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Tags thomas jefferson , supreme court , 1st amendment

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Old 29th February 2008, 04:18 AM   #1
DOC
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Thomas Jefferson's Fear of the Supreme Court

I am of the opinion that the 1st amendment was greatly changed by the Supreme Court in 1947 and it used Jefferson's own words as part of their justification in doing so. I find this ironic if we are to believe these 8 quotes by Jefferson, because he feared this very thing happening.

From the website Landmark Supreme Court Cases

Jefferson's reaction to Marbury vs. Madison 1803

http://www.landmarkcases.org/marbury/jefferson.html

Last edited by DOC; 29th February 2008 at 04:21 AM.
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Old 29th February 2008, 04:27 AM   #2
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The 1947 case (Everson vs. The Board of Education) which I might talk about later basically created the "legal term" separation of church and state. Here is some background on that.

----

Let me try to clear up this whole Seperation of Church and state subject. Dr. Kennedy says that liberals and others have completely misrepresented the intent of the letter. The Danbury Baptist Assoc. had written to Jefferson and expressed worry about the increasing power of the relatively "new" Federal Government. Remember the power of the King of England over the church.

Well Jefferson wrote back, according to Kennedy, to simply calm the fears of the association. Jefferson who, by the way, was out of the country when the Bill of Rights was created and had nothing to do with them, assured the association that he agreed with what the people had created. That Congress should make no law respecting the establishment of religion.

Now notice the 1st Admendment "only" says what "Congress" can't do. It says nothing about what the "church" can't do. And yet groups (liberals, ACLU, etc.) have completely turned this around to say what the Church can and can not do. It has nothing to do with what the Church can and can't do -- only Congress.

Kennedy goes on to say that the wall metaphor actually first came from Roger Williams, the founder of the Baptist Church in America, who talked about "erecting a wall around the garden of the church to protect it". And Jefferson used this same metaphor to demonstrate his desire to keep the Government off the backs of the Churches.

Once again the whole purpose of the admendment was to keep another Church of England from happening, and not to restrict the Churches.
___________

Last edited by DOC; 29th February 2008 at 04:32 AM.
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Old 29th February 2008, 06:37 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
I am of the opinion that the 1st amendment was greatly changed by the Supreme Court in 1947 and it used Jefferson's own words as part of their justification in doing so. I find this ironic if we are to believe these 8 quotes by Jefferson, because he feared this very thing happening.

From the website Landmark Supreme Court Cases

Jefferson's reaction to Marbury vs. Madison 1803

http://www.landmarkcases.org/marbury/jefferson.html
You are welcome to your opinion. The court, however, disagrees with you.

Jefferson's concerns were shared by many and were expressed long before Marbury v. Madison. I noticed that you have toned down your language in this post, no longer suggesting that it was Jefferson who originated the ideas and no longer claiming that he was prophetic.

From the words of an Anti-Federalist:
Quote:
. . . this court will be authorised to decide upon the meaning of the constitution; and that, not only according to the natural and obvious meaning of the words, but also according to the spirit and intention of it. In the exercise of this power they will not be subordinate to, but above the legislature . . . The supreme court then has a right, independent of the legislature, to give a construction to the constitution and every part of it, and there is no power provided in this system to correct their construction or do it away. If, therefore, the legislature pass any laws, inconsistent with the sense the judges put upon the constitution, they will declare it void; and therefore in this respect their power is superior to that of the legislature.
Hamilton, in his defense of the passages concerning the court in Federalist 78, clearly implies that it is the right of the Supreme Court to be the sole interpreter of the Constitution -- and this includes its amendments (by extension).

The meaning of the Constitution is the way that we use it, much like the meaning of the word "lift" differs considerably on different sides of the Atlantic.

If you want to argue that the Supreme Court should not have this power -- a power that both Federalists and anti-Federalists recognized before the document was ratified, then you simply wish to re-write it.

Otherwise, you simply don't agree with the court. Well, OK, but tough noogies. By the Constitution itself, the court decides what the document means. Your recourse is to prosyletize for change much like the NAACP did to overturn the mistake that was Plessy v. Furgeson.

The court is not perfect. It has decided at various times that slavery was implied by the Constitution (actually it was, but Dred Scott was a vile decision of the Taney court), that the government has the right to take your property for private commercial development purposes, and that tomatoes are vegetables.

