By The Right Scoop


Bill Whittle never ceases to amaze me at how he can put ideas together in a way that makes so much sense. And in this episode of Afterburner, he talks about freedom’s need for virtue and why without it we end up with an Occupy movement:

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  • http://www.planettron.com NickDeringer

    “My friends, we got a lot of work to do.”

    Yes and Amen!!

    We need to start teaching our kids the basic virtues and values that we once had. The problem with American is a problem with the individual. If you fix the individual, you fix the whole country.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OQI5D66OXO7X2FE4NVCZC7BAMA Joe

    Why is Bill Whittle not a CANDIDATE?

    • Anonymous

      I’m a moderate and would love to see Bill Whittle as a candidate. But only because I know he’d get torn to shreds by everyday Americans for being a partisan extremist. He wouldn’t stand up under the scrutiny of the spotlights for a minute.

  • Dan

    “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If ‘Thou shalt not covet’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.” –John Adams, A Defense of the American Constitutions, 1787

    • Anonymous

      Spoken like a true liberal.

  • http://profiles.google.com/ajtelles Art Telles

    “… my friends, “we’ve got a lot of work to do”…

    At 5min. 40sec –

    “So, do you know who’s responsible for all of the lawlessness, the entitlement, temper tantrum chanting, anger and confusion of the occupy generation?

    “Yeah, we are.

    “We failed those poor kids.

    “Our job was to instill character, virtue and discipline into these young people, and we failed them.

    “We failed them utterly.

    “We’re going to pay for it too.

    “OWS is just the first notice of this long, overdue bill.

    “No, my friends.

    “We’ve got a lot of work to do.

    – – – – – – – –

    The only thing I would add to the OWS yelping about the social injustice in America is that the “occupy generation … poor kids … young people” are the PUPPETS on the string of the so-called “Wizards of What is Truth” WISE ONES behind the wizards curtain.

    Maybe Bill Whittle can add part 2 with that “work to do” follow-through.

    Art

  • blackbird

    Thanks Scoop, Bill is a must watch.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, like a trainwreck or a highway mashup.

  • Anonymous

    Well, IMHO when you drill down to the “root cause” of the problem (i.e., OWS attitude) gets back to what’s been going on in the public schools all the way through the Universities for many years. And parents have gone along to get along.

    Everyone gets a trophy = I’m entitled to it even though I didn’t work hard to earn it.

    Everyone passes to the next grade whether or not they worked hard to learn the subjects just so the school can brag about their passing rate.

    Children no longer do chores around the house because they are too busy going to dance class, gymnastics, etc., etc., etc. I think outside activities are good. Pick one but tie it to good grades and completion of chores to teach a bit of character and a REAL sense of achievement.

    And while I’m on my rant – Since when is it OK for kids (of all ages) to be disrespectful to parents, teachers or any other authority figure?????

    Guess I’m old fashion in my thinking, but maybe that’s what is needed. Some good old fashion common sense!

    • Anonymous

      “Everyone gets a trophy.” Well said, MaxineCA.

      In Viet Nam, we had another saying: “Once in a while life serves up a (unpalatable) sandwich, and everyone has to take a bite.”

      In a way, I suppose that we all get a trophy for the sandwich Obama, the Democrats, and easy economic times, the women’s liberation movement, gay power black power and the take over of public education by the progressives and the Unionist served up to us in 2008. I despised the liberals in the college I attended in 68-72, but never did anything about it. I despised the castrating public education and child care movement of the 70’s and 80’s but did nothing about it.

      Like Bill Whittle intimates, we all deserve a trophy for our indifference and blind confidence in an America that would , well, just always be there for us. My parents are long gone but I’m glad they didn’t have to see this. So what will we do?

      No more blind confidence in the goodness of Americans simply because we share a common birth nation. I will pick and choose my friends and character will rule, not color or any other standard. I will not depend on the government to fight my battles, defend my rights or property or protect my future. I reject government in favor of decency and courage. In this house, we read a lot of blogs and there are millions of strong willed, decent people in this country and we will stand with them when the moment arises.

      I and millions more have risked our lives for this country and killed it’s enemies and we can do it again. Unlike OWS and and the young idealists who have no concept of their own mortality nor of their own value for our future, and unlike slobbering, greedy liberals like Michael Moore, we know what we believe and we will again lay life on the line. None will like the idea, but none will cower from it.

      Arm yourselves, stock up with food but not in anger and not in hatred. Do it because as Americans it is our responsibility to survive and preserve the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity. Look behind you. Do you see anyone else on the planet ready to stand up for liberty and personal responsibility? Did you think the French might again come to aid America in a struggle against tyranny? You and I are on the front line. There are no troops in reserve.

      So I accept my trophy. I pray it’s made of lead because lead is a valuable, recyclable material and it won’t turn you hands green.

      • Anonymous

        Well it appears that many are spitting out the bite of the Obama sandwich which was forced into our mouths!

        Thank you for your service! We’re both in the same age range, and it broke by heart to see how our vets were treated in those days upon their return. To me, it’s one of our most shameful times in history!

    • http://profiles.google.com/ajtelles Art Telles

      “… root cause…”

      Yep, there’s a “whole lotta” work to do.

      Starting with taking back control of the money and the education of children.

      Picture a mother holding onto one arm of her child and the education establishment holding onto the other arm of the mother’s child, and they’re pulling intently.

      Which one will give in first… for the good of the child, of course?

      The mother who bore the child, of course, as in the biblical story of Solomon suggesting the dividing the baby claimed by two women.

      In this case, who will give in first?

      The one who loves the child or the one who loves the paycheck that the child represents?

      A possible solution to start with?

      Follow the money… from the Federal Department of Education as it trickles down to the local community and family.

      Of course, it’s much more complicated, federal, state, local, family, etc.

      But, the way it is working now is that the one who controls the money… controls the child.

      Art

    • mike morrison

      Dead on, Maxine!!!

    • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

      I must have been a real oddball. I opposed all get trophies, pass all, kids had to do chores, and any disrespect got an reaction, my kids did not expect. I fought with the teachers, the PTA, college profs, and with the no kid left behind. Look at all I accomplished. After my kids left home, it all went right back to the same old stuff. My kids became hippie addicts. I would do it again, do you have the guts? Oh, did I mention wife became hippie.

      • cabensg

        We can’t always get the desired outcome even when we knew we’ve done the right thing. Look at Reagan. His own children are a disgrace to his legacy only his adopted son defends and believes what Reagan believed. It’s a crap shoot at best but when it works it was well worth the efforts. I don’t know what the exact odds are for successfully raising children who do have values but as long as each child or spouse is an individual there’s only so much you can do. Much is still left up to the individual to decide how they want to live their life no matter how they were raised or who they were influenced by.

        • Anonymous

          Reagan’s kids turned out alright, even though Reagan was a distant father, and one of his sons as sexually abused. (Not by Reagan, of course) But just because they’re not radical right-wingers doesn’t mean they’re bad folks.

          I understand how giving every kid a trophy can cheapen winning in theory. I’m apprehensive about it myself. But you guys are taking this to an extreme. Do you really want to live in a world where we force many to fail at life completely so a few can seem all the more glorious? Because that’s the extreme some of you are advocating.

          Shouldn’t everyone who’s willing to put in a full day’s labor earn a full day’s pay? Shouldn’t everyone who’s willing to work hard be able to feed themselves and their family? And when we find ourselves with family members who can’t work due to disability, shouldn’t we support them, and eachother?

          That’s the American thing to do. Anything else would really be a Nazi-like injustice.

          Go watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” and learn some real honest American values.

  • Anonymous

    Good one scoop ! Bill Whittle sees so well the source of the problems and how to remedy them. So many would be helped by the addition of good moral values and a heaping helping of courtesy. That would be most helpful for Miss Nancy and her problems with her catholic conscience.

  • Anonymous

    I agree RS, Bill Whittle has the knack of explaining in everyday layman’s terms topics that appear difficult to understand.

  • Anonymous

    Cain/Whittle 2012

    • http://no-apologies-round2.blogspot.com/ AmericanborninCanada

      there ya go!

  • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

    “Now it is possible to have an internal judge constraining your behavior without believing in God, of course, it’s just a damn bit harder to find.”

    It certainly is possible to have an internal regulator of your behavior without believing in any god. And atheists have an internal regulator that functions perfectly well. It can be summarized easily by the common paraphrase of the Hippocratic oath: “first do no harm”.

    This does not in any way mean we are without morals, only that our idea of morals is not nearly as constraining because we’re not questioning whether every little action we do will in some remote way be considered a “sin”, only whether it will cause harm or strife.

    • Anonymous

      You make a great point. I raised my son by the “golden rule”, after reading many books on various religions as that seemed to be the common theme. I wanted him to be informed and make his own choice.

      That being said, I must say that atheists attacking our foundational principals is not gaining you any favor. We have a freedom OF religion NOT a freedom FROM religion.

      You do not have a right to impose your belief on anyone by taking down crosses, etc. Can’t you be tolerant of those that want to practice their own religion? No one is forcing you to join theirs.

      • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

        You do not have a right to impose your belief on anyone by taking down crosses, etc. Can’t you be tolerant of those that want to practice their own religion? No one is forcing you to join theirs.

        I invite you to read an article I wrote back in May regarding the First Amendment and how it enjoins all levels of government from putting up religious displays. After all, where is the harm in going to the Courts to order our government to obey the Constitution? This isn’t about tolerance, it’s about our government respecting the First Amendment instead of trampling on it.

        You are free to practice your religion all you want, but as soon as you try to join the government in on practicing your religion as well by making religious displays and such, then that is where you start running afoul of the Constitution.

        And I’m perfectly tolerant of others religious beliefs. My wife’s family is Catholic, and whenever I’m in my in-law’s house, their traditions control. But we are also on the understanding that when I am around they do not speak ill of or in any way denigrate atheism. Mutual respect, mutual tolerance.

        But that is a private home and she is free to put up whatever religious display she wants. If she were to ask her city government to put a giant crucifix in the middle of the city’s square, then we’ve got a problem. See the difference?

        • Anonymous

          Oh my goodness. I wish one of our founding fathers would be here to debate the issues with you. Frankly, I won’t even attempt to live up to their standards. I’m sure some of the others on this blog would be willing to take on that challenge, but my simple answer to you is to read our history. It’s what made us great!

          • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

            “Read our history”. That’s all you have to say in response? Just “read our history”. No response to any of the substance of what I wrote. Ugh…

            By the way, I have read history. I’m sorry if my disagreement with your point of view somehow gives you the impression that I have not.

