An atheist’s question 3

Ted Cruz answers a questioner who, after introducing himself as an atheist, asks the presidential candidate why he should vote for him.

Posted under Atheism, Conservatism, liberty, United States, US Constitution, Videos by Jillian Becker on Saturday, January 9, 2016

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A fifty-first state of the Union? 4

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From Canada Free Press, by Katy Grimes:

Successfully amassing support in 21 California counties, proponents of the State of Jefferson movement took their petitions to the Secretary of State and the State Legislature Wednesday. …

California’s northern most counties are suffering from a lack of representation in the state Legislature. Twenty Northern California counties have 6 state level representatives, while the southern 38 counties have 114 state representatives.

The State of Jefferson [SOJ] … plans to remedy this lack of representation by seeking reforms, such as one senator per county, or by creating a new state—the 51st state.

State of Jefferson is a proposed U.S. state that would span the contiguous and mostly rural area of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Supporters of the State of Jefferson movement are interested in forming an independent state whose fundamental framework revolves around maintaining the integrity of individual liberties, and Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

There are 11 counties in the north state with one state senator, while Los Angeles County alone has 11 senators. And Northern California has three out of 80 seats in the California Assembly.

If Jefferson becomes a state, it would hold a population of 1.7 million people and consist of California’s 21 northernmost counties [and a piece of Oregon] ….

State of Jefferson wants:

  • To elect its own 2 U.S. Senators and Congressional representatives;
  • To elect its own Governor, State Senate and Assembly, based on Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution;
  • Make Jefferson a business friendly state with common sense tax laws and no state corporate income taxes;
  • Property Taxes to stay in State of Jefferson and more specifically its counties;
  • Laws to hold elected representatives accountable to its people;
  • Reduce the 570 state agencies and bureaucracies currently in California;
  • Constitutionally based laws;
  • Utilization of its natural resources – timber, water, farming, mining, hunting and fishing;
  • A revamping of Social Services.

Seems reasonable to us.

California is a declining state, misgoverned by Social Justice Warriors.

We’d like to know what our readers think of the break-away movement and the founding of a 51st. state of the Union.

Posted under News, United States, US Constitution by Jillian Becker on Thursday, January 7, 2016

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The US president versus the US 2

To the extent that there is a deal of sorts between the United States and Iran, it is against the interests of the United States.

To the extent that the Iranian regime acknowledges any such deal, it is only to get sanctions lifted so it can get on with becoming a rich, formidable, aggressive power armed with nuclear weapons.

President Obama must know this. And he persistently and passionately does all he can to help the Iranian regime get its way.

Now it emerges that he has used the apparatus of the state to spy on Congressmen opposed to the deal.

The information emerges because he has had it leaked. He instructed his officials to tell the Wall Street Journal that the National Security Agency took this illegal action.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the NSA spied on Israelis, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, and US citizens with whom they were in communication.

Caroline Glick writes at Front Page:

According to the Journal report, to advance its diplomatic opening to Iran, the administration has knowingly and deliberately spied on both law-abiding US citizens who posed no risk to US national security and on US lawmakers engaged in their lawful, constitutional duties.

As the criminal activity was characterized by the report, to protect Obama’s nuclear talks with the Iranians, Netanyahu was marked as a top intelligence target for the NSA. The NSA monitored all of his communications and all communications of his senior officials – most notably Ambassador Ron Dermer. …

The picture painted by the Journal article is of an administration that made massive, continuous and deliberate use of intercepted conversations between lawmakers and private citizens with Israeli officials.

Consider the administration’s indignant fury when news broke on January 21 of last year that the Republican congressional leaders Sen. Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner had invited Netanyahu to address the joint Houses about the dangers of the Iran nuclear deal.

Obama and his advisers insisted that they were blindsided by the news. Yet … [as] we now know that the NSA was monitoring all of Dermer’s communications – including his communications with US lawmakers – it appears to follow that NSA intercepted Boehner’s call to Dermer.

According to the Journal, the White House’s demand for intelligence on Israel was so intense that the NSA was transferring transcripts of intercepted calls within six hours of their interception.