I obviously don't agree with some of those decisions. But tough noogies for me too.

If you want to argue against the court's decision, though, you need something stronger than "James Kennedy says they screwed up" and incessant whining about 'separation of church and state' as a clause. That particular line of argument is fruitless. While it is true that there are people who over-reach with the separation issue, it is clear that the framers did not want the government inposing itself on the church and also did not want any church imposing itself into government business because they feared the consequences on both sides - hence the strict prohibition against a religious test for the holding of public office.

Where all of this gets sticky is that we have a very different structure from the original founding of the country -- and this is simply a direct consequence of historical contingency. We are not an agrarian society of gentleman farmers any longer (if we ever were). Now the federal government funds many, many state programs -- and with this change as well as the 14th amendment -- the separation of powers between state and federal governments has been completely blurred. The Court has been pretty consistent in allowing religious expression in a variety of cases, even on federal government land (or federally supported land, such as schools) -- as long as it does not look like an attempt by the government to prefer one religion over another (have the appearance of the government establishing one religion superior to another).

The original conception of the Senate that the framers devised no longer exists, but no gets up in arms about that (possibly because we passed an amendment to change that issue) but there are plenty of folks who want to interpret the first and second amendments in their own peculiar ways.

So, I will repeat, if you want to argue that the court made a mistake, I would suggest that you provide a strong argument. To date, I don't think many folks agree that you have done so.

Last edited by Ichneumonwasp; 29th February 2008 at 06:38 AM.
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Old 29th February 2008, 06:55 AM   #4
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Let me clarify some of the above.....

If you want to argue that the Court subverted original intent, then you need to show two things very clearly -- (1) what was the original intent with significant background data, and (2) why does 'original intent' trump any other potential interpretation of the first amendment?

As to the first issue, good friggin' luck. The Constitution, and this definitely includes the first amendment, is a compromise. There was no monolithic original intent. There were a variety of opinions even concerning the wording of that amendment, so deciding upon some mythical 'original intent' is probably a fool's errand. And it is also probably misplaced because the document was intended to be re-interpreted over time -- that is why the Supreme Court was charged with interpreting it.

As to the second issue, well I dealt with it a little above, but you need to realize that this country simply is not what it was at its founding. We are now much more pluralistic, so any interpretation of the first amendment must take this into account. This is not a 'land of Christians' now -- actually it never was, that is just one more myth that is bandied about -- since there have always been many faiths on these shores. Keep in mind that the Constitution was drafted for a particular purpose -- not to protect the majority, but to protect the rights of minority groups from persecution. That theme is re-stated repeatedly throughout the Federalist Papers.
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Old 29th February 2008, 06:59 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Ichneumonwasp View Post
Y It has decided at various times that slavery was implied by the Constitution (actually it was, but Dred Scott was a vile decision of the Taney court), that the government has the right to take your property for private commercial development purposes, and that tomatoes are vegetables.
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put one in a fruit salad.
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Old 29th February 2008, 07:12 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
Once again the whole purpose of the admendment was to keep another Church of England from happening, and not to restrict the Churches.
___________
I do not think that I have ever heard of any laws that really "restrict" churches. I have heard of laws and ordinances that keep government from being involved in church activities, such as promoting the viewpoint of a church, but never a law that restricts an actual church.

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Old 29th February 2008, 09:16 AM   #7
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Ichneumanwasp,
Your post was extremely informative and a joy to read.

thank you.
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Old 29th February 2008, 10:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
The 1947 case (Everson vs. The Board of Education) which I might talk about later basically created the "legal term" separation of church and state. Here is some background on that.

----

Let me try to clear up this whole Seperation of Church and state subject. Dr. Kennedy says that liberals and others have completely misrepresented the intent of the letter. The Danbury Baptist Assoc. had written to Jefferson and expressed worry about the increasing power of the relatively "new" Federal Government. Remember the power of the King of England over the church.

Well Jefferson wrote back, according to Kennedy, to simply calm the fears of the association. Jefferson who, by the way, was out of the country when the Bill of Rights was created and had nothing to do with them, assured the association that he agreed with what the people had created. That Congress should make no law respecting the establishment of religion.

