Seperation of church and state

Katherine - posted on 05/22/2011 ( 116 moms have responded )

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The Separation of Church and State is guaranteed for every American citizen under the First Amendment. It seems that believing in this arrangement is grounds enough to get you bullied in some Louisiana high schools. It's fine to believe in creationism and all, but there is no reason to bully high school students simply because they are more patriotic than you. Period.

[fowler_big]

Damon Fowler, a 17-year old senior attending Bastrop High School wrote a letter this week to his principal to protest a Christian prayer being held at his graduation ceremony. Rightfully, he feels that it is an infringement on his First Amendment rights and his right to the Separation of Church and State. This kid deserves mad props for letting his principal know on no uncertain terms that ACLU would be contacted if the prayer wasn't cancelled. Good job, Damon, you speak for the freedoms of people who are trapped in the bible-belt!

The poor guy, in turn, had to suspend his Facebook page because as soon as word got out that he was protesting the prayer, all the little Christian zealots in the area began bashing him and posting hate messages on his "wall." Fortunately, the page is back up. He's not going to let these anti-democratic jerks prevail! To make matters worse though, his "senior class night," turned into some mockery against his beliefs when all of the offending classmates broke out into prayer and religious revival.

Here's to hoping he sues the school system and everyone who has infringed on his rights as a logical and free-thinking American! Kudos to you, Damon!

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Johnny - posted on 05/25/2011

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"I find it funny how some people can't stand the word God as it pertains to religion but can repeat it over and over again in the bedroom. "

Huh? I have no idea what this means nor what this has to do with non-believers wishing to be free from religion at public sector places of work or school?

It is odd just how bent out of shape people get when they are told that some people do not want anything to do with religion. It's all fine & dandy when a person is at least religious, but if they say they have no religion, there is never any accommodation for that at all. It's like people are afraid of the idea that some people just don't believe. I see numerous mentions of the importance of recognizing and respecting all faiths, but no comments about respecting no faith.

So, we choose to accomodate all faiths and no faith at all. Does that mean our progeny will be forced to sit through 6 hour graduation ceremonies where all religions or non-faith-based traditions are recognized? At least where I live, that is what it would take to get through the myriad of different belief systems that people follow.

Asking for religion to be removed from the public sphere (ie. government funded/sanctioned institutions, schools, courts, etc.) is no where near the same thing as trying to form an atheist state. There is no one here trying to outlaw religious belief, expression, or institutions. That would be extremist. That would be comparable to communist Russia or China. But no one here wants that, at least as far as I can see. They simply believe that in the common public square, in institutions that we should all be EQUAL in, that no one belief system should ever be presented as the one that represents all. In many cases, that means that it is not possible to accommodate all belief systems of those present, because as I noted earlier, those can be quite numerous.

And frankly, comparing non-believers to Nazis, Stalinists, and communist Chinese is simply designed and intended specifically to be offensive and is rather extremist in itself.

My non-faith is not a threat to your faith. I'm not trying to get you to stop believing. I am trying to get you to stop trying to get me to believe.

Krista - posted on 05/26/2011

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but who can prove that God(Jesus) isn't real? Where did we come from if we were not created by God?

Ah, but what you fail to realize is that the onus is NOT on us to prove that your god is not real. The onus is on the believer, to prove that he IS.

As I've said here before, if I tell you that I have an invisible pink rabbit in my duodenum who helps me poop every day, and that my poop is proof that the invisible pink rabbit exists, what would you say to me if I said, "Prove to me he isn't real!" First, you'd tell me I was nuts, and then you would tell me that no, if I'm going to make such outlandish claims, then it is my job to prove that they are true.

So if you are going to make outlandish claims about the existence of a deity, then it is up to you to prove that it is true.

And where did we come from if not from your god?

Well, homo sapiens came about via evolution from an ape-like animal that no longer exists, but that was our common ancestor with all other primates.

