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DavidP
04-19-2004, 02:08 AM
At the risk of creating a thread that could become a horrible flame war, I would like to start a little discussion. Mods, If this becomes a flame war, feel free to close the thread.

I have been thinking a lot about the current debate about the phrase "under God" in the USA Pledge of Allegiance. I am sure many of you know about this debate.

I have attempted to take a non-biased viewpoint and look at the issue from all sides, and draw conclusions based on what I see. Of course it is always difficult to be completely non-biased, because we never are. So I am sure my conclusions have bias in them although I try to be as non-bias as possible.

But anyways, read my viewpoint here:

http://www.xanga.com/dpru

It is the most recent entry, so you wont have to scroll down at all (except to read it, as it is pretty long).

Now, after you have read it, let's discuss it. (Read the entire thing. If you do not, then you will not get the entire message.).

Feel free to comment with your thoughts.

Clyde
04-19-2004, 05:02 AM
How do you intend to "build up" atheists?

Govtcheez
04-19-2004, 05:37 AM
You think it's ok to infringe on the rights of the minority just because you think taking religion out of government will make people unhappy?

Also, "In God We Trust" was added in the early 20th century; it clearly doesn't have anything to do with the foundations of the country.

Finally, I always see "the US was founded on Christian beliefs" in arguments like this, but have never seen it pointed out where. Just because we share some rules with Christianity means nothing. Most religions share those same ideas.

adrianxw
04-19-2004, 05:42 AM
>>>
Also, "In God We Trust" was added in the early 20th century; it clearly doesn't have anything to do with the foundations of the country.
<<<

It depends on your definition of "early" I suppose, but in fact it was added in 1954. It was added for political purposes to show the righteousness of the US as contrasted with the openly aetheist Soviet Union.

Since it was added for political reasons and the stated aim of the US government is to seperate state from church, it should never have been added, and should certainly be removed.

Govtcheez
04-19-2004, 05:46 AM
You're a little confused, adrian. "Under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in the 50s to differentiate us from the godless Commies (which DP addresses in his journal entry). "In God We Trust" was added to currency starting with the penny in 1909 and the dime in 1916

http://www.ustreas.gov/education/fact-sheets/currency/in-god-we-trust.html

adrianxw
04-19-2004, 05:49 AM
>>> the phrase "under God" in the USA Pledge of Allegiance

No Cheez, read Davids original post, it is that he was talking about not the currency, which is a seperate, but equally valid case in my opinion.

*** EDIT ***

You were talking about the currency, I see.

Govtcheez
04-19-2004, 05:51 AM
I understand that, but I wasn't. In the site he links to, he says
But was not our country founded upon Christian beliefs and principles? Do we not have phrases such as "In God we trust" on our own currency?
I was just saying that they weren't added at the beginning of the country, either.

edit: problem solved :)
edit2: This WILL become a flame war, and you should know that already.

adrianxw
04-19-2004, 05:55 AM
In God we Trust first appeared on the 2 cent coin in 1864.

There is a history here. (http://www.ustreas.gov/education/fact-sheets/currency/in-god-we-trust.html)

Govtcheez
04-19-2004, 05:56 AM
Whoops, I missed that line. Still, it's 100 years after the country was founded.

edit: That's the same link I posted, adrian :)

Clyde
04-19-2004, 05:58 AM
This WILL become a flame war, and you should know that already


Hey i've been good so far! :P

adrianxw
04-19-2004, 05:59 AM
Indeed.

*** EDIT ***

That was intended to be a reply to Cheez!

RoD
04-19-2004, 07:53 AM
Ok, back on track. "In God We Trust"; this statement in and of itsself requires you to believe in god. It is asanine to trust in something you do not believe in. How can we force children to state something that they are too young to yet understand?

It is not until early or late highschool that most kids know what it is they believe in, yet in first grade on we have them pledging to trust in god. Maybe they dont believe in god? Maybe they dont believe in this country?

The problem is that we dont know, and it is unfair for us to make this choice for them.

