ACLU still managing to find and object to displays of the Ten Commandments

posted at 7:15 pm on September 18, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union defended students’ right to post the Ten Commandments to their lockers — and The Atlantic smugly said that proved “the right’s antipathy toward the organization is misplaced.” But the ACLU still fails to see that the Ten Commandments might have a legitimate educational purpose in schools, that it might make sense to display the biblical legal code as a part of the history of Western civilization. The organization recently sued Narrows High School in Giles County, Va., for featuring the Ten Commandments next to other historical documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Magna Carta and the Mayflower Compact. As the blog of The Manhattan Declaration explains, it would seem ACLU barely has a case.

Claiming that a display of the Ten Commandments “promote a specific religious faith, but do not support a secular purpose,” the ACLU argument is weak on both counts. ACLU’s first argument, based on The Establishment Clause of the US Constitution, fails because the Establishment Clause merely states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.

Somewhere along the line, this tiny phrase has been joined together with a private letter to a group of Baptist preachers, and now the ACLU is claiming that the mere posting of the Ten Commandments is the “establishment of a religion”. This line of thinking ignores the first tenet of interpreting law that the original intent of the law must be scrutinized and maintained. Anyone who has ever studied history and is even remotely aware of why the Colonies chose to unite and rebel against the most powerful nation in the world, could not even begin to make the leap that the forced acceptance of the king’s church is anywhere near the same thing as the mere posting of the Ten Commandments.

ACLU also argues that posting the Ten Commandments fails to promote a “secular purpose.” This is interesting in light of the rise in plagiarism, cheating on test scores and school violence. It would seem that a reminder to students of how to stay out trouble would certainly serve a “secular purpose.”

Not to mention the “secular purpose” of education. The Bible, for example, was once taught as literature — and should be still. Has any other book so influenced literary forms?

Truthfully, I don’t bear any antipathy toward the ACLU — and I recognize that a difference does exist between individual students displaying the Ten Commandments on their lockers and school “authorities” — teachers, administrators, etc. — posting (and purportedly promoting a document). But I question the efficacy of ignoring history. Nor do I think a school should have to display every moral, religious or legal code side by side to ensure it doesn’t inadvertently endorse the Ten Commandments over any other such code. Schools have limited display space, and, in fact, certain codes disproportionately influenced different cultures. It makes perfect sense for a school to focus on the history of the civilization and culture in which the school exists.

Last thought: On some level, I can’t help but think the ACLU’s repeated protests of the Ten Commandments lend them special credence. By its objections, the organization implicitly acknowledges the compelling nature of the simple, time-tested formulations of right behavior.


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Akzed,

Way to ignore MY point. You have to admit that having a PhD in no way confers immunity from delusion. Go ahead, I’m waiting…

But yes, it appears that you are correct on that one quote…

I found at Positive Atheism’s website a fellow atheist who also cannot source it and has thus put it into the phony quote bin until it can otherwise be sourced… You can see it referenced in the link below (the 4th one down).

James Madison Quotes – Positive Atheism’s Big List

It is true that the literal phrase ‘separation of church and state’ does not appear in the Constitution, but that does not mean the concept isn’t there. The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”

What does that mean? A little history is helpful: In an 1802 letter to the Danbury (Conn.) Baptist Association, Thomas Jefferson, then president, declared that the American people through the First Amendment had erected a “wall of separation between church and state.” (Colonial religious liberty pioneer Roger Williams used a similar phrase 150 years earlier.)

Jefferson, however, was not the only leading figure of the post-revolutionary period to use the term separation. James Madison, considered to be the Father of the Constitution, said in an 1819 letter, “The number, the industry and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church and state. In an earlier, undated essay (probably the early 1800s), Madison wrote, “Strongly guarded…is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States.

As eminent church-state scholar Leo Pfeffer notes in his book, Church, State and Freedom, “It is true, of course, that the phrase ‘separation of church and state’ does not appear in the Constitution. But it was inevitable that some convenient term should come into existence to verbalize a principle so clearly and widely held by the American people….The right to a fair trial is generally accepted to be a constitutional principle; yet the term ‘fair trial’ is not found in the Constitution. To bring the point even closer home, who would deny that ‘religious liberty’ is a constitutional principle? Yet that phrase too is not in the Constitution. The universal acceptance which all these terms, including ‘separation of church and state,’ have received in America would seem to confirm rather than disparage their reality as basic American democratic principles.”

Thus, it is entirely appropriate to speak of the “constitutional principle of church-state separation” since that phrase summarizes what the First Amendment’s religion clauses do-they separate church and state.

SauerKraut537 on September 19, 2011 at 8:49 PM

While the ACLU opposes posting the Ten Commandments in public places it has no problem fighting Oklahoma, Michigan and other states that draft and pass laws prohibiting the use of Sharia in their states’ legal systems.

bw222 on September 19, 2011 at 10:07 PM

Last thought: On some level, I can’t help but think the ACLU’s repeated protests of the Ten Commandments lend them special credence. By its objections, the organization implicitly acknowledges the compelling nature of the simple, time-tested formulations of right behavior.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s slaves”?

Notice, the injunction is not against keeping slaves; it’s against desiring all those nice slaves your neighbor has.

The obsolete and barbaric societal rules of bronze-age goat herders have no place in a modern society.

chumpThreads on September 19, 2011 at 10:31 PM

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s slaves”?

chumpThreads on September 19, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Actually chumpThreads, if you don’t give Akzed, and others, the correct verbiage then you will automatically lose the argument… The correct verse is Exodus 2:17 which says,

You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour

But your point still stands… ;-)

Any “holy book” with verses like Deuteronomy 23:1 in it which says. “No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord.” or Malachi 2:3 which says, “Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces.” ISN’T a holy book.

It’s a bad joke.