But if you want to go farther back, and wonder where life on Earth came from? Well, there are plenty of theories out there. And yours is just another theory...one with very flimsy evidence and circular reasoning, I might add.

Personally, I think it shows a fair bit of arrogance for the faithful to think that out of all of the billions and billions of possibilities out there, that THEY have all the answers.

I mean, seriously?

There are possible answers to that question that our tiny brains are not even capable of BEGINNING to comprehend -- we don't even have the words in our vocabulary to begin to describe some of those possibilities. Heck, for all we know, we could be in the Matrix, and every single possible facet of our existence is just an illusion.

And yet Christians think that their pet theory HAS to be the right one, because, well...what else could it be? I mean, seriously? It honestly NEVER occurs to you that there are at least a billion other possible answers?

Wow.

Sara - posted on 05/25/2011

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I read this a while back and it pretty much sums up how I feel about religion in general:

You have faith. That is great. But remember, faith is actually nothing more than your opinion. It is not based on fact nor evidence. Your faith is a construct of how, when, and where you were raised - nothing more. If you had been born and raised in New Dehli, India, you would be saying (and believing) something else. If you had been born and raised in 17th century Massachusettes you would believe something else. You believe that your god is "the god". There are billions of other folks on the planet who believe that their god is the god. Each of you has the same amount of actual scientific evidence to prove your point.

Krista - posted on 05/25/2011

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So if the state is not supposed to endorse a religion, then they'll just have to include EVERY religion in EVERYTHING, won't they? That would be fair.

And correlation does not equal causation, Theresa. I could just as easily say that as the population has increased, more drugs and weaponry have come into schools. Or, I could say that as children watch more hours of television every day, that more drugs and weaponry have come into schools. Heck, if I wanted to, I could blame the whole thing on the invention of spandex.

The FACT remains that out of all of the violent criminals in prison, per capita, the number of atheists is MUCH lower than the percentage of atheists overall. It's convenient for you to blame violence on Godlessness, but the data proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that WE'RE not the violent ones.

Krista - posted on 05/24/2011

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I agree completely with Johnny. It's very tiring to be constantly told to just put up and shut up all the time, and that my lack of belief is not as valid, and not as worthy of respect, as their belief.

No personal diss to the Christians here, but it seems that we non-believers are constantly being chided to respect others' beliefs. It's not even that we have to respect their right to HAVE a belief (which I do, wholeheartedly), but we have to actually respect the belief system itself.

And that is the sticking point for me. I absolutely respect a Christian's right to BE a Christian and to hold that faith. I think that a right to one's beliefs is a basic human right that everybody should have. However, that does not mean that I should have to respect each and every belief out there. If I think that a particular belief system is dangerous, or foolish, or just flat-out wrong, then why am I obligated to respect it? Why am I obligated to kowtow to the Christians, to be polite about their belief system (when as a general rule, they are less than polite about my own beliefs), and to have to listen to their prayers and praise to their god when I am in the public sphere?

I've said it before and I'll say it again: if Muslims ever make up the majority of Americans, I bet you dollars to donuts that the Christians will suddenly discover a rather strong passion for the separation of church and state. They're only trying to break down that separation because right now, THEY are the majority faith.

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Ann - posted on 03/03/2013

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That's not even what "Separation of church and state" is about. Go google it before you go all e-lawyer.

Michelle - posted on 02/24/2013

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This whole "separation of church and state" has been completely misunderstood. Our founding fathers came to this country so they COULD worship God, not to get away from it. They wrote that there could no longer be any STATE RUN RELIGION, as there was back in England.They did not want God kicked out of evetything. But now He has been kicked out and look at the mess that has been created.

Amber - posted on 05/31/2011

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@ LadyJane~ I stand corrected, the word God is in the National Anthem if you dig for it hard enough. BUT that doesn't change the fact that we are not forced to sing verse number 4 while paying tribute to our country. We only sing the first verse; so, my point still remains valid.

