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Saturday, June 21, 2014

CHURCH AND STATE


CHURCH AND STATE
 

A cranky opinion for

CRANKY OPINION SATURDAY

The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with little or no knowledge on the subject opined.  Opposing opinions are welcome but will be ignored and please, no name calling, that means you, you big stupid-head.

I get it.  I really do.  The Constitution calls for a separation of Church (Religion) and State (Government.)  I agree with that.  I don’t want to go to school for a graduation ceremony or as a student and be forced to recite with everyone else the Lord’s Prayer. 

Sure it is harmless.  It’s not going to convert me, well I am already Christian, but it is not necessary.  I don’t want to have to sing “Hava Nagila,” or be forced to recite or even listen to “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is...”  I can get that at church; my church, if I want.

When I was in eighth grade, at public school, every morning one student was required…REQUIRED… to start off homeroom by reading a verse from the Old Testament.  I did not mind listening every day, but I dreaded reading once a month.  I didn’t really know the Bible and it was somewhat embarrassing.  I got by with the old faithful “Valley of the shadow of death” verse.  But I have to say; yea did that valley scare the crap out of me.  Anyway, this requirement was a clear violation of the Constitution and it did make me uncomfortable.  It did not ruin my life or change my beliefs, but it did make me uncomfortable.

So I do get it.  Schools or any government venue should not require reading or reciting any prayer.  I do believe in separation of Church and State.  That should be separation of proselytizing, or suggesting, or bullying ones beliefs on others in any government setting; within reason.

Eliminating a church from the silhouette of a city in a government publication is beyond the meaning of the Constitution.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation saw this as offensive
 
Objecting to a speaker uttering the word “God” in a non-proselytizing way is wrong. 

If you sneeze, does the Constitution allow me to say “God bless you” in the post office? 

We don’t need secular symbols in public places to celebrate Christmas, or Chanukah or Ramadan or Festivus, but are lights and green trees offensive.  Can they not simply represent a Winter Holiday season?  You can take “Under God” out of the Pledge, I won’t be offended, but please leave “In God we trust” on our money.  Can’t we have some tradition? And do not some people worship money? 

Where do we draw the line?  Forcing people to pray or subjecting them to Religious traditions they are not comfortable with is wrong.  Groups organized to wander the country seeking to bring law suits every time the word God is whispered or inferred in a public place are ridiculous.

 Separation of Church and State should not mean walking on egg shells.  Religion is so deeply ingrained in some people’s lives that to force them to ignore it in a public setting is to not allow them the freedom to be themselves.

Where do we draw the line?  Zero tolerance always ends up with ridiculous results.  How about relying on common sense?  If words or symbols are genuinely offensive, people should not be forced to be subjected to those words or symbols, but Holy Hanna (can I say Holy) let’s not be silly.  That’s where we should draw the line… on silly.

If you object to a speaker saying “I pray to God that…” that is just silly. 

If you object to the Religious symbol on a chain around a teachers neck, that is just silly.

If you object to the carving of a Religious symbol on a monument in a National Cemetery, that is just silly.

If the picture of Jesus, or Moses, or a statue of Buddha offends you, that is just silly.

If swearing to God to tell the truth in court offends you, then pass on the holy book and simply promise to cross your heart and hope to die, but don’t object to others method of a truthful promise, that is just silly.

That is where we should draw the line, when the objection is just silly. 

What is silly? 

I don’t know how to define it, but I know it when I see it.

The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man, and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.          

21 comments:

  1. I agree Church and State should be separated, by the widest margin possible.

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  2. I agree with you completely Joe. Absolutely church and state must be separated. This is timely here in Australia now where our govt continues to fund religious education in state schools even though the high court has just ruled it unconstitutional. It makes most Australians deeply uncomfortable. But yes, removing every religious artifact from language and culture is just silly. Live and let live!

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  3. I also agree with the concept of separation of church and state. But I'm baffled by the way people always refer to the almost-sacred intentions of our Founding Fathers, EXCEPT where it comes to "In God We Trust" on our money or when carved on a government monument. Then they get all offended.

    I like the concept of beginning a school day or a city council meeting with a "moment of silence". Those who want to pray can, and those who want to daydream about the blond one row over can do that, too. Nobody is forcing anything on anybody else. As Jackie said, live and let live.