;-)

SauerKraut537 on September 19, 2011 at 10:53 PM

As eminent church-state scholar Leo Pfeffer notes in his book, Church, State and Freedom, “It is true, of course, that the phrase ‘separation of church and state’ does not appear in the Constitution. But it was inevitable that some convenient term should come into existence to verbalize a principle so clearly and widely held by the American people….The right to a fair trial is generally accepted to be a constitutional principle; yet the term ‘fair trial’ is not found in the Constitution. To bring the point even closer home, who would deny that ‘religious liberty’ is a constitutional principle? Yet that phrase too is not in the Constitution. The universal acceptance which all these terms, including ‘separation of church and state,’ have received in America would seem to confirm rather than disparage their reality as basic American democratic principles.”

Thus, it is entirely appropriate to speak of the “constitutional principle of church-state separation” since that phrase summarizes what the First Amendment’s religion clauses do-they separate church and state.

SauerKraut537 on September 19, 2011 at 8:49 PM

The letter to the Danbury Baptists is not and never has been binding law.

“no law…prohibiting the free exercise of religion” is an explicit guarantee of religious liberty.

“no law respecting an establishment of religion” does not mean “separation of church and state.”

Of course, you don’t care about that because you’re an anti-theist hack who doesn’t post on any non-religious topics. Seriously, do you even have an interest in American politics? You know that’s what this blog is primarily about, right?

Good Solid B-Plus on September 19, 2011 at 11:11 PM

We’ve already established that it was religious belief in the bible in the south that backed up the assertions of white people in the south to continue the practice of slavery. It’s already been proven countless times that literal interpretations of the bible influenced men in the past to believe that under no circumstances was a woman to have authority over a man and that women must be subservient to their husbands, etc.

It is a fact that the bible has been used by man to support all types of roguery and prejudices, but you conveniently gloss over those parts of history so that you can continue to believe in a celestial sky daddy who metes out “justice” through his minions on this planet to those who don’t subscribe to your rendition of this god we can only imagine.

SauerKraut537 on September 19, 2011 at 11:26 AM

The Bible was also used as the foundation of the abolitionist movement. Amazing, right?

In fact, many social reforms had their genesis in the Second Great Awakening. From the all-holy Lord Wikipedia:

“In the midst of shifts in theology and church polity, American Christians took it upon themselves to reform society during this period. Known commonly as antebellum reform, this phenomenon included reforms in temperance, womens’ rights, abolitionism, and a multitude of other questions faced by society.[“

Good Solid B-Plus on September 19, 2011 at 11:19 PM

The practice of Islam has become more closed and insular and fundie now than it was during the Dark Ages of the West. I agree with you that the religion is not necessarily a barrier.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 2:57 PM

If you agree Islam isn’t a barrier, then why would Christianity be a barrier?

Why do you insist that religion leads people to become intellectually incurious in the face of overwhelming evidence that it doesn’t? Nearly all of history’s greatest thinkers were at least partially religious, and it’s not because atheism is some new invention; atheism was more properly codified in the 18th century, but there have been agnostics and irreligious types since the dawn of civilization.

I’m not saying that religion is more likely to lead to intellectual achievement than irreligion, either. Both are equally likely to produce a great thinker. Neither are barriers to entry.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 19, 2011 at 11:28 PM

The Bible was also used as the foundation of the abolitionist movement. Amazing, right?

Good Solid B-Plus on September 19, 2011 at 11:19 PM

The bible was also used against it. You are guilty of ignoring select verses in the bible so that it matches YOUR version of a perfect morality. The original abolitionists were just as guilty.

On female inferiority

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (I Corinthians 11:3)

“For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” (I Corinthians 11:8-9)

On the silence of women

“Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (I Timothy 2:11-14)

On the submission of women

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:22-24)

On women not speaking

“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” (I Corinthians 14:34-35)

Look, isn’t it obvious by now that the bible is anything but inerrant? You yourself would admit that women have every right of a man yet you conveniently ignore the ugly truth of things when it comes to exactly what your, and my own bible says.

When it comes to following a god, you’re either a true believer or you’re going to hell like I am.

The bible is a joke. Grow up and accept it.

There may be a god, but he’s assuredly not the one you think may exist. I know because I’ve spoken with him… Oops, I mean it. ;-)

SauerKraut537 on September 19, 2011 at 11:45 PM

The letter to the Danbury Baptists is not and never has been binding law.

“no law…prohibiting the free exercise of religion” is an explicit guarantee of religious liberty.

“no law respecting an establishment of religion” does not mean “separation of church and state.”

Of course, you don’t care about that because you’re an anti-theist hack who doesn’t post on any non-religious topics. Seriously, do you even have an interest in American politics? You know that’s what this blog is primarily about, right?

Good Solid B-Plus on September 19, 2011 at 11:11 PM

Actually I do comment on the odd political topic now and again but this IS a political topic in case you didn’t notice.

It’s a case of my former co-religionists trying to rewrite history to suit their religious proclivities saying that this nation was founded on Christian principles and that we’re a Christian nation, blah blah blah.

The fact is that we’re a secular republic with religious freedoms to believe what we want, but when you put your thoughts on a subject into the public arena, expect to be challenged on your beliefs.

In other words, prove that Jesus was the son of god and that Christianity is right and true… Oh yeah, you can’t, you just BELIEVE it.

I don’t HAVE to respect anything that isn’t provable JUST like you don’t respect other religions except when it makes you out to be a magnanimous fool.

SauerKraut537 on September 19, 2011 at 11:57 PM

When it comes to following a god, you’re either a true believer or you’re going to hell like I am.

The bible is a joke. Grow up and accept it.

There may be a god, but he’s assuredly not the one you think may exist. I know because I’ve spoken with him… Oops, I mean it. ;-)

SauerKraut537 on September 19, 2011 at 11:45 PM

Actually, my Bible doesn’t have any of those verses, since I’m a Jew.

Sorry, looks like all your carefully selected quotes from an atheist website don’t apply to me.

Besides, “either you believe 100% of the Bible or you’re going to hell” is a false dichotomy. I mean, I don’t expect any better from YOU, but I’ll expect better from the atheists/anti-theists on this site who actually have a working brain.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 20, 2011 at 3:03 AM

Actually I do comment on the odd political topic now and again but this IS a political topic in case you didn’t notice.

