"In God We Trust" violate the Constitution?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by fromtheright, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. fromtheright

    fromtheright
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    This topic was recently closed on the News/Current Events forum but I think it is a legitimate question as a political discussion, too, not just a current event. But I'm willing to defer to a mod if I'm out of line switching fora.

    I also agree with faithgirl that the current topic title is more appropriate than the original question whether the phrase violates "separation of church and state" which I believe is a misnomer anyway. The current title is more on point--in particular does it violate the Establishment Clause.

    G2C, feel free if you want to take up where we left off there, with my question about what you meant with your last post there. I know we disagree on this topic but I would love to read your thoughts on this. Thanks.
     
  2. hillclimber

    hillclimber
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    The seperation clause simply means we'll have no government run religion. Ironically, it has spawned secular humanism.
     
  3. go2church

    go2church
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    It was stated earlier in the News forum that seperation of church and state was a myth, so for the sake of conversation, I was agreeing, but then asking the next question, which church gets to be "unseperated" from the state.
     
  4. Johnv

    Johnv
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    No, it doesn't. It means that government must refrain from respecting the establishment of religion, not just refrain from running or instituting a religious establishment. If the intent of the framers were to simply keep the government from establishing a state-run religion, then the framers would have adopted one of the Amendment I drafts that spelled that out exclusively.
     
  5. fromtheright

    fromtheright
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    Johnv,

    It seems clear to me from the debates that the purpose of the amendment was to prevent a national church. James Madison proposed the language that came closest to that but he withdrew it only because of the fear, commonly expressed, that it would tend toward a consolidated national government.


    G2C,

    If I understand your point correctly, the answer is that as long as the government is neutral there is no establishment as when Congress appropriated funds in the early period of the Republic, to missionaries to the Indians from various denominations.
     
  6. go2church

    go2church
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    There is no doubt that there is religious heritage at the founding of our nation, to deny such is foolishness in my opinion. But like all things we grow, mature and find out that the way things where isn't always the best way to do things now. Case in point at first slaves weren't even considered a full person, that was turned down, then we tried seperate but equal, that was turned away...etc.....we grew, we matured. Same thing with religious freedom.

    As a country we have grown and expanded the idea of seperation of church and state to where it is today, which in my opinion, is where it should be. Now you may not agree and that is fine, but it does beg my second question, which church?

    Also note that this touches on the issue of faith-based funding, which I think also is a violation of the establishment clause.
     
  7. The Galatian

    The Galatian
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    Madison said that there would be such minor violations, which would be tolerable, even if technically illegal.

    The courts have held that the phrase, being on every coin, has become essentially meaningless and therefore not a Constitutional problem.

    Think about that for a moment, and reflect on all the consequences.
     
  8. fromtheright

    fromtheright
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    Thanks, G2C. I think that my deeper disagreement with you is on your apparent acceptance of the "living Constitution" doctrine, that it changes with time. What if the freedom of speech changed with time and people came to think that as an antiquated notion, especially when it comes to listening to the views of liberals, the Left or ______ (fill in the blank). I believe that the Founders included a wonderful tool to accommodate changes in the popular views of government: the amendment process.

    And, actually, my point isn't even our religious heritage it is simply that there is a clear distinction between what the Founders knew an established church to be and the misshapen wall created by the Supreme Court. My point is that such aid is no more unconstitutional now than the Founders considered it to be at the time.
     
  9. fromtheright

    fromtheright
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    Galatian,

    Do you know the source for the Madison view? I'm not doubting it, just curious of the source. Am guessing it is from his Detached Memoranda written after his Presidency. Though Madison is definitely my favorite Founder, I think that even he was wrong later in life in his Detached Memoranda opinion that Congressional and military chaplains are a violation of the Establishment clause.
     

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