    S

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  4. Well said, Joeh, extremely well said!

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  5. Yes, silly. I wonder how soon a majority of children will be in charter schools with religious affiliations, underwritten by public tax dollars. Just wondering....

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    1. From what I see I would say never, which is as it should be. although some charters may slip a prayer or two in under the radar.

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  6. Separate, but not eliminate.
    Ironically, there's an almost entirely opposite movement in parts of the Middle East, where secularism seems to have no place.

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  7. i get so frustrated over this topic. i agree with everything you said, but 'policing' that line of silly is apparently very difficult.

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  8. I agree with what you say what I don't understand about the whole church and separation of state is Why Are Churches Used as Voting Places?

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  9. I agree with you here. There are those that want religion completely eliminated. That's just silly.

    Have a fabulous day. :)

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  10. Amen... or is it still ok to say that?! :-) Sadly, the extremists always end up taking away what is good, along with what is not so good. Life seemed so much simpler years ago before PC became the focus.

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  11. The zealots on both sides give me a pain in the neck. Your posting is exactly right.

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  12. What is silly?

    Silly is when you see "Jesus" on your grilled cheese sandwich.
    Silly is when you get excited about people using "Xmas" instead of "Christmas" ("X" has been used to stand for "Christ" for a long, long time).
    Silly is when you say the school shootings happen because "God is not allowed in our schools."
    Silly is when you can't live and let live.

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    1. All of those things are indeed silly, but they don't take up court time. I draw the line as too silly when someone sues because they saw that grilled cheese sandwich in a Government building.

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  13. There is no concept of separation of church and state in our constitution, that was a knucklehead invention of a bunch of senile judges. Having said that, the constitution DOES say that state can't meddle in churchiness but no where does it say the opposite. ;-) Truth is that anytime state tries churchy things bad things happen.

    We have freedom OF religion not freedom FROM religion. Having said that, it has always been wrong to have 'corporate' prayer to be used in any government-controlled setting or to abuse the Bible for political purposes. And in case anyone cares, my opinion is that the USA is not and has never been a Godly nation no matter how many religious folks lie and claim that it is or once was.

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    1. I believe those "senile" judge were onto some thing. The power of religion and government should never be combined.

      Now, I don't get upset with most religious references or mentions of God. But there are too many people who would like to turn this country into a theocracy. Just remember, religion is about control, not freedom.

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    2. Well, the problem with the senile judges lies with their belief that religion is not allowed to have a political opinion or skin in the political game. They're like any other group with a vested, common interest and are legitimate in pursuing what they believe. On the other hand I do also believe that it is wrong to pursue anything like a theocracy or to place any religious controls on government.

      But I totally disagree about "religion is about control, not freedom". Some religions are about control, others are about freedom. Remember this country was formed in a pursuit of freedom including, but not limited to, religious freedom. Government in this country has veered sharply towards an all-controlling construct that goes far beyond the controlling efforts of any religion save, perhaps, Islam.

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  14. One time a student saw the Virgin Mary on a plate of microwaved Gummi Bears in my classroom. We won't go into why I let a student microwave Gummi Bears in my classroom.

    He said, "I can't eat this! It's Mary!" His hunger got the best of him, and he nibbled up just past her knees. Then he dumped the rest of her in the wastebasket.

    If only I had broken the rules and let him take a picture with his cell phone, then we might have split the profit from eBay. Too bad I felt that breaking the No Microwaving Gummi Bears In The Classroom Microwave rule was the limit of my permissiveness. Oh, and inadvertently violating the separation of church and state rule.

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  15. I always hear this nonsense about kids being denied the ability to pray in school. Nobody can be prevented from praying at school or anywhere else. But schools shouldn't force or support collective prayer. It really boils down to this--the government shall not support or endorse any religion. No taxpayer money can be used to support a religion. Period. Separation of church and state is one of the best thing any government ever came up with. The Middle East would be a much better place if people there understood the benefits.

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  16. Here in Small Town, we have "pray around the flagpole" day at public schools. Pamphlets regarding the event have been distributed inside the public schools. Yes, it pisses me off. I'm one of the few who are pissed off.

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  17. Totally agree with you, there should be that separation. Now curious, why does our leader(s) seem to end up every speech with "God bless America". Wouldn't that be a violation of the separation? (separate topic and not on topic, but really God should not bless America.....)

    betty

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