It’s a case of my former co-religionists trying to rewrite history to suit their religious proclivities saying that this nation was founded on Christian principles and that we’re a Christian nation, blah blah blah.

The fact is that we’re a secular republic with religious freedoms to believe what we want, but when you put your thoughts on a subject into the public arena, expect to be challenged on your beliefs.

In other words, prove that Jesus was the son of god and that Christianity is right and true… Oh yeah, you can’t, you just BELIEVE it.

I don’t HAVE to respect anything that isn’t provable JUST like you don’t respect other religions except when it makes you out to be a magnanimous fool.

SauerKraut537 on September 19, 2011 at 11:57 PM

We were founded on Christian principles. That doesn’t mean that we’re a “Christian nation” or that Christianity is a state religion, but denying that the founders had a heavy religious influence just makes you look like an idiot.

Besides, I see you didn’t actually address my main point, that your quote was a crock. “Religious freedom” is explicitly in the First Amendment. There is literally no other way to interpret “prohibiting the free exercise of religion.”

Meanwhile, a literal reading of the establishment clause does not necessarily lead one to conclude that the intent was “separation of church and state.” And, as I said, Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists isn’t law. It’s a nice bit of epistolary history, but nothing more.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 20, 2011 at 3:09 AM

Good Solid B-Plus on September 20, 2011 at 3:09 AM

bzzzzzzztttt! WRONG! They were Christians/deists with evolved principles that were secular, and based more on Hume’s Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth than anything in the bible/Christian teachings.

As for your contention that I was/am saying that religious freedom WASN’T allowed, I never said that. I clearly said,

The fact is that we’re a secular republic with religious freedoms to believe what we want,

I know we have religious freedoms B-Plus. I never said we didn’t. But the Christians on here who keep saying that we were/are a Christian nation based off of Judeo-Christian principles have it wrong, which is what I’m trying to correct.

They were clearly evolved secular notions of splitting religion and government, something that Europeans allowed to happen back in the old world too often.

Yes, we have religious freedom, but just because the majority of them were Christian doesn’t mean that we were/are a Christian nation, which is what a lot of jackasses in these forums contend, because they heard it from their preacher or pastor. Nonsense!

The founders explicitly wished to keep religion out of the public sphere when it came to government and how it was run.

Did you NOT read what I wrote earlier or are you being willfully ignorant?

James Madison, considered to be the Father of the Constitution, said in an 1819 letter, “The number, the industry and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church and state.“ In an earlier, undated essay (probably the early 1800s), Madison wrote, “Strongly guarded…is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States.”

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Actually, my Bible doesn’t have any of those verses, since I’m a Jew.

Sorry, looks like all your carefully selected quotes from an atheist website don’t apply to me.

Besides, “either you believe 100% of the Bible or you’re going to hell” is a false dichotomy. I mean, I don’t expect any better from YOU, but I’ll expect better from the atheists/anti-theists on this site who actually have a working brain.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 20, 2011 at 3:03 AM

zing! But you missed. LOL!

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 8:57 AM

Wait…I thought having a PhD meant you were an elitist intellectual who is out of touch with real people. Good Lt on September 19, 2011 at 8:07 PM

You can quote me on that genius? I’d like to see it.

Akzed on September 20, 2011 at 9:11 AM

But yes, it appears that you are correct on that one quote… SauerKraut537 on September 19, 2011 at 8:49 PM

So apart from spreading false quotes and being a total ignoramus biblically and theologically, why should we take you seriously?

Whenever you see someone addressing congress, remember, “IN GOD WE TRUST” is inscribed on the wall behind him.

“The Hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.” -George Washington’s letter of August 20, 1778 to Brig. General Thomas Nelson, in John C. Fitzpatrick, editor, The Writings of George Washington, Vol. XII (Washinton: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1932), p. 343.

Akzed on September 20, 2011 at 9:24 AM

Akzed,

Sooooooooo… No comment on the “PhD being immune to delusion comment? I’ll take your lack of a response on that as acceptance that they CAN be, and often are, deluded.

As for the one quote that I used which couldn’t be sourced… The sentiment displayed in that quote is supported by all the other quotes that James Madison and others said in regard to the separation of church and state.

Anybody with a knowledge of history knows that the founders were trying to get away from the divine right of kings mentality that was pervasive throughout Europe, where kings were kings because god “willed it”. The US departed from that antiquated idea and was the first nation to choose its leaders based on the will of the people, not a god or gods.

As for all the references throughout government buildings such as In God We Trust. Those are cases of the slippery slope where people wedged those references in because they WANTED them there. Back when they were put in, more people were religious and Christian than not so it wasn’t fought over very much.

It should have been, and people today are working to remove these references because they don’t belong there.

Our government shouldn’t be in the business of endorsing one religion over another.

How would you feel if the Muslims wanted to erect Koranic scripture on the walls of our capital building?

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 11:11 AM

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s slaves”?

chumpThreads on September 19, 2011 at 10:31 PM

chump, refresh my memory. which commandment is that? i somehow missed that one.

abcurtis on September 20, 2011 at 12:50 PM

chump, refresh my memory. which commandment is that? i somehow missed that one. abcurtis on September 20, 2011 at 12:50 PM

10th Commandment.

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 11:11 AM

On top of the Washington Monument are the words, “Laus Deo.”

Heh.

Akzed on September 20, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Akzed on September 20, 2011 at 12:57 PM

OK, and?

Just means “praise be to god”, so what? That doesn’t mean that it’s the Christian god.

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 3:04 PM

That doesn’t mean that it’s the Christian god. SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Yeah, prolly not… except for…

“Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not; for such is the Kingdom of God,” St. Luke 18:16. “Search the Scriptures,” St. John 5:39. -Inscribed on the starircase walls inside the Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.

“The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits,” 2 St. Timothy 2:6. -Inscribed on the front of the Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

I always enjoyed a stroll thru ol’ D.C. It’s like Bible study.

