The First Amendment

simple theist
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The First Amendment

I've decided to end the myth about the First Amendment not allowing The ten commandments in government buildings and Prayer in Schools. First I need you to answer some basic questions that an elementary school student can answer.

1) Is a courthouse Congress?
2) Is any government building Congress?
3) Is posting the Ten Commandments a law?
4) Is praying in Schools a Law?






The answers

1) No
2) No (congress in not a place, it is a group of people)
3) Nope...no laws on the books demanding the 10 commandments being posted.
4)Nope...no laws forcing prayer either.


Why does this matter?

What does the constitution say?

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.

As stated above, Congress is not a government building and is not schools. Posting the ten commandments and prayer in schools is not a law. Based on this alone, the first amendment does not apply. The first amendment says congress shall make no law...and to this day congress has not made any law that the ten commandments must be posted.

Further the amendment says that congress can not make a law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. By making a law against Posting the ten commandments in any building or praying in school, congress would then be violating the first amendment because it says congress can't prohibit the free exercise of religion.


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No one said you are not

No one said you are not allowed to pray its that you can't not have authority figures lead students in it. The idea is that you cannot have the students pray, but students can still pray on their own accord.

Now this bit about saying government buildings aren't congress so people can go nuts... Does this mean the courthouses can put up a sign that says "There is no god, all religion sucks?"

Would you like it if government buildings made comments on your religious beliefs or if there was some sort of daily theist refute at school. According to your rules I could do it.

When I read the amendment them saying make no laws for or against religion is saying to government is suppose to stay hands off. Now government buildings are apart of that government so it would apply. There is more to this tho.

If this doesn't apply to other areas of the government then that would mean that all the other things this amendment don't apply either. So say goodbye to your freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and right to assemble. That is of course as long as some other part of the government is the one doing it.

Also I think the fact that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Is also evidence for the idea of a secular government.


simple theist
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I'm only stating what the

I'm only stating what the first amendment says. It says that "congress shall make no laws..." and Congress has not made any laws respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

 

Free speach, etc. is still there because it says Congress can not make a law prohibing free speach, etc.

 If a court house displays any sign, Congress has still not made a law and therefore the first amendment doesn't apply. The first amendment only applys when congress is making a law.

 


Gauche
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Well, I think that you need

Well, I think that you need to understand that what you are really arguing is that we can do things that states that have established state religions do, like having state sponsored schools that promote a particular religion or decorating our government buildings with the symbols of a particular religion as long as we don’t write it into law.

And I don’t think that the people who wrote it intended for it to be interpreted that way. Why would they choose the wording that they used if not to place emphasis on the idea that there needs to be a separation there? They didn’t say “make no laws establishing a religion.” They said “make no laws respecting the establishment of a religion.” Respecting, meaning “concerning” or “having to do with,” that is not just flowery language. They didn’t want congress passing any laws that have anything to do with this subject because they saw the danger posed by mixing the state with religious institutions. That’s one of the things they were trying to get away from.

I don’t understand why you would want the government which is filled with people who you would probably consider to be bad christians, if not totally corrupt directing your religion anyway. And what if christians become a minority? How comfortable would you feel as a christian going to a courthouse that looks like a mosque?

 

Or you could take your interpretation, whatever..

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


simple theist
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I'm simply stating that the

I'm simply stating that the first amendment prohibits congress from making a law, and currently no laws have been made, so the first amedment doesn't apply to someone posting the ten commandments. Something else may apply, just not the first amendment. 

 


Gauche
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simple theist wrote: I'm

simple theist wrote:

I'm simply stating that the first amendment prohibits congress from making a law, and currently no laws have been made, so the first amedment doesn't apply to someone posting the ten commandments. Something else may apply, just not the first amendment.

 

 

Perhaps that something you are referring to is common sense. 

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


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Strawman, Simple Theist. 

Strawman, Simple Theist.  I don't think anyone is trying to claim that the "establishment of religion" part of the amendment says you can't hang up the ten commandments in your courthouse.

The *real* argument is that the "free exercise thereof" clause prohibits congress from giving any relgion support or preferential treatment, since that's always interfering with somebody's free exercise.

