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The joining of church and state - Comments

stevieb's Avatar Comment 1 by stevieb

nice article- maybe dershowitz should write a book about the declaration of independence... then journalists could mention that when quoting him...

Sat, 17 Nov 2007 15:33:00 UTC | #84511

FreeThink25's Avatar Comment 2 by FreeThink25

Jefferson and Jesus both!

Sat, 17 Nov 2007 16:05:00 UTC | #84516

elfstoned's Avatar Comment 3 by elfstoned

I read somewhere that Robertson is supporting Giuliani because he believes it will hasten the Apocalypse. It is definitely believable.
Now, if we could convince all religions that supporting secular causes will bring Apocalypse, Second Coming, 72 virgins or whatever else they have in mind for the end of the world... It would be sad to waste such stupidity when it can be used for good!!

Sun, 18 Nov 2007 02:31:00 UTC | #84555

briancoughlanworldcitizen's Avatar Comment 4 by briancoughlanworldcitizen

3. Comment #88599 by elfstoned on November 18, 2007 at 2:31 am
I read somewhere that Robertson is supporting Giuliani because he believes it will hasten the Apocalypse.


DUDE!!!! That was a spoof article! This is a clear thinking oasis remember? Lets not post crazy shit, not even about religious nut jobs, without making sure it's true.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andy-borowitz/pat-robertson-says-giulia_b_71744.html

Roberstson is a cynical old fart, thats what this clearly indicates. So no surprise there then.

Sun, 18 Nov 2007 02:39:00 UTC | #84558

epeeist's Avatar Comment 5 by epeeist

There is an interesting editorial piece in today's New York Times about Giuliani. Nothing to do with religion, but possibly a pointer to future sleaze allegations.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/opinion/18rich.html?ref=opinion

Sun, 18 Nov 2007 03:15:00 UTC | #84565

elfstoned's Avatar Comment 6 by elfstoned

brian, I didn't say it was true, just believable. I didn't remember the source. Don't freak out.

Sun, 18 Nov 2007 03:59:00 UTC | #84576

Steever's Avatar Comment 7 by Steever

Comment #88539 by stevieb

nice article- maybe dershowitz should write a book about the declaration of independence... then journalists could mention that when quoting him...


He has ... I saw it at the library the other day. Check it out: http://tinyurl.com/37b7kl

Sun, 18 Nov 2007 07:57:00 UTC | #84597

mithraman's Avatar Comment 8 by mithraman

This is the same Alan Dershowitz that condones torture. I guess he'd get along well with Sam Harris.

Sun, 18 Nov 2007 09:27:00 UTC | #84604

stevieb's Avatar Comment 9 by stevieb

>He has ... I saw it at the library the other day. Check it out: http://tinyurl.com/37b7kl

I know! ;-)

Sun, 18 Nov 2007 16:15:00 UTC | #84663

phasmagigas's Avatar Comment 10 by phasmagigas

DUDE!!!! That was a spoof article! This is a clear thinking oasis remember? Lets not post crazy shit, not even about religious nut jobs, without making sure it's true.


the problem of course its hard to differentiate between spoof and non spoof when it comes to the religious mind.

Sun, 18 Nov 2007 18:24:00 UTC | #84684

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 11 by Agrajag

From the Horse's mouth:
http://www.borowitzreport.com/archive_rpt.asp?rec=6796&srch=

Look at the grins on their faces. Wilson's disease? And what is Rudy doing with his hand in his pocket??
Steve

Sun, 18 Nov 2007 18:42:00 UTC | #84685

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 12 by irate_atheist

11. Comment #88737 by steveroot-

That's not Rudy's "hand" in his pocket...

Mon, 19 Nov 2007 02:01:00 UTC | #84728

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 13 by hungarianelephant

Isn't anyone going to take this article to task for its inaccuracies and faulty reasoning? Or do we only do that to articles which reach a conclusion we don't agree with?

Mon, 19 Nov 2007 02:40:00 UTC | #84745

RoryCalhone's Avatar Comment 14 by RoryCalhone

Isn't anyone going to take this article to task for its inaccuracies and faulty reasoning? Or do we only do that to articles which reach a conclusion we don't agree with?


Well Hungarianelephant, why don't you?