            • Anonymous

              Sorry if I hurt your feelings, but just stating my opinion. Since you seem to be an expert on the subject, I’m sure you would appreciate that. I always try to be respectful of those that have opposing views.

              • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

                You didn’t hurt my feelings at all. I was merely astounded by the emptiness of your response.

            • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

              In case you cannot read, nor understand, our nation started out under GOD! The USA says they cannot force you to to obey a church, such as paying tithe. Our coins bear God’s name. If you object to God anywhere, you are anti American. Have a educated man person read the Declaration of Independence, and explain it to you. If you get that far, start on the constitution. Then, join me, and force the courts into swearing ‘So help you God’. If you still believe you know history, contact Congressional archives, and ask for copy. Then, we can discuss, how un Godless our founders were.

              • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

                I wonder, are you someone who thinks the words “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” along with “we pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor” are in the Constitution? You appear to be displaying profound arrogance compounded with idiocy here, believing me to not know or understand what I actually do know and understand, and believing me to be offended by that which does not offend me, and objecting to that which I have no objection.

                • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

                  Actually, I care not what you say, nor think. I do a lot of paraphasing, because people like you, do not understand neither history not government, nor English. I guess Connoly is your leader. You must start learning to be funny, and people might glean the small truths you bear, otherwise, it is just useless patter. Try reading Mark Twain, he is a great teacher.

                • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

                  May you have a long interesting life.

                • Anonymous

                  I’ve read most of your comments here and as an atheist myself I find your pompousness to be cringe inducing. I chose this comment to reply to because it illustrates your pretentiousness and ignorance in a nut shell.

                  You have a very high opinion of your own intelligence and obviously consider yourself to be more well read and educated than anyone who has replied. But this one comment proves how truly ignorant you really are when it comes to the founding of the United States and the philosophical foundation of this country.

                  You cannot separate the Declaration of Independence from the Constitution. They go together philosophically, morally, and legally. I suggest you add Mark Levin to your library so you can fill in this missing link. Until you understand how they go together you really don’t know much of anything.

                • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

                  And you are now doing what I alleged Allen Poe to be doing: presuming I do not know or understand that which I already do.

                  Further, my choice of words in the preceding response to him was deliberate, but not characteristic of me. In general while I might be argumentative I am otherwise respectful of the person with whom I am conversing. However if the person with whom I am conversing is disrespectful from the outset, why should I show respect to that person?

                • dougindeap

                  While some draw meaning from the reference to “Nature’s God” and “Creator” in the Declaration of Independence and try to connect that meaning to the Constitution, the effort is baseless. Apart from the fact that these references could mean any number of things (some at odds with the Christian idea of God), there simply is no “legal” connection or effect between the two documents. Important as the Declaration is in our history, it did not operate to bring about independence, nor did it found a government. The colonists issued the Declaration not to effect their independence, but rather to explain and justify the move to independence that was already well underway. Nothing in the Constitution depends on anything said in the Declaration. Nor does anything said in the Declaration purport to limit or define the government later formed by the free people of the former colonies; nor could it even if it purported to do so. Once independent, the people of the former colonies could choose whatever form of government they deemed appropriate. They were not somehow limited by anything said in the Declaration. Sure, they could take it as inspiration and guidance if, and to the extent, they chose–or they could not. They could have formed a theocracy if they wished–or, as they ultimately chose, a secular government founded on the power of the people (not a deity).

          • http://no-apologies-round2.blogspot.com/ AmericanborninCanada

            See the rebuttle Maxine.

            • Anonymous

              That was great!!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you and all of the others. I knew I could count on the community here to set Kenneth straight.

              • http://no-apologies-round2.blogspot.com/ AmericanborninCanada

                Never mess with someone born elsewhere with a wicked thirst for American history. I know you could have done it Maxine, but I couldn’t keep my own opinions to myself. God Bless!

        • http://no-apologies-round2.blogspot.com/ AmericanborninCanada

          Religious displays running afoul of the Constititution? Really. I do find it interesting that whenever any mention of Christianity is mentioned in a public place, even if it’s a government space, the Constitution is brought up, and to defend that so called wall, one either mentions Jefferson’s separation phrase or the court case which you mentioned in your article.
          Most people realize that Jefferson’s wall was something he spoke about for keeping government out of the business of the church, not church out of government. From the founders own beliefs,words and actions, we know that they meant that there would be no State run church. This did not mean that no government official could not pray, ask others to pray, or talk about Jesus Christ. We have seen by the written and recorded documents of the founding of this country that the sole purpose of settling the colonies, and later, in forming a separate Country, that Biblical Judeo/Christian beleifs were and were to remain the foundation of American society.

          It may be that that erronious court ruling set precidents for what followed in our country, but when one looks at the founder’s intents and beliefs and the early political body of America, it is clear that just as the Pilgrims came to the new world to spread Christianity, many of the founders who created government believed in the God of the Judeo/Christian beliefs and thought it important to build the nation on those Biblical beliefs.
          Most of the founders looked to William Blackstone’s Commentaries as the most important commentaries on how they should build this nation. Blackstone’s Commentaries were the basis to the U. S. Constitution, and were the basic textbook of America’s early lawyers.

          It was only in the mid-Twentieth Century that American law, being re-written by the U. S. Supreme Court, refused to acknowledge Blackstone’s writings and started turning to their own erronious interpretations of the Constitution and the original intent of the founders when they authored the documents of America.
          Modern courts have wanted to push the idea that man is the giver of liberties and that natural and moral law is evolving so they could mold the Constitution to whatever they wanted it to be.

          Appointed to the Supreme Court by James Madison, the author of the First Amendment to the Constitution, Justice Joseph Story commented on the basis of the Commentaries,”The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects [denominations] and to prevent any national ecclesiastical patronage of the national government.”

          More from Joseph Story:
          We are not to attribute this prohibition of a national religious establishment [in the First Amendment] to an indifference to religion in general, and especially to Christianity (which none could hold in more reverence than the framers of the Constitution)”“At the time of the adoption of the constitution, and of the amendment to it, now under consideration [i.e., the First Amendment], the general, if not the universal sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, and the freedom of religious worship. Any attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation.” Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, and A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States

          John Adams said, “ The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

          Benjamin Franklin at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 said,
          “ God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel”

          Patrick Henry, my favorite father said, “It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”

          Even non Americans realized the important place of religion in our every day life. Alexis de Tocqueville said,
          The Americans combine the notions of religion and liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive of one without the other.

          It’s only been recently, mainly in the last 50 or so years, we’ve seen decisions and actions by all three legislative bodies which have drastically moved our society away from the Founder’s intents and away from the core idealogies of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

          I beg to differ with your thoughts that that young lady who included prayer and gave thanks to God was telling people to…. That is not any Christian’s intent. However, many of us know that the History of the founding of this nation was based on the same Biblical principals and beliefs which we still hold dear, and that is what we base our rights on.

          • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

            You speak of the Founder’s intent, apparently completely unaware that the Drafters of the Constitution never intended their “intent” to be the guide for interpreting the Constitution. In fact, James Madison said so in a letter to Henry Lee written June 25, 1824, stating that the original meaning of the words should be the guide in interpreting the Constitution. This is why in my article I provide the definitions of the words “respect” and “establishment” from a dictionary available at the time of the ratification of the Constitution and First Amendment, and argue only on the words in the Constitution.

            Most people realize that Jefferson’s wall was something he spoke about for keeping government out of the business of the church, not church out of government

            You cannot have one without the other. You cannot have government keep its nose out of religion without also having religion keep its nose out of government. The excessive entanglement of religion and government can occur from either direction, from government infiltrating religion and religion infiltrating government.

            This notion is being equally seen today: you cannot have government keep its nose out of various industries without those industries also keeping their noses out of government. That has led to corporate cronyism.

            Prior to Everson, religious cronyism actually existed. Imagine that!

            Further, I’ve already explained in the article I linked why the change in jurisprudence was relatively recent. It was only relatively recently that People started to assert their rights under the Bill of Rights as applying to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment. Everson applied the Establishment Clause to the States, namely with regard to public schools.

            • http://no-apologies-round2.blogspot.com/ AmericanborninCanada

              “You cannot have government keep its nose out of religion without also having religion keep its nose out of government.”
              I don’t think the founders saw it this way. There are plenty of examples of how the founders openly displayed their beliefs, without leaving their 1st Amendment rights outside the doors of Congress.
              However Ken- I don’t want to debate. Bible believing Christians have just as much of a conviction, if not more so, of their belief in the Bible, and can see clearly the truthfulness of Scripture than do atheists believe in no god. Maybe some day you will come to a realization there is more than just this life and more of a purpose- but if not, nothing I or anyone else can say will change your heart and mind.

              • Anonymous

                Now you know why I didn’t take up the debate, no matter what we say, no matter how much blog space is taken up, we are not going to change their minds. It’s been all they have known, and they do not have an open mind to another opinion. But I give you an A+ for the attempt! I’m grateful for those on RS that stated their points of view.

                I LOVE this website!

                • http://no-apologies-round2.blogspot.com/ AmericanborninCanada

                  This is my favorite website Maxine. I’ve got plenty of friends in real life who are also brothers and sisters in Christ, but in my spare time, I come here and see what’s important in the news (the side I’d never know if I watched TV) and we are all able to air our opinions, have friendly debate and learn from each other. I love it here too, and am grateful to Scoop that he allows us to be so open here.

                • Anonymous

                  Right here with you, sisters!!

                • Anonymous

                  I LOVE it too!!!!

                • http://profiles.google.com/ajtelles Art Telles

                  Dittos MaxineCA – “… why I didn’t take up the debate…”

                  I also avoid these kinds of debates on forums because they are fruitless… if a fact is evaded by an opinion.

                  Opinions are great, when based on facts… an opinion not supported by a fact is without substance… there’s no there, there.

                  Yes, “… we are not going to change their minds.”

                  But, we can influence friends.

                  I have adapted the 1937 Dale Carnegie book title, “How To Win Friends And Influence People” to how to “influence” people and THEN win friends.

                  How do we influence?

                  First, a Not… not by telling them they’re “wrong” because…

                  Next, a Do… do lay out a “fact” with a “therefore” conclusion, one at a time, in one sentence… not multi-syllabic words in multi-thought sentences.

                  Of course, there so much more to a point-counterpoint debate, but that’s the essence.

                  PS. Also, AmericanborninCanada, that’s great writing in your comment that starts with “Religious displays running afoul … .”

