Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Separation of Church and State.

Amendments to the Constitution
Yup, today's theme is religion. Blame the Schram-man. Since we had yet another discussion on the Separation of Church and State. Starting with the inevitable "there's no mention of Separation of Church and State anywhere" clap trap. This statement is ,of course, technically correct. It is not found in any government document. The phrase was coined when Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802. Here is an excerpt.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.

Ahhh fuck him. Who the hell is he anyway, one of the founding fathers? Oh, he was? Well, fuck him anyhow he should have wrote it in the amendments. All right. So it isn't in the codified laws of the country. Of course there is a small reference to religous freedom. No, not in the Constitution. That document contains only one reference to religion (which I might add was very controversial at the time and no not the Lord part. I was refering to the complete lack of reference to religion) . "In the year of our Lord..." (the popular dating method of the time). Well, if it ain't in the Constitution it can't be anywhere important right? Not too important, just that little ol' Bill of Rights thingie. Oh, did I mention it was first? That's right, out of the top ten rights, guess which one got top dollar? Here is the first amendment to our constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Well, looky there. It even beat out freedom of speech and the press. Ah, well it just means the government can't establish a state religion. Umm no. There is a small flaw in that logic. Here is an excerpt from's Myths About the Separation of Church and State. Which gives a nice example of the flaw in that logic.
If the "no establishment only" interpretation were accurate, then the federal government could enforce compliance with the rules or dogmas of particular religious beliefs, and so long as it created no national church and allowed people to follow their own, separate, religious rules, this would not be unconstitutional. But does anyone really think that it would be permissible for the government to force all men to wear yarmulkes, or prohibit women from wearing jewelry?

That's just an exaggeration! That's just silly. That's stupid! (try and use the logic above in an argument and you are guaranteed to get a reaction such as these). Fine, forget that little logic exercise. And move on to a different one.
I can prove that little ol' me is way smarter than them founding father dudes. Watch this...Congress shall pass no law that establishes a state religion. Tada! All that confusion just cleared right up. Who needs them founding dudes anyway? Seriously though, the founding fathers were pretty smart dudes right? I mean some people have complaints about them (slavery and all) but nobody really calls them stupid. So if fixing it is that easy, what happened? They sure spent a lot of time on the rest of the amendments. Were they nursing wicked hangovers? Just had a brain fart? Or maybe, it means exactly what it says. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". If you read it at the most literal level, might it mean that Congress can't pass any law regarding an establishment of religion? Certainly a possibility considering the opinions of the founding fathers. And taking the second part of the first amendment into account it seems even more likely. If they were only concerned with the establishment of a state religion why bother with the second half (or prohibiting the free exercise thereof)? So the short version seems to be the government can't make a state religion and has to guarantee an individuals right to worship how they wish. If you take into account the varied religions of the founding fathers(Christian, Deist, Liberal Unitarians and possibly atheists) and the fact that they left England to get away from religious persecution it seems to me they are saying "The government needs to stay the fuck out of religion". I'm wrong? Maybe. You are entitled to your own opinion. Just remember, the same amendment that guarantees you that right listed my right to freely exercise my religion and ban a state religion before your right to free speech.

P.s The worst part is the guy I was arguing with doesn't even read the blog. So you had to suffer through this diatribe for no real reason what so ever.


At Wednesday, May 11, 2005 4:24:00 PM, Blogger Baa! said...

All I can say is.....



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