From the Comments:

Gentle Reader Mark comments:

“Which do you consider more important? The Bible, or the Constitution of the United States? Because Mr. Bush and all the front-running Republican candidates have made plain that the Bible trumps the Constitution.”

To answer the first part of your comment, the Constitution — to plagiarize the Bible a skosh — is the Alpha and the Omega of the United States and of our government. Nothing trumps the Constitution, not the Bible, nor the Reg Vida, the Torah, the Kitab, the Quran, the Zend Avesta, the Guru Granth Sahib, the Codex Regis, the Tao Te Ching, or any other sacred text from the thousand and one ways Man has decided to worship the Eternal.

To the second part, I have to ask: in what way have all these folks — and I quote: “made plain that the Bible trumps the Constitution”?

Other than Mike Huckabee — who paid a price for it — I don’t remember the rest of the Republican candidates advocating an overthrow of the Constitution in favour of the Bible.

Indeed, the cult of personality woven about your candidate Barack Obama by the media — with the willing collusion of the rich and powerful in Hollywood and inside the Democratic Party — is the closest step these United States have ever taken towards a theocracy since 1776.

And while we’re on the subject, tell me why it is that when President Bush established the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, the liberals savage him for “violating the separation of Church and the State”, but when President Obama changes the name of that office a bit, declares his intention to expand it’s scope, and mulls over making it a Cabinet-level position — nobody even twitches?


Thought for the day:

56 thoughts on “From the Comments:”

  1. Actually, the Bible does trump the Constitution … but not by being imposed as the Law of the Land. It was religious faith that inspired abolition, women’s suffrage, the civil rights movement, etc. But Christianity did it (not by executive fiat or legislative act, but) by calling us to repentance.

    Government-sponsored “faith-based” initiatives have nothing to do with true faith, and everything to do with the government dictating what our “Faith” should and should not be.

    Did we learn nothing from the Spanish Inquisition and the Protestant Reformation?

  2. Ummm… hold on a sec.

    It’s the Bible that leads us to do good works?

    Then what, precisely, leads my Pagan self to dedicate so much of my life to protecting abused kids?

  3. Well, Strings, I think maybe you’re just confused about your faith. Just a Christian who hasn’t come into the fold yet.

    Or something like that. What do I know, though. I’m a damned dirty Heathen, myself.

  4. The Constitution is certainly best in class. However, as a political document it is subject to the vageries of politicians. Certainly not something I would use as my moral compass.

    With regard to faith based initiatives, from the 1st amendment: ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof’. If the government is happy to sponsor humanist/marxist/whatever groups to open a soup kitchen, it can then not deny eligibility to groups that express a religious opinion.

  5. (Puts on historian’s hat). Just to keep in mind, an “established religion” in the Constitution refers to an official, state church, such as the Church of England was in colonial Virginia, or the Congregationalists (AKA Puritans) in several New England colonies and states. People’s taxes supported said church, whether one was Episcopalian, Quaker, Baptist or worshiped the Manitou.

    The Baptists (assorted flavors) and Quakers were some of the strongest opponents of established churches in the Colonial and Early National periods.

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled comment thread.


  6. , I have to ask: in what way have all these folks — and I quote: “made plain that the Bible trumps the Constitution”?

    Careful there.

    I lost a lot of friends by asking them that question, or related ones.

    Like, “Since Ashcroft has now left, can you admit that your frothing that “homosexual concentration camps” that would be set up were completely bogus?”

    “Well, he wanted to! He just couldn’t!”

    It’s a funny thing, religion. Even more so when it’s practiced by someone who claims to despise it.