And I'm honestly just waiting for the court case that challenges that motto. I don't know that we're there yet, but I'm sure we will be at some point. I'm also surprised that the Pledge hasn't had another case against it.

I was raised Catholic and didn't really start to question my feelings on it until about 3ish years ago. But I was still debating that "God" should be taken out of the pledge in class at Yale, while attending church every Sunday. To me, it's the law and it should be removed on principle. It doesn't matter what anybody's personal beliefs are.

Amber - posted on 05/31/2011

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@ LadyJane~ I stand corrected, the word God is in the National Anthem if you dig for it hard enough. BUT that doesn't change the fact that we are not forced to sing verse number 4 while paying tribute to our country. We only sing the first verse; so, my point still remains valid.

And I'm honestly just waiting for the court case that challenges that motto. I don't know that we're there yet, but I'm sure we will be at some point. I'm also surprised that the Pledge hasn't had another case against it.

I was raised Catholic and didn't really start to question my feelings on it until about 3ish years ago. But I was still debating that "God" should be taken out of the pledge in class at Yale, while attending church every Sunday. To me, it's the law and it should be removed on principle. It doesn't matter what anybody's personal beliefs are.

LadyJane - posted on 05/31/2011

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Awhile ago, I believe it was in this thread, someone stated that the National Anthem does NOT have the word God in it. Well I have the FULL lyrics to the National Anthem and while only the first one is ever sung, there are in fact 4 verses.............................................................





O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light,

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,

O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?

And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;

O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?



On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,

Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,

What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,

As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,

In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:

’Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.



And where is that band who so vauntingly swore

That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,

A home and a country, should leave us no more?

Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.



O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.

Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust;”

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave![12]



Check the final verse. It is where we got out National Motto from in 1956 which is in fact still our National Motto.

Gina - posted on 05/27/2011

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@Amanda,you're preaching about God,that's why people run the other way.It's what YOU believe, not what is fact.I won't tell you you're wrong,so stop saying non believers are.

Petra - posted on 05/27/2011

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Like Laura is saying, it is indoctrination when there is one prayer, favoring the same one religion, at innumerable public events. We are not talking about one stand-alone incident. I can teach my boy about several religions but the fact remains that this one faith is clearly pushed in the public sphere. Repeated exposure to this message is not unlike marketing, and I do NOT want my child growing up the way most north American kids do - with this false assumption that the Christian god simply is.



*lots of typo editing, using my phone and the text window is teeny tiny.

Isobel - posted on 05/27/2011

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and yes...I do believe that having a school SANCTION ONE religion is indoctrination and YES I have a problem with that.

Petra - posted on 05/27/2011

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@Stephanie - you're right, I do have a tendency to box in those who believe in god and Jesus under the general heading of "Christians". This isn't without realizing that there are significant variations among those who so do believe, and you admittedly refer to yourself as "christian" for lack of a more apt term. Nonetheless, I get my back up when this one branch of faith is granted huge civil liberties over all others in the form of condoned public worship, which is defended by only Christians as they continue to make up the majority. I've been pretty apathetic about it my whole life, but since the religious culture is markedly shifting and I have a child to consider, i've become more vocal about my views. One little prayer does not necessarily hurt anyone, but neither does leaving that one prayer out. The massive backlash this kid received about attempting to exercise his rights really bothers me since even loosely practicing Christians are defending the decision to trample his rights. It is not right to continue to allow religious-onesidedness in the public sphere when the population is so clearly not tied into one faith.

Krista - posted on 05/27/2011

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@Stephanie: I'm glad that you don't hate atheists. Unfortunately, not everybody shares your views. There was a study performed in the U.S. not that long ago, that showed that atheists were the least trusted minority in America:



Asked whether they would disapprove of a child's wish to marry an atheist, 47.6 percent of those interviewed said yes. Asked the same question about Muslims and African-Americans, the yes responses fell to 33.5 percent and 27.2 percent, respectively. The yes responses for Asian-Americans, Hispanics, Jews and conservative Christians were 18.5 percent, 18.5 percent, 11.8 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively.