Beyond this, how do we justify this to not be like a colt, or a communism? The majority see's this line as a support for your country, and nothing more. This is no more different than the chants that Hitler taught his troops during the holocoust (sp?).

This is because kids who do not participate are often disciplined. Now they have changed the rules so that you dont have to say the pledge, but where does that get us? It gets us segregated and kids are being ridiculed for not believeing in this statement.

It is forcing them to feel un-american, because others tell them so. Now we have a young child torn between what they feel is right and what everyone tells them is right.

I could go on but hey, why bother.

DavidP
04-19-2004, 10:27 AM
You think it's ok to infringe on the rights of the minority just because you think taking religion out of government will make people unhappy?

Also, "In God We Trust" was added in the early 20th century; it clearly doesn't have anything to do with the foundations of the country.

Finally, I always see "the US was founded on Christian beliefs" in arguments like this, but have never seen it pointed out where. Just because we share some rules with Christianity means nothing. Most religions share those same ideas.


I said read the entire thing Govt, otherwise you wont understand what I was trying to say. If you read it carefully, you would see that I do not express any opinions at all until the very end (except for one paragraph in the beginning where I say what I believe), but rather I only make observations.

I don't have a clue where you got the idea that I thought it was right to infringe upon the rights of the minority. I was explicitly arguing against that.

The paragraph about the USA being founded on Christian beliefs was NOT an argument, simply an observation. If you read the entire thing you would know that.

My argument is stated in the last paragraph and in the last paragraph only.





How do you intend to "build up" atheists?


Yes I know I explicitly left out Athiests from the list in the last paragraph. That is because off hand I do not know exactly how to deal with that issue, but that would rather require discussion and debate. Some would argue that Athiesm is a religion, but others would argue that Athiesm is the antithesis of religion.

Like I said, I did not work out the details, I just came up with the general concept. Discussions like this one help to point out flaws in the argument, hammer out details, and even add to the argument with new material.

Govtcheez
04-19-2004, 10:36 AM
I did read the whole thing, chief.

> The paragraph about the USA being founded on Christian beliefs was NOT an argument, simply an observation. If you read the entire thing you would know that.

Again, I did read the entire thing. I observe that the USA was founded on Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist beliefs, as well. I've got as much proof as you do.

> My main point is: why tear a good institution down when it can be built up?

So, you want to build up religion in all places, which is not only against the Constitution but will also alienate pretty much everyone out there? Your feelings aside, how do you think JoeBob from Tennessee is going to feel when he starts seeing Islamic stuff everywhere?

UnregdRegd
04-19-2004, 10:53 AM
I think what's fairest for people of all religious and nonreligious beliefs and most consistent with the 1st Amendment is for the government to avoid making any overtly religious statements through the currency, public education system, law, etc. Removing "In God we trust" and "Under God" recognizes the sensibilities of non-Christians while not demeaning Christians' beliefs: It's not being replaced by "One nation / Free of religion" or anything like that.

Public schools do not need to designate prayer times. Religious students can pray on their own, privately, before they get to school, as they sit down to eat lunch, and whenever else they want to pray privately. If they want to worship aloud publicly, they can always go to ther church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or whatever their house of worship might be. Public education should be to teach children how to think critically and independently and provide them a basic framework of knowledge for later self-improvement; it should not be a place of religious indoctrination.

EvBladeRunnervE
04-19-2004, 12:06 PM
worship aloud publicly, they can always go to ther church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or whatever their house of worship might be.

wow, sounds like the "freedom of speech areas" that Harvard has instituted. One has just as much right to be preaching their religion in public as someone preaching evolution,feminism,nazism, et al. how does one expect people to make informed choices if they are not presented with different viewpoints?

Govtcheez
04-19-2004, 12:17 PM
Informed choices about religion should not be made in school. That's what church is for. Schools are for the teaching of fact, and that's all.

ZerOrDie
04-19-2004, 01:32 PM
Schools are for teaching atheism.

gcn_zelda
04-19-2004, 02:17 PM
So what if the United States of America was founded on Christian beliefs? What are you trying to prove?

