Religious Liberty & Church/State Separation

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by rlvaughn, Feb 10, 2003.

?

A constitutional amendment for school prayer

  1. I agree

    75.0%
  2. I disagree

    12.5%
  3. It is redundant

    12.5%
  4. Other

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    This poll is designed to elicit thought concerning the practical application of your religious liberty beliefs.
     
  2. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    Though this poll is not specifically on Baptist History, it is related to an historical position held by Baptists, and is placed here as a companion thread to Separation of Church & State. I have tried to make this international, but it is hard, not knowing the laws, issues, and political jargon of other countries. I have also tried to give enough options that you can find something to select, even if it is only other (with a little levity thrown in along the way - that doesn't mean I don't think this is a serious subject). Any suggestions for future improvement of this poll, as well as your comments, are warmly solicited. Please forgive its inadequacies.
     
  3. Jim1999

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    I am not American, and therefore, the first question does not affect me.

    I object to both prayer and religious education in state schools.

    If a Christian student desires to pray before a football match, then one cannot deny a Muslim who wishes to do the same.

    Christmas as a holiday is passe.

    I believe in the absolute separation of church and state. Religious education is the responsibility of the home and the local church. Once we open the door to Christian education in a pluralistic society, we open the door to all.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  4. Jeff Weaver

    Jeff Weaver
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    Well, I am surprised by the results so far.

    BTW, I am the only one so far who objects to having religious events in public parks, codes meet or no.

    Course it may be that only our more tolerant history forum folks have responded.
     
  5. tyndale1946

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    Brother Jeff could you elaborate a little more on why you voted no on that... I saw nothing wrong with it and voted yes... Then my fortay is not political issues like a lot of the brethen on here... I would be interested in knowing the ramification of that?... Or is it because then anything that calls itself a religion witches and devil worship and the like would also be excepted. If you refuse one then you must refuse all... And if you open the door for one then you open a can of worms!... Am I right on my interpretation?... Brother Glen :confused:
     
  6. Jeff Weaver

    Jeff Weaver
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    Bro. Glen

    You figured it out. If you let one in you have to let everyone in. Better to keep them all out, IMO.

    Jeff.
     
  7. rsr

    rsr
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    Bro. Glen, the regulars are so few here it's almost easy to figure out who's voting.

    I voted for the first option on No. 4, although I had to think about hard about it. I think I was considering the tradition on the National Mall, where all types of events are allowed -- liberal, conservative, religious, irreligious, etc. It would not give me heartburn to disallow all such religious meetings on public property, but history is against it. I still will go with equal access, knowing it lets the gates open.
     
  8. rlvaughn

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    A constitutional amendment for school prayer - As Jim said, this is a particularly American issue, though it may not be quite as much in the forefront here as it once was. But how would you in other countries feel if something of this nature were brought up in your country? I am opposed to a school prayer amendment. It violates the spirit of the 1st Amendment of the U. S Constitution. The 1st Amendment, properly understood, already guarantees any person's right to pray anywhere under any circumstances.

    A public school class is told to write papers on favorite historical figures - If the assignment by the teacher is general, it should be left at that, with no censorship of the choice of student.

    A legislative body employs a chaplain to lead religious exercises, prayers, etc. - I am not opposed to prayer before a legislative body meets, a chaplain speaking to a legislative body, etc., but to employ such a person would be a violation. Also for the body to limit the prayers, speeches, etc. to members of a particular religious persuasion would be a violation. But how would you as a Christian like it if your legislative body were opened with a prayer and offering of incense by a Hindu priest (or whatever they call them)?

    A church desires to have a tent meeting in a city owned park - A church should have neither favoritism or restrictions based on the fact that they are a church. They should be subject to the same laws as any other body/group seeking the use of the facility.

    A public school has student initiated prayer before its football games - I've never really understood praying for football games. Like praying for two boxers - what do you pray for, that they don't get beat up too badly? Hey, if they don't want to get beat up, don't get in a boxing match! I'm not saying I want the football players to get hurt, just that it is inevitable that some of them will. Anyway, IF the prayers are TRULY student-initiated and student-led, and IF there is liberty for ALL who might want to pray, AND no coercion of those who don't, then I don't suppose there is a violation [but when the prayers have a definitely set aside place in the program, this appears that they may not be truly student initiated]. But I also don't suppose the idea of religious liberty means that everyone at all times will never be subjected to hearing a prayer even though they don't believe in it. If high schools got out of the football business, it would solve this one to suit me well! :eek:

    A Muslim student wants to lead the prayer before the football game - This may be a little bit of a trick question, because it relates back to the one before it. If you want prayer at the football game, would you object if a student of another religion, such as a Muslim, led the prayer?