If you weren’t so ignorant you’d be, well, less ignorant.

Akzed on September 20, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Well we already know that people in the past shoehorned religious sayings into all kinds of architecture. Nothing new under the sun Akzed.

That doesn’t mean we’re a Christian nation… Just that Christians are trying to make it one, kind of like the Mullahs have done in Iran and other middle eastern countries.

Do you really want the US to be the same as Iran or Saudi Arabia where our government is run by priests and pastors who pull the strings of politicians however they want?

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 4:13 PM

A simple yes or no will suffice on that last question…

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 4:40 PM

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 4:13 PM

You’re an unintentional hoot.

Here, put this in your pipe and choke on it:

The American population is entirely Christian, and with us Christianity and Religion are identified. It would be strange indeed, if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not often refer to it, and exhibit relations with it.” -John Marshall, in a letter to Jasper Adams, May 9, 1833, JSAC, p. 139. Marshall was Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1801-1835.

“The real object of the [First] Amendment was not to countenance, much less advance, Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects.” -Joseph Story, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court 1811-1845, founder of Harvard Law School, Commentaries on the Constitution, Vol. II, 1871 (1833).

Akzed on September 20, 2011 at 4:45 PM

answer the question why don’t you?

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Do you really I want the US to be the same as Iran or Saudi Arabia Cuba or N. Korea, where our government is run by priests and pastors atheists who pull the strings of politicians however they want.? SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 4:13 PM

Akzed on September 20, 2011 at 4:47 PM

“Ignorance is the curse of God, knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.” -In the North Hall of the Library of Congress under a painting called, “Knowledge.”

“Fie on thee, thou ignoramus!”

Akzed on September 20, 2011 at 4:49 PM

From the Constitutions of all Fifty of the United States of America:

Alabama 1901, Preamble We the people of the State of Alabama, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution.
Alaska 1956, Preamble We, the people of Alaska, grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land…
Arizona 1911, Preamble We, the people of the State of Arizona, grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution…
Arkansas 1874, Preamble We, the people of the State of Arkansas, grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government…
California 1879, Preamble We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom…
Colorado 1876, Preamble We, the people of Colorado, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe…
Connecticut 1818, Preamble The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy…
Delaware 1897, Preamble Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences.
Florida 1885, Preamble We, the people of the State of Florida, grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, establish this Constitution…
Georgia 1777, Preamble We, the people of Georgia, relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution…
Hawaii 1959, Preamble We, the people of Hawaii, Grateful for Divine Guidance… Establish this Constitution.
Idaho 1889, Preamble We, the people of the State of Idaho, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings…
Illinois 1870, Preamble We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors…
Indiana 1851, Preamble We, the People of the State of Indiana, grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to choose our form of government…
Iowa 1857, Preamble We, the People of the State of Iowa, grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings establish this Constitution.
Kansas 1859, Preamble We, the people of Kansas, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges establish this Constitution.
Kentucky 1891, Preamble We, the people of the Commonwealth are grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties…
Louisiana 1921, Preamble We, the people of the State of Louisiana, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy…
Maine 1820, Preamble We the People of Maine acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity… And imploring His aid and direction…
Maryland 1776, Preamble We, the people of the state of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty…
Massachusetts 1780, Preamble We…the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe… In the course of His Providence, an opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction…
Michigan 1908, Preamble We, the people of the State of Michigan, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom establish this Constitution.
Minnesota, 1857, Preamble We, the people of the State of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings…
Mississippi 1890, Preamble We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work…
Missouri 1845, Preamble We, the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness… establish this Constitution.
Montana 1889, Preamble We, the people of Montana, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty establish this Constitution.
Nebraska 1875, Preamble We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom… establish this Constitution.
Nevada 1864, Preamble We the people of the State of Nevada, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom establish this Constitution.
New Hampshire 1792, Part I. Art. I. Sec. V Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.
New Jersey 1844, Preamble We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors…
New Mexico 1911, Preamble We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty…
New York 1846, Preamble We, the people of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings…
North Carolina 1868, Preamble We the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those…
North Dakota 1889, Preamble We , the people of North Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain…
Ohio 1852, Preamble We the people of the state of Ohio, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common…
Oklahoma 1907, Preamble Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty… establish this…
Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I. Section 2 All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences…
Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance
Rhode Island 1842, Preamble We the People of the State of Rhode Island, grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing…
South Carolina, 1778, Preamble We, the people of the State of South Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
South Dakota 1889, Preamble We, the people of South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties…
Tennessee 1796, Art. XI.III That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience…
Texas 1845, Preamble We the People of the Republic of Texas, acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God…
Utah 1896, Preamble Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution.
Vermont 1777, Preamble Whereas all government ought to enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man…
Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator can be directed only by Reason and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other…
Washington 1889, Preamble We the People of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution.
West Virginia 1872, Preamble Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God…
Wisconsin 1848, Preamble We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility…
Wyoming 1890, Preamble We, the people of the State of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties… establish this Constitution.

Akzed on September 20, 2011 at 4:51 PM

Yeah, this is a secular, deist, atheist country or something.

Akzed on September 20, 2011 at 4:51 PM

oh, and quotes from Christians saying we’re a Christian nation doesn’t make it so. It’s an obvious fallacy, even in Marshall’s day, to say that we were entirely Christian. We obviously weren’t, it was a majority of course, but not entirely so…

In other words, there were obviously African slaves with other religious beliefs…, Muslims from eastern Europe, probably a few Hindus, etc…

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 4:51 PM

Good job with the state preambles bro, but those are the states only referencing a god, not necessarily the Christian god… Do any of them say Christian god? Not any of the ones I’ve looked at so far.

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 4:54 PM

Do you really I want the US to be the same as Iran or Saudi Arabia Cuba or N. Korea, where our government is run by priests and pastors atheists who pull the strings of politicians however they want.? SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 4:13 PM

Akzed on September 20, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Oh, I see what you did there, it’s like what I said but you changed a few words. Clever.