                  Can you include your sources in the future, either names of source material and/or url links for further reading?

                  Thanks.

                  Art

                • http://no-apologies-round2.blogspot.com/ AmericanborninCanada

                  Hey Art. Thank you. But as for that first line, I can’t claim that one- I was repeating what Kenneth said actually. I guess I should have put it in quotes- I don’t know how to do that thing where people who quote back stuff do it with a dark background. Most of what I wrote in rebuttle is taken from my own blog, from a short series on the founding of America I did last year. I did and still do a ton of reading, but for that I read from the federalist papers, some of Blackstone’s Commentaries, and other history sites for many quotes and speeches of the founders.

                • http://profiles.google.com/ajtelles Art Telles

                  Thanks,

                  The dark background requires simple html code, so I just use ” ” quote marks instead … it’s faster.

                  I took a quick look at your blog a few days ago, and since there was so much content on our comment to Kenneth, I thought it could have been from your blog.

                  Art

              • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

                FYI, I refer to atheism, as a no God religion. If there were no Christians, there would be no Atheism. Then, they often quote the bible. Taken the right way, an atheism comment is a cosmic joke. It is like saying there is no sun, just a big white ball in the sky. Debates on the net, are great things, never let anyone disparage our last stanchion of open discussion. Go girl!

                • http://no-apologies-round2.blogspot.com/ AmericanborninCanada

                  Thank you Allen. I have a quote that I find so very true. I don’t know who said it, but here it is: “The atheist can’t find God for the same reason that a thief can’t find a police officer.”

                  And as for Kenneth, who later says, “The first assertions of rights never said that those rights came from God, either..”

                  I have to say that the rights that the founders included in both the Declaration and the Consitition, were rights they knew came from God. It is because of this that they worked hard to form a body politic which would base it’s foundation on Biblical beliefs so that no government would forget where our rights come from.

                  “God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.” Daniel Webster

                  I agree with Edmund Burke here, and Bill Whittle because what they both say mean essentially the same thing, but from different perspectives in history. We now have a largly godless Government and society, where morality means little anymore. People no longer have that inside, from the heart virtue and self restraint, therefore we need more laws to govern us. Aw heck, let me just quote Burke- he says it so much better:
                  “Men qualify for freedom in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power is put somewhere on will and appetite, and the less of it there is within, the more their must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”

                  I don’t know everything, don’t know near enough, but I am trying to learn. My debating skills are lacking, but when something comes up where I am convicted to speak, I have to follow that.

          • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

            U R absolute gem!

          • dougindeap

            Separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of our Constitution much like the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. In the Constitution, the founders did not simply say in so many words that there should be separation of powers and checks and balances; rather, they actually separated the powers of government among three branches and established checks and balances. Similarly, they did not merely say there should be separation of church and state; rather, they actually separated them by (1) establishing a secular government on the power of the people (not a deity), (2) saying nothing to connect that government to god(s) or religion, (3) saying nothing to give that government power over matters of god(s) or religion, and (4), indeed, saying nothing substantive about god(s) or religion at all except in a provision precluding any religious test for public office. Given the norms of the day, the founders’ avoidance of any expression in the Constitution suggesting that the government is somehow based on any religious belief was quite a remarkable and plainly intentional choice. They later buttressed this separation of government and religion with the First Amendment, which constrains the government from undertaking to establish religion or prohibit individuals from freely exercising their religions. The basic principle, thus, rests on much more than just the First Amendment.

            Madison, who had a central role in drafting the Constitution and the First Amendment, confirmed that he understood them to “[s]trongly guard[] . . . the separation between Religion and Government.” Madison, Detached Memoranda (~1820). He made plain, too, that they guarded against more than just laws creating state sponsored churches or imposing a state religion. Mindful that even as new principles are proclaimed, old habits die hard and citizens and politicians could tend to entangle government and religion (e.g., “the appointment of chaplains to the two houses of Congress” and “for the army and navy” and “[r]eligious proclamations by the Executive recommending thanksgivings and fasts”), he considered the question whether these actions were “consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom” and responded: “In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the United States forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion.”

            During his presidency, Madison also vetoed two bills, neither of which would form a national religion or compel observance of any religion, on the ground that they were contrary to the establishment clause. While some in Congress expressed surprise that the Constitution prohibited Congress from incorporating a church in the town of Alexandria in the District of Columbia or granting land to a church in the Mississippi Territory, Congress upheld both vetoes. He pocket vetoed a third bill that would have exempted from import duties plates to print Bibles. Separation of church and state is not a recent invention of the courts.

            It is instructive to recall that the Constitution’s separation of church and state reflected, at the federal level, a “disestablishment” political movement then sweeping the country. That political movement succeeded in disestablishing all state religions by the 1830s. (Side note: A political reaction to that movement gave us the term “antidisestablishmentarianism,” which amused some of us as kids.) It is worth noting, as well, that this disestablishment movement largely coincided with another movement, the Great Awakening. The people of the time saw separation of church and state as a boon, not a burden, to religion.

            This sentiment was recorded by a famous observer of the American experiment: “On my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention. . . . I questioned the members of all the different sects. . . . I found that they differed upon matters of detail alone, and that they all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America, I did not meet a single individual, of the clergy or the laity, who was not of the same opinion on this point.” Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835).

            Finally, when opining about American history, you would do well to drop the quotation you attribute to your “favorite father” Patrick Henry. It’s fake. http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2009/07/fake_patrick_henry_quote_found.php#more

        • http://twitter.com/bteacher99 Brenda Morton

          But when atheists, or Muslims, or Trappist Monks, run to the government to ask that their symbols (or lack thereof, in the case of atheists) be given preference, that’s ok?

          The fact that atheists prefer no religious symbols coincides perfectly with the “America is not a Christian nation/separation of church and state” viewpoint. How convenient.

          • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

            But when atheists, or Muslims, or Trappist Monks, run to the government to ask that their symbols (or lack thereof, in the case of atheists) be given preference, that’s ok?

            How are we running to the government to ask that our “symbols” be given preference? Note that petitioning a Court for an order on our government to conform with the First Amendment is not asking that our religion or symbols be given preference. So show me how atheists, Muslims, or members of any other religion has asked the government for “preference” of their religion or religious symbols.

            The government is to be neutral with regard to religion, and that includes Islam and atheism. This isn’t to say that government is to be entirely atheist, as that would require the election and appointment of only atheists to the government.

            • http://no-apologies-round2.blogspot.com/ AmericanborninCanada

              There have been instances of other groups- muslim, atheists and such who have removed Christian beliefs from the the public square, mainly in schools where students are not allowed to bring Bibles, not allowed to use references of Jesus or God in their class assignments, yet atheists benefit because they don’t have to hear any mention of God anymore, or muslims get their religion taught by ignorance of the fact that islam’s society and politics are also a part of their religion.
              Textbooks no longer are allowed to give equal space to creation and evolution- so atheists win on that, by eliminating any other thoughts. Textbooks give special attention through multiculturalism to other religions, but Christianity is still considered to be a no no.

              • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

                Students are allowed to bring Bibles to school. If a public school tries to tell you or someone you know otherwise, fight back. I’ll be right at your side.

                The science books should only teach science, and creationism is not science. In fact the central idea of creationism (6-day creation a few thousand years ago) has been utterly decimated by scientific study, so there is no point in teaching a false idea to students, unless you just want to lie to them.

                On everything else you’ve mentioned, I am also not pleased. I don’t like the idea of any religion gaining any kind of foothold in public schools, directly or not, atheism included. Schools and their teachers and officers should not be telling students there is not a god, but they also should not be telling students there is a god or a specific god. That is the religious neutrality I argue the First Amendment requires.

                • http://no-apologies-round2.blogspot.com/ AmericanborninCanada

                  On this I can agree Ken, that teachers should not say one way or another if there is a God. I believe though that if asked by a student, the teacher later after class should be allowed to tell the student his or her beliefs.
                  I don’t agree with you on the science part, not because so many believe in creation, because what one believes does not necessarily make it true, but neither does evolution decimate creation studies- but that is a whole other debate or topic for another time. It’s been interesting Kenneth, and I appreciate the discussion. I need to get to bed- it’s late and I still have some things I need to get done first. Good night.

                • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

                  Try to make short. If you ever reach the level of enlightenment, you see all things are connected. Evolution, and creationalism fit hand and glove. Once there, all this talk is just chatter. Do not try to understand God, just do his work, and you wiill be fine.

                • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

                  No no no. Bibles are restricted in some schools. Get a life.

            • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

              No NO No. Wrong again.This nation is under God, got that!

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000829771072 John Q. Jones

          My understanding of this issue is simple: The government shall not institute a state religion, period. Doesn’t have jack squat to do with symbolism of any kind. As long as government doesn’t impose religion on anyone, it’s all good. Religious symbols do not constitute a state imposed religion nor does it preclude anyone from practicing their faith however they wish to. I say SCREW the PC Wankin’ Whiners about it! And TO HELL with pettyiness and pseudo sensibilities! It’s all a sham IMO anyway.

          • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

            Your are right. You do not matter. Nothing matters, except what you think, You have to live with yourself. May you have a long interesting life.

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000829771072 John Q. Jones

              Methinks you’re a wee bit too enamored with yourself Mr. Poe. Often times the simplest explanation is the right explanation. All this fiddling with/disecting that/analyzing all this… a waste of precious time and does nothing but fuel one’s self-inflated ego to a point where one’s opinions becomes nothing more than sharp-edged conceit and contempt for non-conformity. My suggestion is to listen to what Mr. Whittle has to say and comment on topic instead of denigrating anyone who dares think otherwise than yourself. Hmm… I believe what I’m saying is… in a nut shell… Piss off my egotistical friend.

    • Anonymous

      “It certainly is possible to have an internal regulator of your behavior without believing in any god.”

      You may certainly believe this to be true and you may certainly NOT believe in God or a God…but any claims to a self generated morality or internal regulation is inherently suspect.

      Firstly… you are the beneficiary of a Judeo-Christian heritage from Western Civilization which you have imbibed since a child. Those values and ethics are a direct impartation to you from the Judeo-Christian morality that is already in the culture. Those humanists and atheists supposing that their own internal morality is the guide post for their actions are deluding themselves.

      Secondly… if a humanist or atheist believes in a morality, then logic dictates that there is a moral law… and if there is a moral law, there is a moral law giver… whom we call God. This morality comes from outside man himself.