Now notice the 1st Admendment "only" says what "Congress" can't do. It says nothing about what the "church" can't do. And yet groups (liberals, ACLU, etc.) have completely turned this around to say what the Church can and can not do. It has nothing to do with what the Church can and can't do -- only Congress.

Kennedy goes on to say that the wall metaphor actually first came from Roger Williams, the founder of the Baptist Church in America, who talked about "erecting a wall around the garden of the church to protect it". And Jefferson used this same metaphor to demonstrate his desire to keep the Government off the backs of the Churches.

Once again the whole purpose of the admendment was to keep another Church of England from happening, and not to restrict the Churches.
___________
Can you tell me how churches are restricted?

I sure have not seen anything like that.
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Old 29th February 2008, 11:04 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
Can you tell me how churches are restricted?

I sure have not seen anything like that.
Well for one thing a preacher has to give up his freedom of speech every time he gets into the pulpit with regard to endorsing a political candidate. His freedom of speech is taken away in regard to that area. This is all because of a bill Lyndon Johnson introduced way back when he was in Congress regarding this matter. Before this bill preachers were "not restricted" from doing this. So Federal income tax which wasn't introduced until about 115 years after the Constitution, and a bill by Lyndon Johnson, "restricted" a portion of the Church's free speech.

And during the administration of Jefferson, as well as other presidents, voluntary church services were allowed in the Capitol building and Jefferson was a regular attendee of these. Churches are now "restricted" from doing that, even on a total volunteer basis.

And organizations such as the boy scouts which one judge has determined is a religious organization had their 90 year lease agreement with the city of San Diego discontinued because of their religious aspects and thus their freedom to do the same thing they were doing for 90 years "was restricted". This was allowed to happen because of the great change that happened to the 1st amendment when the "legal concept" of separation of church and state was formed in the 1947 Everson case.

Last edited by DOC; 29th February 2008 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 29th February 2008, 11:15 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post

And organizations such as the boy scouts which one judge has determined is a religious organization had their 90 year lease agreement with the city of San Diego discontinued because of their religious aspects and thus their freedom to do the same thing they were doing for 90 years "was restricted". This was allowed to happen because of the great change that happened to the 1st amendment when the "legal concept" of separation of church and state was formed in the 1947 Everson case.
That's a pretty dishonest representation of that situation... as a Christian, don't you believe that lying in wrong?
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Old 29th February 2008, 11:25 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
Well for one thing a preacher has to give up his freedom of speech every time he gets into the pulpit with regard to endorsing a political candidate. His freedom of speech is taken away in regard to that area.
This is not correct.

Quote:
This is all because of a bill Lyndon Johnson introduced way back when he was in Congress regarding this matter. Before this bill preachers were "not restricted" from doing this. So Federal income tax which wasn't introduced until about 115 years after the Constitution, and a bill by Lyndon Johnson, "restricted" a portion of the Church's free speech.
This is not correct.

Quote:
And during the administration of Jefferson, as well as other presidents, voluntary church services were allowed in the Capitol building and Jefferson was a regular attendee of these. Churches are now "restricted" from doing that, even on a total volunteer basis.
This is not correct.

Quote:
And organizations such as the boy scouts which one judge has determined is a religious organization had their 90 year lease agreement with the city of San Diego discontinued because of their religious aspects and thus their freedom to do the same thing they were doing for 90 years "was restricted". This was allowed to happen because of the great change that happened to the 1st amendment when the "legal concept" of separation of church and state was formed in the 1947 Everson case.
This is not correct.

Result: 0 points. Game over.

Thanks for playing.

Please insert another quarter to continue.
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Last edited by Cleon; 29th February 2008 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 29th February 2008, 11:27 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
Well for one thing a preacher has to give up his freedom of speech every time he gets into the pulpit with regard to endorsing a political candidate. His freedom of speech is taken away in regard to that area. This is all because of a bill Lyndon Johnson introduced way back when he was in Congress regarding this matter. Before this bill preachers were "not restricted" from doing this. So Federal income tax which wasn't introduced until about 115 years after the Constitution, and a bill by Lyndon Johnson, "restricted" a portion of the Church's free speech.

And I am not allowed to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater.

Quote:
And during the administration of Jefferson, as well as other presidents, voluntary church services were allowed in the Capitol building and Jefferson was a regular attendee of these. Churches are now "restricted" from doing that, even on a total volunteer basis.