When asked which groups did not share their vision of American society, 39.5 percent of those interviewed mentioned atheists. Asked the same question about Muslims and homosexuals, the figures dropped to a slightly less depressing 26.3 percent and 22.6 percent, respectively. For Hispanics, Jews, Asian-Americans and African-Americans, they fell further to 7.6 percent, 7.4 percent, 7.0 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively.



[snip]



Many of those interviewed saw atheists as cultural elitists, amoral materialists, or given to criminal behavior or drugs. "Our findings seem to rest on a view of atheists as self-interested individuals who are not concerned with the common good."




So yeah...this is what a lot of us are dealing with, here.



It's VERY ingrained. Even my own mom, who isn't THAT religious, once commented that my husband has very strong morals and values "for an atheist". And once I questioned her on that statement, she actually agreed that no, it didn't make any sense.



So if she's not even very religious, but she's still mindlessly parroting these myths about atheism, due to having basically been brainwashed by years of religious upbringing, then is it that surprising to hear the stats?

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@Laura:

" Why should my child be brainwashed into your cult while they are in what is supposed to be a safe place...school."



Do you really think your kids would be brainwashed by hearing a prayer? Why not just teach them that there are many, many different types of beliefs BUT this is mommy's belief and when they hear a prayer or God is mentioned they'll know that it's ok for others to follow this but in their home there is a different way of thinking or belief.

And it's not that I "don't get it", it's that I think it's ridiculous that it's been made into this war and this hatred and intolerance is being spread through the masses. Both sides are wrong in that. As for prayer in school, I dont necessarily have a problem with it being there or it not being there as long as every student is considered. Meaning that if theyre going to have a Christian prayer they need to have a set aside for Jewish student, Muslim, Mormon, Athiest, etc. But really in the end that stuff is taught at home and is a personal thing, school is for learning, there is a time and place to express your regious beliefs and worship, which to me is at home or church, not at school.

My kids are 3 and 4 years old and have seen many other religions besides my own. I dont know if it really means anything to them yet bc theyre so young but I am raising them to have an open mind and open heart and to be accepting and nonjudgemental of other's beliefs. I took them to a mosque for a Muslim friend's funeral where the Janazah prayer was receited as well as readings from the Quran. The possibility of this brain washing my kids never even crossed my mind. We've also been to synagogue, doesnt mean my kids will suddenly convert to Judaism. We've also been to mass, and we aren't Catholic. I really enjoy learning about other people's religions and stance on creation and the after life. I have my own thoughts and beliefs but I'm open to everything and embrace people who are different from myself.



@Krista E.:

"We atheists already know that we're mistrusted and despised, particularly in the United States. There are a lot of people who hide their atheism, because of the flack that would inevitably come their way."



I don't feel that way at all. I don't hate you for your beliefs. I would embrace you and be interested to know how you see things...we can all learn from each other. Hate does not represent Christianity. I'm not trying to force people to believe what I do. As I said on the 'God' thread, my bff of 23 years is agnostic and my brother is athiest. We share our thoughts and opinions but have never once disrespected each other with our views. I don't say "Nila & Steven, youre going to hell bc you dont believe in God. Youre bad, youre wrong." I would never say that bc I dont believe it. I dont believe in hell as described. All Christians aren't the same. Just bc I believe in God and Christ doesnt mean I share these extremist views of burning in hell and the wrath of an angry God. I think those ideas go against everything that Jesus represents.



@Petra:

"A public school does not have to hold a Christian prayer for any educational purpose, whatsoever, in order to be respectful and tolerant of religious beliefs."

"Your example about fairies earlier holds in this situation - in my eyes, and in the eyes of many others, believing in God and the Bible and devout faith are just as silly and nonsensical as checking your yard for fairies and praying to the fairy goddess, etc. Open your eyes, please."