      Thirdly… natural laws are the implicit laws governing the behaviours of men… implicit in governing behaviour, if not explicit in pointing to the origin of those laws as coming from God. The fact that the laws exist presuppose a law giver, as previously stated. And the fact that men may choose to ignore or break those natural laws (and do so constantly) does not negate the inviolability of those laws. That’s why the Founders declared that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. That right comes from no other source, and that right cannot be broken.

      The founders understood natural law… and instituted a declaration and a constitution built on that understanding. Latter day atheists pompously declaring that there shall be no public displays of religion are denying the Christian origins and realities in which the founders lived.

      The Founders had absolutely no problems with public Christian displays, whether inside or outside politics. Atheists parade, as members in an army of social righteousness and endeavor to reshape the culture and to rewrite religious reality out of the public space, and to indoctrinate and inoculate their contemporaries against faith. And they do this by sanctimoniously declaring that religion should just be a private affair, ignoring that religion has NEVER been a private matter in America or in Western Civilization for that matter.

      Atheists… always selling their tools to expunge faith from the public square. Always selling… but I ain’t buying.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you!

      • http://no-apologies-round2.blogspot.com/ AmericanborninCanada

        Excellently laid out las1! Thank you.

      • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

        Firstly… you are the beneficiary of a Judeo-Christian heritage from Western Civilization which you have imbibed since a child.

        Actually I was not raised in any kind of religious household or with any major exposure to religion, so while this statement may hold true for most atheists, it does not hold true for me. I was never told about the Ten Commandments when I was a child — in fact when I thought of the Ten Commandments, I thought only of the movie bearing the name. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I was actually exposed to the Bible, and I found it to contain some good points of view, but found its foundations to be utterly unbelievable.

        Secondly… if a humanist or atheist believes in a morality, then logic dictates that there is a moral law… and if there is a moral law, there is a moral law giver… whom we call God. This morality comes from outside man himself.

        Go on believing that if you will. It’s flawed logic to think that our natural ability to refrain from harming others comes because some deistic lawgiver is speaking to our hearts. It’s the same flawed logic that says the complexity of life can only come about with God saying “Let there be [insert species (or kind) here]“. But I’m not going to change your perspective on that, nor will I attempt to do so.

        That right comes from no other source.

        Ever consider the fact that rights are a purely invented concept, just as government is purely an invented concept. Where government was invented by men as a means of controlling men, rights were invented by men as a means of controlling government. The first assertions of rights never said that those rights came from God, either. That was not asserted until the years preceding the Declaration of Independence.

        Further, point me to the book, chapter and verse of the Bible wherein God (or Jesus) says we have any particular rights at all. Bonus points of there are verses specifically naming the rights protected by the Bill of Rights.

        Latter day atheists pompously declaring that there shall be no public displays of religion are denying the Christian origins and realities in which the founders lived.

        We don’t say there should be no public displays of religion — okay some of us might, but not me, as I fully understand that what someone wants to do on their own private property is outside my purview. We just say the government shouldn’t be making those displays. If stores want to have Christmas displays, so be it. I’ll be saying “merry Christmas” along with them (and I do, every year).

        Nor are we denying the “Christian heritage” of this country, or at least I’m not. In fact, I explicitly acknowledge it: “The United States was founded by Christians“.

        And they do this by sanctimoniously declaring that religion should just be a private affair, ignoring that religion has NEVER been a private matter in America or in Western Civilization for that matter.

        And that is why atheists like me are willing to readily point to the Sermon on the Mount wherein Jesus commands of his followers that religion is to be a private matter, i.e. hidden. But I’m willing to live with another form of “private matter” which says simply this: government is not to excessively intermingle with religion. Obviously it is impossible to ask those who work within the government to leave their religion at the door. Instead all that we demand (even going through the Courts where necessary) is that those in government not use their power to force their religious beliefs on everyone. With the many tens of thousands of denominations of Christianity alone, and nearly as many interpretations of the Bible as their are people, why does this seem like a tall order?

        • http://no-apologies-round2.blogspot.com/ AmericanborninCanada

          In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us, You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
          “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

          I believe you are thinking of when Jesus tells us how to pray- not as the hypocrites do, out in the open so they would believed to be pious and devout, or to give as the hypocrites, for the same reason- for their own glory and recognition.

          If Christianity was meant to be private, it never would have spread beyond the original 12 apostles. Jesus tells us to go and spread the Gospel. That is His command to us, not a suggestion.

          It doesn’t mean we’re to beat people over the head with Jesus- but we are to shine a light and tell others about Him. How are we to do that if we are all stuck in a building somewhere?

          • Anonymous

            Wow, you are on a roll tonight! I’m wondering if Kenneth has an “off” switch? Someone please find it and turn him off of his ranting!

          • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

            Humbly I add. Do all your works in private, and God will reward you in heaven. A group discussion is not a hidden, nor a private one. If you do not protest evil, openly, you have denied the faith. Sleep well.

        • Anonymous

          Point one… pretty simplistic to think that because you don’t come from a religious background that you didn’t pick up morality because from a Judeo Christian society. Not a well reasoned argument. You can take the boy out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the boy. You should thank God that you didn’t grow up under shariah.

          Secondly… Re Moral Law Giver. Since we are talking the founders here..The Founders evidently accepted it. My flawed logic? Not proven by your denial.

          Thirdly…Rights not coming from God. Then don’t use this argument to argue that the Founders argued separation of Church and State. You’ll be on thin ice because, again, they obviously thought rights came from God.

          Fourthly… “The United States was founded by Christians”. Glad you agree, but you can’t have it both ways… a profoundly Christian people, devising a profoundly conservative and Christian constitutional plan… all of a sudden against even government displays of religiosity. That dog won’t hunt. Even Ben Franklin started the constitution conference in prayer… on their knees. So much for no religion in government. On this business of religion in government… the 1st amendment was always about state sanctioned confessional faith, not expression of faith in governance or culture.

          Fifthly… “Jesus commands of his followers that religion is to be a private matter, i.e. hidden.” Nice try there Kenneth. Try this on for size… “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15). Jesus was talking about doing religion for show. C’mon there Kenneth… you’re smarter than that!

          Yeah… why is it a tall order to have a Christmas tree in the Rotunda, or in a Courtroom, or the Ten Commandments in the Supreme Court… oh yeah… to show that common law from England to the US gets its laws from the Ten Commandments and that Christianity is the basis of American government.

          But this is about offense isn’t it? Leftists and Atheists always offended… you want to conform the world to your narrow dictates that there is no God. It’s never about fairness is it? It’s a militancy and a doctrinaire display of the new religion of the church of atheism… complete with it’s forcing of society to conform. Who’s religious now?

          • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

            “Point one…” God had nothing to do with me not being born under a Sharia regime. The fact I was born and raised in the US had more to do with the people to whom I was born than God. A different roll of the celestial dice and either of us could’ve been born in Afghanistan.

            Plus I wasn’t trying to make a reasoned argument, only counter an assumption you appear to have made. Most atheists were raised in religious households, but I was not.

            “Secondly…” How are we talking about the Founders? I never mentioned the Founders at all, actually. Plus the Founders accepting the notion that our natural rights came from God does not make it true. Demonstrably proving it makes it true, which you have not done.

            “Thirdly…” Yes many of the Founders believed our rights came from God. How does that invalidate an argument that government and religion are not to be excessively intermingled?

            “Fourthly…” The Constitution is not “Christian” in any way. Neither is the Declaration of Independence. Have you read the documents? And I’m well aware that the members of the Constitutional Convention opened each day with a prayer, and that a daily prayer is customary in the House and Senate, possibly also the Supreme Court. Did you know that such activities do not run afoul of the First Amendment?

            “Fifthly…” Conceded.

            But this is about offense isn’t it? Leftists and Atheists always offended… you want to conform the world to your narrow dictates that there is no God. It’s never about fairness is it? It’s a militancy and a doctrinaire display of the new religion of the church of atheism… complete with it’s forcing of society to conform. Who’s religious now?

            As not all atheists are leftists, I’m pleased to see you segregating the terms. But I think you need to realize that I’m not like the atheists you seem to have pictured in your mind, the more anti-theistic variety such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. And a lot of what you say in response to me appears to go on many assumptions. Much of what you’ve said in your most recent response shows this.

            I am not trying to conform the world to a godless point of view. My concern is with that which is demonstrably true and demonstrated to be true. And having our government conform to the First Amendment — the original meaning of its words — is not about militancy and doctrinaire, but only about having our government conform with the First Amendment, against the will of the people if necessary.

            • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

              No No NO. Even I am surprised at your egotism. You really hate the truth. If the truth will set you free, you are in the deepest dungeon. My heat aches for you, but not a finger will I lift to help you. You have made your bed, now you must lie in it. Yes, that is a double ententre.

              • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

                Instead of saying simply that my points are wrong, do what others have done and rebut the points I make. If you refuse do to that, then just go away.

                • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

                  Great, go away, please, and take your trash with you. You don’t understand rebuttal, it means I put provable facts to your suppositions. Read my Book, ‘How to spot a liar’. I learned under LBJ, you must have missed the part, about fooling some of the people some of the time.

            • Anonymous

              I’ll go with your last point first, Kenneth. “… not all atheists are leftists” – Agreed. I categorize atheists in two camps. The respectable, honest non-believer who is not out to make political, statist points with an agenda to conform society to their will. The “movement atheist”, however, does have an agenda… and they are almost exclusively on the left (with the exception of extreme libertarians). I address a bit of your 1st Amendment concerns a bit below.

              First – Kenneth.. c’mon now! All things being relatively equal.. your morality and ethics are for the most part shaped by your culture. Your views of fairness, charity, good government etc. are shaped by that culture and its various values be it political or social. Be honest now! You know what I am saying is not only true, but observable by comparing differing civilizations and the cultural beliefs therein. A non-religious upbringing is irrelevant on that point.

              Second – I am talking about the Founders because America’s form of governance is based on this “belief”… as you prefer to call it. You can’t argue religion in the public sphere in America without reference to the intent of the Founders. And YES! Natural Law is demonstrably true and universally recognizable by human reason or human nature. From this, moral rules can be deduced. Natural laws supersede man made laws philosophically known as “positive laws” which are utopian… the wellspring of every evil and tyranny known to man. Ayn Rand says that the people who eschew political and economic philosophy are the people who need it most. Even though she was an Atheist, her economic beliefs about rational self interest (her idea of virtuous selfishness) are very much Lockean… hence natural law.

              Third – “How does that invalidate an argument that government and religion are not to be excessively intermingled?” Your caveat “excessively” is a legitimate point of debate. I argue that “excessive” crosses the line when confessional religion is mandated… which is the argument inherent in the 1st Amendment. The intent of the 1st was to protect religion from the state, not visa versa as argued errantly today.