Wrong.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...03#post2590203

Quote:
And organizations such as the boy scouts which one judge has determined is a religious organization had their 90 year lease agreement with the city of San Diego discontinued because of their religious aspects and thus their freedom to do the same thing they were doing for 90 years "was restricted". This was allowed to happen because of the great change that happened to the 1st amendment when the "legal concept" of separation of church and state was formed in the 1947 Everson case.

Wrong.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...43#post2695443


Got anything new?
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Old 29th February 2008, 11:48 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Cleon View Post
This is not correct.

This is not correct.

This is not correct.


This is not correct.

Result: 0 points. Game over.

Thanks for playing.

Please insert another quarter to continue.
Care to elaborate
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Old 29th February 2008, 11:52 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
Well for one thing a preacher has to give up his freedom of speech every time he gets into the pulpit with regard to endorsing a political candidate. His freedom of speech is taken away in regard to that area. This is all because of a bill Lyndon Johnson introduced way back when he was in Congress regarding this matter. Before this bill preachers were "not restricted" from doing this. So Federal income tax which wasn't introduced until about 115 years after the Constitution, and a bill by Lyndon Johnson, "restricted" a portion of the Church's free speech.

And during the administration of Jefferson, as well as other presidents, voluntary church services were allowed in the Capitol building and Jefferson was a regular attendee of these. Churches are now "restricted" from doing that, even on a total volunteer basis.

And organizations such as the boy scouts which one judge has determined is a religious organization had their 90 year lease agreement with the city of San Diego discontinued because of their religious aspects and thus their freedom to do the same thing they were doing for 90 years "was restricted". This was allowed to happen because of the great change that happened to the 1st amendment when the "legal concept" of separation of church and state was formed in the 1947 Everson case.
Wow!

Thanks for responding, but this information quite clearly shows that you do not know what you are talking about.

Religion is quite available in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate. If one does not know how to obtain such data, then one just has to contact the Chaplin for the House or the Senate.

http://chaplain.house.gov/
http://senate.gov/artandhistory/hist...e_Chaplain.htm

As for early services being conducted in the Capitol buildings, that was because there was no other place to hold these services because the early years of Washington had so few churches.

I do not think that the services are restricted, instead they are just not needed since there are so many different churches to choose from and the members have considerable powers to travel home every week-end.

Further, ministers can endorse anyone they like from their pulpit. I have seen Reagan get such endorsements, H.W. Bush, and G.W. Bush get such endorsements.

I am sure that you have as well.

And just because some Boy Scout group did not get an automatic renewal on the lease they had, that does not constitue a religious restriction.

Instead, the city just decided that they may want to do something else with the property. That sort of thing happens all the time.

As far as income taxes go, those are in the Constitution.

Just check Article 16 which was ratified in 1913!

Quote:
ARTICLE XVI.
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes,
from whatever source derived, without apportionment
among the several States, and without regard to any census or
enumeration.
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Old 29th February 2008, 11:59 AM   #15
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Doc Quote:

And during the administration of Jefferson, as well as other presidents, voluntary church services were allowed in the Capitol building and Jefferson was a regular attendee of these. Churches are now "restricted" from doing that, even on a total volunteer basis.


Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
The Library of Congress exhibit "Religion and the Federal Republic" says I'm correct.

http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel06-2.html
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Old 29th February 2008, 12:03 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
Doc Quote:

And during the administration of Jefferson, as well as other presidents, voluntary church services were allowed in the Capitol building and Jefferson was a regular attendee of these. Churches are now "restricted" from doing that, even on a total volunteer basis.




The Library of Congress exhibit "Religion and the Federal Republic" says I'm correct.

http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel06-2.html
And it's been proven conclusively that that source is unreliable.
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Old 29th February 2008, 12:15 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
Let me try to clear up this whole Seperation of Church and state subject. Dr. Kennedy says that liberals and others have completely misrepresented the intent of the letter. The Danbury Baptist Assoc. had written to Jefferson and expressed worry about the increasing power of the relatively "new" Federal Government. Remember the power of the King of England over the church. yada yada
So now Dr. Kennedy seems to feel that the judges were wrong and his interpretation of what occurred in 1947 is the one true way. Pardon me if I don't see the good doctor's opinion as any more liberating that the Supreme Court's own decision. I have a problem with activist religionists.