The reason why this applies to all government entities at all levels, and not just Congress, is found in the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment, not the first amendment. 

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


simple theist
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Textom wrote: Strawman,

Textom wrote:

Strawman, Simple Theist. I don't think anyone is trying to claim that the "establishment of religion" part of the amendment says you can't hang up the ten commandments in your courthouse.

The *real* argument is that the "free exercise thereof" clause prohibits congress from giving any relgion support or preferential treatment, since that's always interfering with somebody's free exercise.

The reason why this applies to all government entities at all levels, and not just Congress, is found in the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment, not the first amendment.

 14th amendment as well as the first amendment require laws being made. No laws have been made. Both deal with governments making laws, and no laws have been made. 

Also posting the ten commandments can't prevent you from freely exercising your religion, so if they are posted, you can still exercise your religion. 


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Challenge for Simple

Challenge for Simple Theist:  Go spend a few minutes (probably 15 would be enough, but I suggest 30) reading an unbiased source about the "establishment clause." Be sure to read the key parts of the supreme court decision in Everson Vs. the Board of Education.  Then come back and present an *informed* argument if you still can.

 

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


jcgadfly
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simple theist wrote: I'm

simple theist wrote:

I'm only stating what the first amendment says. It says that "congress shall make no laws..." and Congress has not made any laws respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

 

Free speach, etc. is still there because it says Congress can not make a law prohibing free speach, etc.

If a court house displays any sign, Congress has still not made a law and therefore the first amendment doesn't apply. The first amendment only applys when congress is making a law.

 

In other words, as long as you have a religion, you're safe from harm. If you don't have one, you're fair game because "Congress didn't make a law".  

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


Brian37
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In all this apologetics

In all this apologetics Christians seem to miss the fact that secularists(including Christian secularists) are not fooled by the attempt.

Our country has consistiantly had minorities struggle to have the ability to compete at our highest politicall levels. The intent of the apologist revisionists is to say, "I get to monopolize the drivers seat and only Christians are allowed to compet for the drivers seat" while attempting to hide that intent while making their argument.

In America the non-Christian citizen is considered a token. We are fine as your friends, neighbors co-workers and tax payers. But we are never considered for public office by proxy of popular belief that only those holding the lable Christian can sit in our highest offices.

So here is yet another thread claiming, "I was here first".

It took a revolution by women to gain the right to vote. It took blacks a revolution to say, "I am an American too". It took over 200 years for a  Catholic to get ellected president.

It has only been the past 30 years in our history that blacks and women have started to be considered viable canidates for Congress and our Presidency. We now have our first Muslim legaly ellected by the people as a Congressman.

Yet selfish arguments like this still presist. My question to those who make these arguments claiming that only Christians have the right to interpret the Constitution. I ask you this.

If it matters that much to you to control the Supreme Court and White House then back it up with action.

Put signes on all goverment office doors, "Non-Christians need not apply". or "For Christian use only".

Is that what you want? YOU want to be that selfish as to never consider a legal citizen soley based on their religious beliefs? Is that the kind of bigoted government we want to live under?

There was a time when an invisable "Whites only" sign was on the White House door. There was a time when "No women allowed" was on the Supreme Court seats.

Now the same tired arguement is being made again out of fear. Not all Christians, but far too many still think that the country will collapse unless all our leaders swear on a bible.

Our country will collapse, if we continue to focus on issues better left up to the indivudual on their own time. Our country will collapse unless we unite to fix our education system. Our country will collapse under the errosion of the middle class. Our country will collapse if our government is given more power to spy on it's own citizens. Our country will collapse if we seek to institutionalize relgious dogma as public law.

Unfortunatly these tired arguments still persist that are a distraction to all citizens when we can be united on common ground. The common ground of lowering fuell costs, becoming fuel independant. How we can rank lower than tons of third world countries in eductation as rich as this nation is, is frightening. 

This is what WE THE PEOPLE should be focused on. This is what WE can fix. But yet, these tired "Jesus is our President" arguments create needless division and serve to distract the people from problems of health care, desease, education, global immage.

I want to see this needless division end. But I will not do it by taking a back seat just to placate the emotions of a selfish majority.

