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[P]
One Nation under God, whether you like it or not

By jij in Op-Ed
Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 06:42:56 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Separation of church and state took another backward leap Monday as the Washington Post reports in an article entitiled Putting Worship Into Their Workday: More Federal Employees Participating in Prayer Services at the Office about a 'revival meeting' held at General Services Administration by employees on their lunch break, complete with preachers and amplified music.

This continues a trend set and encouraged by John Ashcroft, who has been holding prayer meetings at the Justice Department., President Bush, and no doubt others in the current administration.


While in both cases the prayer meeting appear to be technically legal, some have speculated as to the short and long term consequences to employees who choose not to participate. Is the US headed towards a government dominated by fundamentalist Christians?

Personally, I have no problem with government employees holding prayer meetings on their own time, if they so choose, but I have to wonder how far a group of Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Mormon, or Bahai government employees would get if they wanted to hold a 'prayer meeting' in a government building at lunch time.

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o Putting Worship Into Their Workday: More Federal Employees Participating in Prayer Services at the Office
o prayer meetings at the Justice Department.
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Display: Sort:
One Nation under God, whether you like it or not | 62 comments (53 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
I'm not sure if this is really a problem or not. (4.57 / 7) (#1)
by theboz on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 10:43:01 AM EST

I work for a very old fashioned company, one that could be similar to the U.S. government in their beaurocracy and waste (hey, they hired me didn't they?) However, as old fashioned and conservative as the company is, they seem to be ok with people's religions. For example, a coworker of mine that is Muslim used to leave work early on Friday to attend their prayer at a mosque. The management was ok to work with him on that, and didn't seem to dislike the fact that he wasn't Christian. At the same point though, I have noticed that they don't really allow or show any religious preference officially or from management. I would think the government would be the same way, as showing that your workplace prefers one religion over another could be opening themselves up for a lawsuit.

I also think that companies draw the line when it comes to "witnessing" or whatever they call trying to convert others. In my company, it's against the policies and you can be fired if someone complains about it. I would think the government is the same way. Obviously, just saying, "Hey would you like to go to church with me?" is allowed, but constant harassment with that, or those stupid pamphlets are not. I think there's a fine line of balance when it comes to religious freedom. You need to be free to practice your religion, and others need to be free from your religion.

Stuff.

-1, FUD (3.25 / 8) (#3)
by JazzManJim on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 10:46:33 AM EST

That's all this is - "Oh Dear! The Christians are praying at work!! They held a revival meeting! I mean, sure, it's all legal but goodness!! I mean, they could do untoward stuff to people who didn't go to their meeting. What stuff? Oh I don't know...Christian stuff."

It's BS of the very highest order. What those folks did was legal and above board. End of story. There was no compulsion to attend, implied or otherwise, as the story's headline might indicate. The fact is that they were doing what they have a right to do, in a place where they have a right to do it. That it makes outside pundits nervous really isn't their problem. And it's certainly not the opening salvo of a Fundamental Christian takeover of the US government. It's not even close.

As you can tell, this kind of thing truly tees me off. Can't we just get off the backs of Christians when they do something as completely outlandish as publicly proclaim their beliefs? They're allowed to do it - no one has to like or accept it.


-Jimmie
"Hostility toward America is a religious duty, and we hope to be rewarded for it by God...I am confident that Muslims will be able to end the legend of the so-called superpower that is America."
(Osama bin Laden - 10 Jan 1999)
I agree (3.33 / 3) (#7)
by Jin Wicked on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 11:00:34 AM EST

People round here seem to hate the religious. When you consider it was the Christians who developed the world's most advanced system of ethics, and took us away from the very religious and ethical fundamentalism that people like the Taliban espouse in favour of something higher, fairer and more advanced, it really is nothing to worry about, and perhaps should be encouraged to a certain extent.

I don't know why people have such a problem with the worship of the Lord and the advancement of decent ethics. It's not like it's being forced down your throat, after all.

Live and let live.

This post was probably not written by the real Jin Wicked. Please see user "butter pie" for Jin's actual posts.


[ Parent ]
Ummm...no (4.00 / 1) (#10)
by DesiredUsername on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 11:56:12 AM EST

Are we really sure Jin is back or is this a troll in Jin's clothing?

"...and perhaps should be encouraged to a certain extent."

"It's not like it's being forced down your throat, after all."

"Encouragement" towards religion, especially Xianity, has historically not been so much a matter of "forced down the throat" as "pulled out the fingernails, cut off the feet and set on fire."

I voted down this story because the "perpetrators" have actually done nothing wrong according to the law. But I fully support the law itself, which precludes gov't offices "encouraging" specific religions or defining, let alone enforcing, "decent" ethics.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
I should have made something clear. (5.00 / 3) (#13)
by Jin Wicked on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 12:07:32 PM EST

I'm not talking about historical Christianity, I was talking about Christianity as practised just now.

Christianity was awful in the middle ages and earlier for sure, but it has improved greatly since those days, spreading not by the tip of a sword but by convincing people verbally.

Christianity may not be liked here, but there is no doubt that it encourages a decent set of morals, which is good in the collapsing modern world, I think. This is what I meant by encouraging Christianity to a cetain extent. Even better would be to encourage the morals of christianity, of course, but there aren't huge organisations with lots of money willing to do that, so we have to work with what we have.

This post was probably not written by the real Jin Wicked. Please see user "butter pie" for Jin's actual posts.


[ Parent ]
Picking and choosing (4.33 / 3) (#15)
by DesiredUsername on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 12:19:31 PM EST

Anything can be the best, if only you are willing to change definitions mid-stream.

From your OP: "...it was the Christians who developed the world's most advanced system of ethics..."

