Sorry, nyguy. I got a little nasty, and took some of what you said in the wrong light.
NP man, it happens!
I was trying to say that our laws DO come out of a religious-based morality/philosophy.
I would disagree, and if you gave me a few examples, i think I could show you differently.
The whole concept of all men being created equal was put forth in the Judeo-Christian bible, and I think it is the foundation for the idea of Liberty which flourished in the West, and the early U.S., esp.
All men were equal in the bible? I could go on all day long about examples in the bible where only selected people are equal. It was, most specifically, the Magna Carta which first brought forth the idea of liberty that we now know. The ideas of habeus corpus, search and seizure, property inheritance, etc.. all came from the Magna Carta. Before then, the king could go into anyones home, arrest anyone w/o trial, etc... These are a few of the ideas we hold as distinctly "American" and in no way stem from religion.
"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..." - Treaty of Tripoli
I stick by my claim on this point. If we don't ascribe specific meanings to the words of the document, we, in effect, ignore the meaning of the document.
We also cant ignore the intent
and the meaning
of the document.
How do you think it is that Bush has gotten away w/so much? Is it because the courts/Congress have strictly enforced the law, or because they've interpreted the law for their own benefit? Each of these words has a SPECIFIC meaning:"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"
He completely ignores all precedent.
What it means, to me un-arguably, is that CONGRESS (The People's elected reps at the nat'l level) won't pass a law est. a nat'l religion (like the Church of England), and niether will they pass a law banning ANY religion.
But remember, the laws are not based upon the interpatation of only 1 person.
It doesn't say that all public employees are banned from freely exercising or displaying their religion. Does a single judge posting the 10 C's carry the same weight as an act of congress?
How can a judge be fair and unbiased if he shows that the law he follows is that of god, and not those that we democratically created? There is a thing called the "Lemon" test (Lemon v. Kurtzman)
1. The government's action must have a legitimate secular purpose;
2. The government's action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion; and
3. The government's action must not result in an "excessive entanglement" with Religion.
This is what the court ruled that "respecting an establishment" means.
However, Justice O'Connor also had a test which the court had used, it is described as follows (and illustrates a point I made earlier):
“The Establishment Clause prohibits government from making adherence to a religion relevant in any way to a person's standing in the political community.” Her fundamental concern was whether the particular government action conveys “a message to non-adherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community.”
It can even be argued that there exists no Constitutional ban on State legislatures declaring official religions or bans on religions. The Constitution pertains, mostly, to limits on the NAT'L Govt, and the Supreme Court really should have very little say on what goes on inside a States borders.
14th amendment. If a state endorsed one religion, that wouldnt provide equal protection for others. Also "In 1947 the Supreme Court held in Everson v. Board of Education that the establishment clause is one of the “liberties” protected by the due-process clause. From that point on, all government action, whether at the federal, state, or local level, must abide by the restrictions of the establishment clause"
I really should just let my fiance write this part.