Whatever does all this have to do with "Jefferson's Fear of the Supreme Court"? I think you are conflating your own fear here.

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Old 29th February 2008, 12:15 PM   #18
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DOC, have you already forgotten the importance of primary sources? Do you even know what a primary source is?
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Old 29th February 2008, 12:16 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by joobz View Post
And it's been proven conclusively that that source is unreliable.
Why is DOC allowed to keep starting threads? Isn't there a rule about basically posting the same topic over and over? He posts whatever, and then the same 12 or so links pop up, the way they do on every thread. Then, at some point, he'll link to one of his neo-Nazi websites and/or say something positive about genocide.

Since they're all really the same thread, shouldn't he only get one?
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Old 29th February 2008, 12:18 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
As for early services being conducted in the Capitol buildings, that was because there was no other place to hold these services because the early years of Washington had so few churches.
So if a town only has a few churches and synogogues and let's say half are destroyed in a earthquake, then I would assume you and the federal government would have no problem if Catholic and Jewish groups held there services in the Federal courthouse until they buildings were rebuilt.

Quote:
Further, ministers can endorse anyone they like from their pulpit. I have seen Reagan get such endorsements, H.W. Bush, and G.W. Bush get such endorsements.

I am sure that you have as well.
Yea, they can do it but they would be breaking the law. And would probably get a letter from the IRS to cease their endorsements from the pulpit or they would lose their tax exemption. Thus a portion of their freedom of speech is restricted. This was not the case in Jefferson's time. Or even before the 1947 Everson case and the Lyndon Johnson bill.
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Old 29th February 2008, 12:24 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
Well for one thing a preacher has to give up his freedom of speech every time he gets into the pulpit with regard to endorsing a political candidate.
...

Said preacher can endorse, campaign or do any political activity he wants from the pulpit, as long as the church pays taxes like other businesses. I think it's a swell idea.

As long as we're subsidizing their snake oil medicine show with tax exemptions, reasonable controls over their (the religious institution, not the private individuals outside of conducting the business of the church - "preaching") participation in the political process that builds our government institutions is warranted. Not behind the pulpit? No restriction. Jerry Falwell, a vile, bloated, megalomaniac, big business preacher recently ejected from the host of the living, exercised the same freedom of speech we all do - on the television and in numerous other contexts.
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Old 29th February 2008, 12:24 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by JoeEllison View Post
Why is DOC allowed to keep starting threads? Isn't there a rule about basically posting the same topic over and over?
Well the only reason I started this one is because there was some question as to whether it was related to religion. So I brought it into the history forum.

And why do you keep coming into my threads. It's very simple, if you think a thread topic has been covered then stay out of the thread and go to one you like.
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Old 29th February 2008, 12:29 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
Yea, they can do it but they would be breaking the law. And would probably get a letter from the IRS to cease their endorsements from the pulpit or they would lose their tax exemption.
You're reading the issue exactly backwards. Currently, churches get a special tax privilege, in exchange for accepting certain restrictions on their behavior. They can choose to pay their fair share of taxes like everyone else, OR they can follow those restrictions. The way you paint it, churches are being unfairly singled out, when in reality they are getting a special tax break. For some reason, you see the restrictions as being somehow apart from the exemption, when in reality they are bundled together.
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Old 29th February 2008, 12:31 PM   #24
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And, BTW, churches don't have "freedom of speech" anyway. Freedoms are for PEOPLE, and every member of a church, including the pastor, can personally endorse anyone they want to, on their own time.
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Old 29th February 2008, 12:32 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by hgc View Post
Said preacher can endorse, campaign or do any political activity he wants from the pulpit, as long as the church pays taxes like other businesses. I think it's a swell idea.
In that case, freedom of speech would not be free and would cost a preacher some money. I'm of the opinion that freedom of speech should never be dependent on paying taxes.
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Old 29th February 2008, 12:39 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
Care to elaborate
Not particularly. These topics have been done to death with you, with numerous people providing you with substantial information as to why you're incorrect.

You've chosen to ignore all of that information.

I see no reason to provide you with it again, seeing as how it would be a complete waste of effort.