Unless you are talking about some Xians developing the world's most advanced system of ethics last week, you were talking about historical Xianity. So the best religion back then was Xianity because they had a great ethics R&D dept and the best religion now is Xianity because it teaches us to love? What if we reverse those criteria? I'm sure there are some Taliban members with great jam recipes, does that qualify them for anything?

In general, I actually agree with you. The Ten Commandments (plus the New Testament modifications) are great rules for living together in groups. But except for "No other gods before me" none of those are Xian-specific or even Xian-originated. I mean, do you seriously believe the fleeing tribes of Israel were the first to frown on *murder*?

Also, those aren't the only morals that Xianity encourages. In the South, Xianity used to encourage slavery. Or is 1860 (or 1960) not "Christianity as practised just now"? In fact, doesn't that phrase really mean "Christianity as practised by me"?

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
Basically (4.00 / 1) (#19)
by FredBloggs on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 12:55:46 PM EST

"People round here seem to hate the religious."

and

"but it has improved greatly"

My problem with Christianity is the same as it is with any religion. It seems wrong, backwards and irrational to me. I have absolutely no problem with people doing whatever they want in their spare time, with their money etc. But that isnt the case with Christianity (and some other religions). It is involved with the government (in the UK at least - no seperation of church and state for us), and has an impact on all sorts of issues, from science to shopping hours.

And as for this site - well, its populated mostly (i`d imagine) from coders, hackers, and people who like to look into issues; dig around some facts etc. Say what you like about Christianity, but theres precious little proof for any of its claims - the whole thing relies on faith, trust and belief. These things have no place in software development.

"He made us all in his image, so if we`re dumb, then He is dumb; and maybe a little ugly on the side" - Frank Zappa.


[ Parent ]
scientificists are so hopelessly dogmatic (none / 0) (#21)
by surplus value on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 01:14:35 PM EST

My problem with Christianity is the same as it is with any religion. It seems wrong, backwards and irrational to me.

It's no more "wrong" or "backwards" than any other value judgement you will conjure up in support of your ideology. As for irrational, well of course it's irrational, or at least it tries to be a tool for those who might wish to discern "truth" in the irrational.

Many things are irrational. Actually, all the important things are irrational.

Oh, I get it, you think man's place in the universe is strictly rational, that it can be understood by combining words into sentences whose truths arent actually contingent on the observer's socialization and biology. As we all know, your society is the correct society, and your biological equipment to uncover the universe is not only the result of probabilistic evolutionary events, it is also the optimal outcome of those probabilistic events; there is nothing but that which is exposed to our 5 senses and the first order predicate calculus because we are unequipped to recognize anything else.

The paradox being, until you prove the above, people who are receptive to religion or spirituality or art or the irrational, etc, those people have an advantage over you: they are less wilfully ignorant. I didnt know wilful ignorance was a symptom of rationality.

---
War Inc.: No one fucks with The Great Satan.
[ Parent ]

What's the difference... (none / 0) (#23)
by DesiredUsername on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 01:32:25 PM EST

....between an entity that has no means of impinging on us either directly or indirectly (your "limited to our 5 senses" argument) and an entity that just plain doesn't exist?

Better yet, would you buy land in Florida that existed only for people who were "open to the truth that not all land has a physical manifestation to our sensory apparatus"?

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
read the post again (none / 0) (#25)
by surplus value on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 01:47:32 PM EST

....between an entity that has no means of impinging on us either directly or indirectly (your "limited to our 5 senses" argument) and an entity that just plain doesn't exist?

I'm afraid you've left out the "rational" part of the story. People discern the irrational all the time, they simply cannot rationalize it in logical terms. Language isnt sufficient to uncover truth, and if you pretend to seek truth, then you will not get very far with science alone because science explains nothing, it can only describe the causal effects of objects according to ideological models.

If you dismiss the irrational, you dismiss the entire history of Mankind's failure to explain Mankind in formidable, logical terms. Hope springs eternal, I guess.

---
War Inc.: No one fucks with The Great Satan.
[ Parent ]

Eh? (none / 0) (#24)
by FredBloggs on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 01:35:40 PM EST

"The paradox being, until you prove the above, people who are receptive to religion or spirituality or art or the irrational, etc, those people have an advantage over you: they are less wilfully ignorant. I didnt know wilful ignorance was a symptom of rationality. "

I`m not receptive to art because i dont believe in god?

I`m receptive to anything, given proof, or even without proof if it sounds like its consistant with some sort of reason or logic. If you`re after wilfully ignorant people, then you`re better off going after people who claim to be objective, but with the old `read the book of xxx chapter yyy verse zzz` joker in their back pocket.
At least `scientificists` (probably) try and make sure their claims are reproducible. The difference between a claim which can be explained and reproduced in a lab, and one which cannot, is obvious.

Whats the difference between, for example, the claim that god made the earth in seven days, and the claim that the moon is made of cheese? Would you believe the cheesy-moon theory if it were in the bible?



[ Parent ]
Hello? (none / 0) (#26)
by surplus value on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 02:02:32 PM EST

I`m receptive to anything, given proof

Then you have a lifetime of spiritual disappointment ahead of you, and you wont get too many chicks that way, either, since love is the premier irrational force in our lives. Again, this isnt too difficult, the irrational is above proof. That would have been the point, right? Now you might ask "but how will I know truth without proof", and I will answer, "well, that's what religion -- which fundamentally is art -- is for, isnt it?" People set out on a spiritual quests in order to find "enlightenment" (scare quotes to suggest the futility of using language to convey the epiphanous irrational, which can only be felt). The form of religion itself matters very little except as a means of transportation deep into your subconscious where all the archetypes of your species exist to make your life a
living,
miserable
hell.

