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Tags atheism , bible belt , constitution issues , education , prayer

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Old 25th May 2011, 04:24 PM   #361
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Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
The cynical use of religious forms by a secular state does not make the state religious.
Once again...By definition, if they had a state church, it was not a secular state.
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Old 25th May 2011, 04:27 PM   #362
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Originally Posted by Mister Agenda View Post
I don't believe there is a God. That is not the same thing as believing there is not a God. Some atheists DO believe there is not a God, but my position is the more common and inclusive one, that is: all atheists don't believe in God, but not all atheists believe there is no God.
Then you are not an atheist, you are agnostic (not convinced).

Quote:
When atheists deny the devout the right to publicly show their religious beliefs, give us a call. This was a case of a government institution including the practice of a particular religion into an official event. No one was prevented from praying, although the girl who let everyone know at the rehearsal she was going to start a prayer-fest shouldn't have been allowed to use the school PA system to do so as a part of the event.
Ever been to France? Atheist paradise. The gov't actively suppresses religious expression outside of churches as an affirmatively secular state. that's what you want for the US.
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Old 25th May 2011, 04:29 PM   #363
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Originally Posted by Cleon View Post
Once again...By definition, if they had a state church, it was not a secular state.
That was not a true church...it was a counterfeit church to allow Nazis to cloak their secularism in religious terms.
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Old 25th May 2011, 04:30 PM   #364
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Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
Ever been to France? Atheist paradise. The gov't actively suppresses religious expression outside of churches as an affirmatively secular state. that's what you want for the US.


Evidence?
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Old 25th May 2011, 04:31 PM   #365
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Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
That was not a true church...it was a counterfeit church to allow Nazis to cloak their secularism in religious terms.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman
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Old 25th May 2011, 04:33 PM   #366
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Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
That was not a true church...it was a counterfeit church to allow Nazis to cloak their secularism in religious terms.
I don't care whether you believe it was a "true" church or not; but it was indeed a church, it was state-sanctioned, and thus, by definition, the Nazis were not secularists.
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Old 25th May 2011, 04:39 PM   #367
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Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
The Nazis used Christianity to support their position, but they were emphatically NOT Christian. Hitler DESPISED it.

http://www.answers.org/apologetics/Hitquote.html
I'm still at work and can't follow the link, but I assume it's from the same deliberately mis-translated coffee table book that most such quotes come from. It is not a reliable source.

Hitler's armies were full of Catholics and Lutherans; Christianity can't escape responsibility for Nazi crimes by disowning Hitler when so many Nazis were Christians in good standing with their churches. If Hitler despised Christianity, despite his crowing about having wiped out atheism in Germany, it doesn't change the fact that Nazi Germany was a predominantly Christian country.

Of course, Christians shouldn't have to disown Hitler. Clearly, whatever his beliefs, most Christians find his opinions and crimes despicable. Sadly, by holding Western atheists, who are rarely communists, somehow responsible for the crimes of Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot; they keep asking for us to show how the same 'reasoning' applies to them, only worse: Holding humanists accountable for the crimes of communists is like holding Hindus responsible for the human sacrifices of Aztecs (they're all theists, right?). Holding Christians responsible for the crimes of Nazis is...not like, is...holding non-Nazi Christians responsible for the crimes of Nazi Christians. Not fair, but not as unfair as holding atheists who have nothing ideologically in common with Russian, Chinese, or Cambodian communists besides not believing in any God or gods (like the Hindus have nothing in common with the Aztecs except believing in a God or gods). Nazi Christians and non-Nazi Christians believed in a lot of the same stuff: Jesus, God, miracles, global flood, etc. A LOT of stuff. I can't think of anything I would agree with an atheistic communist about except that there's probably no God.

I don't understand the level of self-deception that allows them to keep bringing this up when it reflects worse on them than on us.
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Old 25th May 2011, 04:54 PM   #368
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Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
There was no criminal action to expose....what there was was an atheist with his nose inappropriately out of joint who wanted to play "spoiler" for everyone else's graduation.
If you are now saying that in the USA it is legal for public schools to include prayer in their programs, you have departed so far from reality that you clearly can't be reasoned with. In future, any of my responses to you should be considered for the benefit of the audience, unless you clarify that you have mispoken.

Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
That same apparatus is available to the atheists: Go build Atheistville where YOU are the majority, and you can have all the God-free graduation ceremonies you want.
I would never participate in a government function that prohibited non-disruptive private religious activity. That would be wrong. When I was in the service, freedom of religion is one of the things I signed up to protect. The only way for everyone's freedom to practice their religion without government interference to be protected is if the government stays out of it. Using the government to promote atheism is just as illegal as using it to promote theism. I hope I never hear of a public school having a graduation ceremony that includes a speech on why people shouldn't believe in God or calls people (only the ones who are willing of course, believers can sit quietly) to pledge allegiance to no God.

Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
But it IS ok to allow non-religion to be promoted over religion by kicking the devout out of public functions...
Definitely not okay. If that ever actually happens, you let us know, hear? It's also not okay to use government (public) resources to promote a particular religious view, whether that view is that everyone should worship Ganesh or the view that Ganesh does not exist. The only way to be neutral is to not take a position on it.

Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
As long as it isn't at school functions...
As long as it doesn't use government school resources. People can pray and praise God all over the place, but they can't take advantage of government events and resources to make sure everyone hears them.
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Old 25th May 2011, 05:04 PM   #369
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Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
Then you are not an atheist, you are agnostic (not convinced).
Fair's fair, do I get to define what you are and aren't for you? Is the idea that I can be both an agnostic and an atheist to big an idea for you to comprehend?

Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
Ever been to France? Atheist paradise. The gov't actively suppresses religious expression outside of churches as an affirmatively secular state. that's what you want for the US.
Nope, I've never been. I think that to the degree they suppress religion beyond separating church and state they are failing to be secular. And I highly doubt you have enough capacity to put yourself in the typical USA or UK atheist's shoes to ever be able to figure out what atheists would consider to be paradise. You'd have to be willing to stop building strawmen of our views and consider what we really thing to do that, and I haven't seen any evidence that you're interested in doing that.
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Old 25th May 2011, 05:08 PM   #370
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Originally Posted by Rasmus View Post
Yes. Bur not everybody wants it to stop, od they?
Then they should go through proper procedures to get a law passed that is more to their liking instead of violating our rights in the meantime.
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Old 25th May 2011, 05:09 PM   #371
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Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
The record of mass murder by secular if not outright ANTI-religious states is well established:

Nazi Germany - 6 million+
Soviet Russia - 20 million+
Mao - 45 million
Pol Pot - 2 million

and that's just a partial list.
And the usual nonsense is once again trotted out.
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Old 25th May 2011, 05:09 PM   #372
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
So yes, Hitler was a Christian (RC to be specific).
He also appreciated the power of religion in motivating people. From the link that Muldur posted:

Quote:
Hitler usually concluded this historical speculation by remarking: "You see, it's been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn't we have the religion of the Japaneses, who regard sacrifice for the Fatherland as the highest good? The Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible to use than Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?"
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Old 25th May 2011, 05:13 PM   #373
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Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
Ever been to France? Atheist paradise. The gov't actively suppresses religious expression outside of churches as an affirmatively secular state. that's what you want for the US.
Yes, and not surprisingly, you're misrepresenting something with which you're ill-acquainted.
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Old 25th May 2011, 05:16 PM   #374
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Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
Learn what things mean before you say idiotic things like the above...
Feel that Christian love...

Quote:
No, because the deaths caused by secularism are a direct consequence of it's dehumanizing influence on moral standards.
Yeah...

Human Development IndexWP, nations 1-15
Countries marked in green are strongly secularized and/or do not have state religions.
  1. Norway
  2. Australia
  3. New Zealand
  4. United States
  5. Ireland
  6. Liechtenstein
  7. Netherlands
  8. Canada
  9. Sweden
  10. Germany
  11. Japan
  12. South Korea
  13. Switzerland
  14. France
  15. Israel
There is a crystal clear negative correlation between religion and education levels, peacefulness, income and human rights. Were I to continue the list all the way to number 200 or so, you would see religion grow more and more dominant the farther down you go. Oh, and would you care to note that two of the three exceptions in the list above (Ireland and Israel) have had long-standing religiously motivated conflicts?

Please tell me which moral standards "secularism" has a "dehumanizing influence on", and how this influence materializes.

Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
The record of mass murder by secular if not outright ANTI-religious states is well established:

Nazi Germany - 6 million+
Soviet Russia - 20 million+
Mao - 45 million
Pol Pot - 2 million

and that's just a partial list.
"The record of mass murder by white if not outright ANTI-black states is well established".