From these intercepted communications, the administration learned Israel’s pitch for Democratic lawmakers in its efforts to convince them to oppose the deal. …

Israeli officials asked the wavering lawmakers, “How can we get your vote? What is it going to take?” Given Israel’s failure to convince a significant number of Democratic senators to oppose the deal, the suspicion arises that the administration read the answers and used the ill-begotten information as a means of blocking Israel from securing Democratic opposition to Obama’s nuclear deal.

It ought to go without saying that the administration’s massive efforts to block information about the most radical US foreign policy initiative since World War II from US lawmakers speaks volumes about how Obama and his colleagues assessed the public’s position on Iran generally and Obama’s nuclear talks with the mullocracy specifically.

The nuclear deal with Iran endangers the US directly.

It empowers the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism financially, diplomatically and militarily.

Iran declared war against the US 37 years ago and has been calling for the destruction of America and supporting terrorist attacks against the US and its allies ever since.

As to those allies, the nuclear deal with Iran specifically, and the Obama administration’s decision to embrace Iran as a potential ally more generally, place Israel in jeopardy. So, too, it endangers all of the US’s traditional Arab allies.

Yet rather than reconsider its strategic goal of courting Iran at the expense of its own national security and that of its closest allies, the Obama administration determined that its most urgent goal was to scuttle Israeli attempts to warn lawmakers and the US public about the dangers of the deal. …

Iran still refuses to approve or implement the deal. The American hostages it holds continue to languish in its prisons. Its nuclear sites remain closed to international inspectors. Its ballistic missile program is moving forward …  Iran is so emboldened … that last week it shot a missile across the Straits of Hormuz in close proximity to a US naval ship.

The ayatollahs are convinced that Obama will suffer any and all indignities to keep up the fiction that he has a nuclear deal with them. …

And yet [it is] now, as Iran daily humiliates Obama with its unbridled aggression, that senior administration officials chose to brag to Wall Street Journal reporters about how they spied on Israel in breach of Obama’s pledge not to spy on leaders of US allied nations. It is now, when Obama’s opening to Iran is a self-evident failure, that they chose to share how they broke US law by spying on US citizens and abused the president’s constitutional authority by spying on US lawmakers. …

[This administration is] so contemptuous of US lawmakers and citizens that its senior officials have no compunction about admitting that they are breaking the law.

They brazenly admit that they are undertaking unlawful spying operations against private citizens and lawmakers and in so doing conducting a massive abuse of presidential powers while trampling the spirit and arguably the letter of the US Constitution.

And they expect that no one will call them to task for it.

They are most probably right.

The rest of the world has no comeback against Obama and his gang for the furies he has let loose in it.

But will he ever be made to answer for the great harm he has deliberately done to America?

The darkness of this world (18) 1

Today we have posted the last essay, number 18, in the series by Jillian Becker titled The Darkness of This World. 

Find it in full under Pages in our margin.

Here is part of it:

18

Conclusion

America the Last Best Hope?

A multitude of enlightened Europeans cultivated reason, and built a culture that was innovative, prosperous, powerful, and humane. Other Europeans wanted to destroy all that, and succeeded. Rebels from and against the prosperous educated classes – philosophers and poets, artists and politicians – taught generations to intoxicate themselves with fantasies of destruction, spoliation, and atrocity that could, and at times did, inspire real events of vast horror, suffering, and death. From each of them Europe seemed to recover for a while. But at the time of this writing, the rebels have triumphed. The dark vision prevails. Europe is rotten. Multitudes of Europeans, seeing nothing in their culture worth preserving and no point in its survival, reluctant even to beget children, are yielding to immigrating hordes of aliens from the Third World who lust for conquest and are governed by laws devised in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula in the Dark Ages.

So must the greatness of Europe be altogether lost? Surely not! Surely in the states of America, united on Enlightenment principles of liberty, reason, tolerance, and participatory government, European civilization will be preserved and enhanced? There where every citizen is free to pursue his own happiness, to hold property securely, to have his say in a government of limited powers, the United States will continue to prosper and advance? America, it is said, is a forward-looking “can do” society – innovative, prosperous, powerful and humane. “The last best hope of earth.” [As President Lincoln said of his country in a message to Congress on 1 December, 1862.]