Petra, my eyes are wide open. My point was that I am not bothered by what anyone else believes or perceives as truth. I would embrace a fairy worshiper as much as I would embrace a person who believes in God, or a Jew or Muslim. I also believe that if they were going to make time for a Christian prayer that all students should be taken into account and accomodated. It should be equal and if it cant be equal then it shouldnt be there at all. I think you're boxing in all who believe in God as having the same views and I dont. I dont assert my beliefs onto others. I just want EVERYONE to live and let live and not be so angry about what other people believe. Worry about yourself and your own family and let everyone else make up their own mind is how I feel. And that goes for all sides and points. Equality and tolerance.



"...so just please the Christians by allowing Christian prayers at public events? The middle ground would be either removing religion altogether for such events, or observing a moment of silence wherein you can acknowledge god, Allah, or the gorgeous shoes on the woman next to you. Pandering to one faith and expecting everyone else to toe the line is not an attempt to please anyone but those who follow that one faith."



I agree!

Isobel - posted on 05/26/2011

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Here's the thing that's difficult with this whole situation.

I LOVE so many Christians. I think the fundamental peaceful, turn the other cheek, do unto others stuff is really good for everybody to follow, whether they believe in God or not.

Unfortunately, in these debates we are not challenged by those Christians, we end up debating the extreme Christians who are, by definition, not REALLY followers of Christ (or they would not be so hateful and judgmental)...I think Bill Maher calls those types of Christians "fans" as opposed to "followers"

anyhoo...just saying to almost all my Christians out there...I think almost all of you are awesome.

Sara - posted on 05/26/2011

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Yeah, I was joking Desiree. I've read the Bible, I know what Christ teachings are. It was my attempt at being ironic. :)

Desiree - posted on 05/26/2011

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Sorry Sara got ahead of myself. Bit mad at Amanda she makes the rest of us look like really horrible people. I get annoyed with people who don't check their facts before they open their mouths and then put their feet in their mouths only to change the foot the next time they open it. And again to the other ladies please accept my appologies.

Krista - posted on 05/26/2011

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Amanda, you've also shown yourself to be fairly ignorant about the origins of your faith, when you say that you believe in God but not Allah.

They're the same deity.

They are all Abrahamic religions, all branching off of Judaism, which was the first monotheistic kid on the block, so to speak.


And Jennifer makes a good point. A lot of the more conservative Christians look back wistfully to the "good old days" (normally around the 1950's or so...basically the time period prior to when those godless hippies and feminists rose up and ruined everything) when their God was in everything. To hear them tell it, it was just like Happy Days and Norman Rockwell, rolled into one.

And maybe I'm nuts, but I find it a little odd that these "Godly" days included McCarthyism, racial segregation, rampant institutional sexism, a rather healthy number of large natural disasters, rampant materialism, a pretty decent amount of juvenile delinquency, AND the launch of Playboy Magazine. :)

Desiree - posted on 05/26/2011

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Sara no that is not something Christ would have said ever!! and anybody who thinks he would have is sadly misinformed. We are talking about a man who accepted those that no-one else would have touched. Please don't brush all Christians with the same brush. I don't know what kind of Christian's they are or what kind of church they come from but thats disgusting and just plain backward thinking. And it for a whole different kind of argument. There are moments in time where I am ashamed of being a Christian and have to remind myself that some of us are more informed than others and have chosen our religion because we actually studied it and didn't make that choice lightly or because we were bought up that way. "New World Christians or Born Again" sorry to say are the worst and sometimes open their mouths before thinking. Yes I am a Christian but I am a traditional Christain and to many are not considered one. I am Catholic. Just in case you think I am a non believer. I am just a more liberal thinking one. And I happen to disagree with both side because I think its gone over board on both ends.