The fact is that is never taught on a mass scale, is that any citizen born here can legally apply to run for our highest offices and |"no religious test" has been there from the start. It is legal for a president, should they chose, to seat a Jew or atheist on the Supreme Court BECUASE OF NO RELIGIOUS TEST.

So to these revisionists please stop selling lies. Please stop being selfish about who gets to be in the drivers seat. You can vote for whom you want and no one can force you to vote for a non-Christian. But there is nothing in the Constitution preventing a non-Christian competing for the same political jobs Christians run for. I think far too many non-Christians remain silent or are happy with their guest status not seeing that they are being treated like a guest and not a full citizen.

Take that "Christian's only" sign off our White House. The founders were for freedom of religion, but I doubt any of them if they lived today would like the fact that some Christians, far too many, sell the idea that only Christians should hold office.

Please stop. If it is not ok to exclude women or blacks from consideration to our highest offices, why is it ok for Christians to do that to other citizens merely based on religious label. Certainly it is legal to vote for whom you chose. But how ethical are you to call some neighbor a citizen but be unwilling to consider them?

Christians for some reason think that there is no overlap. Both Republicans and Democrats expect politicians to use their pulpits as proving grounds as a loyalty test. The duty every American has and our politicians is to the Constitution. Part of that responsibitly is to be willing to consider any citizen in good standing. It is the Constitution that needs to be protected, not the emotions of fearmongers afraid of political competition.

TAKE THAT "CHRISTIAN'S ONLY" sign off our government office doors. It is OUR goverment, not yours, not mine, OURS!

Stop being bigots and recognize that what makes this country great is that we are a nation of individuals, not a nation of sheep.The United States Constitution is OUR law and was not written solely for Christians or Jews or Muslims or Atheists. Unfortunatly by proxy of popular belief, dispelling this myth is difficult. The only way for people who want full citizenship and the ability to politically compete at our highest levels, is for YOU to raise your voice and ask your Christian neighbors to consider YOU. 

Dispite what they sell, YOU CAN RUN, and if you get enough votes, YOU CANNOT BE REMOVED SIMPLY BECAUSE OF YOUR RELIGIOUS LABEL.

Stop letting them lie. Stop letting them push you to the back of the bus. Any Jew, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist citzen ect ect ect ect is doing themselves a disservice continually voting for Christians on the left and Christians on the right when most Christians will not recipocate the same to their fellow citizens. 

There is no "Christian use only" sign on any government door. Those days should be dead and gone in this day and age. We need to get back to being a nation of individuals and vote on issues and overlap. We need to stop using a party or religious label as a test to those we consider for office. We need to expand our choices, not limit them based on dogmatic ideology. We need to stop worshiping politicians like celebrities or gods or extentions of churches.

What makes America great to me is what we have gotten away from. We have allowed fear mongers on the left and right sell us their version of Jesus being the only viable option. I submitt that it is freedom that is our only option. Not my idea of freedom, not theirs. But the idea that when we come together that WE means something other than "I always drive".

There is no "Christian's only" sign on the White House door, nor the Congress or Supreme Court. Havent we had enough of that kind  superstious fallacy that time after time gets shattered by breaking stereotypes? Shouldnt we learn from our past?

If it is ok to consider Women and blacks for public office, and we now have Jews and even a Muslim in Congress, what makes anyone reading this think that a United States citizen is incapable of holding public office based on their religious beliefs or lack thereof?

You'd think we'd be beyond that in this day and age. But unfortunatly history repeats itself. So rather than face their unfounded steretypes fare to many Christians, NOT ALL, but far too many cling to the idea that they and only they are intitled to compete and all other citizens are mere guests.

I say that this country can do better than that. I think every citizen has it within them to consider their neighbor outside the issue of religious label. If non-Christian minority citizens are willing to consider Christians when voting, shouldn't Christians recipocate? Or are we merely a tax revinue for "their government" where those not loyal to Jesus don't diserve consideration.

I think we as Americans can do and should do better than that. I think we should be above the same tribalistic behaivor that prevents Sunni's and Shiites from getting along. I think we can do better than expecting those who run for office to "pick a side" when WE ARE ALL CITIZENS.