Just because the founders were Christian doesn't mean that all Americans are.


However, our nation is under God, or at least a god...

The majority of Americans believe that. Only the few atheists believe that there is/are no god(s).


If they do remove that line from the Pledge of Allegiance, I'll leave it in there. Our nation is under God.

Truly.

Edit:

Schools are for teaching atheism.

Explain this to me, please. I don't see how schools are for teaching any kind of theism or atheism at all.

They are for teaching proven fact and solid theory.

They aren't for teaching that there is no God.

Glirk Dient
04-19-2004, 03:50 PM
I really don't mind what what people do to this...to me it is simply the common beliefs in America so I can tolerate that. I don't mind religion really, except the radicals and hippocrits. Aside from that I believe religion is good and mostlikely helps the majority.

About this whole religion vs the state. Who cares? It won't bite anyone...the court isn't based on religion, nothing will change except for some text bein removed...but why care if it stays? I think the whole thing is stupid.

Lurker
04-19-2004, 04:16 PM
I'm truly not trying to offend anyone in this post!

Personally, I really don't like the idea of "religion". I don't consider myself as Christian, or Jewish, or anything else. I also don't necessarily believe there IS no godly figure, and I'm not an Atheist. This is because of how it is created. We don't REALLY know! I don't like the idea of some guy sitting there, thinking "...and then Adam and Eve did this and that..." to make a nice story (once again, this isn't meant to attack Christians or anyone else). As for America raising a Christian nation, I think you can see it both ways. When Christian americans think of Christmas, they think of a holiday celebrated every single year, for hundreds of years. They don't think of it as a Christian holiday. Do schools decorate for Christmas? Always. Do schools decorate for Hanukah? Not nearly as much. What about Easter? They decorate schools and give candy to kids - on a holiday representing Jesus' birthday or something (I really don't know what Easter truly means).

Glirk Dient
04-19-2004, 04:22 PM
I am glad school celebrate that...maybe they should celebrate chrismika from now on? That would be a longer celebration in school which would make it better for everyone...in school.

I definately don't agree with not celebrating holidays, while I am in school at least ha.

Speedy5
04-19-2004, 04:41 PM
> This is no more different than the chants that Hitler taught his troops during the holocoust (sp?).
Only difference being that mainstream Christians believe in rightiousness and moral behavior, those supported by our laws. Hitler taught hate, destruction, anti-semitism, etc. Those are not supported with any of our laws. There is a big difference.

Easter is Christ's death and ressurection. It goes Lent - Ordinary Time - Easter - Ordinary Time, cycle.

Perhaps we should censor the founding father's documents? The Declaration of Independence? It mentions God all the time. Maybe we shouldn't teach this document to kids in schools because it might "force" them to accept that this country was founded by Christians (which is fact). They might go home to their parents and ask about God. Hey... thats not acceptable... < Notice the sacarsm ;) >

If you remove the words "under God" from the pledge, I say we edit the Declaration of Independence, too, and wherever it may be posted. And stop supporting any holidays.

This is ridiculous. Fact: This country was founded by Christians. Fact: They believed in God and belieived this country was under God. Fact: The pledge does not force anyone to believe in God.

Those words should stay in the pledge.

-KEN-
04-19-2004, 04:51 PM
> This is no more different than the chants that Hitler taught his troops during the holocoust (sp?).
Only difference being that mainstream Christians believe in rightiousness and moral behavior, those supported by our laws. Hitler taught hate, destruction, anti-semitism, etc. Those are not supported with any of our laws. There is a big difference.

Easter is Christ's death and ressurection. It goes Lent - Ordinary Time - Easter - Ordinary Time, cycle.

Perhaps we should censor the founding father's documents? The Declaration of Independence? It mentions God all the time. Maybe we shouldn't teach this document to kids in schools because it might "force" them to accept that this country was founded by Christians (which is fact). They might go home to their parents and ask about God. Hey... thats not acceptable... < Notice the sacarsm ;) >

If you remove the words "under God" from the pledge, I say we edit the Declaration of Independence, too, and wherever it may be posted. And stop supporting any holidays.