              Fourth – ” The Constitution is not “Christian” in any way. Neither is the Declaration of Independence. Have you read the documents?” Yes I have numerous times. Without a Christian understanding of the universe, the Declaration could not have been written. If you are talking theology recognizable in the Constitution… theology is not there. The impulse, the fairness, the intent of good governance using universally recognizable natural law as the overriding influence in the Declaration and Constitution comes directly from a Christian world view. So yes… the warp and weave of the documents are Christian breathed. That makes it a conservative document influenced by a Christian grasp of the World… particularly a Lockean political and economic philosophy. Locke was also a theologian as well.

              Anyway… thanks for the input.

              regards, Las

              • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

                “First -” My morality isn’t so much shaped by this culture as merely the culture providing a idea of how people should act. Now if you want to believe that is due to a heavy Christian influence on the culture, then fine. I’m willing to concede that at best I’ve been indirectly influenced by Christianity. What you were attempting to argue at the outset is that I was directly influenced by Christianity, and that is not true.

                “Second -” Yes, natural laws are demonstrably true. I never said otherwise. But this is not what you were attempting to argue. The natural laws being handed down by God is what you say the Founders believed, and that is what must be proven. Not that the natural laws are demonstrably true, which they are, but that those laws were handed down by God.

                “Third -” As I argued with ABC, you cannot protect religion from government without also protecting government from the excessive influence of religion. Yes we can argue the definition of “excessive” till the sun explodes, but the idea is to prevent a notion that did exist prior to the Courts stepping in: religious cronyism — religion and religious organizations receiving special consideration from the government. And in many ways it still does exist. Just look at the special considerations and privileges afforded the Boy Scouts of America.

                “Fourth -” I believe is what you were attempting to argue all along. On that I agree in part, but I won’t argue the dissent as I’d be arguing philosophy. But saying the Constitution is influenced by Christianity is far different from calling it a “Christian constitutional plan”. The former I agree is true to an extent, the latter is a whole other matter indeed.

                • Anonymous

                  Fourth – “Christian constitutional plan”… Huh! Don’t even know what that is! Don’t know where you got that idea. But You are right… the Constitution is influenced by Christianity … heavily influenced… that’s my major point.

                  Third… religious cronyism. Agreed…It does exist.. however the “demon” of religious cronyism serves another more sinister movement. The fight against it is the excuse… the “false flag” rallying call to expunge America of any Christian expression in the public sphere. This is seen on too many fronts to even enumerate here. The irony is that Islam and shariah… get a pass… and this proves only one thing. It’s Christianity that’s the enemy… not religion. And all sorts of arguments against religion (as a front argument against Christianity) are employed… some of which you have used in this thread… all of them masks to cover a pathological hatred for the religion. The attacks are nasty.. and many good people (like yourself I believe) fall for the fake righteousness of the arguments of the God haters. The arguments are a cover for pure hatred and bigotry… and good people get sucked into believing them and ignoring the underlying and pernicious hatreds beneath. I hope this makes sense to you. In short, the arguments against “religion” are fronts … excuses to mask bigoted and anti-Christian animus.

                  Second… many atheists supporting natural law… don’t see God as the source for that law. Fair enough. I think they are blind. You think I am seeing things. We can argue this another time. This is your stand… I accept that. I am glad we agree on natural law however. (St. Paul talks of it… but I suspect if I were to introduce him at this juncture… our keyboards would explode).

                  First.. directly or indirectly influenced… I didn’t specify. Influence is influence and majorly I assert. But I’m pleased you saw the veracity of my assertion. Thanks for getting on that page with me at least. The degree of influence we can discuss till the cows come home.

                  Good stuff Kenneth… thanks… look forward to more discussion in future.

                  Regards, Las

                • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

                  A little out of order… you’ll see why, though.

                  “First -” Again, I think we’re settled here.

                  “Second -” I think we’re settled on this one.

                  “Fourth -” The words “Christian constitutional plan” are your own words. I wouldn’t have quoted them if you didn’t say them.

                  “Third -” Christianity holds the religion majority in this country. That is the only reason you are perceiving attacks on religion as being attacks only on Christianity, as that is where the majority of attacks are directed. Many atheists do go after Islam and other religions (with some exclusions, such as Pastafarianism, Jainism and deism) just as much if not more so than Christianity. And I know that many Christians are saying to atheists that we need to be instead directing our attacks against Islam, seemingly ignoring the fact that we already do, but also in an attempt to deflect attacks off Christianity.

                  Further, many of us also argue against or mock the tenets of Christianity and not the Christian. I do my best to keep to such a restraint, but if a Christian attacks me personally instead of the views I hold, then all bets are off (see my response to Allen Poe in this section). Now if you see attacking Christianity as attacking Christians, then I cannot help that.

                  And I feel I can say that most of us don’t mind Christian expression in the public circle. I don’t, so long as it isn’t government officers acting under the authority of their office doing it, such as Rick Perry’s proclamation of a day of prayer and fasting. And if I perceive someone as attempting to infringe upon your right of religious expression, I’ll stand by your side to defend it.

                  Again, as I’ve already said, I am not anti-theist in the same way as Hitchens and Dawkins.

                  Certainly been an interesting discussion.

                  Regards,
                  Kenneth

                • Anonymous

                  Fourth “devising a profoundly conservative and Christian constitutional plan” yes… my words… caught me there Kenneth… but the way you said it sounded odd… in context I am NOT saying it’s a plan to Christianize the nation… that’s the sense I believe you took it.

                  To clarify I am saying that the Constitution is conservative in nature and Christian in inspiration. Fundamental Christian values make up the nature of the Constitution. We can deduce this as I previously stated by John Lock and other philosophers. As for the Documents themselves The Declaration of Independence contains four references to the God of the Bible. Blue Laws are a recognition of Christian Sunday (Art 1 sec 7) and the closing of Article VII specifically referring to the God the Son. (the year of our Lord) Words have meaning. Establishment clause has allusions to the freedom to practice the Christian religion unimpeded and Art 1 sec 7 the significance and priority of Sunday worship, as well as the place of Jesus Christ in history Art. VII.

                  Your 3rd point is not only just wrong, I believe it’s dishonest. Christianity is the prime target. Why did Hitchens not title his book “Allah is Not Great”? Because of fear. He slags Islam, but most attacks are against Christianity. I know plenty of atheists hate Islam as well. Islam is a collectivist religion and there is an alliance between the left and Islam…. and most atheists are leftists with a common enemy… America. I’ve said it before, I am not against honest atheists… it’s the activist/movement atheists who are undermining America and it’s Christian heritage using the courts to do it.

                  Anyway.. nuff said.

                  regards,

                • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

                  Wait you think that Hitchens is afraid of Islam? You haven’t listened to much of what he’s said — and going on just one book title ain’t gonna cut it. He’s been very outspoken on Islam, and has received death threats and the like because of it — yet he keeps going, speaking out against all religion. Yes his primary target is Christianity, but that is because he is a US citizen, and what is the dominant religion in the US?

                  As a good example of him speaking out against Islam, I recommend a lecture he did at the University of Toronto back in 2006 – (Part 1) (Part 2). He is not afraid of Islam.

                  And what “Declaration of Independence” are you citing? There is nothing in the Declaration of Independence (the one adopted July 4, 1776, by the Second Continental Congress) regarding the God of the Bible. The word God is mentioned only once, and it’s in reference to “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” (if you want to believe that’s the God of the Bible, be my guest), and nothing of what you cite is in the Declaration. Again, have you actually read the Declaration of Independence? Given your incorrect citations and reference to Articles and Sections, into which the Declaration is not divided, I’m starting to doubt you have.

                • Anonymous

                  I am well aware of Hitchens’s comments on Islam… you’re repeating what I already stated… he slagged Islam… a lot. And yes it was fear. (He’s still a brave man… I’m not saying he’s not… but his title was fear based) His most violent comments are reserved for Islam.. but his animus for Islam didn’t totally match the title of his book. The very title is a twisting of the Arabic expression. If you know this, why do you fail to make appropriate connection? His book came out in the shadow of the Satanic Verses. He knew exactly what would have happened had he used the word Allah (not just I, but it was a criticism leveled by many against him) The fact that you don’t get this, is discouraging in someone who seems intelligent enough.

                  The God of the Bible is definitely the God referred to in the Declaration. Call Him creator or providence, the references are from men steeped in Christian tradition and men who have had strong connections to Old Testament mosaic concepts of deliverance from tyranny. The simple fact is that were it not for Christianity there would be no declaration. Again, are you willingly blind to historical realities or just going to comfort yourself that the really important founders were all deists, while all the rest were those simpleton and quaint “other” founders. You can pretend that it is something other than Christianity… but again that’s the tendency from atheists on the Constitution… rewriting history. The Christian influence is built in. It may be uncomfortable for the wishful thinking of the post-modern atheist… but it was a part of who those men were.

                  The citations are from the Constitution! Look it up. Don’t be knee jerk… it’s in there.

                • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

                  I doubt he picked the title “God is not great” out of fear of Islam. For one, Allah translated from Arabic means “God”, and translated from Arabic the Shahada says “There is no god but God and Mohammed is the Messenger of God.” So saying “God is not great” attacks Islam just as much as it does Christianity and Judaism.

                  However instead of asserting he picked the title out of fear of Islam, how about writing him to ask him why he picked that title instead of “Allah is not great”.

                  And rewrite history? I’m doing no such thing. I’m going on the words of the Declaration, and the words of the Declaration are to not only declare independence from Britain, but justify that declaration. It isn’t some divine document. Yes it mentions rights, but that text was influenced by the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which was adopted June 12, 1776. And it is believed the Committee of Five adapted some of the text of that Declaration in writing the Declaration of Independence.

                  We could argue till the sun explodes if the Declaration would ever have occurred absent Christianity, but there’s no way to know for certain (your assertions notwithstanding). History occurred, and that is how history occurred. There’s no point in asserting that it could only have happened the way it did, as there is no way of knowing for certain. The text of the Declaration may have been different, but the act of declaring independence would likely have still occurred absent Christianity.

                  And no, those citations are not from the Constitution. Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution discusses the process by which a bill becomes law. No mention of God, Christianity or Sunday worship anywhere in that document. Are you sure you’re thinking straight, or are you just tossing out random citations without realizing that I will verify them?