I say that we can do better than the same "Us vs Them" attitude that politicians on the left and right sell. "I represent the "true" Christian says Hillary and Obama and Rudy and McCain. Yet where is the media when they court non Christian voters, when they rarely do.

Is that good enough for YOU non-Christians whatever your deity is? Is it ok for you year after year election cycle after election cycle to vote for a Jesus believer when that same person wont vote for you if you ran? Isn't time they consider you too?

I write long posts every time I run into revisionists. Why? Because I want to show them and you that this is important. To both the Christian and non-Christian.

We cant get to problem solving as citizens when we are focused on "what deity" runs our goverment. The Christian majority's solution is to say, "We get to decide, you dont". If we are truely to be a nation of individuals then the free market of ideas must include the ability for ALL to compete and the only way to expand the free market of ideas is for YOU the citizen to be willing to go outside your religious label to find leaders.

Dont accept less than full citizenship. No one can Constitutionally stop you from running for office even if you dont swear to Jesus on a bible. You still have to compete to win the votes, but they cannot stop you from running.

The First Amendment was never ment to be interpreted, "Only vote for Christians". And Christians both left and right would do themselves a great service in their own immage by being open to consider others whom they might have something in common with. It is not impossable to find common ground outside a religious sect or label.

I am tired of revisionists selling the idea that "Jesus" sits on the shoulder of the liberal president telling him what to do. I am tired of the revisionist on the right selling lies that only bible thumpers should hold office.

FREEDOM IS A HUMAN VALUE, NOT A RELIGIOUS INVENTION!

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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The Bill of Rights is

The Bill of Rights is interpreted as extending to the states and local governments, too.


Fish
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The simple fact is that

The simple fact is that there is no good reason to post the ten commandments in a court or government building. 

Give a compelling reason that the ten commandments should be posted and then we will have something to discuss (hint: the idea that our legal system is based on biblical morality has already been debunked quite thoroughly)


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Fish wrote: The simple

Fish wrote:

The simple fact is that there is no good reason to post the ten commandments in a court or government building.

Give a compelling reason that the ten commandments should be posted and then we will have something to discuss (hint: the idea that our legal system is based on biblical morality has already been debunked quite thoroughly)

Exactly!

You cannot claim america's laws come from the commandments when only two have direct translation to U.S. law (no killing, no stealing) and one indirectly to some state laws (no adultery). 


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1) Strict constructionism

1) Strict constructionism of the constitution is the legal equivalent of Biblical literalism. I would appreciate if you would not preach narrowmindness as a virtue.

2) The issue is not laws. It is establishment. They call it the 'establishemnt clause' rather than the 'law clause' for a reason. Virtually any religiously leaning thing that happens in the US public arena will count as an attempt to establish Christianity...if for only the statistical reason that Christians of one stripe or another vastly outweigh any other religious group in the US.


simple theist
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When the United States was

When the United States was first founded, 11 of 13 original states required you to be Christain before you could run for any office. However, I never said anything about you having to be Christian to do anything. I never said I agreed with public prayer in school. (I do agree with the ten commandments being posted --however this has more to do with me not seeing how the commandments being posted is going to hurt you either physically or mentally -- however I never said this should be the case in my original post).

 You assume because I am Christian, that I want to force you to worship God. I shall remind you that you can never be forced to be a Christian. Christianity doesn't work that way. You either choose to be a Christian or you don't choose to be a Christian.

I would rather vote for a non-christian president that knows what he is doing then a christian  president that has no clue what he is doing.


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simple theist wrote:

simple theist wrote:
When the United States was first founded, 11 of 13 original states required you to be Christain before you could run for any office.

They also required you to be a white male who owned land.

Also have you read Article VI? The constitution made it a point to state there is no religious test. The Oath the pres takes does not include any mention of god.

Quote:
I never said I agreed with public prayer in school. (I do agree with the ten commandments being posted --however this has more to do with me not seeing how the commandments being posted is going to hurt you either physically or mentally -- however I never said this should be the case in my original post).

You brought up both issues like it was wrong to be against such things. It would seem people would think you either are in favor of it or in favor of doing nothing.

 

Btw care to tell us if you think it is constitutional for courts or government bodies outside of the congress to have anti-theist/religious ideals? This works both ways simple theist.