This is ridiculous. Fact: This country was founded by Christians. Fact: They believed in God and belieived this country was under God. Fact: The pledge does not force anyone to believe in God.

Those words should stay in the pledge.

You're missing the entire point. You preach staying historically correct and opposed to historical revisionism against religion, yet the addition of "under God" was a pro-religious revision of the original pledge. So, what I gather, is that revising things is A-OK just so long as you don't mess with religion, right? :rolleyes:

UnregdRegd
04-19-2004, 04:56 PM
wow, sounds like the "freedom of speech areas" that Harvard has instituted. One has just as much right to be preaching their religion in public as someone preaching evolution,feminism,nazism, et al. how does one expect people to make informed choices if they are not presented with different viewpoints?

You misinterpreted me. When I wrote, "If they want to worship aloud publicly, they can always go to ther [sic] church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or whatever their house of worship might be," the they I was referring to was the religiously inclined public school students, as one would hope would have been clear from the context of the paragraph; and, when I wrote, "they can always go...," I was not necessarily excluding public preaching and proselytizing. By that sentence, I was excluding, though, government-mandated time for prayer or "silence," as well as teacher-led prayer during classtime. I believe it is crucial for public school teachers to keep their personal religious beliefs separate from their teaching because they are, after all, functioning as a vessel of the state.

Your post raises another question: whether "free-speech zones" are really consistent with the 1st Amendment and, if not, where it is lawful and appropriate for one to make public speech. I will not discuss this issue here so that the discussion remains somewhat on topic.

DavidP
04-19-2004, 05:11 PM
So what if the United States of America was founded on Christian beliefs? What are you trying to prove?


Go back and read what I have been saying, zelda. I already said that was an observation, not an argument. And if you deny that the country was founded on Christian beliefs, then you pretty much deny History. I wasn't trying to prove anything, I was making an observation. Read the thread.



So, you want to build up religion in all places, which is not only against the Constitution but will also alienate pretty much everyone out there?


First of all, it is not against the Constitution for the government to encourage religion in general. The First Amendment states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free excersise thereof." Tell me how encouraging religion in general violates that statement? It simply does not. That is my point. So many people have taken that clause to mean that religion should be completely void from government, but that is not the case. Yes, we should not teach in our schools that a particular religion is correct. We should not enforce a certain religion, have a national religion, or impose our religion on others. But the founders never meant for religion to be completely taken out of the system.

I hope you do not misunderstand me. Take the issue of prayer in school, for example. I am against public prayer in schools, because I have seen how it offends people, and I also believe many people fighting for public prayer in schools are simply hypocrites. Therefore that is not what I am encouraging at all.

gcn_zelda
04-19-2004, 05:30 PM
Do schools require students to repeat the Pledge of Allegience?

Not mine.


If they do, sue the school.

And if they require you to say the pledge, then just omit that line if you don't like it.


Don't whine, people. Who cares if other people want to say "One nation under God."?

Those that want it taken out should just get over it, in my humble opinion.

-KEN-
04-19-2004, 05:30 PM
First of all, it is not against the Constitution for the government to encourage religion in general. The First Amendment states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free excersise thereof." Tell me how encouraging religion in general violates that statement? It simply does not. That is my point. So many people have taken that clause to mean that religion should be completely void from government, but that is not the case. Yes, we should not teach in our schools that a particular religion is correct. We should not enforce a certain religion, have a national religion, or impose our religion on others. But the founders never meant for religion to be completely taken out of the system.


How on Earth do you propose encouraging religion in general without encouraging a specific religion? And then how do you incorporate religion into the system without stepping on the rights of others? Indeed, it is invariable that incorporating religion into the government will trample on the rights of people not of that religion. "We're instituting this law to stone homosexuals to death because the bible tells us to" may make sense to you, but not to the rest of us.

ZerOrDie
04-19-2004, 05:40 PM
You mean we cant stone them to death? When did this happen?!

