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December 13, 2004

Comments

Chuck

Using the Constitution as the means to provide the rights has always been the standard. The declaration of independence was the means to provide the Constitution. "Endowed by their Creator (God) with certain inalienable rights (Unalterable by man). You have been given devine rights by God. "Creator". It is the first 10 that spells out some of these. You will notice that one of the Bill of Rights gives us "Freedom of Religion"....It doesn't say "Freedom From Religion. The right to keep and bear arms is a right given to the "People". Not to the Government to Arm the ANG.

Michael

Sorry, Chuck, but your read on the First Amendment is way off-base. "Congress shall make no law ...respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." What that means, quite simply, is that the government can't tell me which faith I have to believe in. It can't even tell me that the default setting on the dial has to be "faith" instead of "neutral" or "atheist." Nor can it tell me how I may, or may not, practice whatever faith I choose to profess--including "none of the above." Religion is, simply, none of the government's f***ing business.

I happen to think that's the best possible situation for religious people--and for non-religious people. It means that neither group gets to shove its beliefs down the throat of the other. Nothing in the laws or the Constitution prevents anyone from believing as she sees fit, although it can mean that she is prohibited from trying to make everybody else believe as she does. I'd like to live in a world where that one fell under the heading of "common courtesy," but unfortunately common courtesy isn't as common as it used to be anymore.

here's what's left

chuck,

you didn't answer any of my questions, and as michael suggests, your reading of the first amendment is wrong -- it doesn't say either freedom from religion or freedom of religion. it says what it says: "Congress shall make no law ...respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." which you would have known if you had ever read it, or had thought about it instead of regurgitating republican talking points.

Also, "Creator" doesn't refer to the Christian God, which you would also know if you had bothered to read the background post that I asked you to read if you were going to respond to that point.

Chuck

So what is the problem?.....Congress in it's entire history has never enacted a law establishing any religion. As I practice my religion on a day to day basis I simply choose to vote for the individual that I feel best represents those religious values. If they coincide with my beliefs all the better. You may believe any thing you like. I will defend that right. I take it you voted for the individual that best represents your values. How you arrived at those values is no concern to me. God isn't a "Christian" God. He is the Creator the Declaration of Independence speaks of. The one on our money that says "In God we Trust". Christ was his Son. The person that this Federal Holiday is Honoring. Incidently I am a Florida Democrat.

Christopher

"And if they're given by God, who we don't know much about, isn't there an epistemological problem? How do you go about knowing what they are? Jefferson, who wasn't a big fan of Christianity, surely didn't think they were in the Bible. Did he think they were in the writings of John Locke? I don't know. Do you? How do you know? How do you go about knowing?"

We can know through faith. Faith in the Aztecs. As they said, the supreme creator, Ometeotl, is the ultimate source of all life, and therefore rights. She/He is also non-intercessory, which is why government derives from the people consenting to be governed.

Jefferson clearly had Ometeotl in mind when he drafted the declaration of independence. And it is failure to respect his traditional religiosity that has screwed this country up so much.

lee scoresby

Chuck,

I'm really not sure what your latest missive is about. Michael writes, correctly, that Kranawitter looks very foolish. The constitution is not a document of "natural-law jurisprudence", at least in the way Kranawitter understands the term. Kranawitter's idea of judicial interpretation represents, well, a really bad case of judicial activism.

The Declaration of Independence - which is quite a Deistic document - has absolutely no bearing on the Constitution. It is an important justification of the American War for Independence to a foreign audience, but it is not the basis of the American social contract. And I'm not sure what a fit of anti-communism in the 1950s (the addition of "In God we Trust") has to do with the issue.

The broader issue you raise concerns "establishment." Frankly, when a particular version of the Ten Commandments is treated, in an American court of law, as the basis of law and rights, that strikes me as an establishment of a particular religion. This is entirely distinct from your right to vote for someone because of his religious beliefs. No relationship.

Overall, though, I'm puzzled why any serious believer *wants* to bring religion deeply into politics. The United States is one of the few advanced industrial democracies that isn't heavily secularized. What do the ones that are have in common? Established religions that tainted religion with the state and helped contribute to rapid social secularization in the 1950s and 1960s. Tocqueville, it would seem, got it right.

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