That's just the way it goes, I'm afraid. I feel your pain that it cannot be coded in Perl.

---
War Inc.: No one fucks with The Great Satan.
[ Parent ]

Progress over Time (4.66 / 3) (#29)
by Blarney on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 04:20:14 PM EST

Christianity was awful in the middle ages and earlier for sure, but it has improved greatly since those days...

Hi Jin, nice to hear from you again. Anyway, the "awful" medieval religion you refer to is alive and well. Christianity has, as one of it's core beliefs, the idea that anyone who does not believe in Christianity will be tortured forever in an eternal jail.

Some Christians do not believe this, but then again some Jews eat pork. Most Fundamentalist Christians still believe this, and preach it at every opportunity. Ashcroft is, by all accounts, a serious fundamentalist. Several of my coworkers attended a funeral for a Christian man yesterday, and the preacher explained that it was a wonderful thing when a believing Christian dies and goes to eternal joy, but that anyone in the audience who didn't believe would soon face the Lord's eternal wrath. Any opportunity will do! It can't be avoided - this is one of the more horrible beliefs ever invented. It justifies any mistreatment of the unbeliever "for their own good", and acts as a curse which Christians lay on nonChristian people just like a voodoo witch doctor does.

If I go around saying that "I have an invisible pet monster which will knock Jin down, and kick her in the head repeatedly until it fractures her skull, and will jump on her chest until her ribs fracture, and will gouge out her eyes with a screwdriver, and will pull her teeth with rusty pliers, and will break her knees with a sledgehammer", and you object to my violent sentiments, can I excuse myself by saying "No, I don't intend to do these things. But my pet monster will!"? I doubt it - I think you will feel threatened and disturbed. That is how many people feel about Christianity right now.

The good morals and ethics you mention could be instilled by any religion, but I suspect that most of the good modern Christianity does is actually based on Humanism. Jews often are Humanist too! So often are Buddhists, Taoists, and even Muslims. Humanism is a very popular philosophy, and has many good points. But it is properly separate from Christianity, which considers all human behavior on Earth to me nothing more then a preparation for the eternal torture or pleasure to come. As Humanism concerns itself with this world alone, the two philosophies do not even cover the same subject matter.

While most Christians, no matter how Fundamentalist, can not do serious harm no matter what their views are, the practice of Fundamentalist Christianity in the offices of our Government is a dangerous thing. We here have people who are authorized to use force by nature of their job duties, who believe that it is worse to be an unbeliever then to die and who have the capability to actually kill people using the resources of the Government. Not a good thing, not safe, not helpful.

[ Parent ]

Argh! No! (none / 0) (#36)
by JazzManJim on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 09:27:45 PM EST

No, no, no, no, no. It's not the same. What I believe will happen to your eternal soul when you die is solely my business. I may tell you what I believe, and even encourage you, person to person, to follow my beliefs, but beyond that, your soul is your business.

For the record, and as I've made known on other boards, I'm a Christian - specifically a Fundamental Baptist. We believe that a person who dies without knowing Jesus as his personal savior will go to hell. It makes me sad when I know that someone has dies without that knowledge. But it does not mean that I am threatening you. I am stating a matter of faith. I could as well say that if you stuck your finger into a light socket, you would get electrocuted. That's not a threat, and neither is my religious belief. If it bothers you, you need to find just a bit more security in your own set of beliefs. After all, I'm not bothered when a member of another religion tell me what they believe the eternal destination of my soul will be. Trust me, it's happened plenty of times, and I'm sure it will do so again.


-Jimmie
"Hostility toward America is a religious duty, and we hope to be rewarded for it by God...I am confident that Muslims will be able to end the legend of the so-called superpower that is America."
(Osama bin Laden - 10 Jan 1999)
[ Parent ]
Just curious (semi-OT) (none / 0) (#44)
by gbd on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 06:32:39 PM EST

We believe that a person who dies without knowing Jesus as his personal savior will go to hell.

Do you consider this to be consistent with the idea of a perfect and loving God? Keep in mind that the majority of people in the world who die each day have no idea what Christianity is. We're not talking about people who have read the Bible and decided to take a pass on it; we're talking about folks who are guilty of the crime of never having been told about your Lord. Does an eternity of torture, butchery, and the foulest evil imaginable seem to be an appropriate "punishment" for these poor souls?

If it works for you, that's fine .. I have no intention to try to convince you otherwise. Personally, it was this very idea that led to my eventual rejection of Christianity. The best explanation I could get from any authorities was "Well, God works in mysterious ways." This was (and still is) a cop-out, and it prodded me to do some research and discover that Christianity, like the rest of the Mankind's religions, has easily-traceable roots and is decidely man-made in origin. People should not need threats of torture (I agree that you are not personally "threatening" anybody) or dangling cosmic carrots in order to behave morally and ethically.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch ..

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.
[ Parent ]

Well, I can give it a try. (none / 0) (#51)
by JazzManJim on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 02:37:17 AM EST

First, I'm sorry that you never got a better answer than you did. "God works in mysterious ways" is a huge cop-out, and it always has been.

What it coems down to is that in every person is a conscience..an indwelling that tells them whether they've done right or wrong. They may choose to ignore or subvert it, but it's still there. In every person. Every person, absent of whether they've heard of the Bible or not has a chance to recognize that they have done wrong and to apologize to God for it.

There's a passage in the Bible (and I don't have the opportunity to look it up right now, or I'd cite it) that basically says that the whole of nature declares the glory and presence of God. He's there for the believing, Bible or not. Those who have been exposed to the Bible are blessed more for having the opportunity that others don't but are also more responsible for what they do, because they have that Word, too.

