Constitution offers religious protection

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Constitution offers religious protection

 Original article can be found at http://newsok.com/article/3193160

 

Constitution offers religious protection
By A. James Rudin
Keeping the Faith

Following a recent Sunday service at a Des Moines, Iowa, evangelical church, 38-year-old Ron Heins told a Washington Post reporter he would like the United States to rid itself of the separation of church and state.


"That is not in the Constitution anywhere,” he said. "Our country was founded on Christian principles. ... Give me the chance to share my faith.”

Even though Heins' ideas are shared by many Americans, his description of the Constitution is both wrong and dangerous.

Article Six of the Constitution declares that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

In a recent speech, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney cited that section of the Constitution in an effort to overcome the belief that his Mormon faith disqualifies him from the presidency.

Romney declared candidates should not be required to explain their religious beliefs: "To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the Constitution.” Rightly put.

In 1791, the Bill of Rights was adopted, and the First Amendment says clearly that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ... . ”

These are not vague promises or ethereal concepts that can be blithely dismissed. Instead, these rights were specifically included in our nation's founding document to make certain there would never be a legally mandated established religion in the United States.

The seductive siren song to link church and state in America comes at a moment in history when our country is increasingly multi-religious, and when every religion in the world has members in the U.S. The Constitution guarantees no one is "prohibited” from the "free exercise” of any religion, including the 18 percent of us who do not identify as Christian — Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Baha'is, and others. Thanks to the Constitution, agnostics and atheists are also protected because they, too, represent the "free exercise” of religious (non)belief.

Now, some Americans mistakenly view church-state issues as a series of obscure court cases that involve prayers and Bible-reading in public schools, efforts to eliminate teaching of evolution, or divisive legal questions surrounding religious symbols on public property during the December holidays.

The proper balance between religion and state is a major issue that will never go away. Many Americans believe the question was permanently settled long ago by the adoption of Constitution, and the vigorous support of church-state separation by people such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Despite numerous attempts to undermine those bedrock constitutional guarantees, Jefferson's "wall of separation” requires constant maintenance. That wall has enabled both religion and state to prosper and grow strong in the U.S.

Americans who would eliminate the separation of church and state should remember that such a position is a recipe for disaster. When religion and state become entangled and intertwined, atrocities inevitably occur. Throughout history, religious minorities and dissidents have been the victims of persecution, even murder, at the hands of the majority.

Those who advocate a commingling of church and state need to recall that many early settlers came to these shores fleeing hostile governments and tyrannical religious institutions, seeking liberty and freedom of conscience. Think of Quakers, Pilgrims, French Huguenots, Roman Catholics, Jews, Baptists and a host of other religious groups that sought escape from regimes that harassed them because their beliefs were not part of the "establishment.”

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said it best in rendering her last Supreme Court opinion: "Why ... trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?”


Brian37
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Richard Burman wrote:

Richard Burman wrote:

Original article can be found at http://newsok.com/article/3193160

 

Constitution offers religious protection
By A. James Rudin
Keeping the Faith

Following a recent Sunday service at a Des Moines, Iowa, evangelical church, 38-year-old Ron Heins told a Washington Post reporter he would like the United States to rid itself of the separation of church and state.


"That is not in the Constitution anywhere,” he said. "Our country was founded on Christian principles. ... Give me the chance to share my faith.”

Even though Heins' ideas are shared by many Americans, his description of the Constitution is both wrong and dangerous.

Article Six of the Constitution declares that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

In a recent speech, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney cited that section of the Constitution in an effort to overcome the belief that his Mormon faith disqualifies him from the presidency.

Romney declared candidates should not be required to explain their religious beliefs: "To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the Constitution.” Rightly put.

In 1791, the Bill of Rights was adopted, and the First Amendment says clearly that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ... . ”

These are not vague promises or ethereal concepts that can be blithely dismissed. Instead, these rights were specifically included in our nation's founding document to make certain there would never be a legally mandated established religion in the United States.

The seductive siren song to link church and state in America comes at a moment in history when our country is increasingly multi-religious, and when every religion in the world has members in the U.S. The Constitution guarantees no one is "prohibited” from the "free exercise” of any religion, including the 18 percent of us who do not identify as Christian — Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Baha'is, and others. Thanks to the Constitution, agnostics and atheists are also protected because they, too, represent the "free exercise” of religious (non)belief.

Now, some Americans mistakenly view church-state issues as a series of obscure court cases that involve prayers and Bible-reading in public schools, efforts to eliminate teaching of evolution, or divisive legal questions surrounding religious symbols on public property during the December holidays.

