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Rally in Denver for the Separation of Church and State, 9/28/08

As the recently revealed Muthee-Palin sermon reveals, there are people out there trying to turn our secular democracy into a Christian theocracy — people whose ties may lead them to the White House. It’s not just the Republican Party to which I refer; last month in Denver, the Democratic Party excluded non-religious Americans from its meetings and its platform.

Back in Denver this month, some Americans have decided they’ve had enough of this creeping effort to use government as an agent of proselytization. They’ve organized a rally in support of the separation of church and state. Here’s their announcement:

What: Pre-election Rally for Separation of Church and State
When: Sunday, September 28, 2008, 3:30-6 p.m. (This Sunday)
Where: West Steps of the Colorado State Capitol Building, Denver
Permit held by: Denver Atheists & Freethinkers (D.A.F.T.)

Goals: To show support for a wall of separation between religion and government. To provide individuals and groups an opportunity to speak out against erosion of our legal rights on this front. To remind people of some of these issues one month before the elections.

The event is about separation of church and state in general, but we’ll also have some highlight issues in mind:

~ The 10th District Court’s ruling against Colorado’s ban on tax money going to pay tuition at colleges that discriminate on the basis of religion.

~ The “personhood” amendment that defines a fertilized egg as a human being, and would make some forms of birth control, in addition to abortion, murder under the law. (On our state ballot for November.)

~ On the national level, the Faith-based Initiatives that give taxpayer money to religious charities, so that they can provide social services instead of government (secular) agencies.

~ Eternally recurring battles over prayer in school, school vouchers, reproductive freedom, women’s rights, sexual orientation, health care, creationism being pushed into science classrooms, and other issues throughout the nation.

More information can be found on D.A.F.T.’s message board

34 comments to Rally in Denver for the Separation of Church and State, 9/28/08

  • Handrock

    Jim, Tell me where you find the term Separation of church and State in the Constitution? You can’t because it isn’t in the Constitution!

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    And that means exactly what it says..CONGRESS shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the FREE EXERCISE thereof. Only someone with an agenda could misrepresent this phrase. Like it or not.

    The term Separation of Church and State originated from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Church in 1802. In that letter he was assuring the Pastor the there would be a Separation to Church and State, and that separation would protect the church from the Government not the other way around.

    The intire letter follows:
    To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.

    Gentlemen

    The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

    I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

    Th Jefferson
    Jan. 1. 1802.

  • Jim

    Show me where theocracy is enshrined in the Constitution, discuss all references to religion in the Constitution, and explain Supreme Court rulings on the subject and then we can have a full discussion.

    No, Handrock, the words “separation of Church and State” are not in the Constitution. But the idea is, in more than one place, and the Supreme Court has recognized this explicitly.

  • Handrock

    “A secular state is a state or country that is officially neutral in matters of religion, neither supporting nor opposing any particular religious beliefs or practices. A secular state also treats all its citizens equally regardless of religion, and does not give preferential treatment for a citizen from a particular religion over other religions.”

    Definition of Atheisim:
    Atheism, as an explicit position, either affirms the nonexistence of gods or rejects theism. When defined more broadly, atheism is the absence of belief in deities, alternatively called nontheism. Although atheism is often equated with irreligion, some religious philosophies, such as secular theology and some varieties of Buddhism such as Theravada, either do not include belief in a personal god as a tenet of the religion, or actively teach nontheism.

    Non Theism:

    Non-theism does not believe in a distinct divinity as such. Unlike Atheism, however, it does believe in some kind of existance beyond the directly experienceable world.

    Irreligion is a lack of religion, indifference to religion, or hostility to religion. Depending on the context, it may be understood as referring to atheism, agnosticism, deism, skepticism, freethought, secular humanism or general secularism.

    Anyway you cut it! Atheism is a religious doctrine that is at odds with theism and seeks to make it’self the ONLY STATE RELIGION!

    And a final reminder…Atheist are responsible for the the murder of upwards of 100 million people in the 20th century!

