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America and Religious Freedom
March 16, 2009
1:41 am
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free2choose
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OK, so, was thinking about Obama's inaguration, and I was thinking about the whole swearing on the Bible and the prayers said and the opening and closing of the ceremony.

I've always thought it was wierd that people in this country fight over prayers in public schools and how it should not be allowed. But I think it is crazy to make a law saying that it is wrong to pray in public shools when the people who make the laws are sworn in using a bible, and if you testify in court you swear on a bible, and they pray all the time at government functions and even at public school graduations. Does this not seem wierdly hypocritical to anyone else? What do you guys think??

March 16, 2009
1:42 am
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free2choose
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To pray or not to pray. That is the question...

Shouldn't it be all or nothing?

March 16, 2009
5:50 am
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>> But I think it is crazy to make a law saying that it is wrong to pray in public shools when the people who make the laws are sworn in using a bible

Good point but you know how that is. Its harder to stop that custom of swearing in on the Bible than it is to stop the prayer in public school. Serving the public after the swearing in is more serious than a school kid bieng done with the prayer and starting their day.

The Bible swearing is seen as something "holy". It will just take time before that too goes away.

The effort to keep religion away from schools has been more active, e.g. teaching of evolution.

Lots of stuff in Google about it so yea, its definitely a valid issue, because we're supposed to have separation of Church and State but this definitely violates the rules by bringing in the Bible.

March 16, 2009
5:57 am
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It is kind of an odd thing. But it almost seems like in the case of our presidents that it is tradition and the thing about Obama choosing Lincoln's bible was more symbolic than it being a bible itself... I don't know, more patriotic than religious. And it would be odd if they were sworn in on some other document, like say... the bill of rights or the constitution... because those are more legal than soulful... than they want the person to be "swearing" as an individual, as to their conscience... I don't think I'm making any sense, but... I do think it is a strange thing... maybe someday it will change if we get a president ever who is not one of the major religions for once! However, as things stand in this country, we are so far from that, even after this historical election,...people are suspicious of anything and anyone "unconventional." Have we even had any atheists? Is anyone a historian here? I'll have to do my homework on that one...

March 16, 2009
5:59 am
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free2choose-

did you mean you didn't understand the idea of ceremony in general or just the religious aspect?

March 16, 2009
7:31 am
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bevdee
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Hey Mzrella,

I googled Benjamin Franklin + religion and got this site.

http://www.adherents.com/peopl.....nklin.html

"The principal Founding Fathers--Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin--were in fact deeply suspicious of a European pattern of governmental involvement in religion. They were deeply concerned about an involvement in religion because they saw government as corrupting religion. Ministers who were paid by the state and paid by the government didn't pay any attention to their parishes. They didn't care about their parishioners. They could have, they sold their parishes. They sold their jobs and brought in a hireling to do it and they wandered off to live somewhere else and they didn't need to pay attention to their parishioners because the parishioners weren't paying them. The state was paying them."

This is another one-

http://www.positiveatheism.org.....fstein.htm

March 16, 2009
8:33 am
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truthBtold
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free2choose,

You bring up a really interesting point!

I have wondered the same thing myself.

I would be interested to know what other nations/countries do under similiar circumstances say, with the Prime Ministers. Is a bible used in their 'swearing in?'

Interesting.........

March 16, 2009
12:17 pm
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free2choose
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Hey Rella..

Um, no, I think I understand the reason for ceremony. And I do understand that it is tradition. I just find it ironic that some people want to make laws about prayer in public institutions, but then the very same lawmakers swear on Bibles. I just think it is ironic is all.

I understand where you say that using the bible is more "soulful" and indicative of individual conscious rather than the idealism tht would be indicated by useing something like the constitution. But that would only be true of believers of the Bible. And that also kinda implies that all consicous or moral decisions are based in religious prcatice, and that is something i do no agree with.

What about the prayers in public. Like the bennediction and opening prayers in the inaguration and even at events like public highschool graduation. Do they not pray in the Senate all the time. This is institutionalized prayer in a government setting. How is this allowed when there is such an uproar about kids saying prayers in kindegarten???

Just think it is ironic and hypocritical.

March 16, 2009
3:14 pm
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free,

Well, what else do you suggest?

I am NOT being sarcastic or flippant here AT ALL - which is why I wondered what other countries/nations did in comparison?