JaWiB
04-19-2004, 06:09 PM
The way I see it, the pledge of allegiance is a very small issue, and the phrase should probably just be taken out if it offends people so much.

gcn_zelda
04-19-2004, 06:33 PM
The way I see it, the pledge of allegiance is a very small issue, and the phrase should probably just be taken out if it offends people so much.

What I'm saying is that if it offends people so much, then they should get a life...


Seriously...

DavidP
04-19-2004, 08:21 PM
How on Earth do you propose encouraging religion in general without encouraging a specific religion? And then how do you incorporate religion into the system without stepping on the rights of others? Indeed, it is invariable that incorporating religion into the government will trample on the rights of people not of that religion. "We're instituting this law to stone homosexuals to death because the bible tells us to" may make sense to you, but not to the rest of us.


Stone homosexuals to death makes sense to me? i know you are just exaggerating to make a point, but still, that's something i would never encourage and the bible would never say.

Zach L.
04-19-2004, 09:48 PM
>> Fact: This country was founded by Christians.
Umm... Christianity was by far the dominant religion at the time. The result is that a lot of the founders were Christians. There were, however, those among them who were not.

---

At any rate, I do not think the government should have any role in "encouraging", passing legislation regarding, or in any other way dealing with religion. I don't think "under God" should be in the pledge, but I also think that the debate on this issue is ridiculous. The issue is trivial. There are a lot of other things that need to be fixed, and if they were, then this would very likely not even be an issue.

adrianxw
04-20-2004, 02:26 AM
David:

>>> that's something i would never encourage and the bible would never say.

Leviticus 20:13...

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.

It doesn't specifically mention stoning I suppose, but I believe it was popular at the time, at least it was in the Life of Brian.

nvoigt
04-20-2004, 03:30 AM
"In God We Trust" was added to currency starting with the penny in 1909 and the dime in 1916

That probably was meant to say "In God we trust, all others pay cash". It's not so much a statement about religion, but one about banking :p


I think government and religion should be seperated. It currently isn't. Marriage for example is a religious institution. But it's legal framework is set by the state. However, which or how many people you marry in the religous sense should be your decision. No state should control and enforce marriages. If my religion says I can be married to a chinese domina, a canadian male whale and a couple of carrots until one of us rots or gets eaten, then so be it. Thats a contract between you and your partners. If all consented then no state should interfere if no ones rights are harmed.

If the state wants to give incentives for a male and female to join and procreate by lowering taxes for those couples and giving them special legal benefits, then by all means it should be free to do so. Simply name it a "family". But that's not a christian marriage and those two things should not get mixed up.

If the state wants to allow same sex couples to found "families" then that's no problem. That would not mean that christians have to accept same sex "marriages". Because it's two different things. But as a majority, we have not realized that though we want to seperate state and church, we still haven't. Religion in the form of christian believes and customs crept into most ceremonies and laws.

Added:



> This is no more different than the chants that Hitler taught his troops during the holocoust (sp?).

Only difference being that mainstream Christians believe in rightiousness and moral behavior, those supported by our laws. Hitler taught hate, destruction, anti-semitism, etc. Those are not supported with any of our laws. There is a big difference.


No, that's no difference. If you had asked a Nazi, what he supports, he would have said that he believes in rightiousness and moral behaviour supported by their laws. It's all about context. Being moral in your own context isn't hard.

-KEN-
04-20-2004, 05:02 AM
Stone homosexuals to death makes sense to me? i know you are just exaggerating to make a point, but still, that's something i would never encourage and the bible would never say.
You should probably read a copy of that.

Anyhow, you never really answered my questions:

"How on Earth do you propose encouraging religion in general without encouraging a specific religion? And then how do you incorporate religion into the system without stepping on the rights of others?"

1veedo
04-20-2004, 03:06 PM
I'm an atheist and could care less. I *believe* the original pledge was w/o "under God," but like I said, I don't really care and cant see why an atheist would - I could see a Christian wanting to keep it though. I say "under God" and all but think nothing off it. That's the way most atheists probably are.