Correlation does not equal causation. Edit again: either way, since no one here is promoting state atheism, I fail to see your point in the first place.

Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
No one is forcing you to pray or profess or do anything against your personal conviction.
Strawman.

Edit:
Quote:
But it IS ok to allow non-religion to be promoted over religion by kicking the devout out of public functions...
Your paranoia is showing.

If the students were, say, reading aloud from The God Delusion, they would be promoting atheism over religion. If they were singing "Imagine" by John Lennon, they could be seen as promoting atheism over religion. Simply making no references to religion for or against whatsoever, on the other hand, does not "promote non-religion". It simply creates a neutral atmosphere. If you disagree, please tell us how you define neutrality.
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Old 25th May 2011, 05:32 PM   #375
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Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
Their belief IS a lack of belief. By denying the devout the right to engage in prayer in public ceremonies, they are forcing that belief on the devout.
What you fail to understand is that there are other reasons that someone might not want a Christian prayer at a school-sponsored event, other than being an atheist. He might be a Muslim or a Hindu. He might be someone who is simply standing on principle. Or, he might be a Christian who has the foresight to realize that he could easily be put in the same position if roles were reversed. In fifty or a hundred years, who knows what the religious demographic of this country will be? It could easily be a lone Christian who has to sit through a Shintoist ceremony and be told "just be quiet and don't cause any trouble", simply because he is in the minority.
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Old 25th May 2011, 05:36 PM   #376
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Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
The public is free to publicly express their religion as they choose, provided they in so doing do no harm to the rights of those who do not subscribe.

No one forced the atheist student to actively pray, take communion, or perform any act against his belief. His right to not-believe was in no way infringed.
My understanding is that is not correct.

Quote:
The same law that prohibits the government from declaring a National Day of Prayer also prohibits it from declaring a National Day of Blasphemy,” ruled senior federal District Judge Barbara Crabb, in her April 15, 2010 decision. Congress may no more declare a National Day of Prayer than it “may encourage citizens to fast during the month of Ramadan, attend a synagogue, purify themselves in a sweat lodge or practice rune magic.”

Judge Crabb added: “It is because the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence any individual’s decision whether and when to pray.” [source]
Quote:
Supreme Court Justice John P. Stevens: The individual freedom of conscience protected by the First Amendment embraces the right to select any religious faith or none at all.
More here.
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Old 25th May 2011, 05:39 PM   #377
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Oy.

Again, Muldur, Damon Fowler was not in any way, shape, or form attempting to "kick the devout out of public functions". All he was asking for was that the school-sponsored prayer be removed (rightly, according to the interpretation of the law as defined by SCOTUS, which is the LAST and most definitive word on any law in this country, BTW) from the program and a moment of silence, in which people could pray or merely contemplate their navels if they so desired, be substituted. In what way do you interpret that as "kicking the devout out of public functions"? People would still be able to pray all they wanted. The ONLY difference is that the prayer would no longer be led by a representative of the school system, which is illegal as defined by the law. Instead it would be silent, and in my book, infinitely more devout by it's very silence. Devotion to God, in my opinion, is indicated by a person's actions, and virtually NONE of those people at that ceremony, or who threatened Damon or in any way condoned the treatment he received, are devout in the slightest.

From Dictionary.com:

Quote:
secular (ˈsɛkjʊlə)

— adj
1. of or relating to worldly as opposed to sacred things; temporal
2. not concerned with or related to religion
3. not within the control of the Church
4. of an education, etc
a. having no particular religious affinities
b. not including compulsory religious studies or services

5. (of clerics) not bound by religious vows to a monastic or other order
6. occurring or appearing once in an age or century
7. lasting for a long time
8. astronomy occurring slowly over a long period of time: the secular perturbation of a planet's orbit
I highlighted the important part there. And incidentally, simply because a person or nation is of a secular bent does not automatically translate to they are more likely to be responsible for deaths. Most secularists are also humanists; they have a strong concern for human welfare, values, and dignity. Given that religion, despite my belief in God, is not a huge part of my life, you could easily describe me as secular, but I'm also a humanist; my concern is for the well-being, both mental and physical, of my fellow humans. So being secular is not necessarily a bad thing. You seem to have a poor understanding of the term.
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Old 25th May 2011, 05:41 PM   #378
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Originally Posted by Cleon View Post
I don't care whether you believe it was a "true" church or not; but it was indeed a church, it was state-sanctioned, and thus, by definition, the Nazis were not secularists.
belt buckle (Wehrmacht IIRC): Gott Mit Uns (She wasn't apparently).
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Old 25th May 2011, 05:47 PM   #379
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Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
If the people have the spine to stand up to unjust law, they do. Andrew Jackson once wrote of a SCOTUS decision: "the decision of the Supreme Court has fell still born, and they find that they cannot coerce Georgia to yield to its mandate..." (the real source of the romanticized quote "John Marshall has made his decision now let him enforce it...")