  7. Separation of Church and State-that is, Bible and Constitution, is essential in a democracy. The word ‘important’ is misleading; it implies a choice of one over the other. That is not possible in a country which supposedly adheres to the separation of Church and State.
    We do know, however, that sometimes that choice must be made, unfortunately, often by radicals and fanatics-or so we ‘sensible’ people term them.
    That was one of the problems with the Quakers in America. The religion controlled the personal, social, and political aspects of life, as well as religious. My Quaker ancestors hotfooted it to the less restrictive Baptists after a generation or two. My Presbyterians didn’t. My American Indians figured that God was just another name for Manitou and got on with it. They may be the smartest of the lot.
    Personal choice in our private lives must be religion, whatever it is; to borrow from the Bible, “it leads me in the paths of righteousness.”
    A good, decent person follows his conscience, whatever his religion, and remains good and decent in virutally all circumstances, dependent upon his strength and the pressures brought to bear and the measure of his courage.
    Obviously, quite a few of our lawmakers aren’t familiar with that.
    They don’t appear to be familiar with the Constitution, either.
    The Constitution is meant as a guideline for our governing body, not for our religious organizations.
    However, our religious organizations are a guide to our daily lives, not for governance of a country.
    Therein lies a problem, in that sometimes the obedience and inforcement of the Constitution infringes on personal and religious freedom.
    By the same token, sometimes the tenets of religion violate Constitutional law.
    Either may be set aside when the application is just quite simply wrong, and we know that in our minds and hearts, regardless of religion or law.
    The fact that President Bush is a practising Christian and chose to make that known in his daily living is not an opposition to or alteration of the Constitution. He did not force the application of his beliefs to one thing in government.
    I doubt, several years from now, we shall be able to say that of Obama and his Moslem upbringing or his adherence to a radical Baptist church, (-or, one might add, his abandonment of that church when it became obvious that it was politically expedient that he do so-which REALLY doesn’t set well with the Scotch Presbyterian side of me)or his bent toward socialism, or, especially, his closet racism.
    With the Obamas, I think you can bring in another factor or two: ancestral hatred and the application of it 150 years later, and the fact that they appear to think the government of the United States is a monarchy.
    There is neither the Bible nor the Constitution in that.

  8. THe Lightbringer is being considered a “religion” by many, THAT is what is scaring me. Well, that and the fact they are looking at the Constitution as being advisory in nature, rather than the law of the land.

  9. Unix-Jedi,

    “It’s a funny thing, religion. Even more so when it’s practiced by someone who claims to despise it.”



    Quoted for Truth.

    I’m sayin’!

    *Flicks lighter and holds it up…*

  10. I hate to remind everybody, but ther is no “separation of Church and State” in the Constitution. It was invented by the Supreme Court, just like those “emanations from the penumbra”.

  11. Thomas Jefferson, 1802. Paraphrasing: The first amendment to the constitution creates a “wall of separation” between church and state.
    This has since been used extensively by the US Supreme Court as an anchor stone in the question of that separation, presuming that Jefferson knew a lot more about Constitutional interpretation than they did.
    They did not ‘invent’ the concept.
    Having read and reread these pages, I somehow must have missed where anyone at all specifically said that this separation is specified in the Constitution.
    One of us needs to learn to read.

  12. This misses the point AGAIN. We to some degree legislate morality (and by extension religion) RIGHT NOW and have so for CENTURIES. Its DOGMA that the seperation of church and state fights to exclude. Anyway, its sad that instead of agreeing on principles and working towards them we instead waste our time concentrating on our differences. For example, we all agree that we should reduce abortions at a minimum. So why can we not all agree to use all methods of reducing unwanted pregnancies?

  13. LawMom makes me come over all faint with the urge to send her chocolate at just this moment in time.

  14. Isn’t it amazing that, in a country founded by people who wished the freedom to practice their religon in public life, so many people will just get all hateful and bitter against… anyone who dares to practice their religon in public life?

    LawMom, with respect, Jefferson also thought that the French Revolution was a grand idea. the REST of the Founders were more concerned about preventing the establishment of a mandatory state cult, as they had directly experienced in England, then in creating any “wall”.

  15. Category error.

    I can’t speak to the question unless you clearly define what “more important” means, and whether it’s a question for whom or for what.

    Jesus Christ laid down for His followers the general principle that one renders unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is God’s. Since He was holding up a Roman coin at the time as an example of what is Caesar’s, and since Christian humans believe that they themselves are stamped with the image and likeness of God, the moral of the story is pretty clear.

    It is therefore permissible, to a certain extent, to cooperate even with a bad or evil government; and when one is doing government-y things, you are generally supposed to play by the rules set by the government.

    However, when it comes down to anything which would mean giving away oneself or one’s fellow humans into the clutches of government power, it is a Christian duty to resist, either nonviolently as the earliest Christians did or with a tad bit more armed force.

    Or, to put it in terms of American governmental philosophy, government is derived from the consent of the governed, and only has the right to do things permitted to it by natural law.

