First, having to respond to xander and Stewsburntmonkey at the same time is quite fun.
xander wrote:The establishment clause, actually, is designed to keep the government out of religion, i.e. to prevent the establishment of a state religion.
I'm pretty certain that is what I've been trying to say. Is that not how it's come across?
xander wrote:Remember, please, that the founding fathers were, in modern terms, probably best classified as agnostics. In their own era, many of them would have been called atheists. Look at the language in documents from the time. From the Declaration of Independence: "...Laws of Nature and of Nature's God..." These are not words used by Christians at that time. These are the words of non-Christians. These were people that were threatened by the idea of being tossed into jail for believing the wrong thing, thus the establishment clause.
I'm not sure I fully agree with you. I wholeheartedly agree that they were trying to avoid setting up a government that resembled anything like they had experienced with European systems with relatively firmly established religions taking part in secular rule. I am a bit skeptical of the argument that based on their writings (in that context) they were therefore non-religious. (i.e. atheist)
xander wrote:Now, to you, the line on the dollar bill or the "under god" bit in the pledge may be trivial or superficial. That belies a grave misunderstanding about where these things came from. The line in the pledge is a direct attack on the "atheist communists" with whom the US was sparring at the time of the Cold War. It is a direct statement about the religiosity of the US. The line on currency has a similar heritage. For you, as a Christian, these might seem fairly minor. To me, as an atheist, these represent a very clear wall. They show just how far atheists are accepted in US society. They are an act of exclusion.
Perhaps I was a bit too quick to use trivial. I do understand where they came from and would argue that doing such is a misuse of religion and God. They seem fairly minor to me as a "Christian" in the sense that most "Christians" merely pay lip service to "Christianity" and did so (probably less) at that time as well. I think a better term for "Christianity", especially today, would be "churchianity".
xander wrote:And I still don't see how religion is being distanced from government now. Please provide some examples.
I said there is a push
in that direction. That push
is far more open and obvious than in times past.
Ace Rimmer wrote:Those examples are merely superficial religious additions. I would hardly call that religion.
Religion is a superficial expression of spirituality. . .
How is "in God we trust" any more superficial than a typical religious rite like mass?
As I stated above, I think that "churchianity" can explain why religion as a whole seems like a superficial expression of spirituality. As far as mass is concerned, that is not at all Biblical.
Ace Rimmer wrote:While this (USA) country was not founded with an official state religion and no religion has official (government) powers in and of itself (as was intended), other than that there is no such thing as separation of church and state the way most promote it today. I say that in the context of todays push to remove religion all together from our government. Government and religion can not be truly separated as those in government (not all of course) are in some form or fashion religious. As far as being more separate now than historically, I can not say with any real confidence.
I merely want to point out that the USA was not founded with the intention of keeping religion out of government. It was founded with the intent to keep religious power and authority out of government. Thus my contention that separation of church and state in todays terms is a misconception.
xander, does that help?
You are being incredibly vague. You need to define what you mean by "separation of Church and State" and how you feel others use it.
I would say that in my view separation of Church and State also applies to atheism. I don't think the government should promote atheism any more than it should promote theism.
There is obviously a "left" and a "right" in the US (since that is the country we're discussing), my argument is against what those on the "left" would call separation of church and state. That seems to be a complete and total separation of anything religious (especially Christian) from anything remotely state. The response from the "right" has not at all been appropriate either.
I apologize for not being more clear.