Mon, 19 Nov 2007 03:38:00 UTC | #84769

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 15 by hungarianelephant

Well let's start with this:

Formally, that still holds. In reality, it's a dead letter. "Today, we have a religious test for office," says Dershowitz. "It is inconceivable that an atheist, an agnostic or a skeptic could run for office." Polls show half of Americans wouldn't vote for a qualified atheist. Even one-third of self-described liberals feel a lack of religious belief is an automatic disqualification for public office.

Try a bit of substitution and it's more obvious what a weak argument this is:
"It is inconceivable that a white supremacist could run for office." Polls show half of Americans wouldn't vote for a qualified white supremacist. Even one-third of self-described liberals feel a lack of belief in racial equality is an automatic disqualification for public office.

This has nothing to do with the constitutional bar on religious tests and everything to do with the notion of electing public representatives by popular vote.

Then there's a whole lot of nonsense about the supposed influence of deism on the American constitution, which is presented without a shred of evidence (not surprisingly, because it's inaccurate), and the silly assertion that Darwin "devastated" deism, which for good measure throws in a confusing reference to "design without a designer".

I also think a number of countries would be surprised to learn that
American political culture is unique in the reverence it has for the beliefs and intentions of [its founders]

Iran and North Korea spring to mind as possible alternatives - even the French might have a thing or two to say on the subject.

Anyone else?

Mon, 19 Nov 2007 04:11:00 UTC | #84781

sidfaiwu's Avatar Comment 16 by sidfaiwu

Hello hungarianelephant,

I agree with your first point. The test for office is public support, not religious beliefs. The public chooses the criteria, not the Constitution.

I strongly disagree with your second point. Deism definitely had a strong influence on America's founding documents. The best evidence is the wording of the Declaration of Independence, as mentioned in the article. Also, the writing so Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin express very deistic views.

This is not to suggest that Christianity had no influence, because clearly it did. But that influence was not felt in the three founding documents, The Declaration of Independence (3 mentions of God, all using deistic wording), The Articles of Confederation (only mentions religion as a potential cause of conflict), and The Constitution of the United States (mentions religion only in negative terms). The founding fathers who were Christian where wise enough to recognize that the best protection for their religion was a Constitutional protection of all religions, in the form of the Establishment Clause: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"

What Darwin did was to conclusively demonstrate that the appearance of design, even the appearance of complex design, can come about naturally and thus require no designer. At the very least, evolution shows that we must now be weary about concluding a designer from the appearance of design.

Mon, 19 Nov 2007 07:34:00 UTC | #84866

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 17 by hungarianelephant

sidfaiwu - I agree with nearly all of your post, but I don't think it supports the line of reasoning in the original article.

Firstly, I think you are right to treat the founding documents as similar, unlike Gardner's treatment of them. He describes the Declaration of Independence as "shot through with references to God". Er, no.

the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them

they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights

with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence

And that's it. But these aren't unequivocally deistic uses. The first and second assume at least the creation of humans with a "correct" and pre-determined set of entitlements. The third is explicitly theistic, though it's probably not a coincidence that Jefferson chose the highly impersonal noun "Providence", suggesting destiny and fortune rather than a god.

Many of the founding fathers were deists, but that's of much less relevance than the fact that they were secularists - including the Christian ones. Religious conflict and oppression were fresh in the minds of many Americans at the time. It was a time closer to the Glorious Revolution than World War I is to us today.

As you point out, the framers realised that the best chance for everyone was religious freedom for all. It was that, not some metaphysical pontification, that drove their political action. It's no coincidence that the very first article of the Bill of Rights deals with both freedom of speech and religious non-establishment.

Mon, 19 Nov 2007 08:16:00 UTC | #84878

arogop's Avatar Comment 18 by arogop

When talking about the constitution you should remember the 10th admendment.

It goes something like:

"The powers not granted to the federal goverment are reserved to the states."

ie. It supports the rights of the state to establish their own religious preferences among other things.

Mon, 19 Nov 2007 12:44:00 UTC | #84921

BT Murtagh's Avatar Comment 19 by BT Murtagh

Amendment X: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The prohibition of a religious test for public office is a power delegated to the United States by the Constitution, in Article Six as quoted in the article..

Mon, 19 Nov 2007 21:33:00 UTC | #85056

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 20 by hungarianelephant

The 14th amendment extends the protections of the Bill of Rights to states. The Supreme Court has already ruled that this means states cannot prefer one religion over another, or religion over non-religion: Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet

This doesn't stop the ID brigade trying to revisit it, of course.

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 03:29:00 UTC | #85117