Courts are not legislatures nor executives...they have no power beyond that which we give them. In this case, the law that they supposedly support (which I have shown in fact they do NOT), is unenforceable if the people stand united against it.



Their belief IS a lack of belief. By denying the devout the right to engage in prayer in public ceremonies, they are forcing that belief on the devout.



Again, so what? I still side with King that there is no duty to obey an unjust law.
So Christians are the 'new blacks'?
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Old 25th May 2011, 05:52 PM   #380
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Quote:
belt buckle (Wehrmacht IIRC): Gott Mit Uns (She wasn't apparently).:b iggrin:
No, God was apparently on the side of the atheist Soviet Union. Mysterious Ways and all that.
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Old 25th May 2011, 05:56 PM   #381
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Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
Given that secularism has killed over 60+ million people in the last 100 years alone, I submit that's a good thing.
Really?

Secularism is the belief that government or other entities should exist separately from religion and/or religious beliefs.

So separation of church and state is some kind of deadly disease?
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Old 25th May 2011, 06:06 PM   #382
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
You mean those moral standards that righteous Christians like Damon Fowler's parents so exemplarily uphold? Like throwing their kid out of the house without notice and throwing his stuff on the street?
He's lucky they didn't kill him in accordance with the scriptures.
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Old 25th May 2011, 06:20 PM   #383
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Old 25th May 2011, 06:26 PM   #384
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The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would be applauding this students action and opposing the citizens who forced religion into this school function.

My Dad was a minister of the same sect (American Baptist) during the time of MLK and I received much of my religious education during that time. Although thinking for oneself is strongly encouraged in the sect there are a few beliefs that are non-negotiable for church members, one of which is an absolute belief in the requirement of strict separation of church and state.

Quote:
When asked how he felt about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision ruling school prayer unconstitutional during a 1965 interview with Playboy, King replied:

I endorse it. I think it was correct. Contrary to what many have said, it sought to outlaw neither prayer nor belief in God. In a pluralistic society such as ours, who is to determine what prayer shall be spoken, and by whom? Legally, constitutionally, or otherwise, the state certainly has no such right. I am strongly opposed to the efforts that have been made to nullify the decision.
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Old 25th May 2011, 07:57 PM   #385
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Originally Posted by paulhutch View Post
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would be applauding this students action and opposing the citizens who forced religion into this school function.

My Dad was a minister of the same sect (American Baptist) during the time of MLK and I received much of my religious education during that time. Although thinking for oneself is strongly encouraged in the sect there are a few beliefs that are non-negotiable for church members, one of which is an absolute belief in the requirement of strict separation of church and state.
Exactly. Separation of church and state is about protecting our right to choose whatever religious belief we desire. Subtle or not-so-subtle pressure by any agent of the government to favor one particular belief above another is hardly conducive to that goal.

For anyone who thinks schools should be exempt from this law, I would have to ask: "Are you crazy?" Children are especially susceptible to such subtle pressure, so schools are the last place we should impose a particular belief.
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Old 25th May 2011, 08:11 PM   #386
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The question is though; how can you convince people you aren't out to stop them from expressing their religion? Sometimes it seems like atheists are just out to get religious people wherever they can.

Freedom of Speech seems to intersect here because people want to be performing public functions and pray as well (yes they want to have their cake and eat it too)
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Old 25th May 2011, 11:08 PM   #387
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Originally Posted by aggle-rithm View Post
What you fail to understand is that there are other reasons that someone might not want a Christian prayer at a school-sponsored event, other than being an atheist. He might be a Muslim or a Hindu. He might be someone who is simply standing on principle. Or, he might be a Christian who has the foresight to realize that he could easily be put in the same position if roles were reversed. In fifty or a hundred years, who knows what the religious demographic of this country will be? It could easily be a lone Christian who has to sit through a Shintoist ceremony and be told "just be quiet and don't cause any trouble", simply because he is in the minority.
The prayer recited at the graduation ceremony ended with the doxology, ''For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.'' That last phrase was not in the Catholic ''Our Father'' 48 years ago when I graduated from a Catholic High School. I searched Google and found that it still isn't. (That's how I learned that the phrase is called a doxology.) Although it has now been included in the Mass, apart from the Lord's Prayer.