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Now answer the question…

Do you really want the US to be the same as Iran or Saudi Arabia where our government is run by priests and pastors who pull the strings of politicians however they want?

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 4:58 PM

hmmmm… curiously silent… I hear crickets chirping…

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 5:05 PM

Ah, well I found one state, Virginia, that mentions Christian, but it appears to be the only one.

1 out of 50… I’m surprised at Virginia being the one since Jefferson was from there, and he wrote the The Virginia Act For Establishing Religious Freedom

Maybe you should try reading it.

Well aware that Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do; that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world, and through all time; that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the ministry those temporal rewards, which proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labors for the instruction of mankind; that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, more than our opinions in physics or geometry; that, therefore, the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to the offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which in common with his fellow citizens he has a natural right; that it tends also to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing, with a monopoly of worldly honors and emoluments, those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though indeed these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles, on the supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency, will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own; that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally, that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them.

Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

And though we well know this Assembly, elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no powers equal to our own and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law, yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 5:15 PM

“Look at me, hey, over here, yes you, I hate you, talk to me, you don’t want to talk to me? You stink! I hate you. Hey, over here stupid, please come on, just look at me, hey, I hate you… why won’t you talk to me? Hey, take me seriously…” -SauerKraut537 on Everyday, World Without End. Amen.

Akzed on September 20, 2011 at 6:51 PM

LOL@Akzed!

I don’t hate you. I hate your self abnegation.

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Now quit sidestepping the question I asked and answer it. ;-)

You can’t bring yourself to do it can you? You’d rather be cute and reword what I said…

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 7:03 PM

You know, sometimes it seems like the ACLU contains a bunch of atheists who are driven to try to diminish the Christian faith wherever they find it.

That seems a little harsh, but come to this thread, and you’ll see a crowd that acts just like that. SauerKraut537 is still mumbling about those stupid Christians, and figures that just because most of the Founding Fathers were devout Christians is no reason to assume their Christianity influenced their principles.

What’s that saying about the Atheist Creed?

There is no God, and I’ll fight Him until the day I die!!

There Goes The Neighborhood on September 21, 2011 at 1:24 AM

The founders explicitly wished to keep religion out of the public sphere when it came to government and how it was run.

Did you NOT read what I wrote earlier or are you being willfully ignorant?

James Madison, considered to be the Father of the Constitution, said in an 1819 letter, “The number, the industry and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church and state.“ In an earlier, undated essay (probably the early 1800s), Madison wrote, “Strongly guarded…is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States.”

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Posting the 10 Commandments doesn’t make us a theocracy, nor does it evince a clear mixing of religious and secular governance, any more so than having “In God We Trust” printed on our money.

Do you really think not a single person in this country understood the meaning of the Establishment Clause in the 180 or so years pre-Lemon v. Kurtzman?

Good Solid B-Plus on September 21, 2011 at 6:52 AM

Do you really want the US to be the same as Iran or Saudi Arabia where our government is run by priests and pastors who pull the strings of politicians however they want?

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 4:58 PM

Because clearly, that’s what will happen if we allow the 10 Commandments to be posted on a courthouse wall. Instant devolution into theocracy run by oppressive mullah-like Priests.

You know that this country has a history pre-1971, right? The majority of the population was Christian, there was no Lemon test, and yet we somehow managed to avoid becoming an oppressive theocracy.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 21, 2011 at 6:56 AM

Good job with the state preambles bro, but those are the states only referencing a god, not necessarily the Christian god… Do any of them say Christian god? Not any of the ones I’ve looked at so far.

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 4:54 PM

The Establishment Clause doesn’t say “Christianity,” it says “religion.”

Or are you now going to claim that God is a non-religious concept?

Good Solid B-Plus on September 21, 2011 at 6:59 AM

oh, and quotes from Christians saying we’re a Christian nation doesn’t make it so. It’s an obvious fallacy, even in Marshall’s day, to say that we were entirely Christian. We obviously weren’t, it was a majority of course, but not entirely so…

In other words, there were obviously African slaves with other religious beliefs…, Muslims from eastern Europe, probably a few Hindus, etc…

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 4:51 PM

Is Israel a “Jewish nation”? They’re only about 75-76% Jewish.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 21, 2011 at 7:03 AM

Anybody with a knowledge of history knows that the founders were trying to get away from the divine right of kings mentality that was pervasive throughout Europe, where kings were kings because god “willed it”. The US departed from that antiquated idea and was the first nation to choose its leaders based on the will of the people, not a god or gods.

SauerKraut537 on September 20, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Really? We were the very first evah? Do the letters SPQR mean anything to you?

I guess the set “anybody with a knowledge of history” doesn’t contain “SauerKraut357.”

Good Solid B-Plus on September 21, 2011 at 7:23 AM

Posting the 10 Commandments doesn’t make us a theocracy, nor does it evince a clear mixing of religious and secular governance, any more so than having “In God We Trust” printed on our money.

Do you really think not a single person in this country understood the meaning of the Establishment Clause in the 180 or so years pre-Lemon v. Kurtzman?

Good Solid B-Plus on September 21, 2011 at 6:52 AM

It’s a long slow road to theocracy B Plus. Think of the frog in a pot of boiling water analogy. If the waters already hot the frog jumps out, if the water is lukewarm and the heat is slowly turned up, the frog doesn’t notice it as much until it’s too late.

All these commandment displays and other religious symbols that creep into the political sphere are rather innocuous in and of themselves, but when taken in aggregate they eventually get people to the point where we are right now where people like yourself and Akzed point to all these examples like In god we trust being on our bills/above the speakers podium in congress, etc as PROOF that we’re a Christian nation, etc.

When this country was founded, our government buildings didn’t have all these religious references to the Christian fairy tales. They were slowly added year after year until we see things as they are today. Our original capital building didn’t have a chapel or the statue of Moses, etc until the early 1800′s when the British burned everything down and we rebuilt/remodeled.