    Which all comes from good Catholic natural law philosophy in the first place…. πŸ™‚

  16. Dave P.
    Hello? I said it just happened to be Jefferson who made the analysis concerning the wall of separation; only this and nothing more, quoth the Raven.
    Abortion? With the exception of countries like China and a few others, it’s still a matter of personal choice. The method of it is also a matter of personal choice. My personal choice would be prevention in the first place.
    Labrat, you are making that statement to a person who will mug you in an alley for a brownie?
    Morality and ethics Maureen; that’s where the conflict comes in when there shouldn’t be any. Find me a government which adheres to that, and I’ll move and go there.
    Maybe in a galaxy far, far away.

  17. Hmm. Mentioning that I happen to be in the possession of some very fine chocolate bars with salted caramel and scotch in them might be hazardous to my health, then. πŸ˜‰

  18. Bob said “It was religious faith that inspired abolition, women’s suffrage, the civil rights movement, etc”.

    Funny, wasn’t it religious faith that fueled justification of slavery, women as chattel, and refusing rights to Jews, Catholics, and the like?

    Lawdog, nobody is saying anything because Obama’s message of Change and Hope is itself a quasi-religious one, not a logic-based one. Sort of like passing an 1100 page stimulus package that no one has read in full is a faith-based initiative.


  19. Sorry the first thing that passed my noggin was that the question didn’t parse. It’s attempting to compare apples to I-beams.

  20. LabRat-
    If you happen to have chocolate with bourbon and mint, be afraid; be very afraid.

  21. LawMom: what about cupcakes with whiskey and Irish cream? Would I be safe with those? >:)

  22. Am I the only one wondering where LawMom’s blog is??? She is The Awesome today.

    I have hot chocolate with Irish Creme… or will have tonight. Do I get mugged? πŸ˜‰

    –A mom in VA

  23. In my experience, I’ve found secularism as dogmatic as any religion. While there’s convincing arguments on both sides for the necessity of either, in the long run, both ends of the spectrum are only meddling in my private business.

    There should be a wall between the government and any ideology that dictates anything beyond the Golden Rule, but the wall shouldn’t be so stout that even ideas are insulated from public policy.

  24. lets see. big one right off the top…

    “marriage is between 1 man and 1 women”

    my religion says I can have more than one spouse (of what ever gender I choose)

    now, where does all this screaming come from?

    what religious group was that? I didn’t quite hear you.

    now, shall we discus Stem Cell Research?

    or a Pagan Solder who died for his country being refused by the Govt a Pentacle on his Headstone?

    Obama is just as wrong keeping the office of “giving tax payer money to religions that taxpayers don’t want to donate money to” as Bush the Younger was

    the State supports Christianity, obvious every time we read “in god we trust” on our currency or when they open congress with a Christian Prayer.

    ONLY Christian Prayer.

    not Jewish, or Islam, or a moment of meditation led by a Buddhist, or an Invocation to Draw down the Moon by a Wiccan or any other non Christian religion.

    only Christian denominations.

    all religions or no religions. only way to do it and be fair.

  25. “the REST of the Founders were more concerned about preventing the establishment of a mandatory state cult, as they had directly experienced in England, then in creating any ‘wall’.”

    I don’t think that this is a defensible position. Remember that the words of the First Amendment are, “Congress shall make no law…”. The doctrine of incorporation (that the First Amendment is binding on the states, as well as on the Federal goverment) did not arise until the 1890s. Certainly, the First Amendment was not seen as barring the established state churches of Connecticut and Rhode Island at the time of its adoption.

    I believe that the First Amendment must be seen as preventing the Federal government from disestablishing state churches in favor of its own creation.

  26. “the State supports Christianity, obvious every time we read “in god we trust” on our currency”

    That’s been the biggest problem with the “conservative” movement in America ever since they grabbed their ankles for the Jeezo-Nazis to get Reagan elected: These days they seem more concerned with what’s printed on a dollar bill than where it came from or what it’s being spent on.

    I want hardcore isolationist agnostic accountants, not holy roller millennialist interventionists.

  27. ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof’…
    This prohibits the Federal government from establishing a national religion, such as the Anglican church in Britain, or from engaging in religious persecution, which had also happened in Britain.
    As has been stated.
    (only this, and nothing more…)

  28. LawMom

    I have home made cinnamon rolls–it’s too early for hootch and chocolate.