Originally Posted by DOC View Post

The Library of Congress exhibit "Religion and the Federal Republic" says I'm correct.
And it's been explained to you, in detail, that this exhibit is, at best, questionable with regard to its scholarship.

You've chosen to ignore that, too.
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Old 29th February 2008, 12:40 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
In that case, freedom of speech would not be free and would cost a preacher some money. I'm of the opinion that freedom of speech should never be dependent on paying taxes.

Now DOC, if you're just gonna pretend that you don't understand what numerous people here are explaining to you, people might begin to think that you really are obtuse.

It's not the preacher who's freedom of action is at stake here - it's the church - you know, the business that is subsidized with tax exemptions. The government gives this tax exemption TO THE CHURCH in exchange for not engaging in politics. The preacher behind the pulpit is acting as an agent of the church, and is thus enclosed by that restriction. He does not have to pay for free speech for himself. But as an arm of the church, he's indirectly being paid already not to politick in his capacity as church agent, by means of tax exemptions. The church does not have to accept this payment by exemption. They can give it up any time.
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Old 29th February 2008, 12:45 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by JoeEllison View Post
And, BTW, churches don't have "freedom of speech" anyway. Freedoms are for PEOPLE, and every member of a church, including the pastor, can personally endorse anyone they want to, on their own time.
So if the time you and your pastor or rabbi spends in church or synagogue is not your own time than whose time is it.
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Old 29th February 2008, 12:47 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
In that case, freedom of speech would not be free and would cost a preacher some money.
No, it would cost the church money.

Any preacher is free to endorse any candidate he wants. He does not have to pay for the right. This is a plain and simple fact. Case in point.

If a church wants to act like a political machine, they have to pay taxes like other political machines. To do otherwise would be discriminatory in favor of churches, which would be a clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

This is not about "freedom of speech," this is about the conditions of being a tax-exempt organization. Planned Parenthood isn't allowed to endorse candidates, either.


Quote:
I'm of the opinion that freedom of speech should never be dependent on paying taxes.
Your opinion is flawed in many, many ways.
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Old 29th February 2008, 12:49 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
So if the time you and your pastor or rabbi spends in church or synagogue is not your own time than whose time is it.
It is the church's time, and as an entity subject to American laws, it can only keep its tax exempt status if it does not act as a political entity.
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Old 29th February 2008, 12:51 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Ichneumonwasp View Post
While it is true that there are people who over-reach with the separation issue, it is clear that the framers did not want the government inposing itself on the church and also did not want any church imposing itself into government business because they feared the consequences on both sides - hence the strict prohibition against a religious test for the holding of public office.
I do think there is a strong case that the contemporary understanding (and perhaps in a more general sense a post-Fourteenth Amendment understanding) of the effect of the Establishment Clause yields a degree of "separation" that doesn't correspond to what Jefferson, or probably most of his peers, contemplated. I think a goodly number of my brethren at the bar acknowledge that Justice Black's wall is not Jefferson's. I'll requote here an excerpt (cited earlier in the other active TJ thread) from Prof. Dreisbach's excellent Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation Between Church and State (NYU Press 2002):

Quote:
The "wall" Jefferson erected in his letter to the Danbury Baptists served primarily to separate state and nation in matters pertaining to religion, rather than to separate ecclesiastical and all government authorities. ... This jurisdictional (or structural) interpretation of the metaphor is rooted in the text, structure, and historic, pre-Fourteenth Amendment understanding of the Bill of Rights, in general, and of the First Amendment in particular. This view is buttressed by the text of the Danbury letter (including evidence gleaned from a preliminary draft), as well as by Jefferson's explanation of the letter and his stance on specific church-state issues apparently addressed in his correspondence with the Connecticut Baptists. ...

It is plausible, even likely, that Jefferson desired each state, through its respective constitutions and laws, to erect its own wall of separation between ecclesiastical and state authorities, but ... while he specifically denied that the federal government had the "power to prescribe any religious exercise," he acknowledged that such power "[r]ests with the States, as far as it can be in any human authority." Notwithstanding the useful purposes Jefferson thought were served by the First Amendment "wall," he understood that its strictures were not imposed on state governments. ...