Does that make sense? No one has an excuse, even if some's path isn't as easy as ours. I've talked to a couple folks who have lived in underpriveleged areas who have told countless stories of folks who came to God on their own, aside from the Bible. It happens. I've met them. :)


-Jimmie
"Hostility toward America is a religious duty, and we hope to be rewarded for it by God...I am confident that Muslims will be able to end the legend of the so-called superpower that is America."
(Osama bin Laden - 10 Jan 1999)
[ Parent ]
That's a fair answer (none / 0) (#55)
by gbd on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 04:36:13 PM EST

I don't necessarily agree with it, but it is far better than "God works in mysterious ways." :-) Thanks for your response.

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.
[ Parent ]
Christianity isn't special... (none / 0) (#35)
by JazzManJim on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 09:20:41 PM EST

...in one regard. The centuries where Christiantity was so very cruel and bloodthirsty wasn't the fault of the relgion itself. It was solely the fault of national rulers who decided that the advancement of the religion required the full power of the country behind it, including military and law-enforcement. That's not different at all from what happens nowadays in Islamic countries, or many years ago in Japan with Shintoism.

The US has changed that practice in itself, by guaranteeing that no religion will be advanced by the State above another, with the emphasis being: "Religions beliefs in the country are a good thing. One specific set of beliefs holding sway, backed by the State, is not".


-Jimmie
"Hostility toward America is a religious duty, and we hope to be rewarded for it by God...I am confident that Muslims will be able to end the legend of the so-called superpower that is America."
(Osama bin Laden - 10 Jan 1999)
[ Parent ]
silly (none / 0) (#18)
by surplus value on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 12:51:23 PM EST

It's BS of the very highest order. What those folks did was legal and above board. End of story.

What does legal have to do with anything? I think when the organs of State begining at the highest levels of authority begin to shift subtly away from an ideology of secularism, most people would think it the begining of a new chapter if not story in the evolution of their nation. That strikes me as something worthy of a little more consideration than "end of story."

---
War Inc.: No one fucks with The Great Satan.
[ Parent ]

Nothing's shitfed. (none / 0) (#34)
by JazzManJim on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 09:16:19 PM EST

The "organs of the State" haven't shifted. The employees of a Federal Organization gathered, as is Constitutionally-allowed, and exersized their religious freedom. There was absolutely no coercion, no pressure, and no impetus from the employer for anyone to join in. The agency correctly allowed it's employees the place to do what they did, as befits a government which was founded to give no religion preferential treatment, but encourage such expression.

As far as I can see, there's no smoke and certainly no fire here.


-Jimmie
"Hostility toward America is a religious duty, and we hope to be rewarded for it by God...I am confident that Muslims will be able to end the legend of the so-called superpower that is America."
(Osama bin Laden - 10 Jan 1999)
[ Parent ]
Exactly (3.50 / 6) (#5)
by jayhawk88 on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 10:48:11 AM EST

...I have to wonder how far a group of Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Mormon, or Bahai government employees would get if they wanted to hold a 'prayer meeting' in a government building at lunch time.

I think you've hit the nail on the head with this one. I seriously doubt prayer meetings of other religions, held on government property during the workday, would be tolerated at all. It's been my experience that fundamentalist Christians are all for freedom of religion, so long as that religion is Christianity; they'd be the first ones in line at the Supreme Court if another religion tried doing this.

Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web? -- John Ashcroft
Oh Please (3.33 / 3) (#6)
by Neuromancer on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 10:59:19 AM EST

I'm sorry, but I've seen that it's more popular to call the white christian yadda yadda a big scary monster than there is any amount of truth behind it. To push back at your opinion, there are several offices that offer bonuses for taking part in meditation of a very non-christian sort near where I work, as well as pagan college clubs and classes. I think that this is one of those issues that just doesn't hold water. The US isn't majority christian, it's majority people who say things that people says is christian.

Preferential treatment (4.20 / 5) (#11)
by Eloquence on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 11:58:14 AM EST

I'm about as radical as it gets when it comes to church/state separation, but there's no problem when people pray in their lunch breaks. There would be a problem if only people of one specific faith were allowed to take a break, or to use parts of the government space for this purpose, but I see no evidence for that. Another problem, as pointed out in the WP article, is coercion to attend, but I see no evidence for that either. So please tell us if you find actual evidence for discrimination.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
A Christian Nation? (4.00 / 4) (#12)
by anthrem on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 12:00:23 PM EST

Would they forgive my federal loans?

Just curious...



Disclaimer: I am a Buddhist. I am a Social Worker. Filter all written above throught that.
The Spirit of Sep of C and S (3.80 / 5) (#16)
by jabber on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 12:32:20 PM EST

There seems to be a lot of confusion about the spirit of the separation of Church and State. (No pun intended BTW). It isn't about denial by the State of any and all semblance of Religion or Faith. Instead, its about there not being a State sanctioned, approved, mandated and/or enforced Religion(s).

If Federal employees want to have prayer services, there is nothing wrong with this. As long as they are not forced or otherwise compelled to attend. Further, if members of one faith have a service, members of another faith should also be able to have one. This does not mean that a service must be in place for any and all faiths, only for those who desire one.

It's Freedom OF Religion, people.. Not Freedom FROM Religion. And it is separation of church and state, not the forced extraction of all spirituality from the process of government - Stallin tried that.

And for the record, have you read your money lately? Separation of Church and State does not mean the Denial of Church by the State. It's really quite simple.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

I agree with you in principle, *but* (none / 0) (#43)
by BrentN on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 11:32:36 AM EST

The problem for me is when the 'boss' types are involved. I think that when the top level people are participating and therefore tacitly encouraging Xtianity in the workplace, be it the Federal government or otherwise, it *can* (note, that I did not say *will*) lead to situations where non-Christians feel as if they will be passed over because of their religion.