    Yes. Would my fellow conservatives get on message with small government/fiscal conservatism/lower taxes and stop mucking around with the religious nonsense. Leave religion out of government, shut up, and leave people alone. Is that so hard?

  29. Your correspondent proposes a false dichotomy–demonstrating a shallow understanding, and forcing you to respond to what amounts to a stupid question.

    By and large, the Constitution is based on the Bible–that is, (as others pointed out here) the Judaeo-Christian culture gave birth to the Constitution.

    Two examples, (now largely ignored) are the 9th and 10th Amendments, which enshrine “subsidiarity;” a concept always advocated by the Catholic Church and Christianity in general.

    It is also true in the very general sense that the Constitution was based on “natural law,” (rightly understood), and presupposed the moral view of the Judeao-Christian tradition.

    That is not to say that the Constitution “imposes morality.” It assumes morality–which may have been a mistake, as it turns out.

  30. Since this country was founded by Christians (although I have my doubts about Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson), it follows that the Constitution would be formulated and written by men who were. There simply wasn’t much permissible scope in those days.
    It was, I think, enlightened and far-thinking of them to make the First Amendment so flexible, in that they did not specify a CHRISTIAN religion.
    Perhaps they didn’t think they had to; but then again, many of these man were brilliant and perceptive far beyond their time. They had more experience of religions other than Christian ones than we like to think they did.
    The unholy Spanish Inquisition and Cromwell’s ghastly Puritan reign of terror couldn’t have been too far from the basically European minds of America’s early leaders.
    Undoubtedly the founding fathers felt compelled to write something into the Constitution that would attempt to stop religious persecution from ever happening in this country. They were wise to do so.
    Perhaps the Amendment may be interpreted as applying only to Christian religions, but it doesn’t SAY that.
    Civil government and religion must be separate in order to prevent such terrible actions from ever taking place in this country. No matter what race, religion, political party, or social standing, most people are basically control freaks; they want things their way or no way, and this allows for persecution and wars.
    If church and state are allowed to mix, we open the door for terrible things.
    What we depend upon is the upbringing of our leaders as people who believe in the basic tenets of any decent and moral peoples, Christian, Jewish, Moslem, pagan, or whatever. Unfortunately, some of our leaders simply aren’t good people.
    As to ‘In God We Trust’ and prayers in schools, before football games, and in our nation’s government, there again, we have a lot of latitude. Outside my window in Libya, I heard five times a day, “God Great. In the Name of God, the One, the Benvolent, the Merciful, there is no God but God.”
    That is the translation of the “Allah hu Akbar” Moslem call to prayer given me directly by one of the magus who spoke English.
    Who is to say what God may be called in other languages? I prefer the old mystic Allfather, myself.
    Whoever we have in our souls, we may call Him by any name we wish.
    As to the Books which lay down the guidelines for specific religions, you might be surprised to find how alike they are in moral and ethical concepts.

    William the Coroner-
    Mint tea is always in vogue with cinnamon rolls. I guess they could be frosted chocolate?

  31. Flipping back and forth between Constitutional interpretation and recipes for sweets is very confusing!


  32. If I recall my history correctly, the separation of church and state was lifted from the Danbury Baptist Association, and referred to a wall separating the wilderness of the state from the garden of religion. In other words, a guarantee that the state would not interfere with religion.

  33. Practicing christians were in the minority when the constitution was written …

    Jefferson was a Deist, Paine was an outright atheist ( despite the fact that Atheism was a capital offense under the crown ), and as for Franklin, he was a member of the Hellfire Club in Europe … heh. Most of the rest were part of Washington’s and Co.’s Masonic clique. Only two were Christian ministers.

    As for the origins of our form of government, it has more to do with out Greco-Roman heritage … if we stuck to Judeo-Christian values, we would have chosen a King.

    Methinks that most of the problems we are having with religion and government are the result of too much government. Get government out of a particular enterprise ( education, say ), and religious involvement becomes a market issue, not a legal issue.

  34. And Benjamin Franklin was a Deist, Alexander Hamilton, a Huguenot, was a Presbyterian and an Episcopalian and suited his social ambitions and his politics, George Reade was Episcopalian, as was George Washington.
    Are we going somewhere with this? I can pull down the religions of all the founding fathers that AREN’T my ancestors, but why?
    Practising or not, they were all nominally Christians.

