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Discussion Starter #1

Supreme Court to weigh Commandments cases
75 percent of Americans support such displays, according to poll

Bill Haber / AP file
A moving crew uses a bar to lift one end of the Ten Commandments monument in the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery, Ala., in August 2003.


The Associated Press
Updated: 7:59 p.m. ET March 1, 2005 WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court has been asked to settle conflicting rulings about whether the Ten Commandments can be displayed at courthouses and on other government property, but there is little ambiguity about the issue among the public.

An Associated Press poll found 76 percent of Americans say such displays ought to be allowed.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court was to consider whether a 6-foot granite Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Texas Capitol and two similar displays at Kentucky courthouses cross the line of separation between church and state.

Lower courts have split on the issue. The high court is being asked to decide the issue once and for all, and a ruling is expected by the end of June.

The last time the court dealt with the issue was 1980, when justices banned the posting of Ten Commandments in public schools. That case also was from Kentucky.

The Bush administration has asked the court to allow the displays while the American Civil Liberties Union is among those calling for their removal.

Past polling has found majority support for the general concept of separation of church and state. That sentiment is not always reflected when people are asked about specific cases.

Support for the Ten Commandments displays was strong among most groups in the AP poll of 1,000 adults conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs Feb. 22-24. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Older adults more likely in favor
Older adults were more likely to feel the Ten Commandments should be allowed on government property. People with only a high school education or some college were more likely to favor allowing the display of the Ten Commandments than those with college degrees.

People in the Midwest and South were more likely than those in other regions to favor allowing such displays.

“The Ten Commandments are religious, but they’re also a good guide on how to live your life,� said Maureen Jones, a grandmother from the Detroit area. “I’m not religious, but I don’t think there should be a big deal made about it.�

But Marvin Knudson, a retired businessman from Stevenson, Ore., said allowing such displays on government property worries him.

“We need to be cautious as to what is implied in this,� he said. “I am concerned about the government making no law about the establishment of religion.�

© 2005 The Associated Press.
 

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Discussion Starter #2

Virginia House Passes Amendment Erasing Church-State Protections In State Constitution

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Watchdog Group Says Measure Threatens Religious Liberty Legacy

The Virginia House of Delegates has approved a sweeping amendment that would erase church-state protections from the state constitution and allow officially sanctioned prayer in the public schools.

The bill, HJ 537, proposes an amendment to the state's constitution that would "permit the exercise of religious expression, including prayer and 'religious beliefs, heritage, and traditions' on public property, including public schools...."

The Virginia House passed the proposed amendment by a 69-27 vote yesterday. It has been submitted to the Senate, which could consider it before the legislative session concludes on Feb. 26. (Constitutional amendments must win House and Senate passage in two sessions before being placed on a statewide ballot for voters.)

"The Virginia delegates who are pushing this scheme have a shockingly ill-informed understanding of religious freedom," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "This amendment would open a Pandora's box of religious liberty problems. It is imperative for the Senate to reject this unwise plan."

Lynn charged that the amendment's broad language could be interpreted to allow officially sanctioned worship services at public schools and governmental events, as well as the display of sectarian symbols at courthouses, schools and other public buildings.

Lynn noted that Virginia legislators are tampering with the religious liberty legacy of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, two revered Virginia founders who pioneered the concept of church-state separation in America.

"I do not believe that today's politicians are likely to improve on the work of Jefferson and Madison," Lynn continued. "I am certain that the amendment just approved by the Virginia House does not do so. This scheme destroys many of the constitutional protections that Virginians count on."

The amendment's sponsor, Del. Charles W. Carrico Sr., said yesterday that the amendment was needed because Christians in the nation are becoming increasingly oppressed.

"America was founded on Christian beliefs," said Carrico. "Christianity is the majority faith in this country and yet because the minority has said, 'I'm offended,' we are being told to keep silent."

Lynn said Carrico is wrong.

"Christianity is not muzzled in this country," Lynn continued. "The public square is filled with religious and nonreligious voices. And public school children already have the right to voluntarily pray, read religious literature and join religious clubs. All of this goes on without government endorsement or opposition, and that's how it should be.

"This measure is not needed, and it is an affront to the religious freedoms this country and the state of Virginia have long celebrated," Lynn said. "It is imperative that this proposed amendment be defeated."

The Virginia measure is patterned after a proposed federal constitutional amendment that U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.) has spent years trying to shove through Congress. The Istook proposal has not fared well. He has introduced the amendment in several congressional sessions since the late 1990s, but it has always stalled in the House.

From:
http://www.au.org/site/News2?JServSessionIdr012=0a2pxwylg1.app7b&abbr=pr&page=NewsArticle&id=7183&security=1002&news_iv_ctrl=1241
 

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That's good to see, more progress backwards. Perhaps a large crucifix in every courthouse behind the judge would be in order too.

Why do Christians think that they invented morality?
 

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In the last national census in UK I described myself as a Jedi - along with 390,000 others. Bit of a larf.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2757067.stm
 

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The upper part of mental life of which the person is aware as contrasted with unconscious processes. One need only be lucid to project simplistic tenets of morality. A shopping list hand-delivered by a Judeo god is esentially irrelevant.