    The legislative body of your country establishes Christmas as a holiday - Jim, I would say that Christmas is certainly not passé here. Our public school students have a two week (or more) vacation! I may have a little different perspective, in that I don't really view Christmas as a "Christian" holiday. But I would assume that most of the world does so view it. How would I feel if my national government set aside "Hanukah" or "Ramadan" (or Ramada Inn) as a national holiday? I wouldn't be in favor of it, so why should I think Christmas is OK? When you're in favor of some religious rite in the publicly sponsored arena, ask yourself how you would look at it if it were Islam, Buddhism, or Shintoism?? If that would change your opinion, you probably aren't thinking consistently.

    Hope this topic proves helpful. I'm looking forward to more thoughts from you all. I wanted to move out of the "I believe in religious liberty" mentality into situations where "the rubber meets the road." It's interesting to hear how others resolve these issues.
     
  9. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Hi Jeff, we tend to agree on our perspective on this particular distinctive yet here we diverge. My reason for saying that I agree to a meeting in any public place is quite simple:

    This is another of our rights that is prone to erosion.

    BTW, it is I who voted for pulling out my hair if the Muslim kid wanted to lead the prayer. That's a bit of a dilemna for me.
     
  10. rsr

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    I was with you, Robert, up to the last question. :eek:

    I think Christmas has become so secularized that it is no longer a "Christian" holiday. Again, I would have no heartburn if it were not recognized. (Kind of like Easter. [​IMG] ) In fact, secular derecognition might restore some of its meaning.

    I am thinking of C.S. Lewis' brilliant essay on "Chrissmas" and "Xmas."
     
  11. rsr

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    Better not let your fellow Texans catch wind of this. :D

    Clint, I am against prayers at football games, period. They are so often ignored or insincere or so broad as to be meaningless. (I could admit a couple of exceptions, but in my long career of attending football games, they certainly would be rarities.)

    Having students present the prayers is a fiction. Who will have the authority to say "this is what we will pray?" A student council? Sounds pretty much like government. Lottery? Brickbats at 10 paces? None of these seem satisfactory.

    I stopped tearing my hair out long ago; I don't have enough left for that. [​IMG]
     
  12. rlvaughn

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    I may have been unclear. I don't think Christmas was ever a "Christian" holiday - because it is not commanded by Christ or His apostles and prophets. The New Testament church did not celebrate it. I just assume that it is understood to be a Christian holiday (in origin) by most people. But I'd hate to give up my Christmas vacation, Easter holiday or any of the other holidays the school gives us! How's that for inconsistency. [​IMG]
     
  13. tyndale1946

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    Now I understand the issues completely as there must be separation of church and state... If not someone might call foul... Not to be allowed to worship their chicken [​IMG] ... Brother Glen :D
     
  14. rlvaughn

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    I just hope no one I work with reads this forum! Sometimes I think football is a religion here.
     
  15. rsr

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    Wow. It's not often this forum heats up with cross-posting. Thanks, Robert, for the poll.

    Oh, and football is a religion in these parts.
     
  16. rsr

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    On the matter of chaplains, Madison was unequivocable:

    James Madison, Monopolies, Perpetuities, Corporations, Ecclesiastical Endowments

    http://www.sunnetworks.net/~ggarman/estaorel.html
     
  17. Clint Kritzer

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    The operative word as I saw it, rsr, was that the prayers were "student initiated." I am against the school mandating prayer but I am also against their hindering the prayer as well.

    BTW, I was one of the boys in the band so the fate of football means nothing to me. I have always resented arts and humanities having their budgets cut while the football team gets new cleats and pads on a whim. But that is another thread altogether...
     
  18. rlvaughn

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    I agree with what I understand Madison to say - if the Congress wish to employ a chaplain, let them employ him themselves (out of their individual pockets), and not hire him from the public treasury. I certainly have no objection to someone praying at the opening of a Congressional session. I do object to a chaplain being employed by taxpayer funding. Again, I would ask any who want a chaplain for their legislative body - how will you feel if the body choose a Muslim to open their session in prayer? This is the price of religious liberty, applied consistently, in my opinion.
     
  19. rsr

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    Clint, I'll bet you were a drummer or a trumpet. Maybe a saxophone.

    I don't think "student initiated" means much. What if there are three students who want to pray? Someone has to decide. And there is the state, in one form or another.

    BTW: We had a high school of 160 or so and for a while marched about 60 (or more) in the band ... folks came to the games to watch the band, not the football team, which had only one winning season in six years ...

    But that's a topic for another thread, as you say ...
     
  20. rsr

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    Robert, I omitted Madison's opposition to military chaplains, which is contained in the full text.

    Because I live in a military town, I can see arguments from both sides. Viscerally, I do not like the federal government paying anyone to perform a religious service. Ack.

    OTOH, it is the military's longstanding position that it should provide all the services that soldiers would receive if they were civilians -- medical care, groceries, child care, movie theaters, bowling, etc. From that perspective, a chaplaincy program would be consistent.

    But I still don't like it, especially because one has to have an endorsed chaplaincy program to qualify. In fact, conservative evangelicals have raised a ruckus about this because they are underrepresented among the ranks of chaplains. IFB, in particular, have problems because of the lack of a denominational structure to vouch for them.
     

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