(I havenít read much yet, but thought I'd saw what I ahd to say)

Kinasz
04-20-2004, 03:46 PM
Where do you have morals without religion, define right and wrong. Eventually you will have an anarchist system where the people believe whatever they see accepted on tv is morally right. Christianity was the basis for most western nation laws because at the time of founding for most of these nations it was the determinate between right and wrong.

I am not arguing for or against the phrase ( it all seems a petty argument to me ) because there is no longer a majority population of christians in the US and it seems almost pointless to call yourselves a christion nation.

adrianxw
04-20-2004, 03:53 PM
>>>
Where do you have morals without religion, define right and wrong. Eventually you will have an anarchist system where the people believe whatever they see accepted on tv is morally right.
<<<

There is just so much wrong with that it is difficult to even begin to reply.

Has it ocurred to you that most religions in the world teach brotherly love, though shalt not kill, don't steal, all these kinds of things, because people thought it was a good idea.

Moral people created the religions by and large, i.e. you are completely about face, the morals predate the religion.

I am an aetheist, always have been, I watch TV as well. Why is it that whackos like David Koresh, the religious nutter kill people and not me? Surely by now, (I've been watching TV for 40+ years), I should be a homicidal maniac?

Govtcheez
04-20-2004, 03:57 PM
> Where do you have morals without religion, define right and wrong.

:rolleyes:

> Christianity was the basis for most western nation laws because at the time of founding for most of these nations it was the determinate between right and wrong.

:rolleyes:

> there is no longer a majority population of christians in the US and it seems almost pointless to call yourselves a christion nation.

:rolleyes:

You really have no idea what you're talking about.

Speedy5
04-20-2004, 03:57 PM
There are always radicals in EVERY group.

UnregdRegd
04-20-2004, 06:43 PM
There are always radicals in EVERY group.

What about among the moderates? Are there radicals among them? I didn't think so.

Speedy5
04-20-2004, 06:46 PM
Moderates aren't a group. Christians, Republicans, business leaders, teachers, etc. They are groups. Moderates are just a subsection of a group like a radical is. There are moderate Republicans and radical Republicans.

Govtcheez
04-20-2004, 06:46 PM
I suppose there could be people who find the exact center in every issue.

gcn_zelda
04-20-2004, 07:23 PM
Maybe.

Probably not. Somebody always leans to one side or another.

Zach L.
04-20-2004, 10:37 PM
Adrian... Don't hide it. We all know you are a serial killer. :p

Kinasz, do you really believe that people are so completely corrupt that the only way they behave civilly to each other is through fear of retribution, or promises of rewards... Which is what the motivation of religion amounts to?

>> I suppose there could be people who find the exact center in every issue.
Such people are called vegetables.

adrianxw
04-21-2004, 12:56 AM
>>> We all know you are a serial killer.

Yeah, and I need a fix! Where's my Ban button in this new fangled layout...? :D

DavidP
04-21-2004, 04:49 PM
You should probably read a copy of that.


I have. Quite a lot actually. I believe it was Jesus who stopped the stoning of the immoral woman, and did not encourage it.

"And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, not prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues; Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them." - Mormon 9:7-8

Maybe you are the one who needs to read it.

Anyways, in answer to your question...



"How on Earth do you propose encouraging religion in general without encouraging a specific religion? And then how do you incorporate religion into the system without stepping on the rights of others?"


Is it that hard? Instead of completely eliminating religion, teachers could very easily encourage students to search religion thouroughly and decide if there is a religion that seems true to them.

Govtcheez
04-21-2004, 04:52 PM
> Mormon 9:7-8

He said "Bible". That's not in the generally accepted version of it.

> Is it that hard? Instead of completely eliminating religion, teachers could very easily encourage students to search religion thouroughly and decide if there is a religion that seems true to them.

That's what churches are for. Again, schools are for teaching facts, not faith.

Thantos
04-21-2004, 04:57 PM
Then you would have no problem with a class that uses the Bible as a historical text?