If we keep along this path, who knows if maybe we will be a theocracy someday. All it takes is the majority in a democracy to vote into power those who want to make it so.

Eventually, we could turn out to be one. I sure hope not.

SauerKraut537 on September 21, 2011 at 2:29 PM

The Establishment Clause doesn’t say “Christianity,” it says “religion.”

Or are you now going to claim that God is a non-religious concept?

Good Solid B-Plus on September 21, 2011 at 6:59 AM

Yes, god is a non religious concept that was hijacked by various charlatans throughout history to mean different things to different people with different revelations associated with them.

God is not a Muslim or a Christian or a Hindu. He just is, and the religions we have today are anything but holy and righteous. They’re more interested in building altars and idols to themselves rather than worshiping any real deity.

Religions are a joke, and you can’t stop being a sheep because they’ve manipulated you into believing their tripe.

SauerKraut537 on September 21, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Really? We were the very first evah? Do the letters SPQR mean anything to you?

I guess the set “anybody with a knowledge of history” doesn’t contain “SauerKraut357.”

Good Solid B-Plus on September 21, 2011 at 7:23 AM

Of COURSE there were other democracies prior to the US coming along but none of them had what we have. When I said what I said, I meant that no nation of people before us ever had quite the liberties and privileges that our citizens enjoyed with their rights enshrined in a Constitution like ours…

Things have changed a lot since our countries inception to where we don’t quite have the liberties and privileges we had before due to government encroachment into the private sector, etc but our early citizens had a lot more freedoms than we have today.

SauerKraut537 on September 21, 2011 at 2:37 PM

“One God, one Law, one element, and far-off Divine event to which the whole creation moves.” -Alfred Lord Tennyson, in the rotunda of the Library of Congress.

Hey SK, if you’re ever in the Library of Congress, please go to the rotunda, look up, and realize what pathetic losers atheists are.

They know they couldn’t get this saying removed, so they don’t even try! Ha ha ha ha ha!

Akzed on September 21, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Hey Akzed,

As I told B-Plus… When this country was first started, a lot of these religious references weren’t there. Like the frog in a boiling pot analogy, they’ve been snuck in slowly year after year until people like you think this country was founded as a Christian nation when it’s really a secular nation with a majority of its citizens being Christian…

Just because they’re there now doesn’t mean they should be, and besides, I’m not for removing them anyway. There is no point, but now that the non religious are the fastest growing segment in American society we can stop the progression any further, and we likely will win this fight.

SauerKraut537 on September 21, 2011 at 4:11 PM

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of man and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice?

“And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?” -George Washington (Address of George Washington, President of the United States . . . Preparatory to His Declination (Baltimore: George and Henry S. Keatinge), pp. 22-23. In his Farewell Address to the United States in 1796.)

“Direct my thoughts, words and work, wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the lamb, and purge my heart by thy Holy Spirit, from the dross of my natural corruption, that I may with more freedom of mind and liberty of will serve thee, the everlasting God, in righteousness and holiness this day, and all the days of my life. Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the gospel; give me repentance from dead works; pardon my wanderings, and direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation.” -George Washington, non-Deist Father of our Country, Prayer for Monday Mornings.

I guess it’s only natural that atheists should take over, since obviously that’s what the founders were secretly hoping for all along.

In fact, given all of the militantly atheistic statements made by our founders, which are inscribed all over govt buildings and all, it’s a miracle that we are as religious as we are as a nation.

Akzed on September 21, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Akzed,

I KNOW that a lot of people think there is a god out there, I do as well, but where they go astray of logic is thinking that THEIR particular rendition of this god is it. Where they go astray is in KNOWING that their particular god happens to be the one true god.

Washington and many others who helped to found this country were Christian, or especially religious, of that I have no doubt, but there were a lot of deists as well ie Jefferson, Franklin, etc.

If they would only exhibit a bit of intellectual honesty on this one topic I have no doubt that they’d eventually get back into the Deist column like Jefferson, et al were.

YOU should be a deist at best, if you were intellectually honest that is…

You say you know your god is the right one but you really don’t, else why do Christians sometimes doubt themselves?

You don’t know, any more than any of the rest of us do. You have your faith, and you think it’s a virtue to have it, but its not.

The reality is that

SauerKraut537 on September 21, 2011 at 4:59 PM

If we keep along this path, who knows if maybe we will be a theocracy someday. All it takes is the majority in a democracy to vote into power those who want to make it so.

Eventually, we could turn out to be one. I sure hope not.

SauerKraut537 on September 21, 2011 at 2:29 PM

Okay, first off, all the Christian stuff came *later*? The effing Declaration of Independence talks about the “Creator.” How early do you want to go, exactly? Jamestown?

Secondly, you’re exactly the type of person Mead is talking about in his “Christianist” column. The scary Christians aren’t coming to get you, Sauer. I know you check under your bed every night for Baptists, but they’re only in your head. For two hundred years we had no Lemon Test, 10 C’s on the courthouse walls, State Constitutional preambles written with references to the Christian God, and a population that was overwhelmingly Christian, we somehow avoided theocracy.

Only now, with a society with more people of other religions/no religion and a more secular focus in general, are we going to suddenly become one? What a bunch of paranoiac nonsense.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 21, 2011 at 9:12 PM

Yes, god is a non religious concept that was hijacked by various charlatans throughout history to mean different things to different people with different revelations associated with them.

God is not a Muslim or a Christian or a Hindu. He just is, and the religions we have today are anything but holy and righteous. They’re more interested in building altars and idols to themselves rather than worshiping any real deity.

Religions are a joke, and you can’t stop being a sheep because they’ve manipulated you into believing their tripe.

SauerKraut537 on September 21, 2011 at 2:33 PM

God is an explicitly religious concept. People aren’t atheists because they disbelieve in the minutiae of religious dogma. No one is an atheist because they think pork should be Kosher or because they think the communion wafer doesn’t really become the flesh of Christ. People are atheists because they believe there is no God or Gods. Period. End of story.