And why not? When you leave the religiosity out of it, there is still the issue that the bosses will know their fellow Christians better, since they've interacted with them on a personal level frequently.

But this is somewhat tangential to the discussion, and I'm fighting the tendency to ramble. The point is that I don't have a problem if Fed employees pray on their lunch breaks, but I do have a big problem if your John Ashcrofts lead the services.


[ Parent ]
This happens with more than just religion (none / 0) (#56)
by Egore on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 04:41:35 PM EST

Think about it, I don't drink, but my boss and the other guys in the networking department do. So I sometimes don't go to the bar with them when they go. So now, should my boss and coworkers not be allowed to go to a bar if they so choose? This is all nonsense. You can make the same arguments about any social activity that could exclude one of the manager's subordinates.

From my experience, most managers don't really care about your religion, drinking preferences, etc. They just care about whether they can work well with you (aren't bitter toward each other) and whether or not you can do your job.

I just think that you're simply spreading more FUD...

[ Parent ]

heh. (3.50 / 2) (#20)
by rebelcool on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 12:59:39 PM EST

I have to wonder how far a group of Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Mormon, or Bahai government employees would get if they wanted to hold a 'prayer meeting' in a government building at lunch time.

I can be fairly certain that in Utah, Mormon govt workers probably do this.

In fact, unless you have good evidence to the contrary, im sure everyone one of the above mentioned faiths has members which join together somewhere. After all, the government is one of the nation's largest employers. You know, the US govt isnt populated solely by fundamentalist baptists...

Get out of your box every once in awhile.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

Yup (3.00 / 1) (#22)
by Neuromancer on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 01:26:12 PM EST

Anybody who knows their ways around and doesn't shoot their mouth off before researching the facts (as oft they do knows the following).

Boy Scouts - Yep, there is a God and Country medal... OOPs, but there's one for MANY other religions and ambiguous awards to stand in the stead for other religious groups.

Military - Has chaplains...
That have to support any faith that has a representation to support it.

The CHURCH - Supports religion....
Is willing to support other religions as appropriate. For every church that says "wiccans shouldn't/can't practice in my town," there is one that supports your right to practice your own faith. A wiccan friend of mine (a wiccan religious official, though I can't remember what his specific duties are), retold a story to me of a wiccan center in florida that was shut down by the city. A Lutheran church came to their aid with petitions and representatives when they pled their case.

[ Parent ]
"Thank God for tolerance," (2.60 / 5) (#30)
by dr k on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 05:09:54 PM EST

said the athiest.
Destroy all trusted users!
Wow (1.50 / 2) (#31)
by typo on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 06:43:39 PM EST

I just voted and there were 273 votes and the story had a score of -2.

So you now have a fundamentalist state plus censor? Wow!

On a slightly more serious note. Do you really swear on the bible at trials like they show on all movies that involve that kind of stuff? Because THAT would be strange. I think the oath usually ends with "So help me God." I would personally refuse to take such an oath.

Cheers.

swear, affirm, eh. (5.00 / 1) (#32)
by regeya on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 07:13:25 PM EST

I think the oath usually ends with "So help me God." I would personally refuse to take such an oath.

AFAIK that's optional. You don't even have to swear; you may affirm if you have a problem with swearing.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

Free Speech (2.00 / 2) (#33)
by 2400n81 on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 08:12:18 PM EST

What the hell is wrong with employees praying? It's a free country. Yeah, let's just censor them and be like the Taliban.

Religiosity (4.00 / 4) (#37)
by linca on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 09:52:07 PM EST

This is not only about religion being legal or not in the USA... What continuously amazes me is the amount of religion in the US culture, compared to most of Europe. I mean, most of the politicians end their speeches by references to God... After years of observing the political life in France, I heard the word "Dieu" Stated perhaps a couple of times. And I'm not talking about the "In God we trust" wich is ubiquitous. I wonder why the US nation needs so much references about religion.

The Whys (5.00 / 1) (#40)
by Hobbes2100 on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 12:31:39 AM EST

Well, IANAH (historian :), these are just some thoughts:

Many of those who came to America from Europe came to flee religious persecution. Whether they were the Puritans of New England or the Quakers of Pennsylvania, their roots run deep and can be seen even in Pennsylvania's "Puritanical" laws regarding the sale of alcohol :(.

Another group of people that came here under less "choice" circumstances, were the Africans. For various reasons, the Christian religion and conception of god flourished among them and this can be seen to this day in the Southern Baptist churches (and even the black Baptist preacher rhetoric of Alan Keyes, one of the "contenders" for the Republican nomination in 2000).

America has also had a large immigrant population that has fostered a sense of community (which includes religion) particularly in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox faiths (consider the Irish, Italian, Polish, and various eastern European communities).

These sorts of examples could go on. Another important factor is that unlike France, America did not go through a revolution of reason where the old gods of faith were replaced (at least temporarily) by the gods of reason. I don't think the effect of this purging can be ignored.

I know that religion plays a large role in (Northern) Ireland's politics. I don't know about countries like Italy, Germany, etc. I would hypothesize that these countries took care of their religious wars long ago and consider it more of a settled question.

Maybe one thing that keeps religion going in America is the fear by those that are religious that if they don't "fight the good fight" the atheistic/agnostic view will flourish and displace their cherished faith.

Well, I'll turn off the speculation switch and say good night.

Regards,
Mark
Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? --Iuvenalis
But who will guard the guardians themselves? -- Juvenal
[ Parent ]

In Sweden... (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by andkaha on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 07:18:21 PM EST

In Sweden, about 2% of the population are regular church goers, and I'm really not surprised if "regular" includes "ones every Christmas".