The proper balance between religion and state is a major issue that will never go away. Many Americans believe the question was permanently settled long ago by the adoption of Constitution, and the vigorous support of church-state separation by people such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Despite numerous attempts to undermine those bedrock constitutional guarantees, Jefferson's "wall of separation” requires constant maintenance. That wall has enabled both religion and state to prosper and grow strong in the U.S.

Americans who would eliminate the separation of church and state should remember that such a position is a recipe for disaster. When religion and state become entangled and intertwined, atrocities inevitably occur. Throughout history, religious minorities and dissidents have been the victims of persecution, even murder, at the hands of the majority.

Those who advocate a commingling of church and state need to recall that many early settlers came to these shores fleeing hostile governments and tyrannical religious institutions, seeking liberty and freedom of conscience. Think of Quakers, Pilgrims, French Huguenots, Roman Catholics, Jews, Baptists and a host of other religious groups that sought escape from regimes that harassed them because their beliefs were not part of the "establishment.”

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said it best in rendering her last Supreme Court opinion: "Why ... trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?”

You are right that the migrants who first came to the collonies were seeking freedom. But not freedom for everyone. They were seeking freedom to estabish their own alpha male society.

It is a myth that freedom of religion started with the Mayflower. Those migrants were seeking to establish their own "click". If one studies pre revolutionary law, each colony had very dogmatic law where outsiders were at best tollerated, but in no way equal.

Virgina had blasphemy laws untill Jefferson convinced the legislature to abandon them, and that was BEFORE the Constitution.

There IS a differance between wanting freedom to dominate, and wanting freedom to be equal to your neighbor.

Freedom of religion began with the ratification of the Constitution. Before that, the colonies were very dogmatic and divisive. It is because of all the sectarian division before the the revolution that the founders decided that the best thing to do to maintain everyone's freedom on the issue of religion was to remain neutral and leave it up to the individual.

Those on the Mayflower were seeking freedom, much like the Shiites in Iran want the freedom to dominate any non-Shiite. Much like the Sunnis in Saudi Arabia have the freedom to dominate all within that country who dont hold Allah or the their sect of Islam.That is NOT freedom. That is simply a base instinct to aquire power.

Freedom of religion started with the Constitution and the First Amendment. Our Constitution DOES defend freedom of religion. It does not defend favoring one religion over another.  

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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What religion does Mr. Heins

What religion does Mr. Heins propose the state would endorse?? If there is not separation, what religion did the constitution endorse? I can't find it anywhere in there. Is it Greek Mythology, Islam, scientology?? Where is it? And which sect? Is it Methodist, Jewish Orthodox, presbyterian, or Baptist?? I wish I could ask Mr. Heins what religion the Constitution endorsed. My guess is he would find some method to claim it was his own.

"Those who think they know don't know. Those that know they don't know, know."


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Settlers came to this

Settlers came to this country not just for religious freedom, but for freedom from all the oppressions of the church state in England.  Of those escaping for the freedom to live with their own customs and religion, more than just the bible variety of xtians fled.  Deists, and other religions including Buddhists and agnostics,  and atheists were also among them.  No one religion could lay claim to being the rightful church.  Quite frankly, deists were in the majority in the early days and even into the 19th century.

Freeks are quick to point out that nowhere in the Constitution is the phrase "church and state" to be found to prove their point that this should be a theocratic state (not in those words but it means the same).  While that is true, what is written means exactly that.

Freeks are loathe to be confronted with a whole truckload of papers written by the founding fathers attesting to their intent to keep church and state out of each other's business. 

They cling to lower court decisions initially siding with them, later overturned by a court not in the backwoods of some rural county, stuttering and clinging to inadequate arguments in the face of all the court decisions since the founding which have upheld that separation. Btw, can someone explain to me how those judges are activists and liberal since they were only upholding the status quo?  I've never understood how that can even be considered a valid claim since it's not even based in reality.

Freeks wholeheatedly believe that the ends justify the means and will lie in a heartbeat to prove their point (my opinion only, and quite probably a few others).

However, never underestimate their drive. The sneaky bastards got one in the WH and look what all that imbecile has managed to eliminate from the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  Some of the damage may take decades to rectify, if ever.  And FSM help us should they ever gain solid control of the gov't.  The Constitution would simply be eliminated for the ten commandments.  Think I'm gonna move to New Zealand.  The Constitution can only protect us so long as it exists as a vialble legal document.  Through bogus legislation upheld by xtian judges and a people too cowed by their god or too afraid of the freeks who have the power to execute dissenters.  Well, I think we will have entered the New Dark Ages.  I like the sound of that.  It's the title of a song by Bad Religion.  It's actually quite awesome.  Anyway, it almost did happen this time around and still may succeed sometime in the future.

"Erecting the 'wall of separation between church and state,' therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society." Thomas Jefferson
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