  35. “marriage is between 1 man and 1 women”

    Direct quote (except the original uses woman rather than women) from the Defense of Marriage Act signed into law on 21 Sept 1996 by President William J. Clinton.

    Shall we discuss which political party President Clinton belongs to?

    the State supports Christianity, obvious every time we read “in god we trust” on our currency or when they open congress with a Christian Prayer.

    ONLY Christian Prayer.

    not Jewish, or Islam, or a moment of meditation led by a Buddhist, or an Invocation to Draw down the Moon by a Wiccan or any other non Christian religion.

    only Christian denominations.

    The Chaplain of the House of Representatives has a webpage — Google can help you find it in less than a second.

    On that webpage, the House Chaplain lists the guest chaplains who have led the prayer opening the sessions of Congress since 2001.

    By my count seventeen rabbis — including one female rabbi — and a gentleman by the name of Imam Hassan Qazwini (on October 1, 2003) have given the Opening Prayer in Congress.

    A Hindu holy man gave the opening prayer during the 2000 session.

    Are the rest of your assertions as well researched as the above examples?

  36. β€œOur Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams

  37. “”As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

    -From the Treaty of Tripoli, ratified by the Senate and signed by President John Adams in 1797.

  38. "Jefferson was a Deist, Paine was an outright atheist ( despite the fact that Atheism was a capital offense under the crown ), and as for Franklin, he was a member of the Hellfire Club in Europe … heh. Most of the rest were part of Washington's and Co.'s Masonic clique. Only two were Christian ministers."

    Tell me, how are the religions of TJ & TP relevant to a document of which neither was responsible for a authoring a single word?

    TJ: Declaration of Independence
    TP: Common Sense
    Gouverneur Morris: Preamble of the COTUS and several major sections ; probably more of his words than any other author's in the COTUS.

    FTR, TJ was in Paris at the time of the writing of the COTUS.

  39. Mr. Lawdog Sir. (and I do mean that honestly, I have a great deal of respect for you)

    I don’t believe I ever stated which president or party brought about the one man/women. doesn’t mater what party did. don’t ask/don’t tell was just as wrong in my not at all humble opinion. making homosexuals second class citizens because it plays to the bible belt is still bigotry no mater how many people want it. replace the words “gay” and “lesbian” with the word “negro” and see how that legislation reads.

    And as for Rabbi’s/Imans etc
    how many? 18? out of 200 plus years? only since 2000?

    seems a pretty poor record to me.

    I think we can agree that the stem cell research was tied into the Abortion issue which is very much a Christian hot button. as someone who has been directly affected by that legislation, (Diabetic) I took that one rather personally. why does someone else’s religious belief mean I and millions of others must suffer?

    the Pagan Solder Headstone was pretty well publicized. but I can present cites for it if you wish.

    as a non Christian it may be I see more “pushing” of Christianity because I look and see the pushing of Christianity, while Christians and Nominal Christians just see “what should be”

    I do not mean to offend, but to present from a different point of view.

  40. Errrmmmmmm I’m not sure what ‘trump the constitution’ means.

    Howsomever, the Constitution primarily exists to organize government and as such is a political document.

    The Bible is also a political document, but only for Jews and only if they live in a (currently hotly contested) chunk of real estate in the Middle East. But that is its secondary or even tertiary role. It is primarily a document of PERSONAL morals and ethics.

    The Bible is not subject to amendment, the Constitution is. It is the Bible that represents a higher morality separate and apart from the legalities of the Consitution. It is the Bible that is enlightens moral judgement. It is said to even be the embodiment of Natural Law. If, for example, the people of the USA passed a Constitutional Amendment that [fill in the blank: your choice of minorities; homosexuals, Okies, T-Sip, Aggies, Pollocks, blacks, whites, greens, pinks, brown, reds, polka-dots or paisley] people were to be taken out back and hung from the nearest lamp post, it would be the morality of the Bible that would allow me to say that such an amendment is ‘wrong’.

    Ergo, the Constitution, being a document written by fallible men, IS subject to being morally wrong. We know that, for example, the first 80+ years of its existence, it permitted slavery. It took a civil war and a couple of amendments to fix that.

    It was the Bible (allegedly written by an infallible God) that allowed the people of the US to declare that slavery was ‘wrong’ even if legal. In fact, I will define ‘injustice’ as making legal that which is immoral.