Hence why systems of thought like Confucianism tend to be classified as ethical/philosophical rather than religious.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 21, 2011 at 9:19 PM

Okay, first off, all the Christian stuff came *later*? The effing Declaration of Independence talks about the “Creator.” How early do you want to go, exactly? Jamestown?

Secondly, you’re exactly the type of person Mead is talking about in his “Christianist” column. The scary Christians aren’t coming to get you, Sauer. I know you check under your bed every night for Baptists, but they’re only in your head. For two hundred years we had no Lemon Test, 10 C’s on the courthouse walls, State Constitutional preambles written with references to the Christian God, and a population that was overwhelmingly Christian, we somehow avoided theocracy.

Only now, with a society with more people of other religions/no religion and a more secular focus in general, are we going to suddenly become one? What a bunch of paranoiac nonsense.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 21, 2011 at 9:12 PM

You said,
The effing Declaration of Independence talks about the “Creator.” How early do you want to go, exactly? Jamestown?

I accept that a lot of them were Christians but the establishment clause has generally been interpreted to prohibit 1) the establishment of a national religion by Congress, or 2) the preference by the U.S. government of one religion over another.

Is erecting Christian phrases and statues of biblical characters in the Capitol building NOT showing preference towards one religion over another?

If you want to be consistent you would have to allow koranic scripture or hindu sayings as well.

Do you REALLY wanna go there? Those Christian symbols should never have been allowed into our government buildings (because they imply a preference), and early on they weren’t. It’s only after Washington was rebuilt post War of 1812 that the onslaught of Christian imagery started to be built into them in earnest.

you said,
State Constitutional preambles written with references to the Christian God

There was only ONE reference to a Christian god in any of the state preambles and that was Virginia (that I could find)

SauerKraut537 on September 21, 2011 at 9:45 PM

God is an explicitly religious concept. People aren’t atheists because they disbelieve in the minutiae of religious dogma. No one is an atheist because they think pork should be Kosher or because they think the communion wafer doesn’t really become the flesh of Christ. People are atheists because they believe there is no God or Gods. Period. End of story.

Hence why systems of thought like Confucianism tend to be classified as ethical/philosophical rather than religious.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 21, 2011 at 9:19 PM

We’ll have to agree to disagree then because you don’t have religion without a god, but you can have a god without religion (a deist). Your problem is that you’re equating religion with morals and ethics like they’re synonymous.

Atheism is the absence of theism.

SauerKraut537 on September 21, 2011 at 9:52 PM

Oh, and B-Plus?

Jefferson’s original Declaration of Independence didn’t use the word Creator…

The evolution of the text of the Declaration of Independence regarding the use of the word “Creator” began with the quill of Thomas Jefferson, was discussed with and shown or submitted to John Adams and probably Benjamin Franklin. There were two other members of the “Committee of Five” but there is no historical evidence to show what, if any input they might have had. It was then submitted to Congress. Refer to Original Rough Draught of the Declaration of Independence1

The original version as written by Jefferson no longer exists but has been reconstructed from various copies that do exist as follows with regards to the topic:

We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable, that all men are created equal and independent; that from that equal creation they derive in rights inherent and unalienables, among which are the preservation of life, and liberty and the pursuit of happiness

In the Adams copy, written, sometime between June 11 and June 28, in his own (J. Adams) handwriting we have the following:

We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and independent; that from that equal creation they derive in rights inherent and unalienables, among which are the preservation of life, and liberty and the pursuit of happiness

Sometime later, but before being submitted to Congress, the above was changed to the following:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Though many other changes were made in the rest of the document, Congress accepted those lines for the finished Declaration.

The mystery, if there is a mystery, pertains to the change from this “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable, that all men are created equal and independent;. . . ” to this “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,. . . ”

Did Jefferson have a change of mind?

Did he write it in on the suggestion or advice of Adams or Franklin?

Perhaps one of those two wrote it in.

SauerKraut537 on September 21, 2011 at 10:27 PM

SauerKraut537 on September 21, 2011 at 9:45 PM

If Dearborn wants to put Koranic verses on their courthouse walls, be my guest.

What, am I supposed to be afraid? Are the words of the Koran so awe-inspiring that they will turn anyone who views them instantly into a believer?

If Keith Ellison wants to write a bill that carves the entire Koran into the Washington Monument in .5 pt font, he can do so. Even if it didn’t get struck down later as a violation of the Establishment Clause, I’d like to see how many votes he gets, even among the uber-left wing. I’m guessing it doesn’t break double digits.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 22, 2011 at 12:01 AM

SauerKraut537 on September 21, 2011 at 10:27 PM

That’s what we’re down to now? The *rough drafts* of founding documents?

Clearly, this hair has been split far too many times. I could go back in time, get Jefferson, Adams, Washington, Franklin, Madison et al on tape saying that America is a Christian Nation founded on Judeo-Christian morality, and you’d still find a way to argue that they were actually secular Deists.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 22, 2011 at 12:03 AM

Is erecting Christian phrases and statues of biblical characters in the Capitol building NOT showing preference towards one religion over another? SauerKraut537 on September 21, 2011 at 9:45 PM

“The real object of the [First] Amendment was not to countenance, much less advance, Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects.” -Joseph Story, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court 1811-1845, founder of Harvard Law School, Commentaries on the Constitution, Vol. II, 1871 (1833).

But what did he know?

Akzed on September 22, 2011 at 10:29 AM

SauerKraut537 on September 21, 2011 at 10:27 PM

Copied verbatim from a web site without attribution.

Akzed on September 22, 2011 at 10:31 AM

What, am I supposed to be afraid? Are the words of the Koran so awe-inspiring that they will turn anyone who views them instantly into a believer?