Jenni - posted on 05/26/2011

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Hmmm... I think I remember when America was a 'Godly Nation'... (even though it still is overwhelmingly religious today)



wasn't that when they kept slaves and burned innocent people (heretics or people they just didn't like) at the stake. What about the Wild-West? Oh yeah, they were practicing purfication and cleansing the land of those heathen natives. Practicing; whoring, raping, murdering, gun-slingin'- God-fearing Christians.



God wasn't keeping them in line. It wasn't until the state had more control and influence that these practices were eradicated. It was state law and enforcement... Not a god.





Mmmhmm... nope, no 'sins' were commited when America was a 'godly nation'.

Sara - posted on 05/26/2011

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Amanda W., I think what you said in your above post is EXACTLY what Jesus would have said! **eye roll**

Desiree - posted on 05/26/2011

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Amanda be very careful God and Jesus are not the same, but Allah and God and Yaweh are. And that is one of the most horrible things I have ever heard come out from another Christian. Who gave you the right to be so judgemental. I agree you can't prove the unprovable, but that doesn't give anyone the right to be sanctimonous. No wonder other religious groups and non believers look down on us. And brush us with the same brush.

Amber - posted on 05/26/2011

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The Constitution reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
This doesn't expressly state what it means; interpretation has been left up to the courts.

The Supreme Court in "Engel v. Vitale" interpreted the First Amendment in such a way that no state official could organize public prayer in school.

The justices also went on to say that it does not matter if it is voluntary, the fact that is is prayer at all is a violation of the Establishment Clause. They stated that prayer in and of itself is a promotion of religion.

It does not matter that the Constitution does not expressly say it, the courts have made it law through interpretation.


Also:
Wallace v. Jaffree made it law that you cannot have moments of silent prayer or meditation because it has no secular value and is only used to promote religion. (Regular moments of silence aren't subject to this from what I understand).

Amber - posted on 05/26/2011

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The Constitution reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
This doesn't expressly state what it means; interpretation has been left up to the courts.

The Supreme Court in "Engel v. Vitale" interpreted the First Amendment in such a way that no state official could organize public prayer in school.

The justices also went on to say that it does not matter if it is voluntary, the fact that is is prayer at all is a violation of the Establishment Clause. They stated that prayer in and of itself is a promotion of religion.

It does not matter that the Constitution does not expressly say it, the courts have made it law through interpretation.


Also:
Wallace v. Jaffree made it law that you cannot have moments of silent prayer or meditation because it has no secular value and is only used to promote religion. (Regular moments of silence aren't subject to this from what I understand).

Johnny - posted on 05/25/2011

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Truthfully, very infrequently in my real life have I ever been exposed to people who wish to push their faith on me. My kindergarten & grade one teachers, my best friend in high school, the old lady who lived downstairs in college, and those people that show up at my door every so often to invade my personal space. Otherwise, none of the Christians nor people of any other faith that I interact with on a daily basis have ever done so. Nor have I ever questioned their faith. It is called showing respect. Most people have it for others. Some don't . Doesn't matter if their religious or not, some people are just self-absorbed, sanctimonious twits.

Johnny - posted on 05/25/2011

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That's gross Jaime. My parents told me a stork landed on the roof of the house one night & dropped me down the chimney.

Jaime - posted on 05/25/2011

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Well I don't know about you Amanda, but I came out of my mother's vagina about 31 years ago!

Amanda - posted on 05/25/2011

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First of all, the God i believe in is JESUS. Not allah. Jesus' death and resurrection has been proved true but isn't allah still dead....? This nation was a Godly nation but the sin of the ppl has made America what it is today. A lot of ppl don't believe in the Bible anymore or they choose not to. but who can prove that God(Jesus) isn't real? Where did we come from if we were not created by God?

Michele - posted on 05/25/2011

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@Krista - not true that an individual would be allowed to pray or say anything about God. I was valedictorian in the South in 1985 and they made me change my speech to not include the word God at all.