    So there is no conflict between the Bible and the Constitution. The Bible deals with morals, and the Constitution deals with the organization of government. But the Bible (and those who adhere to it) JUDGES the Constitution. It does not ‘trump’ it.

    It is biblical morality that judges the ‘rightness’ or ‘wrongness’ of a human law–even the Constitution.

  41. “It was the Bible (allegedly written by an infallible God) that allowed the people of the US to declare that slavery was ‘wrong’ even if legal. In fact, I will define ‘injustice’ as making legal that which is immoral.”

    Dude, where in the Bible does it condemn slavery?

    For heaven’s sake, it contains instructions on how to sell your daughter.

  42. The Bible is a book … one written by men. It judges nothing.

    Humans judge everything.

    You think this “God” judges all? Show me your “God”. Trot him out for us. I’ll wait.

    Count me as one of those atheist fanatics. I’ll tolerate religion as long as I don’t have to pay for it.

    There is a reason the first amendment was added to the bill of rights, folks … making the State stay out of this fight is a good thing . If the christ crowd did get themselves installed as an official religion, they would be fighting over which sect got to be in charge … personally, I’d like to see the Snake-Handlers running the show, just for comic relief. It would also make school prayer interesting, if nothing else.

  43. Tam:
    1 Corinthians 7:21-22 & Galatians 3:28.

    Were I a non-Jew in that area of the Middle East (prior to 70CE), and had the opportunity to be a slave to a godly (or consistent) Jew, I would certainly consider that as a fabulous career opportunity compared to most alternatives. Jews were supposed to treat their slaves better than their own children. It was expected that Jew would treat their slaves so well that they would not want to be a freeman (-woman) at the end of their period of servitude (a mere 7 years).

    The Bible accepts slavery as a human condition, but it does not condone it. It changes slavery to what we would call 'indentured servant' instead.

    Even Roman law (the hated gentiles) insisted that food be provided for slaves, and that a slaveowner himself could be enslaved for not providing it. Depending on era and location, it was common for people to sell THEMSELVES into slavery to avoid starvation.

    The Bible also has a procedure by which ones own offspring can be put to death by stoning. But it doesn't recommend that course of action except as a last resort and to protect the rest of the family and community from a murderous offspring.

    Again: these laws are for JEWS living in a very small part of the world. For the rest of us (even those Jews living outside that area), the Bible is the revelation of God about Himself. It reveals personal moral character, not political organization.

    Gods idea of politics is a Theocracy–with He HIMSELF sitting on the Throne of David. That has not happened (yet) in world history.

  44. Back in the bad old days, although most of Africa wouldn’t admit to still slaving, I stopped in Timbucktu. That city had a thriving slave market, and I thought I wanted to see what it was like to own another human being, so I bought one.
    I was totally unprepared for how I would feel. It was awful. The side of me that believes so thoroughly in freedom and personal independence was shocked and revolted.
    I wasn’t prepared for that, and soon set the man free. He cried and begged me to keep him. That was even more apalling. I gave him everything I had in my purse, telling him to run like hell back to his village so the slavers wouldn’t just pick him up again. I left Timbucktu without one penny to my name.
    I found out later that what I had given him-around $300.00- was enough to keep him for about ten years or more.
    That didn’t help one bit. My hour’s ‘ownership’ is just about the most revolting experience of my life.
    I understand, however, that in some of the Caribbean and South American countries, a type of slavery is still part of the custom there.
    These people are housed, fed, clothed, and provided with medical care, in exchange for work.
    One must consider that without this ‘slavery’ these people would very likely be sleeping in ditches, hungry, uneducated, sick, and thoroughly miserable. Freedom for them is not a pleasant prospect.
    It’s not a perfect world.

  45. I didn’t twitch, I jerked with revulsion.

    Any time the/any government gets involved with religion (or forcing the lack thereof, e.g. Communists), it’s a bad thing. Got Spanish Inquisition?

    I don’t care if a courthouse has the Ten Commandments posted, or “In God We Trust” is on our money; I’m pretty easy-going about people’s traditions as long as they aren’t shoved down my throat. Or my children’s. They can pray for the devil to depart me until they’re blue in the face, and I’ll just go on smiling and nodding and casting my Circle.

    But the US government has no business setting up an office of faith-based anything.

    And hey, what part of “reduce the need for abortion” (no matter how terrific an idea it sounds in theory!) or “encouraging responsible fatherhood” doesn’t translate to “impose my personal morality upon the rest of you”?

