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Switch to Forum Live View Are some faiths more "equal" under the law than others?
4 years ago  ::  Feb 03, 2010 - 1:15PM #11
TPaine
Posts: 9,034

WallBuilders is the group headed by David Barton who is best known for his book, The Myth Of Separation in which he made up quotes and attributed them to our Founding Fathers. An example would be the following "quote" attributed to James Madison.

"We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind of self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."


Although this "quote" can still be found on many Christian websites it cannot be found anywhere in the archives of Madison's papers. Barton, in his 1990 video America's Godly Heritage claimed that

"On January 1, 1802, Jefferson wrote to that group of Danbury Baptists, and in this letter, he assured them—he said the First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state, he said, but that wall is a one-directional wall. It keeps the government from running the church, but it makes sure that Christian principles will always stay in government."


Maybe I just have trouble reading, but I cannot find any hint of a one-way wall in Jefferson's actual letter. Maybe someone here can.

To messers Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.

Gentlemen

The affectionate sentiments of esteem & approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful & zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more & more pleasing.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state. [Congress thus inhibited from acts respecting religion, and the Executive authorised only to execute their acts, I have refrained from presenting even occasional performances of devotion presented indeed legally where an Executive is the legal head of a national church, but subject here, as religious exercises only to the voluntary regulations and discipline of each respective sect.] Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

(signed) Thomas Jefferson
Jan.1.1802


Barton has since claimed that he never suggested that Jefferson said anything about a one way wall. Obviously Mr. Barton is an individual to whom the truth is not important.

"When it shall be said in any country in the world, my poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am a friend of its happiness: When these things can be said, then may the country boast its constitution and its government." -- Thomas Paine: The Rights Of Man (1791)
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4 years ago  ::  Feb 04, 2010 - 6:32AM #12
sydneymoon
Posts: 3,670

TPaine,


I see no mention of a one-directional wall either. Wallbuilders and their ilk are shooting themselves in the feet by not recognizing that this same wall allows them the freedom to worship any religion they choose. What a minute, what am I saying? They want no choice. They demand everyone follow their lead.


Feb 2, 2010 -- 12:02AM, Gwyddion9 wrote:

What do I think? I think that there are some conservative Christian groups that are doing all in their power to make the U.S. a theocracy. They are attempting, in this case, to say who should be allowed 1st amendment rights and protections, basically creating a second class citizenery.



And it simply does not matter to these folks.


 

Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
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4 years ago  ::  Feb 04, 2010 - 12:09PM #13
TPaine
Posts: 9,034

 


Feb 4, 2010 -- 6:32AM, sydneymoon wrote:


TPaine,


I see no mention of a one-directional wall either. Wallbuilders and their ilk are shooting themselves in the feet by not recognizing that this same wall allows them the freedom to worship any religion they choose. What a minute, what am I saying? They want no choice. They demand everyone follow their lead.


Feb 2, 2010 -- 12:02AM, Gwyddion9 wrote:

What do I think? I think that there are some conservative Christian groups that are doing all in their power to make the U.S. a theocracy. They are attempting, in this case, to say who should be allowed 1st amendment rights and protections, basically creating a second class citizenery.



And it simply does not matter to these folks.



Hi sydneymoon,


Barton has been associated with the Christian Identity movement. On at least two occasions he spoke before groups connected to Pastor Peter J Peters, a Christian Identity minister.

In 1991 Barton addressed the Rocky Mountain Bible Retreat of Pastor Pete Peters' Scriptures for America, a group that espouses the racist "Christian Identity" theology. Advocates of this bizarre dogma insist that white Anglo-Saxons are the "true" chosen people of the Bible and charge that today's Jews are usurpers. Aside from being a virulent anti-Semite, Peters has advocated the death penalty for homosexuals. According to the Anti-Defamation League, other speakers at the event included white supremacist leader and 1992 presidential candidate James "Bo" Gritz, a leader of the radical and increasingly violent militia movement, and Malcolm Ross, a Holocaust denier from Canada. In November of that same year, Barton spoke at Kingdom Covenant College in Grants Pass, Oregon, another "Christian Identity" front group with ties to Peters.