And for a while yet it may continue to be so. But the seed of the evil flowers of the culture – Marxism, political sadism, and most potently poisonous of all, the political philosophies of the New Left – have found as fertile soil in America as in Europe.

The mainly bourgeois “anti-bourgeois” terrorist groups that rose with the “sixty-eight” protest movement in America, did evil just as intentionally as their European counterparts. And went in for the same posturing and frivolity. The US was at war in Vietnam, and the anti-draft demonstrations on university campuses gave a serious aspect to the American rebellion, but the war and the draft were pretexts rather reasons for it, as two leaders of the young radicals, Peter Collier and David Horowitz, confessed years later in their book – the best I have found on the subject – Destructive Generation: “The war in Vietnam was a gift of chance that allowed radical leaders to convince others of a need for a social apocalypse and of the necessity for their destructive strategies.”

These authors, long since cured of the romantic radicalism of their youth, look back   and “wince” at the “homemade hankerings for Armageddon”. The Sixties, they write, was a time of “monumental idealism”, when “dewy-eyed young people in the throes of a moral passion … sought only to remake the world”. They would do this by destroying “the evil empire of ‘Amerika’” and freeing “the captive peoples of the world”. It was a time, they say, “when innocence quickly became cynical “ and “when a gang of ghetto thugs like the Black Panthers might be anointed as political visionaries”.

The Black Panthers and many of the “dewy-eyed” rebels intended to do what they fully recognized as evil in pursuit of their ideals. For instance, a man known as J. J. – a member of the white middle-class group that became the terrorist organization called Weatherman and later Weather Underground – was notable for “his [drug augmented] high energy, his nonstop, almost demonic chatter, his ability to carry listeners with him by the sheer force of his words rather than their depth”. And J. J.’s idea “was not to create a perfect state operating by the clockwork principles of Marxist law but to promote a chaos that would cripple America and ultimately cast it into a receivership that would be administered by the morally superior Third World. Unafraid to pursue his theme to its logical end, J. J. would add that people shouldn’t expect the revolution to achieve a Kingdom of Freedom ; more likely, it would produce a Dark Ages.” J. J. “[laid] out the ‘White Devil’ theory of world history. ‘We’re against everything that’s “good and decent” in honky America. … We will loot and burn and destroy. We are the incubation of your mother’s nightmares!’”

As in West Germany, France and Italy, the terrorist bombers of America demanded their rights under the law that they broke, mocked, and abominated. “Despite their incessant complaints of police brutality, Sixties radicals lived for the most part in a no-fault system, demanding their constitutional rights at the same time as they were abusing and denouncing the Constitution. They knew they had the option, which many of them ultimately used, of diving back into the System [and their comfy bourgeois lives] when they tired of being extrinsic. (For this reason New Leftism, although discredited in politics, continues to thrive in the ‘academic work’ of former radicals who returned for postgraduate degrees to the universities they had earlier tried to destroy.) It was an example of the cynicism that marked the decade – counting on the fact that America was exactly the sort of flexible and forgiving society they were condemning it for failing to be.”

The evil was done not only to shock their bourgeois parents, as their drugs, promiscuous sex, and bombs were meant to do and did, but for a very much higher good, of course. The very much higher good: “social justice”; “ending oppression” in the forms of “ racism”, “sexism”, “homophobia”, “classism”, “imperialism”, “colonialism”; all of which required the destruction of “the capitalist system”.

Most of them did not, however, describe themselves as Communists. Without reading the works of Marx, or of Marxists, Trotskyites, or New Left political philosophers, they all – in harmony with their European counterparts – looked forward to a political apocalypse; a revolution that they considered themselves to be hastening, that would change everything and replace the earthly Hell of oppression and social injustice with a Heaven of … something yet to be defined.