....maybe instead of 'swearing on the bible' - they could just simply make a very profound and personal intregity-laden 'promise' of sorts maybe - instead?

You think that it would have the same impact?

Maybe?

Maybe not?

I dunno, personally.

What else would you like to see....or anyone else here for that matter?

Anyone else here know of what other countries/nations do under similar circumstances without involving something like the bible or any other 'sacred' book yet still get the message of honorable intentions across?

I'm curious.

March 16, 2009
3:41 pm
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>> which is why I wondered what other countries/nations did in comparison?

Good question. I'm wondering how non-religious countries handle it, e.g. I bet the Bible isnt used in European countries most of which are less religious than the US. Here, I got into Wikipedia and got all this info. Nice work, the volunteers make it easy for us :D. UK does have "God" in it, but they allow allow people to take the oath on other religious books. Athiests take oaths on Richard Dawkin's God Delusion I guess?

These are all quotes from Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O.....d_Kingdom)

March 16, 2009
4:01 pm
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truthBtold
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Thanks guest_guest for sresearching this and hining a light into other perspectives.

This makes TONS of sense to me!

I especially like Belarus and Brazil and Israel.

That the SAME DEPTH AND BREDTH of sincerity and loyalty and promise and oath CAN EXIST WITHOUT the mention of god.

Good to know!!!!!!

(Think I'll sleep a little bit better tonight knowing this now....)

Ahhhhhh, yes!

Makes tons of sense!!!!!!

March 16, 2009
4:46 pm
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>> That the SAME DEPTH AND BREADTH of sincerity and loyalty and promise and oath CAN EXIST WITHOUT the mention of god.

Yea.. nice way to put it! I agree. Before seeing these alternate versions I didnt know how it would look like without the mention of God. Now we can see its not that bad. The sky wont fall down if we dont have God in there. It looks great and being a non-believer, to me these 'Godless' oaths look better and more sincere. Now the sincerity of the promise is 100% devoted to what's on Earth and what's here. We've heard of the "God made me do it" excuse many times.

March 17, 2009
12:57 am
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free2choose:

You wrote:

"I understand where you say that using the bible is more "soulful" and indicative of individual conscious rather than the idealism tht would be indicated by useing something like the constitution. But that would only be true of believers of the Bible. And that also kinda implies that all consicous or moral decisions are based in religious prcatice, and that is something i do no agree with."

This is pretty similar to how I feel, but I was just theorizing as to why some people feel the need to continue with that particular relic of the ceremony. What I was trying to say is that there is a difference between something like a document that dictates law- which basically outlines rules and regulations as to how people and institutions SHOULD behave, than a document or some idea that represents something more to do with integrity, conscience, and commitment... perhaps "soulful" or soul were not good words for it, but I'm having trouble expressing what I mean.

By law, something is either right or wrong according to how the law is devised, it has nothing to do with an individual's morals or ethics... only what rules they follow or break. So to swear on a document of the law... well, that's kind of hollow. Even for an atheist.

Guest-Guest gave some good alternatives I think. F2C, I see your point as to why the Bible though because that does not represent my beliefs either. But I do not see this country going anywhere near completely separating the ideas of church and state in the minds of the people at least. People are too inflexible about certain things to allow the fact that they can have their own beliefs, but the country is not run by them. Why this is such a threatening idea to people who have freedom of worship, I do not know. I think it comes down to plain old prejudice and not wanting to make room for others. As far as I know, this is one culture that ideologically allows for freedom of worship of all kinds. But in reality, many Americans are narrow minded and somehow uncomfortable with this. Not all people who worship from Bible based faiths are like this, but the ones who are... the extreme right for example... are not going to let go of the stronghold they have on the government so easily.

Also, why does our money say on it "In God We Trust?" How much does God have to do with it, even if you are a believer?

March 17, 2009
12:59 am
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bevdee-

Thanks. That was interesting...

"...they saw government as corrupting religion." But I also see religion as corrupting government.

-ella

March 17, 2009
9:43 am
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>> why does our money say on it "In God We Trust?" How much does God have to do with it, even if you are a believer?

Good point, yea! Funny that I being an athiest have money in my pocket that says "In God we trust". Ha.

It will take a couple of years to get rid of this. It just has to be done slowly. The athiests will take care of it. This is definitely a violation of the separation of church and state.

March 17, 2009
9:41 pm
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Can we blame God for the current financial situation? I'm sure there are some people out there who would love to pass the buck.

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