It seems that Catholics were also excluded.
http://www.lords-prayer-words.com/lo...c_version.html
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Old 26th May 2011, 12:40 AM   #388
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Originally Posted by Eddie Dane View Post
Maybe the Christians in America will understand why there is separation of church and state when they are confronted with people from non-Christian religions.

Perhaps the way to achieve this is for the Atheist kid to announce his conversion to Islam and demand to lead and Islamic prayer after the Christian one.

That would go down really well.
If you look at the details of Santa Fe vs. Doe, it was a Catholic and Mormon student who initiated the lawsuit. Not all American Christians are the heavy handed thumper straw men many atheists think they are. (Though I can see a situation where there's a Catholic majority community that might have done the same thing Santa Fe ISD was and don't get me started on a high school in Deseret.

Originally Posted by tsig View Post
Yeah, we wouldn't want to let a little thing like the constitution stop Christians from proclaiming their dominance over everyone else.
Can we please stop with the rediculous hyperbole?

Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
We must suppress the religious rights of the citizens in order to protect the religious rights of the citizens.

War is peace.

Slavery is liberty.

Right is wrong.

And we have always been at war with Eurasia...



That would be the non-believing student for thinking that he could essentially spit on his classmates', teachers' and community's beliefs in a public manner and NOT suffer social sanction for it.
That goes for you too.


Originally Posted by Uncle Otto View Post
There is no way you can get around the FACT that they deliberately did this in order to humiliate the boy and cause him grief. That is indisputable. What I don't understand, is why YOU don't understand that this is a PUBLIC high school graduation ceremony, and not a Chiquita tent meeting? It's not supposed to be a religious ceremony.
If you're a mind reader you're in the wrong subforum. The Million Dollar challenge is over there. ---->

Originally Posted by No Nice Things View Post
I want to thank you for reflecting on this, and I hope you continue to do so when it comes to topics involving religious minorities and U.S. law.

Speaking as an atheist, I have never known an atheist who doesn't feel the same way.
We aren't all militants.
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Old 26th May 2011, 12:55 AM   #389
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Originally Posted by aggle-rithm View Post
Or it could be about making social outcasts of anyone who dares to be different.
Yeah, because religion is the only thing that could make high school students social outcasts.

Originally Posted by aggle-rithm View Post
ETA: The irony is...I'll bet most of the student body couldn't care less if they said a prayer or not.
You sure about that? This is Louisiana were talking about.

Originally Posted by Bram Kaandorp View Post
Why haven't you responded to the relevant questions, such as "what if suddenly Islam were the dominant religion in that town, would majority rule still count?" and many others?
The answer is the parents of these Constitutional scofflaws would have moved out of that town long before such an issue came to a head.

Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
...aclj.org...
Oh brother. Instead of citing an accomodationist legal organization, how about citing the cases themselves. Most of us are pretty smart here and can just read the original decision or a breakdown of it from Wikipedia.
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Old 26th May 2011, 01:03 AM   #390
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Originally Posted by Resume View Post
1945?
This is kind of funny since the key to this whole issue is two sentences written in 1787. It's always better to take a few minutes and cite more recent or better, clarifying or overturning decisions.

Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Except that's not what they want. They aren't interested in the blessing of their religion. What they want is the very thing they're not supposed to have: an appearance of government authority endorsing their religion. That's what's behind all this "school prayer" crap, too. Nothing stopping those kids from praying on their own, during school, after school, every moment of the day. But the point of it isn't to let kids pray because they already can. The point is to have the school endorse it, so one more authority in the kids' lives can push religion. School, church, and parents. They want all three to collude in sanctioning religious belief. Two out of three isn't enough. It leaves 33% room for doubting authority.
(Though I still prefer your bizarroworld comments in most threads.)

Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
Please bend over backwards, close your eyes, place both hands on your crotch, out of respect for our beloved Ganesh, and repeat after me....Now you may lick the holy monkey's armpits, and drink of his holy urine...out of respect for our beliefs.
You might want to pick up all that straw. It's a fire hazard.
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Old 26th May 2011, 01:20 AM   #391
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Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
The real problem is the issue of balancing rights. The majority has no right to force the minority to actively conform in this case (no compelling greater interest), however, neither does the minority have the right to force the majority to conform to its belief.
Good thing neither of those things are happening in this case. The rulings have consistently that in the case of a captive audience the government must be neutral. Avalon and Dr. Keith have both made good points about whether a graduation is mandatory, but it comes down to a situation where the only way to participate a ceremony in this parish is to attend. With that being the case the school must remain neutral and within the establishment clause. They clearly chose not to.

Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
The only equitable balancing of rights in this situation is to allow the majority their prayer, while protecting the right of the minority to decline to participate in it.
No, the most Solomonic decision would have been to allow parents and students who insisted on a prayer being associated with graduation would have been to allow them to gather beforehand - ala See You At The Flagpole Day - and have a prayer before hand. That would have stayed true to both the free exercise and establishment clauses.

Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
Under your solution, the atheist would be allowed to deny the right of the devout to their public devotion. That is INequitable by definition
Except that right to public expression of private devotion is not the question here. Parents and students could have gathered beforehand, they could have gathered in groups before or after, they could have decided on a moment of silence were every individuals rights would have been protected.
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Old 26th May 2011, 01:36 AM   #392
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Originally Posted by Mister Agenda View Post
We're a constitutional republic, not an Athenian mob.
Technically we're a democracy with a republican form of government and a constitutionally based law, but yeah, that's a long was from Athenian democracy. Thankfully the "love it or leave it" crowd don't have access to ostraka.

Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
Given that secularism has killed over 60+ million people in the last 100 years alone, I submit that's a good thing.
Ah well, 320+ posts before a Godwin was a pretty good run.
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Old 26th May 2011, 01:38 AM   #393
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Reading this news story unfold from across the pond has been pretty sickening. How can a super power be so, so backwards when it comes to social issues like this? And what that teacher said about the kid... crazy.

On saying that, my graduation was very Latin and god was mentioned a bit, both of which mean nothing to me.
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Old 26th May 2011, 02:21 AM   #394
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Originally Posted by JAStewart View Post
Reading this news story unfold from across the pond has been pretty sickening. How can a super power be so, so backwards when it comes to social issues like this? And what that teacher said about the kid... crazy.
Bastrop, LA =/= the entire United States. Just sayin'.


eta - though...
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2723152/posts
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Old 26th May 2011, 03:31 AM   #395
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bastrop,_LA#Education

It's been edited by a supporter of Damon Fowler. Hah.
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Old 26th May 2011, 03:55 AM   #396
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Could you quote what you thought was relevant from that link?
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Old 26th May 2011, 04:43 AM   #397
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Someone re-edited the page to remove the supposedly unsourced "rant". (I say "supposedly" because sources were provided, except for the bolded section in the first quote, at the bottom of the page in the references section. Although I'd have to agree with the term "rant".) Relevant sections below:

Quote:
There are two branches of the [http://www.morehouse.lib.la.us Morehouse Parish Public Library System] in Bastrop, the main branch of the Parish Library System and the Dunbar branch. There are two high schools; Bastrop High, which is a part of the Morehouse Parish School system, and Prairie View Academy, which is a private school serving grades 1-12. If you are not a praticing "chrisitan" in this community though, be prepared for harrasment, death threats and shunning by all the backwater inhabitants. In addition, there is one postsecondary technical college; Louisiana Technical College-Bastrop Campus—this campus also has a second location near the Bastrop airport.
And:
Quote:
Recently Bastrop High has become notorious for it's hateful, bigoted and illegal treatment of student Damon Fowler, as high school senior that pointed out that the "school"'s idea to have an opening prayer at their graduation ceremnoy went directly in the face of Federal Laws. Damon, a senior, knew that prayers would be said during the graduation ceremony at Bastrop High School, a public school in Louisiana. He shared his concerns on Reddit.

My graduation from high school is this Friday. I live in the Bible Belt of the United States. The school was going to perform a prayer at graduation, but due to me sending the superintendent an email stating it was against Louisiana state law and that I would be forced to contact the ACLU if they ignored me, they ceased it. The school backed down, but that’s when the ********* rolled in. Everyone is trying to get it back in the ceremony now. I’m not worried about it, but everyone hates me… kind of worried about attending graduation now. It’s attracted more hostility than I thought.