Collier and Horowitz write of   “the decade’s transcendental conviction that there was something apocalyptic lurking behind the veil of the ordinary, and that just a little more pressure was needed to pierce the last remaining membrane – of civility, bourgeois consciousness, corporate liberalism, sexual uptightness, or whatever else prevented us all from breaking through to the other side”. And: “Again it was that hunger to reach the apocalypse just beyond, the essential act that would make them real revolutionaries.” And “the Weatherpeople, like all parvenus, spent considerable time working on a genealogy that would connect them with noble [sic] forbears: Russian narodniki and European anarchists, Cuban fidelistas and Vietnamese guerrillas.”

A work of fiction that impressively conveys the real evil of the 60s rebels is American Pastoral by Philip Roth. A percipient discussion of it and the issues it raised was published in Commentary magazine by Carol Iannone. I summarize the plot and quote her most illuminating comments relevant to my theme:

An only child – cheerful, affectionate, charming as a little girl – of a business man who in his youth had been an athlete and a Marine, and his beauty queen wife, grows up to be “overtaken by the 60s”, sets a bomb in a post office and kills a local doctor. She goes underground and kills three more people in another bombing.

“In his manly way” (Carol Iannone writes) the father “ tries to see where his own responsibility lies for what has happened to his much loved daughter … only to be forced again and again to confront the blazing chaotic irrationality of it all. What he cannot understand … is her hatred of America. ‘How could she “hate” this country when she had no conception of this country? How could a child of his be so blind as to revile the “rotten system” that had given her own family every opportunity to succeed? To revile her “capitalist” parents as though their wealth were the product of anything other than the unstinting industry of three generations …’”

“The 60s, in brief, are not just about the bomber young and their war with ‘Amerika’; in the 60s, ‘the indigenous American berserk’, have entered the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, touching everything and everyone with their ‘mockery of human integrity, every ethical obligation destroyed’.”

It entered the academies, and through them the mind of the nation, until the counter-culture has become The Culture. Collier and Horowitz write: “[N]owhere is the entrenchment of the Sixties mentality more complete or more destructive than in the university. That the Left should now dominate the academy involves a savage irony, of course. It was only after failing in their intent to burn down the university in the Sixties that radicals decided to get on the tenure track in the Seventies. Unimpeded in their long march through these institutions by fair-minded centrists of the sort they themselves now refuse to hire, these Leftists have brought a postmodern Dark Age to higher education – “deconstructing” objective truths to pave the way for chic academic nihilism: creating a curriculum of contempt for American history and culture; and transforming many classrooms into chambers of inquisition and indoctrination.”

The demonic achievements of the rebels were crowned by the election, in 2008, to the presidency of the United States of one of their own: Barack Hussein Obama, the son of a 60s counter-culturist mother and an African father who was both a Communist and a Muslim; and was associated eventually in the son’s mind with “colonial and imperial oppression” of his ancestral land, Kenya, when it was under British rule.

President Obama acceded to the White House with all his ideological baggage intact: the credo of the New Left plus admiration of Islam. And this at a time when Islam was becoming the main enemy of the Western world, practicing terrorism on a large scale, waging open warfare in the Middle East, and launching a migrant invasion of Europe that European governments allowed, encouraged, and all too willingly submitted to. Obama’s policies facilitated the European calamity, and he took steps to help Islamic Iran, which constantly reiterates its intention to destroy America and conquer the non-Muslim world, to become a nuclear power. He has lowered America in the eyes of the world. He and his minions treat the Constitution with contempt.

In the universities the counter-culture has become the orthodoxy. A majority of instructors indoctrinate students rather than educate them, teaching them what to think rather than how to think. Some Leftist representatives in Congress have passed a resolution to curb free speech. And the spirit of free enterprise, which made America rich and mighty, has been all but crushed by tyrannical regulation. Wealth has been taken from those who have earned it and given to those who have not. In short, the New Left has triumphed – though without attaining its heaven on earth.

Can the harm it has done be undone? At present the dark stream of unreason flows strongly. The resistance to it should be the vigorous self-interest inherent in human nature, the desire in most of us to succeed; and the lure of science, technology, all they give us for the betterment of our lives. Only as long as free personal endeavor and innovation continue to characterize America, will there be hope – if not the last, certainly the best – for our splendid civilization to survive in this, our only world.

