that prayed in the buff -- again, he would have to suck it up and get used to it while mainting his own beliefs.


I take a somewhat different view of the establisment clause. I can only judge what it means as a private citizen. I think it purely and simply means that the U.S. Government can not declare a state religion (like the Anglican Church in England of old) and force its citizens to become members.


10 Commandments in a court house, in this citizen's opinion does not establish a religion. It may endorse it, but it does nothing to legislate it.


Others obviously disagree, including many people who are more wise and wear robes to work.



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The constitution prohibits any law "respecting

an establishment of religion." I think even without court interpretation, you could interpret these words to mean more than "the government will not establish a state religion." (By the way, England still has a state religion, the Church of England. Although parents are allowed to opt out, Religious Education and collective worship are taught in state schools.) Our courts have interpreted it this way.


In the US, the point is precisely that members of a minority religions should NOT have to view government sponsored religious displays of the majority religion and "deal with it." Schools and courthouses serve ALL Americans, not just the members of the religious majority. Therefore ALL citizens must feel equally welcome.



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I simply shared my views. I thank you for sharing yours. Understanding each other is important.


I understand that people are passionate about their views and I apologize if mine inticed people to excitement.


I simply presented my personal opinion of the establishment clause. I have no intention of debating my views, but am interested in seeing the view of others.


Gsmom, I thank you for sharing your interpretation. I also appreciate your comment on the Anglican Church as a state religion. It was informative. I happen to think what the founding fathers had in mind was to avoid a state sponsored religion and nothing more.


I understand that others believe it means much more than that and that's okay by me.


So don't attack me for interpreting it my way. That is my right, according to the constitution.



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"In the US, the point is precisely that members of a minority religions should NOT have to view government sponsored religious displays of the majority religion and "deal with it." Schools and courthouses serve ALL Americans, not just the members of the religious majority. Therefore ALL citizens must feel equally welcome. "


Sometimes this is taken to the point of being silly see the news artical below.


A New Hampshire junior high school student who tried to go to a school dance in a Santa suit was told he was not welcome because the dance was a holiday dance and not a Christmas dance, reports the Hampton Union.http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/hampton/12212004/news/55149.htm


Bryan Lafond was told by Principal Fred Muscara that he was not welcome at the Hampton Academy Junior High School dance because of concerns about the religious undertones of his costume.


"It was a holiday party," Muscara said. "It was not a Christmas party. There is a separation of church and state. We have a lot of students that go to Hampton Academy Junior High that have different religions. We have to be sensitive to that."



Merry Christmas

Happy New Year

Bah Humbug to all

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I did not mean any of my comments as a personal attack. I have tried very hard to avoid making any comments personal. I apologize if it came out that way. As has been pointed out by others before, it is sometimes difficult to communicate when the other person can't hear your tone of voice.


I agree that some efforts to promote religious tolerance are ridiculous. This story about the high schooler turned away in a Santa suit is certainly ridiculous.


In my opinion, the best way to promote respect for all religions is to allow INDIVIDUAL expression, and prohibit GOVERNMENTAL expression. That way, the kid gets to wear his Santa suit, and the religious displays are kept out of the courtroom. I believe public schools can teach about religion without turning the teaching into expression. This could include holiday displays of Christmas, Divali, Hannukah, etc. if done in such a way that no child has to feel uncomfortable or left out.


My daughter's religious education in her multicultural British school has included lessons about Divali (Hindu), Eid (Muslim), Hannukah and Christmas. I think this is a good thing. Collective worship in a state funded school I'm less happy about.


Peace to all.





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The government is not "establishing" a religion by placing a crche or menorah on their front steps! They are displaying symbols of the season.


And let's remember that Jesus is the reason for Christmas!


I'm sure all those atheists & other non-Christian religions take Christmas & other religious holidays off! Sort of hypocritical, huh?


Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

A blessed Christmas to all!

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  • 2 weeks later...

That's a slippery slope that you're on, Uncleguinea when you talk about the religion that a "majority" of people practice. In all seriousness, how big of a majority and over how large of an area? How does one determine the majority religion? How seriously does one need to practice it to be counted? (If 70-80% of people don't go to church, is lassitude the state religion?)


Is it the religion of the entire country? The state? The city or town? The local community? If the majority of the country is Christian but in the local community is Jewish (certain parts of New York) or Islam (certain parts of Michigan) which gets to say what happens?


My state is 58% Catholic. Is that enough to say that the Catholics get to say what happens?


And particularly interesting, what happens when the majority shifts. Should signs be changed, statues taken down, etc?


Reduction ad absurdum, I know, but fairly serious considerations when religion is as important a swing factor as it apparently was in the recent election. I know there was a post in this thread about separation of church and state. I have the feeling that many of the seriously conservative Christians think that separation of church and state is a bad idea when they are in control. There appears to be a lot of movement toward incorporating moral principles of conservative religions more deeply in law although there is a minority which thinks that some of these principles are deeply in error.


If everybody practiced religion as is outlined in "A Scout is Reverent", then there would likely be many fewer problems.


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just my two cents, not criticizing, not attacking...


This topic is so personal, it often seems to bring out the worst in each of us. We get defensive or aggressive. We get hurt or hurtful. It's a bit mind-boggling.


Anyway, ... $0.02 ... I'd rather the govt. was less religious. My family and I don't need Uncle Sam to be teaching/demonstrating Religious truths or symbols. To be honest, even the "In God We Trust" is too much for me. I could go on down the list of ways in which our govt. mixes religious ideals, if only as metaphors, into areas that ought to be Caesar's. They don't benefit me and taken to any extreme, become more than disrespectful of religious minorities. Which then sets us up for the acceptance of mistreatment of other minority groups.


If Faith is politicized, then it is/will be used as a political weapon -- gee, haven't seen that lately!!! If faith is a political tool, then religious groups become nothing more than "special interest groups" -- bought and sold, buying and selling. I'm not so naive or uninformed as to believe this isn't an historical reality -- at many times, in many places. But I'd like to see our Democratic Experiment grow beyond that.


I think Faith can make a good man better, but I don't think it does the same for a govt. I don't want to see Faithless politicians, but I would like to see a Faithless govt.


The other side of the same coin ... I don't need my religious leaders teaching me civic lessons or suggesting political opinions to me. I think these aspects of my life are better if separate.





PS>...High schoolers Should dress up as Santa, and schools Should throw Winter Break parties. Yes, the principal over-reacted.


May '05 be your best year ever!!!!!!

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