My reasoning behind it is that it’s emotionally stressing on anyone who isn’t Christian. No one else wanted to stand up for their constitutional right of having freedom of and FROM religion. I was also hoping to encourage other atheists to come out and be heard. I’m one of maybe three atheists in this town that I currently know of. One of the others is afraid to come out of the (atheist) closet.

Though I’ve caused my classmates to hate me, I feel like I’ve done the right thing. Regardless of their thoughts on it, basically saying I am ruining their fun and their lives, I feel like I’ve helped someone out there. I didn’t do this for me or just atheists, but anyone who doesn’t believe in their god that prayer to Yahweh may affect.

As he wrote in the letter, Damon contacted Principal Stacey Pullen on Tuesday and said he would be in touch with the ACLU if the prayer happened.

Pullen said changes would be made to the program so there would be no legal issues. (YAY!)

Mitzi Quinn, a faculty member at BHS for 25 years, decides to open her mouth to badmouth Damon. A teacher publicly trashed a student. Seriously. She said:

“… what’s even more sad is this is a student who really hasn’t contributed anything to graduation or to their classmates.”

Quinn is a senior advisor, by the way. A role model of sorts. How about that.

Quinn also says (I’m paraphrasing here) other non-religious students have kept their mouths shut about the prayer for years, so why can’t Damon? I’m guessing JT Eberhard‘s reaction is the same as yours.

Damon’s brother, Jerrett Fowler, had Quinn as a teacher and wrote her a letter that you have to read. Meanwhile, their mother cut off all communication with Damon.

Americans United says Damon has indeed contributed to the school:

He’s taught his fellow students that no matter how hard it is, they should stand up for what’s right. He also represents all those who have been afraid to challenge the unconstitutional practice all these years.

Reddit gets involved and alerts the whole world to his story. The Freedom From Religion Foundation gives Damon a $1,000 college scholarship for standing up for what’s right. (All the contacts you need for the school district and school board are at that link. And here.)

The graduation rehearsal happened Thursday night and one of the students led the longest prayer you’ll ever hear at a public school event. I know students are allowed to mention God in their speeches, but this gratuitously? And for this long? What were the school officials thinking?!

Jen McCreight explains the significance of what happened:

This girl used prayer as a weapon to separate the Good Christians from The Others. To alienate. To shun. To mock. And even more disgustingly, the community cheers along like a pack of warriors who have defeated their enemy, and laugh condescendingly at the mention of a moment of silence.

Bastrop High School, prepare to get the living **** sued out of you. This may not be graduation, but it’s still a school function. It doesn’t matter if you told this girl not to say a prayer – the fact that you let it go on for three minutes is a crime. You should have turned off the mic and pulled her from the stage the moment “but” left her lips.

If that video is any indication of how Friday night’s graduation ceremony will go, they better enjoy whatever prayer is said. It’s about to cost them one hell of a lot of money.

For those concerned, there’s a Support Damon page on Facebook — you can all send your love there.
Both of those edits were removed by another user.
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Last edited by Sabrina; 26th May 2011 at 04:46 AM. Reason: Clarification
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Old 26th May 2011, 05:09 AM   #398
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Thanks Sabrina.
I suspected it had been re-edited. I hate it when people don't quote potentially transitory linkys.
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Old 26th May 2011, 05:25 AM   #399
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np.

My take on the whole matter is this: Ultimately, the school was wrong for having a prayer in its graduation ceremony to begin with. Damon was in the right for pointing this out. The two students who led a prayer in spite of him, both at the rehearsal and at the actual ceremony, are in the wrong. The principal who released Damon's name to the public is in the wrong. The teacher who badmouthed him to the press is in the wrong. The people within the community who threatened Damon were SERIOUSLY wrong to do so. IANAL, so I cannot speak to the legalities of the case, but I would hope at the very least that an investigation can be conducted and charges brought against those people who can be proven to have broken the law. The simple fact of the matter is, these people are not Christians in the accepted sense of the word. Damon has shown more Christian values than any of them. And if you think about it, that's pretty sad, that a professed atheist shows more humanity and Christianity than any of the professed Christians in that community.
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Old 26th May 2011, 05:49 AM   #400
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I'm not sure, but isn't it, according to the bible, this dude that tells people that the best way of praying is silently, in your heart? Instead of shoving it down everyone else's throat? Name begins with a J, I think...
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