  • Jim

    Nice veer.

    I’m not sure enough flying spittle came through in your comment; could you add some more exclamation points and all caps typing?

  • Handrock

    Jim that was an amazing and lucid answer. Without actually refuting my agument with facts you dimissed it entirely. Actually I just read the constitution in it’s entirety. And no where can a point be made for what you said or maybe didn’t say. As for the Supreme court, well it’s interesting you should bring that up, have you ever read the Dredd-Scott Decision?

    Now what about the Declaration of independence:
    When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are CREATED equal, that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,…….

    And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

    You are the one unable to have a full discussion. Like all people who only want to tear down you are completey at odds with the history of mankind. You show me now!

  • Laura

    Thanks for the dictionary definitions and history lesson, but where do you get the figure that “atheists are responsible for the murder of upwards of 100 million people in the 20th century?”

    I think most people with an IQ over 70 will agree that more humans have been killed in the history of the world in the name of a religion (whether it’s Christianity, Islam, etc.) than anything else.

    And with regard to: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion …or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Hey, brainiac, if McLame wins, Palin will preside over the Senate as VP — even though she’s still figuring out “exactly what the VP does every day.,” Therefore, Congress is precisely what she’d be in a prime position to influence. Get it?

  • Laura

    By the way, your answers were amazingly NOT lucid. Go take your meds.

  • Handrock

    Well Laura! You set your IQ not me.

    In his bestseller “The God Delusion,” Richard Dawkins contends that most of the world’s recent conflicts – in the Middle East, in the Balkans, in Northern Ireland, in Kashmir, and in Sri Lanka – show the vitality of religion’s murderous impulse.

    The problem with this critique is that it exaggerates the crimes attributed to religion, while ignoring the greater crimes of secular fanaticism. The best example of religious persecution in America is the Salem witch trials. How many people were killed in those trials? Thousands? Hundreds? Actually, fewer than 25. Yet the event still haunts the liberal imagination.

    It is strange to witness the passion with which some secular figures rail against the misdeeds of the Crusaders and Inquisitors more than 500 years ago. The number sentenced to death by the Spanish Inquisition appears to be about 10,000. Some historians contend that an additional 100,000 died in jail due to malnutrition or illness.

    These figures are tragic, and of course population levels were much lower at the time. But even so, they are minuscule compared with the death tolls produced by the atheist despotisms of the 20th century. In the name of creating their version of a religion-free utopia, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong produced the kind of mass slaughter that no Inquisitor could possibly match. Collectively these atheist tyrants murdered more than 100 million people.

    . Credit Christian Science Monitor

    Laura maybe you should check you premise

  • Laura

    The Salem witch trials? Yeah, that was the religious fanatics thinking that these witches were summoning the evil powers of the devil. That wasn’t the secular people thinking that the witches were bringing the powers of God upon them. Once again, get it?

    Hitler was neither a confirmed atheist or Christian by many historians and researchers. Although, he actually wrote in Mein Kampf when he was seeking power, “… I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews. I am doing the Lord’s work.” Years later, when in power, he quoted those same words in a Reichstag speech in 1938.

    You still seem kind of manic. Haven’t taken your meds yet, have you?

  • Handrock

    Only people who have no real education other than what is afforded by Liberal colleges.
    Like:
    Academics who make up their own facts.
    Michael Bellesiles book called Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture, found to be fabricated, if the fact don’t support the argument, make up facts!

    I see that this group is the Kindergarten group of intellectuals. “Your mom wears army pant” My dad is stronger than your dad. NANANANa

    And brainiac, I Believe the VP only votes in the event of a tie. SO what real power does that confer?

  • Laura

    Mein Kampf is fabricated? All you have to do is Google “Hiler atheist.” Too difficult for an superior intellect like you, huh?

    Your meds must have run out. Call your doctor.

  • As one of the organizers for the group hosting this rally, I would like to thank Jim for posting this.