Asked to explain these actions, Barton's reply amounted to a not very creative "I didn't know they were Nazis" dodge. In a July 1993 letter, Barton assistant Kit Marshall wrote, "At the time we were contacted by Pete Peters, we had absolutely no idea that he was 'part of the Nazi movement.' He contacted us for David to speak for Scriptures for America. The title is quite innocuous. In all the conversations that I personally had with Pete Peters, never once was there a hint that they were part of a Nazi movement. I would also like to point out that simply because David Barton gives a presentation to a group of people does not mean that he endorses all their beliefs." An excuse like that might have washed one time, but it stretches the bounds of credulity to accept that Barton was twice duped by innocuous-sounding extremist organizations.



www.publiceye.org/ifas/fw/9606/barton.ht...


Peters has been connected with some of Christian Identity's most virulent groups:

Peters and his church first came to national attention in 1985 when Colorado newspapers reported that several members of The Order, the most violent far-right terrorist group of the 1980s, had attended the LaPorte Church of Christ during their criminal heyday. Subsequent investigation into The Order's activities revealed a string of firebombings, armed robberies, counterfeiting and the execution of one of their own members suspected of disloyalty. In 1987 two members of The Order were convicted and sentenced to prison terms of 150 years in connection with the murder in June 1984 of Alan Berg, a Jewish talk-show host in Denver. Several months earlier, in February 1984, Peters, along with Jack Mohr, appeared on Berg's program and Berg angrily confronted the two men about their white supremacist views.



www.adl.org/learn/ext_us/Peters.asp?LEAR...


Much can be learned about Christan Identity individuals, groups, and movements ay the following ADL website:

Christian Identity is a religious ideology popular in extreme right-wing circles. Adherents believe that whites of European descent can be traced back to the "Lost Tribes of Israel." Many consider Jews to be the Satanic offspring of Eve and the Serpent, while non-whites are "mud peoples" created before Adam and Eve. Its virulent racist and anti-Semitic beliefs are usually accompanied by extreme anti-government sentiments. Despite its small size, Christian Identity influences virtually all white supremacist and extreme anti-government movements. It has also informed criminal behavior ranging from hate crimes to acts of terrorism.



www.adl.org/learn/ext_us/Christian_Ident...


One can also find out a great deal about the official reaction to the Christian Identity movement at the FBI Project Megiddo site:

A relatively new tenet gaining popularity among Christian Identity believers justifies the use of violence if it is perpetrated in order to punish violators of God’s law, as found in the Bible and interpreted by Christian Identity ministers and adherents. This includes killing interracial couples, abortionists, prostitutes and homosexuals, burning pornography stores, and robbing banks and perpetrating frauds to undermine the “usury system.” Christian Identity adherents engaging in such behavior are referred to as Phineas Priests or members of the Phineas Priesthood. This is a very appealing concept to Christian Identity’s extremist members who believe they are being persecuted by the Jewish-controlled U.S. government and society and/or are eagerly preparing for Armageddon. Among adherents today, the Phineas Priesthood is viewed as a call to action or a badge of honor.



permanent.access.gpo.gov/lps3578/www.fbi...


I see little difference between the extreme Christian Right and the Taliban.

"When it shall be said in any country in the world, my poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am a friend of its happiness: When these things can be said, then may the country boast its constitution and its government." -- Thomas Paine: The Rights Of Man (1791)
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4 years ago  ::  Feb 04, 2010 - 4:52PM #14
sydneymoon
Posts: 3,670

Ugh, how dangerous and utterly creepy.

Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
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4 years ago  ::  Feb 14, 2010 - 1:20PM #15
Do_unto_others
Posts: 7,757

dblad,


 


You could clarify it for ME, too. The wording clearly states it applies to any sincerely held belief. How DO you interpret that to mean only monotheistic religions? Is a puzzlement, to be sure.


 


"I agree that the First Amendment really just covers Chrisitanity and other monotheistic faiths."


What a strange thing to "agree" with. So Hindus are just sh!t outta luck in your world?


 


"Probably the founding Fathers could not have thought of the diverse so called faiths in America today..."


 


More's the pity. But I don't think they were all that narrow, nor uneducated.