Trump’s bucket of honesty 1

Pat Condell tells the truth about our need for the truth:

Posted under Ethics, Israel, Jordan, Muslims, Terrorism, United States, US Constitution, Videos by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, December 16, 2015

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Race 2

We well know the evils of racism. Racial hatreds have been the cause, through oppression, persecution, discrimination, and attempted genocide, of extreme human suffering.

In the United States, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made discrimination against Blacks in the public sphere illegal; and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 removed all legal barriers to Blacks voting in federal, state and local elections, so theoretically enfranchising all adult, sane, free Americans. Laws against “mixed race” marriages persisted in some southern states for a couple more years, but were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1967.

Of course acts of law cannot root out irrational hatreds from people’s minds. It certainly cannot be claimed that after 1967 race differences went unnoticed, or that no one was disadvantaged in America by his or her race.

But it could fairly be said that between then and 2009, race was in general a less troubling issue than it had been.

Then in 2008 a vast number of Whites decided to vote Barack Hussein Obama into the presidency of the USA for no better reason than that he was black. By doing so, they wanted to prove that they were not racists. What they actually proved was that they were.  

And ever since the absurd election of Obama – a wholly unqualified candidate, but the son of a black African father and a white American mother – race has become a hugely troublesome issue again. President Obama consciously tried to make it so. He has succeeded. And the result is that Black racism has become a serious problem; interfering most disastrously with the administration of justice, most dangerously with the enforcement of law and order, and most vociferously in the universities.

*

For Obama’s  defense of the Black Lives Matter movement, see here.

For examples of Obama’s leaping to judgment and taking sides in disputed cases of Black arrests or deaths during violent confrontations: the Professor Henry Gates case, see here; the Trayvon Martin case, see here; his quick reactions to the deaths of the black men Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, and his ignoring of the shooting of the white victim Kate Steinle by an illegal Hispanic alien in San Francisco, see here.

For the refusal by Obama’s appointee, Attorney General Eric Holder, to allow the prosecution of the Black Panthers see here.

For a probable effect  of Obama’s biased attitude to the deaths of Blacks in confrontation with the police – ie. the murder of two policemen in New York after the death in custody of the black man Eric Garner – see here.

For the Black racist protests at the universities of Missouri and Yale, see here and here. Also see our own post, Our conspiracy theory, November 12, 2015.

For similar student protests at Dartmouth, see here, and Amhurst, here. And at Wright State University, see here. And at Johns Hopkins, see here.

*

This is from Campus Reform by the Dartmouth Review Staff:

Black-clad protesters gathered in front of Dartmouth Hall Thursday night, forming a crowd roughly one hundred fifty strong.

Ostensibly there to denounce the removal of shirts from a display in Collis, Dartmouth’s student center the Black Lives Matter collective began to sing songs and chant their eponymous catchphrase. The band then marched into Baker-Berry Library.

“F*** you, you filthy white f***s!”

“F*** you and your comfort!”

“F*** you, you racist s***!”

These shouted epithets were the first indication that many students had of the coming storm. The sign-wielding, obscenity-shouting protesters proceeded through the usually quiet backwaters of the library. They surged first through first-floor Baker-Berry, then up the stairs to the normally undisturbed floors of the building, before coming back down to the ground floor of Novak Café.

Throngs of protesters converged around fellow students who had not joined in their long march. They confronted students who bore “symbols of oppression” such as “gangster hats” and Beats-brand headphones. The flood of demonstrators opened the doors of study spaces with students reviewing for exams. Those who tried to close their doors were harassed further. One student abandoned the study room and ran out of the library. The protesters followed her out of the library, shouting obscenities the whole way.

Students who refused to listen to or join their outbursts were shouted down:“Stand the f*** up!” “You filthy racist white piece of s***!” Men and women alike were pushed and shoved by the group.

“If we can’t have it, shut it down!” they cried. Another woman was pinned to a wall by protesters who unleashed their insults, shouting “filthy white b****!” in her face.

In the immediate aftermath of the demonstration, social media was abuzz with comments condemning the protesters for their tactics. Many students who had experienced the protests took advantage of Yik Yak’s anonymity to air their grievances. Some students reached out toThe Dartmouth Review to provide additional details.

