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Old 2011-01-14, 02:02   #1
rogue
 
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Default Separation of Church and State

I was reading today about Michael Newdow who is trying to remove "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance and "In God We Trust" from money.

This guy seems to me to be as nuts as the Bible thumpers telling people that they are going to hell for some infraction.

I have problems with "under God" because it was added more than 50 years after the Pledge was written. I consider that forcing people to say it insulting in the least. I refuse to say it myself and I suspect other theists out there feel the same, especially those who are not monotheists.

My opinion regarding money is different. Who really reads what is on money? It isn't as if people are praising money or holding it to some religious standard because it has the word "God" on it. Yes, there are people who praise money, but they praise it for what it is and for no other reason. To me it is rather empty in meaning because nobody ever needs to say it.

So in the first instance, I consider "under God" to be harmful because it forces some people to say things that they are not comfortable with. In the other, I consider it harmless because of its context. Besides, some day there will be no paper or coin money, so the point will be moot.
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Old 2011-01-14, 03:27   #2
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We have issues with the Pledge of Allegiance itself.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critici..._of_Allegiance

The nationalistic origin of it bothers us as well.

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Old 2011-01-15, 18:59   #3
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Quote:

My opinion regarding money is different. Who really reads what is on money?
Just to respond: I do. Many do. It's important.
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Old 2011-01-15, 20:02   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davar55 View Post
Just to respond: I do. Many do. It's important.
If you are talking about the dollar amount, yes. I was referring to serial numbers, mottos, the treasurer signature, etc.
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Old 2011-01-16, 00:50   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue View Post
If you are talking about the dollar amount, yes. I was referring to serial numbers, mottos, the treasurer signature, etc.
Yes indeed. The info on our coins and bills is history and law.

The issue of God in politics is what this thread is about.

Atheists and fair-minded non-atheists frequently object rightly to
the non-inclusiveness of the use of the word God in many public arenas,
such as on our money, the pledge, at baseball games, etc.
To them it is a serious issue.
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Old 2011-01-16, 01:14   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davar55 View Post
The issue of God in politics is what this thread is about.

Atheists and fair-minded non-atheists frequently object rightly to the non-inclusiveness of the use of the word God in many public arenas, such as on our money, the pledge, at baseball games, etc. To them it is a serious issue.
Actually, to some of us the issue of God-on-money is a much less consequential issue than many others. Symbolic, but not very consequential.

Much more serious are public laws predicated on theistic religion that have negative practical effects. Example: anti-environmental laws (or opposition to pro-environmental laws) predicated on the idea that the "end-times" will happen soon (so that long-term planning is irrelevant), or that "God would never let us destroy the Earth" (so AGW can't be happening despite the evidence).
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Old 2011-01-16, 01:34   #7
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Quote:
Actually, to some of us the issue of God-on-money is a much less consequential issue than many others. Symbolic, but not very consequential.
In what sense is having the symbolic forms in our government
reflecting the reverse of the sense of the religion aspect of
separation of church and state inherent in the first amendment
not a consequential issue?

Which is more important, a basic principle (keep God out of government)
or the particular issues (environmentalism, evolutionism, etc, etc)
that may in any particular individual's eyes be involving their
religious beliefs?

Why should either group be automatically excluded from public discourse
by the required presence of a symbol representing the opposite views?
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Old 2011-01-16, 05:16   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davar55 View Post
In what sense is having the symbolic forms in our government reflecting the reverse of the sense of the religion aspect of separation of church and state inherent in the first amendment not a consequential issue?
Because a quarter is a quarter either way.

(Added: changing the metal content by taking out the silver was much more consequential.

Had I only known understood then ...

But the metal in pennies is currently worth $0.015! Opportunity knocks, kiddies! Watch the copper-zinc pennies disappear from circulation when the metal is changed!

So that there's no misunderstanding: I'm NOT advocating melting any coins, which is illegal. Do Not Melt Coins.

I'm saying "Collect Them!"

The market value of copper-zinc pennies will rise once a different metal content is used for newly-minted ones -- just as the market value of silver dimes and quarters rose after the silver was reduced, then omitted in newly-minted ones.

This is one of those Lessons Of History, and you know how I feel about those!)

Quote:
Which is more important, a basic principle (keep God out of government) or the particular issues (environmentalism, evolutionism, etc, etc) that may in any particular individual's eyes be involving their religious beliefs?
That would depend on the details of what is meant.

If "keeping God out of government" is meant to refer to what words are on the coins and currency, that's not very meaningful. (The measure is: what difference does it make?)

If "keeping God out of government" means treating our environment without consideration of the religiously-defined "end times", that can make a very large practical difference, compared to the opposite case.

Quote:
Why should either group be automatically excluded from public discourse by the required presence of a symbol representing the opposite views?
Exactly how does the presence of "In God We Trust" on coins exclude any group from public discourse?

Does public discourse take place on the surface of coins? Not as far as I can tell.

If I were not to have any such coins in my pocket, would I be turned away, because of that lack, from the next "town hall" meeting of my U.S. Representative? No.

... from the polling place next election? No.

... from filing to run for public office? No.

... from campaigning for the candidate of my choice? No.

If I _did_ have such coins, would that make any difference in any of the above cases? No.

Please explain just how any group is "automatically excluded from public discourse by the required presence of a symbol representing the opposite views" on coins or currency.

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2011-01-16 at 05:35
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Old 2011-01-16, 05:43   #9
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Now I like your style.

OK fine about coins (for now).

My primary symbolic religious beefs are:

the "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance

the playing of "God Bless America" instead of, say,
a new updated version of America the Beautiful

and the most important:

the legal requirement in some jurisdictions to have
to ever swear to God as opposed to just swear to tell the truth.

I would venture to guess these issues seem more important
than "IN GOD WE TRUST" or our paper bills and coins, since 1955.
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Old 2011-01-16, 14:38   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davar55 View Post
My primary symbolic religious beefs are:

the "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance

the playing of "God Bless America" instead of, say,
a new updated version of America the Beautiful

and the most important:

the legal requirement in some jurisdictions to have
to ever swear to God as opposed to just swear to tell the truth.
Agreed on all accounts.

I would like to know what some of the more evangelical members of our forum think.
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Old 2011-01-16, 19:05   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davar55 View Post
My primary symbolic religious beefs are:

the "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance
In a group situation, one can simply not pronounce those words, instead sticking to the original version.

Quote:
the playing of "God Bless America" instead of, say, a new updated version of America the Beautiful
I presume you mean singing rather than only playing, and that for "a new updated version of America the Beautiful" you mean replacing the "God" part. (Again, in a group situation, one can simply not pronounce words.)

Quote:
the legal requirement in some jurisdictions to have to ever swear to God as opposed to just swear to tell the truth.
I'm pretty sure that every US legal jurisdiction, even in the Bible Belt, will allow one to omit the "God" wording (since some Christian denominations object to swearing to God to tell the truth) -- though this may need to be requested in advance to avoid awkwardness. One can request an exception without complete specificity: "I'm sorry, but my beliefs do not allow me to swear to God. May I solemnly affirm, instead?"

Quote:
I would venture to guess these issues seem more important than "IN GOD WE TRUST" or our paper bills and coins, since 1955.
Yes, though still not of nearly as much significance as things like government vouchers to religious schools or environmental law. Each of the above cases can be sidestepped relatively easily.
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