The church was separated from the state on the 1:st of January, 2000 (ref (Swedish), ref, ref) and since then it can not collect taxes like it used to. How much does the people of the USA pay for their church?

The most common references to religious things are swear words. People that are openly religious are tolerated more than they are being encouraged.

My guess is that political causes has taken the part of religion for quite some number of young Swedes.


--
Remember RFC 1436?
[ Parent ]

Too bad enterfornone isn't around anymore. (4.00 / 4) (#38)
by regeya on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 11:27:13 PM EST

This'd be right up enterfornone's alley. And I'd get screamed down for taking the contrary position.

Okay, first, the title.

NOTE: I was going to post this as an editorial comment, but decided this was going to end up as more topical than editorial, so...eh.

One Nation under God, whether you like it or not
The title's misleading. You're implying that the U.S. has become a church-state, which it's not. The politicians in question are merely exercising their rights as U.S. citizens.

and now, to the trollish "conclusion":

Personally, I have no problem with government employees holding prayer meetings on their own time, if they so choose,
Pretty bold claim for an article titled "One Nation under God, whether you like it or not".

but I have to wonder how far a group of Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Mormon, or Bahai government employees would get if they wanted to hold a 'prayer meeting' in a government building at lunch time.
Just a hunch, but I'd bet that it'd meet with some resistence, but there's not really anything anyone could do, legally.

Look, I really have trouble with your claim that you have no problem with government employees holding prayer meetings, because obviously you do, otherwise you wouldn't have said

some have speculated as to the short and long term consequences to employees who choose not to participate. Is the US headed towards a government dominated by fundamentalist Christians?
which is a legitimate claim, but to worry about Christian government employees having the right to have prayer meetings on their own time (which you seem to be against) yet you're worried about the rights of politicians of other faiths to have prayer time (I'd bet that Joe Lieberman(sp) exercises his right from time to time) without a shred of evidence that they don't, and I can only make one conclusion:

You're an anti-Christian bigot.

And I can safely say I don't have time for bigots. Good day.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

wtf? this is trollish / flaimbait (2.50 / 4) (#42)
by Ender Ryan on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 11:02:14 AM EST

While in both cases the prayer meeting appear to be technically legal

Well then, stfu ad let them do what they want!

Personally, I have no problem with government employees holding prayer meetings on their own time, if they so choose, but I have to wonder how far a group of Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Mormon, or Bahai government employees would get if they wanted to hold a 'prayer meeting' in a government building at lunch time. Well, until they have a problem doing that, then STFU!

To sum up this retarded article in a few words... "People are praying in government buildings! I wonder if people of other religions would run into trouble if they held similar prayer meetings! Oh, the horror!"

Damn, when that ACTUALLY HAPPENS, THEN would be the time to write this article...

disclaimer: I am not part of any religious group, nor did I vote for Bush. I just think this is article is absolutely ridiculous...


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


Agree (5.00 / 1) (#50)
by Dyolf Knip on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 02:28:20 AM EST

To sum up this retarded article in a few words... "People are praying in government buildings! I wonder if people of other religions would run into trouble if they held similar prayer meetings! Oh, the horror!" Damn, when that ACTUALLY HAPPENS, THEN would be the time to write this article...

I'm an athiest, and as much as I don't want our civil servants conducting their prayers in a supposedly religous-neutral workplace, I have to agree. Semi-fortunately, the event you describe is almost certain to happen. Look at the Wicca related nonsense. Freedom of religion is great and all but Christians in this country so often seem to think it only applies to them.

---
If you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.

Dyolf Knip
[ Parent ]

Curious -- Wicca related nonsense? (none / 0) (#62)
by Amerist on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 08:18:20 PM EST

[...] Semi-fortunately, the event you describe is almost certain to happen. Look at the Wicca related nonsense. [...]
Just curious -- what Wicca related nonsese be thou referring to?

Amerist A'Toll


--------
"What are dreams when we are but the dreams of dreamers yet to be born?"
[ Parent ]
If you have a problem, either shutup or move out (1.27 / 11) (#45)
by brandon21m on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 06:56:56 PM EST

This country was founded on religion, specifically Christianity. If you don't like that then you can leave. Our currency has religious wording on it. If you had the ability would you stop using it? Move to Afghanistan if you don't want to have Christian views expressed in the US government. No one forced your parents to come here nor is anyone forcing you to stay here so leave if you can't take Christianity. Considering all the immorality (defined by Christanity since that's what the US was founded upon) in this country (Clinton anyone? porn industry anyone?) it's nice the gov't is stepping up its support for prayer and a lean more toward God as opposed to "we don't want to offend anyone so we'll just offend the Christians since they don't count and remove religion from everything but your house".

If you want to find out what would happen get a hold of some gov't officials who are Muslim or anything else and tell them to start having a public prayer. Don't assume they wouldn't be allowed. Tell them to act on it to find out for sure whether or not it would be accepted before you make accusations.

If the content of this story was reversed and it was the Muslims who were praying and Christians did start complaining the Muslims would say it's their right to free speech and accuse the Christians of racism. If Christians try anything remotely geared toward their faith they are accused of violating their own Constitution. I guess the persecution never stops. </>

History Lesson (4.16 / 6) (#47)
by miah on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 08:21:48 PM EST

Okay first off. Our country was not founded in any religon. About 80% of the founding fathers were atheistic or agnostic. One of the more popular beliefs in the group was that "God" exists but could care less about humanity in general, we are nothing but fancy animals. You have made the common misrepresentation of what our founding fathers were in this country for in the first place. Most of the colonists were religious outcasts and pariahs. I don't think things were intended to ever let a church or religion have much hold over the liberties of the Union.