If Keith Ellison wants to write a bill that carves the entire Koran into the Washington Monument in .5 pt font, he can do so. Even if it didn’t get struck down later as a violation of the Establishment Clause, I’d like to see how many votes he gets, even among the uber-left wing. I’m guessing it doesn’t break double digits.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 22, 2011 at 12:01 AM

Of course it isn’t scary to have these quotes and statues up in government buildings, that’s not the point. Our government isn’t SUPPOSED to favor one over another and when Christians have monuments and phrases/statues erected in our government buildings, that implies a preference plain and simple.

I would object just as much to a koranic scripture being put up as I would a christian or a branch davidians.

SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 10:34 AM

That’s what we’re down to now? The *rough drafts* of founding documents?

Clearly, this hair has been split far too many times. I could go back in time, get Jefferson, Adams, Washington, Franklin, Madison et al on tape saying that America is a Christian Nation founded on Judeo-Christian morality, and you’d still find a way to argue that they were actually secular Deists.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 22, 2011 at 12:03 AM

It’s all about the intent of the founding fathers. It’s clear to me looking at the evolution of said document that the early Christian founders were trying to make this government about religious dominance of the populace by trying to inject religious tones into the Declaration. I’ve not studied all the documents history and evolution but I’d be willing to bet that there are other examples of where they tried to squeeze words into the document that indicated “Christian intent”.

Your problem is that we CAN’T go back in time to do that, so we have to go with what evidence we have, and that seems to me to be one where the founders tried to keep religion and government separate.

SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 10:38 AM

“The real object of the [First] Amendment was not to countenance, much less advance, Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects.” -Joseph Story, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court 1811-1845, founder of Harvard Law School, Commentaries on the Constitution, Vol. II, 1871 (1833).

But what did he know?

Akzed on September 22, 2011 at 10:29 AM

The first amendment is conditioned to eliminate rivalry not only among Christian sects, but ALL religions. To make the claim that it was only in regard to Christian sects is a canard of Christian rationalization.

SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Copied verbatim from a web site without attribution.

Akzed on September 22, 2011 at 10:31 AM

What does it really matter Akzed? Whether I wrote it myself or someone else did, the words contained within it are my contention and my intent as well. I don’t see a point in rewording it so that it’s MINE!

We’re not in English class or Social Studies here… We’re in a lousy internet forum. I could care less if people think what’s been said are my own words or the words of someone else. Posting the words without attribution doesn’t lessen the words said.

Point still stands. Disprove the original writers words if you can. I researched it myself, go research it YOURself.

SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Point still stands. Disprove the original writers words if you can. I researched it myself, go research it YOURself.
SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 10:47 AM

I have posted my copious research, you ignore it or say it’s irrelevant.

Posting a lengthy quote w/o attribution could lead people to think you wrote it. That’s an ethical problem. But then, atheists are not known for their ethics.

You are not only the village atheist, but the village jackass too. Not an unusual combination, I might add.

Akzed on September 22, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Oh, and don’t just stop at the first bit of information that confirms your argument. That’s called confirmation bias. You did it the other day when you linked to AnswersinGenesis and someone called you out on it and you even said it was the first place you came to.

I used to think your side of the argument was right mind you. I too defended the Christian contention that our founding was based on Judeo Christian values, yadda yadda yadda… But I was wrong then, and so are you now.

SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 10:52 AM

I have posted my copious research, you ignore it or say it’s irrelevant.

Posting a lengthy quote w/o attribution could lead people to think you wrote it. That’s an ethical problem. But then, atheists are not known for their ethics.

You are not only the village atheist, but the village jackass too. Not an unusual combination, I might add.

Akzed on September 22, 2011 at 10:52 AM

As I said Akzed, I don’t care if people think I wrote it or not. The sentiment is what is important.

Atheists are not known for their ethics? I suppose like theists are known for theirs?

With or without religion, you’d have good people doing good things, and evil people doing evil, but for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
-Steven Weinberg (there is your attribution, that better?)

As for your “evidence”… All you’ve done is provide quotes from people who were Christian making the claim that we’re a Christian nation. That’s not evidence.

Evidence that we’re not a Christian nation is what the government is based on… The Constitution. And nowhere in the Constitution is god ever mentioned. The only thing “religious” mentioned in the constitution is the first amendment. Everything else is secular in it. EVERYTHING.

SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 11:07 AM

If the U.S. was founded on the Christian religion, the Constitution would clearly say so–but it does not.

Nowhere does the Constitution say: “The United States is a Christian Nation”, or anything even close to that.

In fact, the words “Jesus Christ, Christianity, Bible, Creator, Divine, and God” are never mentioned in the Constitution– not even once. Nowhere in the Constitution is religion mentioned, except in exclusionary terms.

When the Founders wrote the nation’s Constitution, they specified that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” (Article 6, section 3)

This provision was radical in its day– giving equal citizenship to believers and non-believers alike. They wanted to ensure that no religion could make the claim of being the official, national religion, such as England had.

SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Everything else is secular in it. EVERYTHING.
SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 11:07 AM

“Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present the seventeenth day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven.”

Oh, and many if not all delegates took Christian oaths in their states in order to hold public office and/or attend the convention.

“Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe….”
-James Madison.

Akzed on September 22, 2011 at 11:22 AM

“Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present the seventeenth day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven.”

Oh, and many if not all delegates took Christian oaths in their states in order to hold public office and/or attend the convention.

“Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe….”
-James Madison.

Akzed on September 22, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Just another example of a Christian saying “Christian” things.

The ONLY evidence that can be used to determine if we’re a secular or religious union is our Constitution Akzed

Again I say,

If the U.S. was founded on the Christian religion, the Constitution would clearly say so–but it does not.

Nowhere does the Constitution say: “The United States is a Christian Nation”, or anything even close to that.

In fact, the words “Jesus Christ, Christianity, Bible, Creator, Divine, and God” are never mentioned in the Constitution– not even once. Nowhere in the Constitution is religion mentioned, except in exclusionary terms.

When the Founders wrote the nation’s Constitution, they specified that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” (Article 6, section 3)

This provision was radical in its day– giving equal citizenship to believers and non-believers alike. They wanted to ensure that no religion could make the claim of being the official, national religion, such as England had.

SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 11:44 AM

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