                • Anonymous

                  Regarding Hitchens… How many riots and killings and burnings and outrage from the Muslim world have occurred had Hitchens titled his book Allah is Not Great? The Mohammed cartoons are your example. And by lumping Islam with Christianity in his book he watered down an anti-Islamic message, his subsequent talks and writings notwithstanding, I am not arguing about his public criticism of Islam since his book. I don’t understand how you cannot see this point.

                  Divine document… your words, not mine.. But God is referenced four times in the Declaration… Creator, God, Judge of the World, Divine Providence… these are the words of the Declaration, you so boldly embrace. An uncomfortable fact for an atheist. .. to be sure. Each reference embodies some aspect of the Christian Judeo Christian God and are components of Christian theology.

                  On the Constitution… Christian principles of good governanance are embodied in its preamble. The Preamble ‘s five principles to establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty… have their origins primarily in the New Testament: 1Peter 2:14; 1Timothy 2:1,2: Romans 13:4 and Luke22:36; Romans13:4; 2Cor 3:17 and Lev 25:10. All rare references for a persecuted Christian like Paul under the Romans to be outlining good secular government. The preamble are principles whose origins are from scripture and planted into the Constitution as a bulwark against tyranny. Quibble if you must where they came from, but Christians make the connection. Atheists don’t like that.

                  On the other articles,,, Article 1 Sec. 7. … “If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) “… The Constitution did not have a non-theistic, abstract concept of law. It reflects respect for the Ten Commandments… the 4th Commandment expressly, a recognition of religious “Blue Laws” from the early colonies.

                  Quibble if you want if the Year of Our Lord is purely convention… it is an explicit reference to Jesus Christ. Uncomfortable reference? For some … yes.

                  Then there is the Establishment Clause… of which so very much has been written… I don’t suggest we reinvent the wheel on that one.

                  So in brief… the Preamble embraced good governance principles from the Bible, while a few other places recognize a Christian presence in the public.

                  “Are you sure you’re thinking straight, or are you just tossing out random citations without realizing that I will verify them? Now I’ll ask you… Have you read it?

                • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

                  “The Mohammed cartoons are your example.”

                  And where did I bring them up? You’re the only one mentioning rioting. I’m just saying that Hitchens is not afraid of Islam and didn’t title his book out of fear. Perhaps his publisher might be, and his publisher is what calls the final shots on what the book title/subtitle will be. But this is just a stalemated argument. You wholly wish to believe Hitchens titled his book in that manner purely out of fear, and I don’t buy it.

                  But if you want to settle the argument, write to him and ask him. After all, you’re making the assertion, so prove it.

                  “Divine document…” Yes, I know they are my words. Never said they were yours. But that is the apparent point of view of so many people who talk about the Declaration of Independence — without actually reading it, I might add. But those four phrases you point out are rather vague and nonspecific for being the “God of the Bible”. Those words could be uttered by any theist, including Muslims who believe Nature’s God, the Creator and Supreme Judge of the World have convicted the United States of various crimes and that they are carrying out Divine Providence.

                  Assert if you must that they are references to the God of the Bible, but I’m going on words alone, not any perceived or implied intent of the people who wrote them. And the words are very nonspecific, likely for political reasons as there were other religions in the colonies in 1776.

                  “On the Constitution…” Finally you back up your assertions! The principles defined in the Preamble are reflected in the Bible (or vice versa if you will or must). Great! But they’re also rather universal principles, as well. Christianity is not the only source of them. Even the Golden Rule predates the Bible and is found in areas and creeds where there was no Christian influence.

                  “Article I, Sec 7″ You’re pointing out a parenthetical and asserting it as signifying the importance of Sunday worship? Okay…. If the phrase was inline to the section instead of a parenthetical, then your assertion might have some more weight to it, but a parenthetical? That’s more of a side-note, not something primary in their minds.

                  “Blue laws” Blue laws are entirely a State construct, immaterial in the context in which we are arguing. But since you brought them up, I will say this: you cannot accept or be in favor of blue laws and personal freedom at the same time, as blue laws restrict personal freedom. This says nothing on your support or lack thereof for those laws, and I am making no statement, assertion, or assumption about your support or lack thereof for blue laws.

                  Thankfully most blue laws have been removed from the books — not due to any lawsuit regarding the Establishment Clause, but just because they’re an asinine restriction on personal and economic freedom.

                  “Year of our Lord”. The convention of which I speak is the wording itself. It is a long-standing convention. It might be an uncomfortable reference for others, but to me it is not, as I’ve used the convention myself. We can argue the nature of the convention, but it’s immaterial as the only thing that wording does is just signify the current year in relation to a particular point in history, as does statement following the calendar year: “and of the Independence of the United States of America”. Again, relation to some historical event.

                  “So in brief… the Preamble embraced good governance principles from the Bible, while a few other places recognize a Christian presence in the public.”

                  That’s a good way to summarize it.

                • Anonymous

                  Yeah… I’ll call Hitch between chemo sessions and get back to you.

                  But I’m not the only one to recognize the obvious. It’s called “fair comment” Hitchens’ friend Rushdie was a serious object lesson for him. The Motoons happened in 2005, his book came out in 2007. The title of his book was an obvious avoidance contrivance to forefend any motoon like event. The title is an obvious allusion to Islam yet he devotes only one chapter of his book to Islam. While touching on Budhism and Hinduism much of the rest is a puerile diatribe against Christianity and its various sects. He saves his best hate for Christianity and Christians and Judaism. The guy is even so pretentious that he deigns not to slum with lowly atheists… he prefers to call himself “antitheist”. Only when Hitchens is not on his anti god jihad, and comments on other issues, do I have some respect for his ideas and reasoning.

                  Do I think Hitch is brave? Yes… definitely. Do I think his book title cowardly? Also yes. And still all the death threats came after… because everyone was getting them. But he would have had a lot more threats had he used a proper and honest title for his book. You may have a point however. His publishers could have toned down the title… a very real possibility.Stalemated argument… for sure!

                  Your quote “…those four phrases you point out are rather vague and nonspecific for being the “God of the Bible”. Those words could be uttered by any theist, including Muslims who believe Nature’s God, the Creator and Supreme Judge of the World… “

                  This is where atheists comfort themselves in their assumptions… their delusions. The atheist thinks theological statements have no relevance… because, to an atheist, it’s meaningless. If they are meaningless… why were they put in the Declaration? These words have impact and are loaded with theological import and apply almost exclusively to Judeo-Christian thought. To go over each “non-specific”, as you call it, would take pages of expounding. These were not animists and foggy minded deists writing this. And each “non-specific” was understood perfectly by the citizenry and took no further explanatory or expounded theology. The founders were clear and committed Christians…Episcopalian 57% … Congregationalists 13%.. Presb 21% Quaker 2.3%… the so-called deists were 3.6% . They understood the language, they understood the theology. This was 18C America… and to engage in wishful thinking that the Declaration and Constitution were some godless contrivance is to ignore history, philosophy and theology. But the “godless constitution” is the meme currently in vogue and it’s believed… and that’s why it’s properly judged “rewriting history”.

                  One more quote from you “…Judge of the World have convicted the United States of various crimes and that they are carrying out Divine Providence…” !!! Maybe you’re just tired or your keyboard lost battery power… but if you are saying what I what I think you are trying to say…it’s an attempt at a strawman set up… you probably don’t want to go there and waste more time.

                  Your Quote of my quote – “So in brief… the Preamble embraced good governance principles from the Bible, while a few other places recognize a Christian presence in the public. That’s a good way to summarize it.”

                  Good start… you’re getting there.

                • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

                  “Good start… you’re getting there.”

                  Getting where? What you said is true, so how could I not agree with it? Those governance principles exist in the Bible as you pointed out — it’s just not the only place you find them, and they might predate the Bible as well — and a few other places recognize the Christian presence that existed at the time, such as excluding Sundays in the 10-day period the President has to sign a law. All true statements. I do embrace the Christian history in this country — you saw the blog post I wrote showing that, and I’ve been an atheist all my life.

                  But the one thing you need to realize is that I care not about the religious beliefs of those behind the words that were written. I could, if I tried hard enough, write something under a pseudonym that would likely be virtually indistinguishable from Christian apologetics. In fact people exist online who do just that — colloquially called a “Poe”, so named after “Poe’s law” — and they do end up garnering a following of Christians who believe every fake word they write. It’s hilarious and painful to watch.

                  As such I take words at face value. I don’t read too far beyond them, and I don’t question or contemplate the motives or thoughts of the person that wrote them. You, however, keep trying to push me in that direction, and I won’t go there, except only for this moment.

                  As I said, the words are very nonspecific. Why did they provide nonspecific words? You might think they are specific, but it takes looking through “God glasses” to think such. If they wanted the words to unmistakeably represent the God of the Bible, the words easily could have been much more specific so there would be no room for debate or misinterpretation. Again why did they not do that, since you keep wanting to analyze the intent of the people behind the words instead of the words themselves?

                  And no, I was not trying to set up a strawman. I think you’ve momentarily forgotten that a strawman is a misrepresentation of your position that is then attacked. I was not attempting to misrepresent any position, only demonstrate how those words are not exclusive to Christianity.

                • Anonymous

                  Look… I’ll just wrap this up because rabbit trails are happening here and the thread is thin.

                  Quote – “…Why did they provide nonspecific words? You might think they are specific, but it takes looking through “God glasses” to think such.” No! They are NOT non-specific, and yet universal. And yes… they do take looking through God glasses, and the founders’ contemporaries had those glasses, as I already stated. They are also clearly understood today… except by post-modern relativists.

                  Quote – “ I take words at face value. I don’t read too far beyond them… “ If you are not interested in the background, history or beliefs of the founders and the influence of political philosophy upon them which motivated them to write those words… then you’re in the wrong business, are you not?. And those words convey a succinct and fundamental understanding of the relationship of man to his universe, and those universal laws relate to the form of governance (which they would later specify in the Constitution) under which man conducts his affairs. Relegating these words to irrelevance leaves you with a truncated view of how faith, constitutional freedoms and personal self governance meet.

                  “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It’s wholly inadequate to the government of any other” John Adams.

                  I’ll leave it at that.

          • http://no-apologies-round2.blogspot.com/ AmericanborninCanada

            Well said again my friend. Atheists and secularists are so wanting to remove any notion of religion, that they fail to see that their philosophies ARE a religion. By them wanting to remove all traces of God and Jesus from the government, schools and public square, they are only instituting their own religion of secularism.
            I wonder too, if Kenneth is aware that the Liberty Bell is inscribed with part of Leviticus 25:10, “proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants”
            I think the Founders were well aware and wrote the Constitution with that in mind, where our liberties come from God only.

            • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

              Yes I am aware of what is inscribed on the Liberty Bell.

              As for God being the only source of liberty, I invite you to read this article I wrote over a year ago: “Source of liberty“. If you wish to discuss further what is said in that article, we can do so in the comments section on my blog.

              • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

                I see the ‘leave no kid behind’ education here. If you will go to Sweden, they will honor you as a hero. You might get the Noble Prize. You can be Al Gore’s aide. I see no hope for you, as a decent human being.

                • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

                  Did you actually read what I wrote, or are you going off preconceived notions in your mind that are triggered merely by the fact I’m an atheist?

                • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

                  Actually I taught many people how to read, intellectually. I can scan faster than you can move. You have already failed the Pathagoris entry exam, circa 500 bc. As to your religion, I leave that to your own fate. I do hope you receive mercy for lack of sense,

            • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

              I really wanted to stop, but you are so right. They have their own religion, I call it the anti God religion. I wonder if he hates ‘Taps’ as much as I love it?

        • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

          Well spoken Goebels! Say that 10,000 times, and you might actually believe it. I worked for gov, we had a bible in house. go to a Vet hospital, see the bibles, and crosses. Read St Paul’s conversion, if you dare read the bible. Like the lady said, no amount of logic will ever sway an insane person. You had better pray for that bolt of lightening. How sad you are!

  • http://no-apologies-round2.blogspot.com/ AmericanborninCanada

    Amen! I so admire this guy.

    • Anonymous

      I’ll second that Amen!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-Redder/100000544267578 Bill Redder

    one of bill’s best yet.

    however i must disagree with one of his last points; a recent poll (by whom i forget- sorry) revealed that most of the #ows slackers are aging hipsters and not college age brats.

    otherwise, this was spot on.

  • Anonymous

    Restore Virtue and Honor and you will restore America.

    • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

      Good luck and long life to you. Restore honor, and virtue will follow. My life observation, is we are losing that war.

  • Anonymous

    Whittle is always great… But!

    He has made a huge factual and theological error.

    Islam is NOT an Abrahamic religion. Only Judaism and Christianity can claim that commonality. Islam by contrast is the rejection of Abraham. The core and fundamental characteristic of Islam is its rejection of another religion… and that other religion is Christianity. You will see this in numerous places in the Koran where Mohammed declares that God is not a father and has no consort to have a son. In 1st John 2:22, John states, “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist–he denies the Father and the Son.” Denial of the Father and the Son is key to understanding Islam.

    This fundamental theological assertion is just one of other grounding distinctions that places Islam OUTSIDE Abrahamic tradition. There are other characteristics in the New Testament and the Old Testament describing the Beast as having rejected the gods of his father, and establishing a god unto himself to claim the inheritance.

    The fact that Arabs are descendents of Ishmael and Esau and other connected tribes does not admit Muslims into the faith of Abraham. Ishmael and Esau are outside the line of Isaac… hence not inheritors of the promise unlike both Jews and Christians.

    But a Muslim can become a son by adoption in the manner that Christians are spiritual descendents of Abraham in Romans 8. But if that were to happen… then he would no longer be a Muslim, now would he?

    • Anonymous

      Great post las1!!

      I was just going to post along the same lines. I ALWAYS cringe when someone talks about the three great Abrahamic faiths including Islam!!!

      The Islam religion in their propaganda have said that the Old testament was good………until the Jews corrupted it…………The New Testament was good…..until the Christians corrupted it…..

      Makes me want to PUKE!!!!!!

      • Anonymous

        “I ALWAYS cringe when someone talks about the three great Abrahamic faiths including Islam!!!”

        And you know who says it most? Yup… Christians. It drives me nuts too!

    • http://profiles.google.com/ajtelles Art Telles

      Who is the Christ – ONLY 1…

      A very thoughtful post, las1.

      It Is Written
      In The Book – In The Body
      Word [spirit] of Life – DNA [blood] of Life

      ONLY 1 Blood – ONLY 1 Life
      ONLY 1 Blood Union – Immanuel (God is with us)

      1 God With Us –

      1 Genesis
      1 Paternity
      1 Maternity
      1 Lineage
      1 Heritage

      ONLY 1

      Abraham – Sarah – Isaac YES!
      Abraham – Hagar – Ishmael NO!

      Adam – Noah – Abraham – Isaac – Jacob (Israel) – Joseph – Moses – David – Jesus

      YES!

      Abraham – Ishmael – Muhammad

      NO!

      Art

      • M E

        Technical corrections – in reply to Art:

        1) Moses derives directly from Jacob’s son Levi, not Joseph, if true lineage is what you’re indicating.

        2) David derives from the tribe of Judah, not from Moses’s family.

        3) As for the last whom you mention, who knows what tribe he derives from.

        • http://profiles.google.com/ajtelles Art Telles

          Technical…

          Yeah, I know.

          The point is the biblical reference as a whole…

          Abraham – Sarah – Isaac
          NOT
          Abraham – Hagar – Ishmael

          #3 – The record indicates that God spoke and said that the one whom you described as “last whom you mention” was HIS son.

          If you ask God to explain about HIS son and “… who knows what tribe he derives from,” he will respond.

          Art

    • Anonymous

      Ishmael begot the 12 tribes of Egypt (muslim faith) and Issac begot the 12 tribes of Judea (the Jewish faith). Christianity, as thought of today was formed during the time of Jesus, it did not exist before that. The catholic religion being the first (albeit) false representation of formal christianity.

  • http://www.johnmcdonald2012.com Charity

    So true. I read a book that Beck recommended a few years back: “The 5000 Year Leap.” Awesome read! It goes over this idea a lot with tons of quotes from the founders. Really puts a perspective on how our idea of an ideal democracy has changed. Should be part of high school gov curriculum.

    http://www.johnmcdonald2012.com

  • KenInMontana

    This post maybe a bit on the lengthy side, so apologies in advance to those “offended” by a “wall o’ text”. However, since the First Amendment and more particularly the argument of “freedom of or from” has reared its head once again I felt it important to post the thoughts of an individual, who was possessed of more insight into the meaning and intent of the US Constitution than any now living.

    § 986. And first, the prohibition of any establishment of religion, and the freedom of religious opinion and worship.

    How far any government has a right to interfere in matters touching religion, has been a subject much discussed by writers upon public and political law. The right and the duty of the interference of government, in matters of religion, have been maintained by many distinguished authors, as well those, who were the warmest advocates of free governments, as those, who were attached to governments of a more arbitrary character. Indeed, the right of a society or government to interfere in matters of religion will hardly be contested by any persons, who believe that piety, religion, and morality are intimately connected with the well being of the state, and indispensable to the administration of civil justice. The promulgation of the great doctrines of religion; the being, and attributes, and providence of one Almighty God; the responsibility to him for all our actions, founded upon moral freedom and accountability; a future state of rewards and punishments; the cultivation of all the personal, social, and benevolent virtues; — these never can be a matter of indifference in any well ordered community. It is, indeed, difficult to conceive, how any civilized society can well exist without them. And at all events, it is impossible for those, who believe in the truth of Christianity, as a divine revelation, to doubt, that it is the especial duty of government to foster, and encourage it among all the citizens and subjects. This is a point wholly distinct from that of the right of private judgment in matters of religion, and of the freedom of public worship according to the dictates of one’s own conscience.

    § 987. The real difficulty lies in ascertaining the limits, to which government may rightfully go in fostering and encouraging religion. Three cases may easily be supposed. One, where a government affords aid to a particular religion, leaving all persons free to adopt any other; another, where it creates an ecclesiastical establishment for the propagation of the doctrines of a particular sect of that religion, leaving a like freedom to all others; and a third, where it creates such an establishment, and excludes all persons, not belonging to it, either wholly, or in part, from any participation in the public honours, trusts, emoluments, privileges, and immunities of the state. For instance, a government may simply declare, that the Christian religion shall be the religion of the state, and shall be aided, and encouraged in all the varieties of sects belonging to it; or it may declare, that the Catholic or Protestant religion shall be the religion of the state, leaving every man to the free enjoyment of his own religious opinions; or it may establish the doctrines of a particular sect, as of Episcopalians, as the religion of the state, with a like freedom; or it may establish the doctrines of a particular sect, as exclusively the religion of the state, tolerating others to a limited extent, or excluding all, not belonging to it, from all public honours, trusts, emoluments, privileges, and immunities.

    § 988. Probably at the time of the adoption of the constitution, and of the amendment to it, now under consideration, the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as it is not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, and the freedom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation.

    § 989. It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs, whether say free government can be permanent, where the public worship of God, and the support of religion, constitute no part of the policy or duty of the state in any assignable shape. The future experience of Christendom, and chiefly of the American states, must settle this problem, as yet new in the history of the world, abundant, as it has been, in experiments in the theory of government.

    § 990. But the duty of supporting religion, and especially the Christian religion, is very different from the right to force the consciences of other men, or to punish them for worshipping God in the manner, which, they believe, their accountability to him requires. It has been truly said, that “religion, or the duty we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be dictated only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.” Mr. Locke himself, who did not doubt the right of government to interfere in matters of religion, and especially to encourage Christianity, has at the same time expressed his opinion of the right of private judgment, and liberty of conscience, in a manner becoming his character, as a sincere friend of civil and religious liberty. “No man, or society of men,” says he, “have any authority to impose their opinions or interpretations on any other, the meanest Christian; since, in matters of religion, every man must know, and believe, and give an account for himself.” The rights of conscience are, indeed, beyond the just reach of any human power. They are given by God, and cannot be encroached upon by human authority, without a criminal disobedience of the precepts of natural, as well as of revealed religion.

    § 991. The real object of the amendment was, not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment, which should give to an hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government. It thus sought to cut off the means of religious persecution, (the vice and pest of former ages,) and the power of subverting the rights of conscience in matters of religion, which had been trampled upon almost from the days of the Apostles to the present age. The history of the parent country had afforded the most solemn warnings and melancholy instructions on this head; and even New-England, the land of the persecuted puritans, as well as other colonies, where the Church of England had maintained its superiority, had furnished a chapter, as full of dark bigotry and intolerance, as any, which could be found to disgrace the pages of foreign annals. Apostacy, heresy, and nonconformity have been standard crimes for public appeals, to kindle the flames of persecution, and apologize for the most atrocious triumphs over innocence and virtue.