I agree that this student has the right to protest a prayer by the officials. And I agree that the (over)reaction was wrong. But everyone has rights that sometimes offend other people - both directions. And people who are so dogmatic, from either side, are going to offend others who are then allowed to express their offense. That is actually a good thing.

Lacye - posted on 05/25/2011

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I am a Christian, but let me be honest about this, the way these people have treated this boy is not what a Christian is about. I was raised to respect other people's opinions. Even if they don't believe in God, that is their right as a human being. This is insane! It makes me sick that people act this way and yet they want to call themselves "Christians". They aren't.

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Not done Dana! ; ) I just got back and have to answer to the posts that were adressed to me! But give me a sec...

Isobel - posted on 05/25/2011

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The pilgrims were fleeing religious persecution...I highly doubt that they wanted ANY religion to control the law or public institutions.

Why is it difficult to understand why I would not want my children exposed to a cult at school...nor would I want said cult to have anything to do with making laws that I will be judged by?

Sara - posted on 05/25/2011

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Well, the only difference in my mind Desiree with the examples that you have given, is that people like Stalin didn't do what they did because of the influence of atheism. And Hitler was actually Roman Catholic, he wasn't an atheist, and it's known that his hatred for the Jewish religion was born from that religious upbringing. He made several comments in the 30's and 40's against atheism and in support of Christianity. So...I don't disagree with you really, I just think that no non-believer has ever committed heinous acts against society based on that non-belief, but a lot of people have in the name of religion or God.

LadyJane - posted on 05/25/2011

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I would not have a problem with a muslum prayer service at school, they have a right to be represented so why would I be offended? Seriously?

Just because a school allows a pastor of several religions to speak at a graduation does not mean they are endorsing one specific religion. We didn't have muslum students at my school, so it was a moot point, we did, however, have jewish students. Every single religion of the students was represented at my graduation and no one had an issue. Nothing was rammed down anyone's throat, either you participated or you just sat there waiting for the diploma ceremony.

I find it funny how some people can't stand the word God as it pertains to religion but can repeat it over and over again in the bedroom.

Desiree - posted on 05/25/2011

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Bad example Russia while a communist country had no set religion and look it was still controlled by crazy people. Which just goes to show that both arguments that both sides are in the same boat. You can rule by fear alone and don't need religion to help. And they are not the only one China is the same and its the politics that control the religion not religion controlling politics. And the most famous of all dictators Hilter also rejected religion in his adult life. So you can't blame religion for all the ills of the world. And no I am not saying that Aetheists are evil far from it. I am saying both sides have things that are not something to be proud of.

Sara - posted on 05/25/2011

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For those of you that want to break down the barriers between religion and the government, go live in Iran for while, see how you like it and then come back and talk.

Desiree - posted on 05/25/2011

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Having gone through the rest of these comments I must say I am at a loss for words. I have no idea how to answer anymore and to be honest I don't think I am going to even try apart from saying that I disagree with both sides of the agruement and that things have been taken to extremes from both sides.

Johnny - posted on 05/25/2011

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It's amusing to me that those here who are so terribly gung-ho about forcing their specific faith (in this case some supposed form of Christianity) can not see that once the separation of religion and the state is breached, that anything is game. If you allow the government to make legislation or policy related to religious matters and to bring religion into the public arena, then the government is able to interfere in religion.

Theresa, you are right. The original intent was to prevent the government from imposing a state religion much like existed in England and many other European countries at the time. If you bring down the walls of that separation, you are opening up the potential for the creation of a form of theocracy. Is that what you really want? What if the government of the day doesn't do Christianity like you do? Hey, maybe Barack is a secret Muslim who is just waiting for the Christians to break down the separation of church & state so he can impose the new caliphate. I joke, but really people, your lack of consideration of the potential ramifications of your desire to bring public prayer to public schools is boggling.

But hey, apparently it's "Christian" to think only of yourselves and not actually consider the viewpoints & beliefs of others.

