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Ross Simons Separation of Church and State

Presentation at Le Web 09 by Mike Jones and Monica Keller.Topics: Open APIs and Real TimeFor more details visit http://developer.myspace.com
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Ross Simons

on 28 April 2010

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Transcript of Ross Simons Separation of Church and State

Thesis: Organized religion
limits political and
societal progression Okay, but how? Are we a Christian Nation? What do politicians
in history have to say? Thomas Jefferson 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes. The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed? Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind. "The Constitution fashioned in 1787 is a secular document. There is no mention of God, Jesus Christ, or a supreme being anywhere in the document. A minority faction of delegates pressed for some type of recognition of Christianity in the Constitution, but their views were rejected."
"[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."
"Nothing is more dreaded than the national government meddling with religion."
"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries."
"Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church and the private school supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and state forever separate."
"The divorce between church and state should be absolute."
"I believe in the absolute separation of church and state and in the strict enforcement of the Constitution that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
"I believe in a wall between church and state so high that no one can climb over it."
"Can any of us refute the wisdom of Madison and the other framers? Can anyone look at the carnage in Iran, the bloodshed in Northern Ireland or the bombs bursting in Lebanon and yet question the dangers of injecting religious issues into the affairs of state?"
"By maintaining the separation of church and state, the United States has avoided the intolerance which has so divided the rest of the world with religious wars. Throughout our two hundred plus years, public policy debate has focused on political and economic issues, on which there can be compromise. . . ."
"History makes the point time and time again: No greater mischief can be created than to merge the power of religion with the power of government." So. History has shown us that we were not established as a Christian nation. What about contemporary politics?
Politicians
Statistics Why is it so important to
maintain separation? Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values.
I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will.
I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.
"Now this is going to be difficult for some who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do. But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality.
We all know the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham is ordered by God to offer up his only son, and without argument, he takes Isaac to the mountaintop, binds him to an altar, and raises his knife, prepared to act as God has commanded. Of course, in the end God sends down an angel to intercede at the very last minute, and Abraham passes God's test of devotion. But it's fair to say that if any of us leaving this church saw Abraham on a roof of a building raising his knife, we would, at the very least, call the police and expect the Department of Children and Family Services to take Isaac away from Abraham. Leave religion out rawr!
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