And let's not forget the 11th commandment: Do as I say, not as I do.
 

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Part of this is more divide and conquer rhetoric.

Part of it is just people trying to get their names in the news.

Part of it is that some people want to make the US out to be a Christian fundamentalist state to support the recruitment of Muslim opposition in the Middle East.

This one ranks high on MetaPhysicalPajama Bullshit scale.

As long as the Jedi are counted as infidels, count me in.
 

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GermanStar - 3/2/2005 2:02 PM

The upper part of mental life of which the person is aware as contrasted with unconscious processes. One need only be lucid to project simplistic tenets of morality. A shopping list hand-delivered by a Judeo god is esentially irrelevant.

And let's not forget the 11th commandment: Do as I say, not as I do.
OK, well even if I was to go along with that what percentage of people do you think use/reach "The upper part of mental life of which the person is aware" ?
 

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55Gullwing - 3/2/2005 12:23 PM


OK, well even if I was to go along with that what percentage of people do you think use/reach "The upper part of mental life of which the person is aware" ?
Uhhhhhhh -- all who aren't severely handicapped or comatose -- is this really that hard for you?
 

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Ah ha ha... I would say 'empathy' before I would say 'consciousness', because you can feel empathy for creatures who you can argue under some definitions are not 'conscious', including examples like the severely handicapped. Not that consciousness is in my opinion an invalid answer, not at all.

It's a traaaap!

Personally, I don't see how morality taught only by means of stick and carrot (behave and you go to heaven; counter the will of God and you go to hell) must necessarily be superior to or more stable than one arrived at through logic or some life philosophy.

Does a religious person who loses faith for some reason immediately lose all grasp on morality?
 

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webwench - 3/2/2005 1:04 PM

Ah ha ha... I would say 'empathy' before I would say 'consciousness', because you can feel empathy for creatures who you can argue under some definitions are not 'conscious', including examples like the severely handicapped. Not that consciousness is in my opinion an invalid answer, not at all.

It's a traaaap!

Personally, I don't see how morality taught only by means of stick and carrot (behave and you go to heaven; counter the will of God and you go to hell) must necessarily be superior to or more stable than one arrived at through logic or some life philosophy.

Does a religious person who loses faith for some reason immediately lose all grasp on morality?
No argument here -- consciousness (awareness) leads to empathy. A little life experience is all that's required to discern "good" from "bad" (I like this/I don't like this). This is the consciousness part. The empathy part comes into play once you infuse that sense into your dealings with others. You can see it in action along with resulting "morality" by going to a local dog park. Most healthy, relatively normal dogs treat each other in a prescribed fashion which clearly denotes respect -- morality in its most basic and important form.
 

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webwench - 3/2/2005 1:04 PM

Personally, I don't see how morality taught only by means of stick and carrot (behave and you go to heaven; counter the will of God and you go to hell) must necessarily be superior to or more stable than one arrived at through logic or some life philosophy.
Morality and faith are distinct concepts. Western religion stresses faith, often at the expense of morality.
 

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jjl - I base my morality on the word of my God and creator.

webwench - A loss of faith doesn't necessarily cause a loss of morality, but they do usually go hand in hand. Also, do you really believe that there are no consequences for a life lived with "sin" or a "lack or morality" (however you choose to define those words)?

GermanStar - So if the majority of people have this "Consciousness" then why are there so many obviously terrible/imoral people? If they have it, they aren't using it.

Chuck V - So, Jedi's created all that is in the universe?


Are all of you going to tell me that you believe that your existance is an act of random chance/evolution???
 

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55Gullwing - 3/2/2005 3:43 PM

webwench - A loss of faith doesn't necessarily cause a loss of morality, but they do usually go hand in hand. Also, do you really believe that there are no consequences for a life lived with "sin" or a "lack or morality" (however you choose to define those words)?
Did I imply that I believed that an immoral life has no adverse consequences? I certainly did not. The consequences I am aware of that arise from leading an immoral life, however, are worldly.

I would like to see some sort of evidence to back up the statement 'A loss of faith doesn't necessarily cause a loss of morality, but they do usually go hand in hand.' It does not fit the people I know who have lost religious faith for one reason or another.

As an aside, you are as unlikely to talk one of us nonbelievers into joining in your faith, as I am of convincing you there is no God. The best thing for us to do in my opinion is to accept that we are operating from different belief systems, and judge eachother on actions rather than the motivations we assume to be driving the actions.
 

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55Gullwing - 3/2/2005 1:43 PM

Are all of you going to tell me that you believe that your existance is an act of random chance/evolution???
No, we were created by a jealous, invisible, prejudiced Judeo god who advocates infanticide and genocide. I can tell by the barcode on the back of my neck. If you're looking for morality, you may want to look elsewhere...
 

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[:D] you guys are funny......

OK, I am not here to convert any of you, you can and i am sure will do as you please until the day you die. I just felt it necessay to interject into you onside thread, and will contine to pop up when I see something that so moves me in here... I thibnk you shouyld have the freedom to believe as you choose, but so should I! If a parent wants to have their kids bring there Bible to there public school they should not be stoped, and If a preacher wants to tell the people in their church why they think they should vote for one candidate or another they should be allowed to wihout fear of loosing tax exempt status.
 
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