    Handrock, the Constitution was not written in modern legalese, so in order to properly interpret it we have to examine the context in which it was written. Here is a list of quotations supporting the modern view of separation of church and state from the founding fathers, U.S. presidents, Supreme Court justices, constitutional scholars and others: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ed_buckner/quotations.html

    I find their interpretation far more convincing then some anonymous internet troll.

    I am an atheist, but we are not pushing a pro-atheism agenda. We simply want the government to maintain a neutral stance toward religion.

    Show me where atheists are trying to promote atheism in public schools. Show me where they are trying to get tax money for atheist organizations. Show me where they are trying get atheist slogans posted in government buildings.

  • Laura

    I wish I could attend that rally myself, but unfortunately, I’m no where near even the state of CO. I’m not an atheist, but I respect them as much as anyone of another religious belief. I’d 100% rather the government’s neutral stance on religion than advocating any one them, no matter what it is. That is far too dangerous.

  • Ralph

    Handrock is wrong about Hitler. Hitler was not an atheist.

    He is right about Stalin and Mao. They were proponents of state-enforced atheism. They also oversaw policies that led to the deaths of tens of millions of people.

    But he is making a distortion if he wants to claim that the proponents of the separation of church and state are actually the proponents of state-enforced atheism.

    And it’s a curious distortion he makes, because in a country that upholds a strong separation between church and state, the state could never enforce atheism.

  • Exactly, Ralph. If there were atheists promoting state-enforced atheism, I would fight against them as vehemently as I do against the proponents of theocracy. Why can’t some people see that separation of church and state protects everyone?

  • Handrock

    John Adams:
    “ The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
    • “[July 4th] ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
    –John Adams in a letter written to Abigail on the day the Declaration was approved by Congress

    “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” –October 11, 1798

    http://www.eadshome.com/QuotesoftheFounders.htm

    Hitler was not a Christian, neither him saying it or you saying it makes it true. This is what Jesus says in Luke about who is his follower:

    6:43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

    6:44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.

    6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

    6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

    Here is what Hitler himself said:

    All of these are quotes from Adolf Hitler:

    Night of 11th-12th July, 1941:

    National Socialism and religion cannot exist together…. The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity…. Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things. (p 6 & 7)

    10th October, 1941, midday:

    Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure. (p 43)

    14th October, 1941, midday:

    The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death…. When understanding of the universe has become widespread… Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity…. Christianity has reached the peak of absurdity…. And that’s why someday its structure will collapse…. …the only way to get rid of Christianity is to allow it to die little by little…. Christianity the liar…. We’ll see to it that the Churches cannot spread abroad teachings in conflict with the interests of the State. (p 49-52)

    19th October, 1941, night:

    The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity.

    21st October, 1941, midday:

    Originally, Christianity was merely an incarnation of Bolshevism, the destroyer…. The decisive falsification of Jesus’ doctrine was the work of St.Paul. He gave himself to this work… for the purposes of personal exploitation…. Didn’t the world see, carried on right into the Middle Ages, the same old system of martyrs, tortures, faggots? Of old, it was in the name of Christianity. Today, it’s in the name of Bolshevism. Yesterday the instigator was Saul: the instigator today, Mardochai. Saul was changed into St.Paul, and Mardochai into Karl Marx. By exterminating this pest, we shall do humanity a service of which our soldiers can have no idea. (p 63-65)

    13th December, 1941, midnight:

    Christianity is an invention of sick brains: one could imagine nothing more senseless, nor any more indecent way of turning the idea of the Godhead into a mockery…. …. When all is said, we have no reason to wish that the Italians and Spaniards should free themselves from the drug of Christianity. Let’s be the only people who are immunised against the disease. (p 118 & 119)

    14th December, 1941, midday:

    Kerrl, with noblest of intentions, wanted to attempt a synthesis between National Socialism and Christianity. I don’t believe the thing’s possible, and I see the obstacle in Christianity itself…. Pure Christianity– the Christianity of the catacombs– is concerned with translating Christian doctrine into facts. It leads quite simply to the annihilation of mankind. It is merely whole-hearted Bolshevism, under a tinsel of metaphysics. (p 119 & 120)