An anonymous member of the class of 2019 explained that while working on a group project in a private study room, his undergraduate advisor came in and expressed his disappointment that the he was not joining in the protest. The advisor then demanded that he and the other members of his group project to leave the room and join in.

Another member of the class of 2019 recalled clapping after a protester said, “let’s give a round of applause for the beautiful people of color who were here for this protest.” The protester then turned on her saying, “for all of you that are sitting down and applauding right now, we don’t care about you.”

Protesters have also spoken out in the aftermath of their march. One woman, who identified herself as one of the protesters in a lengthy post to Facebook, wrote, “we raised hell, we caused discomfort, and we made our voices heard all throughout this campus in the name of standing up for our brothers and sisters across the country who are staring terrorism and assault directly in the face.” She went on to accuse those she thought were insincere in their support for the movement of “faking allyship”

So if you are white, don’t try to pretend that you ally yourself with this Black racist movement. You won’t get away with it.

What can you do? Lie in the dust and apologize for your “white privilege”?

Or continue the long fight against racism of any kind, including this kind, in whatever way you can?

Posted under Commentary, corruption, education, Ethics, genocide, government, Law, Leftism, liberalism, Progressivism, Race, United States, US Constitution by Jillian Becker on Monday, November 16, 2015

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Trigger of terror: the Constitution of the United States 1

A woman student reports that she cannot bear it.

“Let’s shred it,” say the authorities at Vassar College.

This video is published today, November 3, 2015.

The video makers punctiliously correct an error.

CORRECTION: We incorrectly identified Colleen Cohen as being affiliated with Oberlin College. In fact, she is the Faculty Director of Affirmative Action and a Professor of Anthropology at Vassar College.

(She’s the one in the video who says she cannot use her shredder so must wait to shred the Constitution “when my secretary gets back”.)

So, Colleen Cohen, we fearmongers who think the US Constitution is the greatest document ever written, know where you live!

Posted under United States, US Constitution by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

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Separation of Church and State 3

The great idea of individual freedom is what the Founders of the USA intended the new nation to embody – not Christianity.

We have selected passages on this theme from an article by Rob Boston in Church and State, denying “10 myths” about the First Amendment and its implications:

Myth One: Separation of church and state isn’t found in the U.S. Constitution.

Separation of church and state came about in America because during the colonial period there often was no separation, and this violated fundamental liberties. The system the Religious Right favors – church-state union – was tried in many colonies and found wanting.

Throughout the article, the author ascribes the myths exclusively to the “Religious Right”. In our experience, Christians of both Right and Left repeat these same fallacies.

Virginia led the way. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison worked together to disestablish the Anglican Church and pass legislation that extended true religious freedom to all. Some years later, it was Jefferson who penned the metaphor of the First Amendment erecting a “wall of separation between church and state”. Jefferson’s metaphor resonated with the public and the courts. Thus, the phrase “separation of church and state” came into being as a short-hand way of describing the First Amendment’s religion clauses. As the eminent church-state scholar Leo Pfeffer once wrote, “[I]t was inevitable that some convenient term should come into existence to verbalize a principle so widely held by the American people.”

Key Founders backed the concept. Madison, known as the “Father of the Constitution” and a primary drafter of the Bill of Rights, used similar language. In Virginia, Madison noted that he and Jefferson had created the “total separation of the church from the state”. As president, Madison was a strict advocate of this principle. He vetoed legislation that would have given a church in Washington, D.C., a symbolic charter to care for the poor, and he vetoed legislation giving a federal land grant to a church. In both cases, Madison issued veto messages citing the First Amendment.

Myth Two: The United States was founded to be a Christian nation.

This claim is easily debunked by referring to the text of the U.S. Constitution. If an officially Christian nation had been the Founders’ intent, the Constitution would say that explicitly. It doesn’t. In fact, it says the opposite.

Religion is referred to twice in the Constitution. The First Amendment bars laws “respecting an establishment of religion” and prohibiting “the free exercise thereof.” The first portion of this statement, which scholars call the Establishment Clause, cuts strongly against the notion of an officially Christian nation.