    And what part of the bullet points on that page don’t sound incredibly sexist — “…that will look at how we support women and children…” (because women shouldn’t be self-sufficient?), and “…working to get young men off the streets and into well-paying jobs…” (because only men need well-paying jobs to support a family?). As a mother who was widowed 16 years ago at the age of 23, with 2 kids under age 5 to support and raise alone, I’m appalled at the whole tone of the proposal, above and beyond the pushy religious part.

  46. We Christians aren’t called to impose our “morality” on others, but we have a duty to exercise our First Amendment rights and speak against evil and point out that sin has consequences. If the fire alarm annoys you, the solution isn’t to silence the alarm, but to heed its warning.

    RE: Strings question about how it’s possible for pagans to do “good” — I never claimed that the Bible is the only source of morality (any more than the Sun is the only source of light), but in the historical examples I cited, it was in fact the Bible that inspired abolition, etc.

    As for those who twisted the plain teaching of the Bible to justify slavery, their damnation is all the more fitting — God will not be mocked.

    One last thought: There is a God … and I’m not Him (so as application to me, it’s not my job to impose my morality on you). But I would also point out that you aren’t God either.

  47. Many Christian sects are called upon to proselitize. It is a practise which extends for generations back.
    Of course, the loud and public assertion that because one isn’t a member of that sect he or she is condemned to hell can’t be read as blackmail or a threat, either.
    I am assuming your sect isn’t one of them.
    And no one on this forum has claimed to be God-or Allah-or Buddha-or Veda-or Manitou-or any of the other ‘Gods.’
    Your inference that we have renders your argument ineffective simply because of the ridiculousness of the implications and statement that “you aren’t God either.”
    You might want to remember that Jesus walked among us as a man.

  48. I'll grant that you didn't claim that the Christian Bible is the only source of morality. However, having dealt with enough that DO make such a claim, you'll have to forgive me jumping to that conclusion…

    >As for those who twisted the plain teaching of the Bible to justify slavery, their damnation is all the more fitting — God will not be mocked.<

    Ahhh…so your interpretation of the Bible is correct, and those others (for several hundred years) are wrong?

    >One last thought: There is a God … and I'm not Him (so as application to me, it's not my job to impose my morality on you). But I would also point out that you aren't God either.<

    Never claimed to be God. Demi, at most… πŸ˜›

  49. Strings–
    Ahhh, but you prove my point. Any objective reading of the Bible finds explicit condemnation of the slave trade (Leviticus 25:39-41). It’s only demigods who presume their “interpretation” of the Scriptures is more authoritative than its plain statements. Or as Lewis Carroll put it:

    “When I use the word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I chose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

    “The question is,” said Alice, ” whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be the master — that’s all.”

  50. ~*Applause!*~
    Anonymous, Strings, Bob.
    Most of us who were raised Christian have had a bad experience or two with the church. It isn’t the faith that caused it, but the people who control it, in the main. Most churches show a control freaky side at one time or another-or all the time-and that’s PEOPLE, not God; He doesn’t need to.
    I expect it’s pretty much the same in any religion.
    I would not dream of attempting to interpret the Bible for another person. That’s just pure presumption and arrogance. Nor would I ever attempt to threaten coerce, persuade, or bribe someone into joining me in my religion.
    All of which has everything and nothing to do with the original question……

  51. I would take the people who make this kind of challenge a LOT more seriously if I saw any evidence that they had read either the Bible OR the Constitution.

  52. “…I would take the people who make this kind of challenge a LOT more seriously if I saw any evidence that they had read either the Bible OR the Constitution…”

    That’s the beauty of both documents. When you remove the effort to interpret the text, or influence for the gain of power, both instill a basic way of life that’s never threatened by greed.

    As my mother used to say: People are no damned good, but I don’t think she arrived at this opinion until she read the Constitution and the Bible.

  53. In the world, those in authority lord it over those under them; but in my kingdom it is not so. Anyone who wants to be lord must be a servant. Anyone who wants to be lord of all must be servant of all.

    If you see someone stomping his feet, saying he’s the boss and everyone must obey him – he’s worldly, not spiritual.

  54. Well, if I only asked one good question this year, I’m glad I asked this one. It’s got people thinking. Thank you, LawDog, for thinking it was worth hanging out for some air.

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