    9th April, 1942, dinner:

    There is something very unhealthy about Christianity (p 339)

    27th February, 1942, midday:

    It would always be disagreeable for me to go down to posterity as a man who made concessions in this field. I realize that man, in his imperfection, can commit innumerable errors– but to devote myself deliberately to errors, that is something I cannot do. I shall never come personally to terms with the Christian lie. Our epoch Uin the next 200 yearse will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity…. My regret will have been that I couldn’t… behold .” (p 278)

    Laura, stay away from the computer, it is too much of a strain for you.

    Ralph, I must say that of all the people that reply, you alone have my respect. Atleast you think about the content of what I say and don’t dismiss it off hand.

    But by marginalizing Christianity to the extent it currently is, atheism becomes the norm. You can be an atheist in a Christian environment, however the reverse is not true.

  • Sam

    Um…excuse me but Hitler was an atheist…especially during his years after becoming Chancellor….and further…he became a cult-Nationalist….his speeches that reference God was for propaganda for the masses as directed by Gorbels…

  • Ralph

    Cut and paste all you like, but Hitler was a Catholic. He never left the Catholic church.

  • XDARKXENERGYX

    Sam has a good point. Everything Adolf Hitler did can be attributed to the fact that he didn’t believe in Zeus.

    LOL!

    DE

  • Handrock

    That’s funny Ralph, because I have two German Christian cousins that where put in concentration camps because they refused to wear the Pagan Nazi swastika on their uniforms. Their last name were Handrock also. One of them died there and the other was released to serve on the eastern front. Not much better than death. Out of the approx. 11 million people that died in those camps, 6 million were Jews, the other 5 million were misfits, gypsies, and christians. Rather like todays ultra liberal party, abort the children you don’t want then teach evolution in schools so we can begin a eugenics programs later.

  • XDARKXENERGYX

    The teaching of evolution is a plot to introduce eugenics? LOL! That sounds like something crazy Ed Kalnins would say.

    DE

  • Ralph

    Handrock,

    As Greg pointed out, you simply do not understand the issue here. Promoting the separation of church and state is not setting out to “marginalize” Christianity. We just don’t want to government to get into the business of promoting OR suppressing ANY religious or anti-religious doctrine–including atheism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc.

    You do not understand the difference between that and promoting atheism as a national doctrine like Stalin and Mao.

    The difference could not be clearer. Please, in all honesty, let me know if you do not understand the distinction, or if you are just trying to play a game.

  • Darebrit

    Several points that need clarifying.

    1. Every member of Hitler’s Military, Airforce, Navy, Whermacht and Storm Troops wore the legend on his uniform belt; GOD MIT UNS. A direct translation into english: God With Us. Hitler also wore this legend on his uniforms,had a private chapel at Berchesgarten and a Catholic shrine in the Feuhrer Bunker.

    2. Stalin and Mao Sedung both followed the Marxist axiom that ‘Religion is the opiate of the masses’. In both regimes however there was limited tolerance of Christian and other religions.

    3. All authors of the declaration of indipendence and Constitution, objected vhemently to the idea of a state religion and used Britain as an example of how national religion was a corrupting and negative influence on the rights of the people.

    4. There is specific reference to the objection to the concept of ‘Divine Right to Rule’. Which clearly indicates that religion plays no part in American government.

    All of these and many other points feed the argument for separation of Church and State. If anyone believes otherwise, just look at how divisive elections have become since the Christisn right seeks to influence the people and politicians with false and misleading propoganda.

    If any God is looking over my shoulder at the voting booth, that God is acting against my rights as articulated in the Constitution.

    As a citizen, I firmly stand upon my rights of Freedom of speech and Freedom of religion, which by definition, protect me from discrimination on the basis of Race or creed.

  • Laura

    Handrock: What was your answer? I got lost in a blizzard of words there. But did you spend all afternoon looking that up? You finally figured out how to Google, good for you! See, that wasn’t so hard!