Rosie - posted on 05/25/2011

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correlation doesn't equal causation theresa. to me that's kinda like saying autism rates started rising because the smurfs got cancelled. they happened around the same time-must be them damn smurfs. :)

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Laura said it the best.....simply.....for those who can't understand it.

"Keep your prayer out of OUR schools and we'll keep our LAWS out of your churches...get it yet?"

Theresa - posted on 05/25/2011

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What people don't get is what "Separation of church and state" was really about and made for. It was to separate the state from the church, not the other way around. It was to make sure the state could not interfere with peoples right of religion and make a certain religion or denomination one that was endorsed by the state. Look up the amendment and read it for yourselves. People have turned it into separating religion from anything government. And lets face it the more we've taken God out of schools the more drugs and weapons have come in.

Krista - posted on 05/25/2011

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You have quite the way with words, Ms. Cheese.



But you ARE right. Nobody is saying that students can't pray. They can pray until smoke comes out of their ears, if they so wish.



And even if the valedictorian or whatever wanted to include a prayer or a "God bless you" in his or her speech, I doubt anybody would have an issue with that.



That is VERY different than the school officially leading the entire student body in a Christian prayer as a scheduled section of a public high school's graduation ceremony.



If that takes place, under the school's official sanction, then the school is officially favouring one religion over all others.



And as a publicly funded state institution, it is against the law for a school to endorse one specific religion. If you don't like the law, contact your congress-critter. But right now, the way the law stands, it is NOT legal for a taxpayer-funded school to endorse a religion.





Two other things:



1. LadyJane, you are neglecting to mention the fact that this statue also depicts Confucious and Solon. They are depicted as historic exemplars of lawgivers, not as religious figures. Mohammed is also depicted on a frieze inside the Supreme Court. Moses is on that same frieze, and not coincidentally, the only commandments that can be seen are 6 through 10...i.e. the non-religious commandments (stealing, adultery, murder, theft, etc.)



2. I have yet to see anybody here answer the question: what if the majority of students were Muslim, and they wanted a Muslim prayer to be an official part of the ceremony, and the Christian students protested? Would you tell the Christian students to put up and shut up?

Rosie - posted on 05/25/2011

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don't think you could sing falalalalla with a theoretical cock in your mouth johnny.;P

Johnny - posted on 05/25/2011

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So is it okay if I sing "la-la-la-la-la" out loud while plugging my ears during the prayer. Then the Christians could practice their beliefs and I could practice mine. Fair trade?

LadyJane - posted on 05/25/2011

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All this about Church and state stuff is people taking something and putting their own spin on it. The Freedom of Religion in the constitution meant that people have a right to pray as they see fit, where they wanted and how they wanted withoutt malice, and that the Pope, church were not allowed to force a particular religion onto the government.

Christians have rights too, and having a student recite a speech at a graduation and use the word God in it, is their right. You don't have to believe, but that student does have the right to include their belief. Just as if that student were of a different faith or of no faith at all. It's one thing to just recite a speech, then it is to pass out a copy and make everyone else recite with you.

Public school or not, these kids are graduating, I think theire rights should be acknowledged on their last day at school...

If you don't want to listen to it, then don't pay attention to it. You're not giving up your rights, you're allowing a student to express their view on theri last day of school.

If this separation of Church and State was that (for want of a better word) strict, then why is the Supreme Court still standing? Why has it not been rebuilt? It has a statue of Moses with the 10 commandments standing at the highest point in the middle of the building. He is of a religious nature, the 10 commandments made it clear that one should only worship one God, yet even today that statue still stands. So much for separation of church and state!!

Why should one group of people lose their rights because another group don't believe. It's only a graduation speech, it is a personal reflection of the student reading it.

Maybe it's because of the fact that when I graduated there were no restrictions on what kind of speech they could recite. The chinese student recited a prayer of his religion, while the other student recited one with theirs. No one complained, no one was offended, and even if they were, they just didn't care, because every speaker at that graduation included something for everyone.

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