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Metallica_AC/DC (1)
Thursday, October 21, 2010

Separation of Church and State

Current mood: aggravated

Views: 376
Comments: 13
I just read an interesting article that was about the separation of church and state. And it didn't involve Christine O'Donnell.

The article was about a small town in North Carolina called King. It has about 6,000 residents, restaurants, parks, everything most towns have. And a war memorial. And recently, an Afghan War vet complained because there was a Christian flag on the memorial. And the memorial is owned by the government.

And now, most of the residents of King are up in arms about this, as they feel that they are being stripped of their rights.

I agree. Separation of church and state, as explained by James Madison in the Federalist Papers (yes, I actually read them. No, I did not just go on Wikipedia and presume to be an expert) is the theory (and one I subscribe to) that government will run better when religion is not involved. And that's pretty simple and straightforward.

However, while most people know that much, they overestimate how much Madison thought it should affect and how much it Constitutionally affects.

For example, it is LEGAL to learn religion in public school. After all, history and religion are inextricably intertwined, and learning about religion academically further serves to understand the world around us. Americans (and to clarify, I'm not saying JUST Americans, I'm simply referring to a study done recently in America) are woefully ignorant about religion while most actually claim to subscribe to a religion's belief system.

Also, the Constitution states that the government shall not pass any laws in favor of one religion. I fail to see how this affects the memorial. In no way does a Christian flag indicate that the government supports Christianity over any other religion or creed. The flag is there to show the Church's support for the soldiers (don't take me out of context and think I'm saying the war, because I'm not going there) and their sorrow for their deaths. And that's it. The Christian flag was invented by a pastor. It isn't from the Bible or the Vatican or anything official. It isn't even a symbol for Jesus and Mary and the Holy Ghost and Joseph and anything remotely Christian. It's an unofficial flag with little real meaning that is meant to represent Christianity because one pastor decided would represent that.

But how does this affect how the government runs our country? This isn't a law that favors any religion. This is a statement by the people of that town-not even the Church! If democracy, which comes from the Greek words demos and demokratia which mean rule by common people and rule by people, respectively, is the government of choice, and if the people of the town support it, hold a vote. Allow the people to choose for themselves whether or not they can support their troops in a completely unofficial manner that pertains to Christianity.

After all, if hanging an unofficially Christian flag at a fucking war memorial is too religion-y for you, why do we swear on Bibles in court? Using an official, no, the official book of a religion that is sanctioned by the court is more unsavory to me than the flag business.

Please comment with your thoughts.

PS I am an agnostic with more atheist leanings (if I had to specify) who really doesn't value religion. So factor that into your understanding of my opinion.
7:22 pm - 13 comments - 1 Kudos - Report!
Comments
Metallica_AC/DC wrote on Oct 22nd, 2010 8:52am

Quick thought, what's up with swearing on the bible in court? I just don't understand it, I'm an atheist...

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necrosis1193 wrote on Oct 23rd, 2010 10:49pm

Metallica_AC/DC wrote on Oct 22nd, 2010 at 2:52am :
Quick thought, what's up with swearing on the bible in court? I just don't understand it, I'm an atheist...


Way back when pretty much everyone was Christian, they figured having people swear not to lie during the trial on a Bible, ergo swearing on God's word so to speak, would deter lying in-court.

Personally, I think a soldier has more say in a war memorial's content than a civilian.

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mamosaa wrote on Oct 24th, 2010 2:30am

Well then you're saying the swearing on a Bible is a tradition, and therefore dogmatic. Therefore, it should no longer exist. Besides, if someone is going to lie in court, it doesn't make any difference. Read Bertrand Russell on morality.

Also, one soldier complained. The entire town is for the flag running. And why would a soldier have more say in a war memorial's content than those who established it to show their devotion and respect for said soldiers. These memorials aren't for the soldiers. The soldiers are dead. These memorials are a symbol and are really for those who established them.

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necrosis1193 wrote on Oct 24th, 2010 6:40am

mamosa wrote on Oct 23rd, 2010 at 8:30pm :
Well then you're saying the swearing on a Bible is a tradition, and therefore dogmatic. Therefore, it should no longer exist. Besides, if someone is going to lie in court, it doesn't make any difference. Read Bertrand Russell on morality.