The second reference is often overlooked but is very important. Article VI contains language stating that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” What the Founders did here was ban religious qualifications for federal office – that is, they made it illegal to require that a person hold certain religious beliefs as a qualification for public office. Article VI ensures that all people – Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, etc. – can hold office at the federal level. It is impossible to square this language with the “Christian nation” concept.

Many conservative pastors of the post-Revolution era were well aware of the secular nature of the Constitution. They knew that the document did not establish an officially Christian nation. This angered them and led to a round of pulpit attacks on the “godless” Constitution.

Myth Three: Separation of church and state was originally intended to merely bar the creation of a national church.

The text of the First Amendment goes way beyond simply banning a national church. The amendment prohibits all laws “respecting an establishment of religion”. James Madison, one of the chief drafters of the amendment, interpreted it broadly. Madison believed that tax funding of churches was unconstitutional and even concluded, later in his life, that official White House proclamations calling for days of prayer were a violation.

It is true that some colonies had official churches. But it’s worth noting that the religion enshrined in law varied from colony to colony. … This “multiplicity of sects,” as Thomas Jefferson called it, ensured an effective check on an officially established national church.

Myth Four: Most of the Founders were evangelical Christians and supported government promulgation of that mode of faith.

Evangelicalism did take hold in the colonies in the post-Revolutionary era, but it was never embraced by key Founders. Rather, they tended to align with a rival school that sought to merge certain ethical principles of Christianity with the tenets of the Enlightenment, which stressed the primacy of science and reason.

Many Founders are identified as Deists, a theological school of thought that is less popular today. Deists believed in God but didn’t interpret the Bible in a literal fashion. They were skeptical of miraculous claims and sought to find a way to bring religion into alignment with the emerging scientific view of the world.

Yes, many Founders were Deists, but here a correction is needed. As theological terms, Deism means belief that a divine being made the universe but had nothing more to do with it; Theism. in contrast, means belief in a creator who continues to concern himself with human affairs.

Some of the signers of the Constitution did undoubtedly hold traditional Christian beliefs. But this does not mean they supported merging church and state.

Myth Five: Mottos like “In God We Trust” on currency and “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance are evidence that separation of church and state was never intended.

Both of these phrases are of much more recent origin than many people believe.

“In God We Trust” is familiar to most Americans because it appears on U.S. currency. But early American money did not carry this phrase. The Fugio cent, a penny authorized by Congress in 1787 and reportedly designed by Benjamin Franklin, contained the mottos “Mind Your Business” and “We Are One” – a reference to the 13 colonies.

In God We Trust” didn’t appear on coins until the Civil War, when it was authorized for use on some coins minted in the North. The use of the phrase was sporadic on currency and was not codified until the 1950s. Around the same time, the phrase was adopted as the national motto. (“E Pluribus Unum” had been serving as an unofficial motto until then.) Many scholars believe that the adoption of these religious phrases was a reaction to the fight against “godless communism” during the Cold War.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a minister and a socialist. Bellamy wrote the Pledge to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the voyage of Christopher Columbus. Bellamy’s Pledge, which did not include the phrase “under God,” appeared in a magazine called Youth’s Companion. After a lobbying campaign by the magazine … it was adopted for use in public schools as part of a daily flag-salute ritual. Congress added the words “under God” to the Pledge in 1954, again as a reaction to the fight against communism.

In short, the Founders had nothing to do with these religious mottos or their adoption.

Myth Six: Thanks to separation of church and state, kids can’t pray in public schools.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 1962 and 1963 banned programs of government-sponsored, compulsory prayer and Bible reading in public schools. The high court did not invalidate truly voluntary prayer and hasn’t done so since then. …  Young people in public schools today may pray and read religious books in a non-disruptive way – but the choice is now theirs. No students can be compelled to take part in religious worship in a public school or singled out for refusing to do so. …

In addition, the Supreme Court has made it clear that public schools can teach about religion in an objective manner. Religion can be discussed in classes like history, art, literature and others. The Bible and other religious texts can even be read as part of a comparative religion course. As long as the approach has legitimate educational goals, public school officials will not get into trouble for teaching about religion. …

Myth Seven: Separation of church and state fosters secularism, which drains religion of its vitality.