This controverts the conventional notion that Jefferson's metaphor encapsulated a general constitutional, prudential, and libertarian doctrine of church-state relationships and religious liberty. ... There is no evidence that Jefferson considered the metaphor the quintessential symbolic expression of his church-state views. There is little evidence to indicate that Jefferson thought the metaphor encapsulated a universal principle of religious liberty or of the prudential relationships between religion and all civil government (local, state, and federal). There is much evidence ... that the "wall" has been used in ways - rhetorically and substantively - that its architect almost certainly would not have recognized and, perhaps, would have repudiated.
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Old 29th February 2008, 12:57 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by joobz View Post
Ichneumanwasp,
Your post was extremely informative and a joy to read.

thank you.
Wow, thank you.

This thread seems headed in the same direction as all the others, so..........
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Old 29th February 2008, 01:07 PM   #33
ceo_esq
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Originally Posted by Cleon View Post
If a church wants to act like a political machine, they have to pay taxes like other political machines. To do otherwise would be discriminatory in favor of churches, which would be a clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
Actually, probably not. Tax exemptions for churches have fared pretty well in the federal courts, which have indicated that they generally don't result in an establishment of religion even though they arguably discriminate in favor of churches. More interestingly, the courts have suggested that the degree of government entanglement with religion occasioned by taxing churches exceeds the degree of entanglement occasioned by creating exemptions for them - such that, ironically, exempting them is generally the constitutionally safer way to go.

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Old 29th February 2008, 01:11 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by ceo_esq View Post
Actually, probably not.
Actually, probably. You misread my post. Try again.
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Old 29th February 2008, 01:12 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by ceo_esq View Post
I do think there is a strong case that the contemporary understanding (and perhaps in a more general sense a post-Fourteenth Amendment understanding) of the effect of the Establishment Clause yields a degree of "separation" that doesn't correspond to what Jefferson, or probably most of his peers, contemplated. I think a goodly number of my brethren at the bar acknowledge that Justice Black's wall is not Jefferson's. I'll requote here an excerpt (cited earlier in the other active TJ thread) from Prof. Dreisbach's excellent Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation Between Church and State (NYU Press 2002):
Agreed. That is why I have no intention of touching the Danbury letter. One of the things that seems to piss off some on this issue is that the Civil War and the 14th amendment changed the face of it (probably irrevocably), since many try to frame it in state's rights terms. My guess would be that Jefferson would have wanted each state to decide on its own this issue (as is argued by Prof. Dreisbach) -- that certainly seems in keeping with his general tenor.

But we live in a different world now.......
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Old 29th February 2008, 01:30 PM   #36
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The obvious intent of the First Amendment is, in general terms, to protect the right to believe what you will, and to express your beliefs, whatever they may be.

I've always thought it quite bizarre how the First Amendment has come to be twisted and perverted into an excuse for censoring and suppressing certain classes of belief and expression; in a manner that goes very much against the obvious original intent of this Amendment.
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Old 29th February 2008, 01:32 PM   #37
ceo_esq
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Originally Posted by Cleon View Post
Actually, probably. You misread my post. Try again.
You said "If a church wants to act like a political machine, they have to pay taxes like other political machines." That is simplifying the matter a bit, but is basically a correct statement of the current requirements of the Internal Revenue Code (as opposed to the Constitution). However, you then went on to say "To do otherwise would be discriminatory in favor of churches, which would be a clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment." And I think that is probably incorrect. Congress could hypothetically amend the Internal Revenue Code to remove any political-nonintervention conditions on the tax-exempt status of churches without committing a "clear violation of the Establishment Clause". This is why I said, "Actually, probably not." Now, how did I misread your post?

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Old 29th February 2008, 01:33 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by joobz View Post
And it's been proven conclusively that that source is unreliable.
Where has it conclusively been proven that the Library of Congress Exhibit on "Religion and the Founding of the American Republic" is unreliable.
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Old 29th February 2008, 01:38 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
Where has it conclusively been proven that the Library of Congress Exhibit on "Religion and the Founding of the American Republic" is unreliable.
In every previous thread where you have brought it up, starting with the initial Jefferson thread in R&P.
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Old 29th February 2008, 01:46 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by DOC View Post
Where has it conclusively been proven that the Library of Congress Exhibit on "Religion and the Founding of the American Republic" is unreliable.

Here.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...97#post2935697
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