When did I say I thought it was a good or bad idea? I never said anything about my thoughts on it, I just answered his question, chill.

Also, one soldier complained. The entire town is for the flag running. And why would a soldier have more say in a war memorial's content than those who established it to show their devotion and respect for said soldiers. These memorials aren't for the soldiers. The soldiers are dead. These memorials are a symbol and are really for those who established them.


Because I'm willing to bet a soldier has, I don't know, more of an idea how a soldier would feel than a civilian, because, well, he's a soldier.

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mamosaa wrote on Oct 24th, 2010 7:03am

Lol I wasn't angry or anything. And obviously I knew that was why, I was just giving that as an example of something in society that is even more tied to government that is closely tied to religion.

And if a memorial isn't for that soldier, why would he have the right to dictate how the memorial-- one most likely established by people closer to said dead soldier, although that doesn't really matter-- is run? Especially when it comes to a matter of religion.

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necrosis1193 wrote on Oct 25th, 2010 1:34am

Fair enough, just wanted to be sure.

Because someone who's been to war and shot at people and been shot at and seen friends die next to them I think has a much better idea of how someone who's been in that situation would want to be honoured than you or I would. Especially when the war they're from has the other side calling it a holy war against other religions considering what he had removed.

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mamosaa wrote on Oct 25th, 2010 2:34am

"honoured"?! How dare you! This is America!

Lol but seriously if you're alive, you can't tell how someone who died would want to be remembered. Their family would have the best grasp. But this isn't really the issue.

Do you think the flag part violates separation of church and state or not?

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necrosis1193 wrote on Oct 25th, 2010 5:16pm

I've never seen the flag, and I don't know who placed it, so I can't comment. Both of those essentially decide where I stand on this.

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mamosaa wrote on Oct 25th, 2010 6:03pm

The people who built the memorial placed the flag. And how the flag looks doesn't matter. The fact is, it's a completely unofficial flag that has no real meaning other than, "We happen to be Christians and support the soldiers."

And here it is: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_lm2JI7sGwYI/TJwJ3MGoTKI/ AAAAAAAALNg/ffGSZXbW-LA/s1600/christian-flag.gif

And besides, the vets are the ones standing guard over the remaining flags. They are the ones standing vigiland, preventing the government from removing the flags. So does it matter who placed it? Especially since these VETS matter more in terms of opinion in this matter than we do.

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necrosis1193 wrote on Oct 25th, 2010 6:29pm

mamosa wrote on Oct 25th, 2010 at 12:03pm :
The people who built the memorial placed the flag. And how the flag looks doesn't matter. The fact is, it's a completely unofficial flag that has no real meaning other than, "We happen to be Christians and support the soldiers."


I beg to differ there. For example I think a lot of orthodox Jewish or Muslim or some other religion parents would object to a flag with Jesus nailed to planks of wood on what they see as the grave of their child. You said yourself the family should have the best grasp, too.

And here it is: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_lm2JI7sGwYI/TJwJ3MGoTKI/ AAAAAAAALNg/ffGSZXbW-LA/s1600/christian-flag.gif


I do not object to that, no.

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necrosis1193 wrote on Oct 25th, 2010 6:29pm

Cut-up for length.

And besides, the vets are the ones standing guard over the remaining flags. They are the ones standing vigiland, preventing the government from removing the flags. So does it matter who placed it? Especially since these VETS matter more in terms of opinion in this matter than we do.


If it was for example placed by an evangelical preacher who, much like the religious extremists who make up a fair portion of the group we're supposed to be fighting, sees this as a holy war crusade of some sort, then yes, it'd matter to me who placed it. Given the circumstances I can't say I object to it, but under other circumstances I would.

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mamosaa wrote on Oct 25th, 2010 10:15pm

But the intention doesn't really matter. And this isn't a grave. It's a memorial. How does one person who views this as a Crusade actually label it as such by a flag?

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necrosis1193 wrote on Oct 26th, 2010 4:17am

Yes, the intention does matter, as far as I'm concerned. And I was saying that as a hypothetical. Emphasis on the part where that's a word defined by meaning something that's not real. I was saying that if that was the case then it'd make a lot more sense why he wanted it removed, and considering people of that type, if that was the reason he put it up, it'd be fairly well-known, hence how the soldier would know.

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