Official government secularism is not the enemy of faith; it is the defender of it. A secular state is one that is neutral on matters of theology. An official policy of government neutrality toward religion is a positive thing for faith communities.

The United States is a perfect example of how an official doctrine of secularism helps religion. In this country, the government long ago adopted a hands-off attitude toward religion. As a result, hundreds (if not thousands) of specific faith groups have sprung up on our shores. Religious groups remain vital, and most Americans claim a religious affiliation.

Other Western nations have either established churches or some form of government aid to religion. Ironically, it is in these nations where religion is withering away. It would seem that the official tie between church and state and the rejection of secularism as a legal principle sap faith of its vitality. In the end, religion becomes a mere creature of the state and a tool for promoting whatever policies government leaders decide are appropriate. This is not what people want, and they turn away from religion.

A thought, perhaps even a fact, that does not seem a happy one to us. If separation of church and state has actually encouraged religiosness and multiplied religions, it is not an unmitigated virtue of the Constituion after all. But it may be that freedom alone is responsible for the hundreds or thousands of churches in the US. And there is no consequence of freedom that can make it regrettable.

Myth Eight: Separation of church and state means that government must be hostile to religion.

In some countries, houses of worship are shuttered by government mandate, and religious people are persecuted. Nothing like that has occurred in the United States, which operates under the separation of church and state.

The separation principle contains two key parts: The government is to refrain from promoting, sponsoring or advocating for any faith. Yet at the same time, the government is required not to meddle in the internal affairs of religious groups or impose undue regulations and oversight on them. Church-state separation protects religion by placing it beyond the reach of government. …

Not quite “beyond the reach of government”. Government’s interfering hand has held out offerings:

Religious groups in America receive many benefits. They are wholly tax exempt and are often free from the regulatory oversight that is imposed on similarly situated secular groups. They are free to lobby and speak out on political issues. They often receive special exemptions and preferential treatment in secular law. Far from experiencing hostility, the place of religion in this nation where we separate church and state is in many ways exalted.

Myth Nine: Most religious leaders don’t support separation of church and state.

Some of the earliest proponents of separation of church and state were religious leaders. Roger Williams, a Puritan clergyman and the founder of Rhode Island, strongly advocated for separation during the colonial era. Years later, clerics like John Leland and Isaac Backus demanded separation as the best vehicle to protect the right of conscience for all.

In colonial Virginia and elsewhere, clergy from Baptist, Presbyterian and other traditions worked alongside Enlightenment thinkers like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to secure church-state separation. These religious leaders knew that only separation could protect their faith and enable it to prosper.

In the modern era, many members of the clergy … [and] religious denominations are on record as officially sup­porting the concept.

Myth Ten: Separation of church and state stifles the public voice and presence of religion.

Anyone who believes this hasn’t been paying attention. The United States operates under separation of church and state, yet religious groups have a loud and robust public voice. They speak out – from the left, right and center – on any number of political issues. As tax-exempt entities, houses of worship are not permitted under federal law to endorse or oppose candidates for public office, but there is nothing to stop them from addressing issues. … Nor does separation of church and state result in what one foe of the principle called a “naked public square”. It’s true that government may not post or erect religious symbols, but private religious groups are often able to use public space to display them with their own money and on their own time. All that is required is that the government must treat all religious and secular groups equally; if access to public space is extended to one group, it must be extended to all.

To sum up: the Constitution does require the separation of church and state, even though the phrase itself does not appear in it.

 

(Hat-tip Frank)

Pay a tax for being white? 4

Should whites be taxed to benefit other races – and so do penance for their “white privilege”?

Again, Mark Dice makes a proposal to people at a beach and shows how stupid voters can be. (Only one man realizes that Dice is joking.)

Posted under Humor, Race, United States, US Constitution, Videos by Jillian Becker on Saturday, October 10, 2015

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The trouble with democracy 1

Bitter fun.

Mark Dice asks Americans to sign a petition against the First Amendment. All (except one intelligent woman) do. And they all have the vote!

Posted under United States, US Constitution, Videos by Jillian Becker on Thursday, October 1, 2015

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