    You’re just like Palin though: tries to sound authoritative and charges full speed ahead, consequences be damned. Yet there’s really no content of value there when you look between the lines. Even Kathleen Parker, a prominent Republican columnist, wrote today that Palin “Is Clearly Out Of Her League” and should step down. You should take that advice as well.

    Also, WHEN are you going to call that doctor? You really should. Since you obviously haven’t, I won’t be answering you again until you get some help. Remember: bipolar disorder is something you CAN overcome.

    And Ralph: Handrock is just a troll. He has no real life of value for himself outside his computer, so he just spends all his time online trying to bait people and get them upset. You could call him a “master baiter.”

  • Handrock

    Laura, your concept of me is amusing. It must reflect a part of you that you have repressed and project into others. As for bi- polar are you saying that someone who is bi-polar has no worth while part to play in debate? I think that that attitude is interesting considering some of the most creative and insightful people are also bio-polar. It is during the up phase of the disorder that they are profoundly aware and creative. Your attempts to marginalize what I say based on a disorder that is not one that would of necessity impair my insights but might rather sharpen them is a cognitive dissonance on you part.

    I enjoy the contest of this board, the fact that you do not think like me make me attempt to express my views and thereby sharpen them.. So many people have a circle of friends that mirror their own concept of reality and are never challenged to defend those ideas.

    By refusing to engage based on the reasons you give, make me see you a fragile and weak human that lives in an isolated reality devoid of any meaningful challenge. Your ideas are held not because you believe them so much as you have never questioned what you where taught, other than a reflexive rebellion.

    I on other hand find great pleasure in listening to Ralph and darebrit and the others who are really insightful and may add something to what I know, and in doing so make me grow. I come from a background so diverse that I doubt you are capable of even imagining it. I have made an attempt to reconcile the seeming contradictory nature of life into a meaningful place. And as a result have grown.

    Stay in the little hairy armpit vegan world of yours, where you doubtless believe men are just women with penis’s and if we were all just kind the world would be free of danger. Go back to your enclave of friends that wink knowingly at you when you encounter someone with different views. You’ll be safe there.

  • Handrock, if atheism is a religion then bald is a hair color.

  • Ralph

    So Handrock,

    Two questions:

    1. In what way is your mean-spirited “hairy-armpit vegan” trash talk consistent with the behavioral precepts of Christianity, as you understand them? Are Christians justified in being mean to someone based on that person’s dietary and shaving choices?

    2. Do you understand the difference between the separation of church and state and the imposition of state-enforced atheism, or don’t you?

    Please answer these questions.

  • Ralph

    Answer the questions, Handrock.

  • Handrock

    Ralph,

    Sorry for the late response. I was in class for three days. So you think that being a Christian means that I can’t use sarcasm? First of all being a Christian, is an acknowledgement of my own humanity, that I am incapable of ascending to God, so I must in humility allow him to reach out to me. Much like a madman we cannot break free of the limits of our delusions by force of will or logic. Our internal ruler is bent beyond being able to provide any reliable measure that will guide us to being sane. That if God is perfect then to have communion with him we must likewise perfect. The idea that somehow we can make it by our moral scale tipping to the side of good instead of bad is a fallacy. How can corruption stand in the presence of flawless perfection.

    It is the hubris of human nature to believe that either we are good enough or that we can attain God by our own efforts.

    I spent years believing that all religions are the same path to the same God. Until I realized that by my own efforts I could never raise myself to a level that would allow me to be pure. Every act of humility is corrupted by self interest. Not one person can, all our actions even the ones we believe are good, kind and noble are tainted with corruption.

    But I believe that Jesus is who he say he is, “The Way the Truth and The Light,” That ” no man come to the father except by Him”

    I believe it is human pride that rebels against Christianity, Christ asked so little and gave so much. But many cannot accept the gift and many sound so angry at the suggestion. In Christ there is the freedom of choice. I cannot, nor do I wish to compel you.