Secondly, your next mistake is the assumption that our currency has always had the words "In God We Trust" on them. They haven't, this was added to it in 1952 during the great McCarthyism craze that made America a grand place for free thinkers. (That was sarcastic if you didn't catch that.)

I don't have a care in the world what "God" you pray to, and I don't care where you do it. My only caveat is this: All groups have a tendency to organize to make themselves stronger. Religion and politics mix about as well as orange juice and toothpaste. And you cannot tell me that there are no politics in the work place, there are, it's a fact. And, if you have never heard someone say "I don't know about <person>, they don't attend church", then you obviously aren't listening.

Most churches are just a fancy social club for middle class Americans. A self perpetuating society that resembles cliques in high school but for older and more mature people. That does not mean they act it and are prone to judge people, something that goes against on of the main tenets of Christian faith: Don't judge people, that's God's job.

Now, read up on our founding fathers for a better look into what was going on at the time of the Revolutionary War, you'll find that things were much different than what has been read to you out of high school text books. I would gladly fight for any Christian that wants to express his religion, but I will not let any Christian stifle the same right of any other person. I think the founding fathers of this country would roll in their graves to see what this country is today and would be appalled to read what you have posted.


Religion is not the opiate of the masses. It is the biker grade crystal meth of the masses.
SLAVEWAGE
[ Parent ]
religion lesson (2.00 / 6) (#48)
by brandon21m on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 12:28:35 AM EST

I don't know what churches you have heard of or even attend but churches I know are a place where someone can find strength from their faith or guidance in their life while worshiping God. The churches that serve other purposes do not serve the right purpose.

I would gladly fight for any Christian that wants to express his religion, but I will not let any Christian stifle the same right of any other person.

If this is the case I would presume you would be willing to fight for Christians to display a natvity scene on courthouse grounds? That expresses their religion by celebrating the meaning of Christmas, some people of which forget the 2 are connected. Or would you belong to the group who says that there is a so called Sep. of C and S put in place by the Constitution and that the nativity scene has to be removed from the courthouse grounds even though forcing them to remove it would be a violation of free speech would it not?

I agree that the Founding Fathers would roll in their graves if they saw what this country is today (it's falling apart morally and spiritually) however they would not be appalled at what I wrote earlier. Christians were persecuted in the past and they are at present and our Founding Fathers wanted to have a country where one would not be persecuted for his/her religion; in other word be free from the tyranny of England that they were so used to.

Saying our Founding Fathers were mostly agnostic or atheist probably puts you in the same crowd who thinks, or started the rumor, that G. Washington died from syphilis. It's all about taking the focus away from Christianity and religion in general and putting a bad spin on everything isn't it?



[ Parent ]
Hello, Wall! (3.33 / 3) (#54)
by miah on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 12:14:11 PM EST

You sir, didn't get the point. This is not a personal attack on you or any church. I agree with you that there are 'members' of churches who do use it as a place of reflection and worship. But, their actions cannot reflect the actions of the whole. In other words, you can't tell me that because it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck that it isn't a duck just by association. My posting was only meant to clear the air on some historical accuracy. Most of history that is taught here is skewed to the authors perspective.

Or would you belong to the group who says that there is a so called Sep. of C and S put in place by the Constitution and that the nativity scene has to be removed from the courthouse grounds even though forcing them to remove it would be a violation of free speech would it not?

If you are so woried that your speech is being threatened, why don't you put your nativity on your own lawn? I do think that Sep. of C&S is a wonderful idea. And, I don't think that any gov't should support or even allude to support of any religion. If you get to put up your nativity, then I get to put up all of these religions icons: Judaism, Muslim, Buddhist, Taoist, Pagan and most likely your local Native American Faith. If that were to happen most gov't lawns would turn into big billboards for anybody's agenda/feeling's. Any gov't should only be a legal authority, not a moral one.

Christians were persecuted in the past and they are at present and our Founding Fathers wanted to have a country where one would not be persecuted for his/her religion; in other word be free from the tyranny of England that they were so used to.

Most Christians in England persecuted each other. I think a summary of Englands religious history would be: Were Catholic, no wait were Protestant, nope Catholic again, repeat ad nauseum. Basically, it was a political manuever for some, an honest belief by others of English royalty. But it became a game of who can jump the fence first for the peasants. I would call that religious tyranny. Freedom of religion exists to suspend and stop things like the Salem witch burnings.

Saying our Founding Fathers were mostly agnostic or atheist probably puts you in the same crowd who thinks, or started the rumor, that G. Washington died from syphilis. It's all about taking the focus away from Christianity and religion in general and putting a bad spin on everything isn't it?

Not exactaly a bad spin, I don't think that G. Washinton died of a sexually transmitted venerial disease. I think that he die of malnutrition. There wasn't much citrus fruit in the New World at that time. Hence the rickets, scurvy and the loss of teeth (he had wooden teeth you know).

Yesterday, I forgot the word I was looking for. That word is Deism. Deism is a form of beliefs that doesn't get as much press as agnosticism or atheism (doubt and downright disbelief) but rounds out the set. Check the link out, I think you'll find that it is a more acceptable view of the founding fathers (I really hate that term) for your palate.

Removing Christianity from it makes it seem more intelligent and thought out to me. The trend of religious altruism just seems to further certain problems we have in society out of pity (nobody likes to be pitied). Acting with religious morals in my mind is similar to the story recently posted about a son and his father. The father has 'religious issues' with his son's choice of sexual orientation. Instead of accepting his son's choice while personally his opinion of it is that it is a sin/wrong he turns his son into the family pariah or black sheep. Would it not have been better to continue loving his son and hope that he will someday return to the straight and narrow (the pun and the reference to the prodigal son are intentional)? Don't you think that is what Jesus would have done (I do, because in my mind Christian == Christlike)?