 




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4 years ago  ::  Feb 14, 2010 - 5:24PM #16
dblad
Posts: 1,595

Feb 14, 2010 -- 1:20PM, Do_unto_others wrote:


dblad,


 


You could clarify it for ME, too. The wording clearly states it applies to any sincerely held belief. How DO you interpret that to mean only monotheistic religions? Is a puzzlement, to be sure.


 


"I agree that the First Amendment really just covers Chrisitanity and other monotheistic faiths."


What a strange thing to "agree" with. So Hindus are just sh!t outta luck in your world?


 


"Probably the founding Fathers could not have thought of the diverse so called faiths in America today..."


 


More's the pity. But I don't think they were all that narrow, nor uneducated.


 



I simply stated what I think will happen... not what I want or think should happen.


 

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4 years ago  ::  Feb 15, 2010 - 10:02AM #17
MysticWanderer
Posts: 1,322

Frankly reviewing the posts here and my own research into other religions I seriously doubt that the courts will bite on Wallbuilders logic.  To do so would immediately trigger difficulties with large Hindu and Pagan populations and open a can of worms best left closed.  Some could even argue that Mormonism is polytheistic so when you start using one or more gods as a definition of religion (the only word used in the first amendment) you are on a VERY slippery slope.  Remember also that the US Government itself recognizes Pagans officially as a religion.  I am willing to bet that no one even the conservatives on SCOTUS are even going to waste a minute on that line of thinking.

"Not all who wander are lost" J.R.R.Tolkein
You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. ~Anne Lamott
"Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain."
Friedrich von Schiller
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4 years ago  ::  Feb 15, 2010 - 11:07AM #18
TPaine
Posts: 9,034

Feb 15, 2010 -- 10:02AM, MysticWanderer wrote:


Frankly reviewing the posts here and my own research into other religions I seriously doubt that the courts will bite on Wallbuilders logic.  To do so would immediately trigger difficulties with large Hindu and Pagan populations and open a can of worms best left closed.  Some could even argue that Mormonism is polytheistic so when you start using one or more gods as a definition of religion (the only word used in the first amendment) you are on a VERY slippery slope.  Remember also that the US Government itself recognizes Pagans officially as a religion.  I am willing to bet that no one even the conservatives on SCOTUS are even going to waste a minute on that line of thinking.



I certainly hope you're right, MW, but I never thought the conservatives on SCOTUS would rule that corporations, even foreign-owned corporations, could give unlimited funds to American political campaigns. Alito, Roberts, Thomas, and especially Scalia are going to have to prove to me they haven't been bought and paid for by the Republican Party and the Christian Taliban.

"When it shall be said in any country in the world, my poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am a friend of its happiness: When these things can be said, then may the country boast its constitution and its government." -- Thomas Paine: The Rights Of Man (1791)
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4 years ago  ::  Feb 15, 2010 - 12:30PM #19
Do_unto_others
Posts: 7,757

Feb 14, 2010 -- 5:24PM, dblad wrote:


Feb 14, 2010 -- 1:20PM, Do_unto_others wrote:


dblad,


 


You could clarify it for ME, too. The wording clearly states it applies to any sincerely held belief. How DO you interpret that to mean only monotheistic religions? Is a puzzlement, to be sure.


 


"I agree that the First Amendment really just covers Chrisitanity and other monotheistic faiths."


What a strange thing to "agree" with. So Hindus are just sh!t outta luck in your world?


 


"Probably the founding Fathers could not have thought of the diverse so called faiths in America today..."


 


More's the pity. But I don't think they were all that narrow, nor uneducated.


 



I simply stated what I think will happen... not what I want or think should happen.


 





No, you stated (at 1:32AM on FEb. 1): "I agree that the First Amendment really just covers Chrisitanity and other monotheistic faiths."


 


This is the part I was questioning. I said it was a silly thing to "agree with" - since it clearly does not, and then you subsequently posted proof that it DOES, in fact, cover "any sincerely held belief". Either it does or it does NOT "just [cover] Christianity and other monotheistic faiths. It has nothing to do with what you believe should happen, nor does it reflect on what you personally "want" to happen. It has to do with the fact that you were wrong when you said what you did on Feb. 1st.

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4 years ago  ::  Feb 15, 2010 - 1:28PM #20
dblad
Posts: 1,595

So "Do-" shoot me at sundown Undecided


 

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