    THe answer to the second question is much shorter. The phrase “separtion of church and state is NOT in the constitution. But The phrase “respecting an establishment of religion” (the Establishment Clause) or that prohibit free exercise of religion (the Free Exercise Clause)”

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

    To me it means, freedom of religion not freedom from. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

    Atheism seeks to ban all ways of thought other than their own. True freedom is to allow thought that even you disagree with. Not Banning it. It would be to allow all religions equal time, space. Not banning them all.

    What are you afraid of?

  • Handrock

    But truthfully this bothers me more:

    KUWAIT CITY : Kuwait Human Rights Society (KHRS) Chairman Dr Adel Al-Damkhi has asked the government to put pressure on the officials of ‘YouTube’ — a video sharing website — to delete all derogatory statements about Islam and Muslims from the site, reports Al-Seyassah.
    Urging the authorities to take the necessary legal action in case the website fails to erase the statements, Al-Damkhi stressed “uttering profanities against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the worst form of human rights violation in the world. Attacks on the values and tenets of Islam are extremely dangerous and unacceptable.”

    Dangerous to whom?

    In my world you may say anything you want to about Christ, because that is the freedom that is given to us.

  • Ralph

    You did not answer either of the questions.

    1. In the first question, I asked whether you thought Christians were “justified in being mean to someone based on that person’s dietary and shaving choices?”

    This is a simple yes or no question.

    You said neither yes nor no, but responded with a question: “Do you think that being a Christian means that I can’t use sarcasm?” The implication here seems to be that being cruel to someone for their shaving and dietary habits is consistent with Christian ethics as you see them.

    But then you go on to talk about how “by my own efforts I could never raise myself to a level that would allow me to be pure.” This implies that your cruel comments were in fact not consistent with Christian ethics as you see them.

    Which is it?

    And even if we provisionally grant that you can not become ethical by “your own efforts,” how is this relevant in the case of someone who presumably has the assistance of an all-powerful being in the effort to behave ethically?

    2. In the second question, I asked whether you understood the difference between “the separation of church and state” and “the imposition of state-enforced atheism.”

    This, again, was a simple yes or no answer.

    Again, you responded neither yes nor no. I did not ask about the verbatim wording of the U.S. Constitution, or how you interpreted it.

    What am I afraid of?

    Your comment “Atheism seeks to ban all ways of thought other than their own” has some very dangerous implications.

    First of all, it is not true. I do not believe in any god, but I do not seek to ban all ways of thought other than my own. Apparently you either literally can not conceive of this possibility, or you think I am lying.

    Second of all, it is paranoid and dehumanizing. You actually think that everyone who does not believe in any god is actively opposing religious liberty. You have a two-dimensional understanding of atheists, in which we are all just like Stalin and Mao, conspiring to destroy freedom.

    I think this kind of paranoid dehumanization is very dangerous. It ends up justifying cruelty against people who pose no threat to you or your freedoms.

    You’ve gone as far as verbal cruelty toward women who shave and eat differently than you. What am I afraid of? I am afraid that this misunderstanding and cruelty will accelerate, and go further.

  • Ralph

    Handrock, answer the questions.

  • Ralph

    Well, that explains a lot about why we can’t communicate, why we can’t get along.

    We have a strong set of conventions in play that sanction the kind of political argumentation we see from Handrock:

    Groundlessly accusing people of being enemies of freedom,

    Ignoring the question you were asked and just saying what you want to say anyhow,

    Being cruel and abusive,

    And finally, if things don’t go your way, just walking away and ignoring people you disagree with.

    We’re so used to this kind of broken communication that we fail to see the abusurdity of pundits criticizing journalists for asking presidential and vice-presidential candidates to answer the questions they were asked, or to back up claims with examples. We fail to see the absurdity of “debates” in which candidates just cough up chunks of their stump speeches instead of actually debating anything.

    This may surprise Handrock coming from a liberal, but here it is: We need to assign more “personal responsibility.”

    It’s your fault, Handrock. You and people like you.

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