Religion is not the opiate of the masses. It is the biker grade crystal meth of the masses.
SLAVEWAGE
[ Parent ]
The exact wording is: (3.50 / 4) (#49)
by SupahVee on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 12:50:35 AM EST

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

And what this means, in case you neglected to open your political science book when you were worshipping your theology book is that, it doesnt mean you cant put up a nativity scene at a courthouse, it's not about people praying at work, or praying at school, it's that people should remain as open-minded as those old fogeys almost 250 years ago were. I sometimes think about how truly amazing it is that the people who literally built this country, by dying for it, fighting for what was TRULY right (not religiously, mind you) and putting into words what needed to be said, managed to say it better than anyone today could ever dream of.

Oh, and another thing, if you think that being a "True Christian" is tough, and subjects you to persecution from your peers, try being atheist sometime. I mean really atheist. When the subject of religion comes up next time at your local water cooler, say "I don't beleive that there is a god." and just see how quick you can get ostracized from your community.

The fact that you call yourself an american makes me sick. We are not a country of Christians, Baptists, Mormons, Jews, or anything of that matter. We are a country of HUMAN BEINGS, and it's high f**king time that you high and mighty 'christians' started treating people like human beings.

That reminds me, I need to have a bumper sticker made for my car. I think it should say "I respect your right to freedom of religion, please respect my right to be free OF it."

[ Parent ]

Read more carefully (3.00 / 2) (#58)
by brandon21m on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 10:50:58 PM EST

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

Notice it says MAKE no law. That means any new laws can't be like that. That does not say any current laws have to abide by that. That means taking prayer out of schools or gov't meetings wouldn't apply in this case b/c that was never a law in the first place.

And you may not think that means that someone can't put up a nativity scene at a courthouse but other people sure do like using that as the scapegoat for making city officials take such scenes back down for fear of offending someone. God forbid someone actually get offended. I'm sorry to say but no matter what a person or group does someone is going to be offended it's just that certain people have devoted their lives to making sure it looks like it's always the Christians who are doing the offending.

That reminds me, I need to have a bumper sticker made for my car. I think it should say "I respect your right to freedom of religion, please respect my right to be free OF it."

No one is forcing non-Christians to join in for prayer time in the gov't meetings. If non-Christians *feel* they are being forced that is something totally different and it is their fault for only feeling it and not actually being forced. If they feel they are being forced they should speak up instead of complaining and making everyone else the bad guy in the situation. As someone else already said, there is nothing being done wrong here and until something is being done wrong and it can be proven (not just someone thinking something would happen, but actual proof it did happen) then people should just shutup instead of trying to stir up trouble.



[ Parent ]
this country was founded by freemasons so (3.00 / 2) (#57)
by thirstyfish on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 08:57:11 PM EST

learn the handshake or get lit.

[ Parent ]
Thread resurrected (none / 0) (#59)
by UncleMikey on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:55:51 PM EST

This thread had gotten hidden because its head-comment had gotten voted down to a sub-1 rating. While the head-comment is a bit of a troll, I thought the rest of the discussion sufficiently instructive to warrant resurrection.
--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
[ Parent ]
Of course, people mod down the Pro-Christian posts (2.00 / 2) (#60)
by brandon21m on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 06:05:02 PM EST



[ Parent ]
You are a human wasteland. (2.50 / 2) (#61)
by Grahf on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 07:21:49 PM EST

Pro-Christian in this case seems to mean "Fuck you unchristians". Therefore, I think one must analyze the nature of the situation before claiming prejudice. Or would not a pro-religious equanimity post be pro-Christian?

[ Parent ]
christian persecution (1.00 / 1) (#63)
by Dphitz on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 04:11:38 PM EST

The problem with christians trying "anything remotely geared toward their faith" is that what they usually try does happen to violate the law, such as posting the 10 commandments in a courtroom or trying to bring prayer in the schools. There is no such thing as persecution of christians and no church/state problems would exist if people were content to pray only with those who wanted to pray with them and not try to force it upon others.

This country was not founded upon christianity (but is influenced by it). That is why there is no reference to God or Jesus in the Dec. of Ind or the Constitution. Just check out the writings of Jefferson or Madison. They went to great extent to keep any mention of God, Jesus or christianity out of those documents. I think brandon21m should read more about our history and founders before telling someone to "leave if you can't take Christianity". That's precisely the kind of scenario they had hoped to avoid.


God, please save me . . . from your followers

[ Parent ]
Non-Xtian religions at work (2.00 / 1) (#52)
by Karmakaze on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 10:33:49 AM EST

Personally, I have no problem with government employees holding prayer meetings on their own time, if they so choose, but I have to wonder how far a group of Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Mormon, or Bahai government employees would get if they wanted to hold a 'prayer meeting' in a government building at lunch time.
Well, I can't speak for 'prayer meetings' per se, but the last time I worked for a Muslim in a large corporation, we were flexible on his behalf. There were just certain times when he was in his office praying - I don't think anyone even remarked on it. We carefully scheduled our winter holiday parties around Ramadan to make sure nobody was left out.

Had the Muslims in the office wanted to get together at prayer time, I don't think they'd have had any more trouble than the guys who got together for chess or racketball.


--
Karmakaze

Alarmist (3.00 / 1) (#53)
by Ken Arromdee on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 10:42:38 AM EST

According to this, nothing has *actually happened* that is worth any concern. Nobody's having religion forced on them--instead the poster is saying "well, maybe this legitimate religious observation is going to develop into something different, wink wink nudge nudge".

One Nation under God, whether you like it or not | 62 comments (53 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
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