    § 992. It was under a solemn consciousness of the dangers from ecclesiastical ambition, the bigotry of spiritual pride, and the intolerance of sects, thus exemplified in our domestic, as well as in foreign annals, that it was deemed advisable to exclude from the national government all power to act upon the subject. The situation, too, of the different states equally proclaimed the policy, as well as the necessity, of such an exclusion. In some of the states, episcopalians constituted the predominant sect; in others, presbyterians; in others, congregationalists; in others, quakers; and in others again, there was a close numerical rivalry among contending sects. It was impossible, that there should not arise perpetual strife and perpetual jealousy on the subject of ecclesiastical ascendancy, if the national government were left free to create a religious establishment. The only security was in extirpating the power. But this alone would have been an imperfect security, if it had not been followed up by a declaration of the right of the free exercise of religion, and a prohibition (as we have seen) of all religious tests. Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the state governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice, and the state constitutions; and the Catholic and the Protestant, the Calvinist and the Arminian, the Jew and the Infidel, may sit down at the common table of the national councils, without any inquisition into their faith, or mode of worship. ~ Justice Joseph Story

    • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

      I rebut with only, ‘The Spanish Inquisition’. That was state controlled religion.

      • KenInMontana

        I would point out that we are not discussing the Spanish Monarchy but the US and our Constitution. However, I think you have overlooked the fact the Spanish Inquisition was a case of collaboration by the Spanish Crown and the Spanish Church in completing the Reconquista.

    • http://twitter.com/PoeAllen Allen Poe

      I rebut with only, ‘The Spanish Inquisition’. That was state controlled religion.

    • http://profiles.google.com/ajtelles Art Telles

      Of vs. From…

      If the original intent was freedom “from” religion, we would not have this incessant debating.

      Thomas Paine, who was an atheist, would have won the debate… but he lost it… to Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin, who advised him to not publish “The Age of Reason”.

      The Age of Reason – free PDF download – Deism.com –
      >> PDF – http://www.deism.com/theageofreason.htm

      Obviously the intent was “of” religion and not “from” religion.

      Art

      • dougindeap

        This commonly expressed argument about prepositions leads nowhere. Freedom “of” religion encompasses each individual’s freedom “to” exercise his or her religion and freedom “from” government actions to promote or otherwise establish religion. There, all prepositions are fairly represented.

        • http://profiles.google.com/ajtelles Art Telles

          “… lead nowhere – all prepositions – represented…

          Interesting.

          However, the issue is the intent of the “thinkers” who wrote down the words that are being debated today.

          Obviously, the intent was “of” religion and not “from” religion.

          Thomas Paine agrees – from Deism.com –
          >> see the opening paragraphs – http://www.deism.com/theageofreason.htm

          “It has been my intention, for several years past, to publish my thoughts upon religion.

          “I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.

          “I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy.

          “I do not believe in the creed professed
          -by the Jewish church,
          -by the Roman church,
          -by the Greek church,
          -by the Turkish church,
          -by the Protestant church, nor
          -by any church that I know of.

          “My own mind is my own church. … .”

          Also, see the header rotating quotes –

          “In Deism, our reason and our belief are happily united.”

          Thomas Paine

          Art

          • dougindeap

            I did not make my point clear. Each individual enjoys the freedom to exercise his or her religion–publicly as well as privately. To that extent, there is no freedom “from” religion. Those who equate freedom “of” religion and freedom “from” religion have a valid constitutional point, though, to the extent they refer to freedom from religion promoted or established by government, but not to the extent they refer to freedom from religion practiced and expressed by individuals in public.

            • http://profiles.google.com/ajtelles Art Telles

              The point…

              Your philosophical points, dougindeap, are understandable as is.

              It’s possible we may be talking at cross purposes.

              In a forum such as this, sometimes it is not possible to plumb the depths of an issue without a lot of point-counterpoint discussion that takes a lot of time.

              So, to focus, here’s the point of the umbrella philosophical issue.

              It seems to me that the generic freedom to privately believe whatever a person wants to believe about being and doing was the point of the founding “thinkers” of our Republic, as Thomas Paine articulated in The Age of Reason.

              “Being and doing” refer to being a participant in a community and participating in the activities of the community.

              >> The Age of Reason – http://www.deism.com/theageofreason.htm

              Deism is Paines’ thing, not Jesus’ thing…

              … and I write this as a theist who believes that Jesus “knew” what he was talking about and why he was doing what he was doing on the road to resurrection from death.

              Thomas Paine the Deist could not, and Deists of the 21st century, can not accept that belief statement because it is a matter of faith, which is by definition outside of the realm of reason.

              To conclude.

              What has changed in USA today is the attempt by some agnostics and atheists and Deists who believe that removing the influence “of” religion “from” the public sphere would free the spirit of this age and transform what it means to be a citizen of this Republic.

              THAT is the debate between freedom “of” religion and freedom “from” religion.

              Art

              • dougindeap

                You are profoundly mistaken in several respects. First, the constitutional separation of government and religion is not a concept born of atheism, agnosticism, or deism. Second, it is important to distinguish between the “public sphere” and “government” and between “individual” and “government” speech about religion. The principle of separation of church and state does not purge religion from the public sphere–far from it. Indeed, the First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause assures that each individual is free to exercise and express his or her religious views–publicly as well as privately. The Amendment constrains only the government not to promote or otherwise take steps toward establishment of religion. As government can only act through the individuals comprising its ranks, when those individuals are performing their official duties (e.g., public school teachers instructing students in class), they effectively are the government and thus should conduct themselves in accordance with the First Amendment’s constraints on government. When acting in their individual capacities, they are free to exercise their religions as they please. If their right to free exercise of religion extended even to their discharge of their official responsibilities, however, the First Amendment constraints on government establishment of religion would be eviscerated. While figuring out whether someone is speaking for the government in any particular circumstance may sometimes be difficult, making the distinction is critical.

                • http://profiles.google.com/ajtelles Art Telles

                  “… profoundly mistaken…”

                  No, dougindeap, you are profoundly mistaken.

                  This issue is not about a “concept” as you articulate.

                  Other than this, it seems that we are in agreement.

                  The issue being debated today in the 21st century is not about the original intent of the “thinkers” who founded our Republic.

                  The issue being debated today is a new philosophy that the original intent of the “thinkers” is passe…

                  … and the “original intent thinking” of the founders, INCLUDING the Deist Thomas Paine, MUST be replaced with whatever removes the influence of religion from the public square.

                  The principle of the ‘separation of church and state” is irrelevant to the “transformers” of America.

                  Why?

                  Because the “new thinker” philosophers and academicians and legislators who want to “nudge” America into a brave new world do NOT care about the 1st Amendment, just they do NOT care about the 2nd amendment, etc., or “natural born citizen” Article 2, Section 1.

                  There is a putsch to change our Republic, one “nudge” at a time, and the BHObama administration is in agreement with the new philosophy that seeks to “transform” our Republic.

                  That is THE issue of today, not a “concept born of atheism, agnosticism, or deism.”

                  Other than that, it seems that we are in agreement.

                  Art

                • dougindeap

                  Well, perhaps we are talking of different things. There may well be those who seek to influence our society and polity as you suggest. That’s the way of our free society and republican form of government. It’s not a constitutional law issue, though, which was my focus.

                • http://profiles.google.com/ajtelles Art Telles

                  Yes…

                  That’s what I surmised about our cross fire.

                  Constitutional law is NOT an issue for the “new thinker” transformers of our Republic, nudge by nudge, in all areas, freedom “of” religion, education, health… and death panels.

                  There definitely are “… those who seek to influence our society and polity…” and in the BHObama regime his name is Cass “nudge” Sunstein.

                  For quick reference, Wikipedia is ok –
                  Sunstein “… currently is the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration.”

                  >> Cass Sunstein – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cass_Sunstein

                  His job, as Administrator of czars, is to “nudge” legislation along… on low heat –
                  >> Yale Press – http://yalepress.yale.edu/book.asp?isbn=9780300122237

                  “Nudge” – the authors

                  “… show that by knowing how people think,
                  “we can design choice environments
                  “that make it easier for people to choose
                  ” what is best for themselves, their families, and their society.

                  “Thaler and Sunstein demonstrate how
                  “thoughtful “choice architecture”
                  “can be established
                  “to nudge us in beneficial directions
                  “without restricting freedom of choice.

                  Art

      • KenInMontana

        Actually, my comment does not take a position on “Of v. From” and was merely an observation on the argument coming up again. Regardless of whether the in tent was Freedom of or from, we would still have this incessant bickering (I call it bickering because it always goes beyond reasoned debate). For myself, I defer to Justice Story’s position;

        “It was under a solemn consciousness of the dangers from ecclesiastical ambition, the bigotry of spiritual pride, and the intolerance of sects, thus exemplified in our domestic, as well as in foreign annals, that it was deemed advisable to exclude from the national government all power to act upon the subject.”

        My take on this, that is reinforced by Story’s astute commentaries, is that these issues where left to the States to decide, this is further reinforced by the 9th and 10th Amendments. The intent was to keep the Federal government out of the business of religion as well as keep the Federal government free of religious bias;

        “It was impossible, that there should not arise perpetual strife and perpetual jealousy on the subject of ecclesiastical ascendancy, if the national government were left free to create a religious establishment. The only security was in extirpating the power. But this alone would have been an imperfect security, if it had not been followed up by a declaration of the right of the free exercise of religion, and a prohibition (as we have seen) of all religious tests. Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the state governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice, and the state constitutions; and the Catholic and the Protestant, the Calvinist and the Arminian, the Jew and the Infidel, may sit down at the common table of the national councils, without any inquisition into their faith, or mode of worship.”

        In the case of this argument “of or from”, I would submit that both were intended. As the right to free exercise would be severely hampered if not completely blocked if the Federal government were to advocate or place any particular faith or sect of a faith in a position of preeminence.

        Vol 1
        http://books.google.com/books?id=KyATAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_v2_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
        Vol 2
        http://books.google.com/books?id=VZQPBIhVPsMC&printsec=titlepage#v=onepage&q&f=false
        Vol 3
        http://books.google.com/books?id=1CATAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_v2_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

        • http://profiles.google.com/ajtelles Art Telles

          Intent…

          Yes, KenInMontana, I accepted your original comment as not about freedom “of” religion or freedom “from” religion.

          That was my focused point relative to Justice Story’s larger intent.

          As your 1st focused Justice Story quote above says in the last sentence, “to exclude from the national government all power to act upon the subject” is being ignored today.

          “To exclude … all power to act … .”

          It seems to me that freedom “from” religion was not the intent of the revolutionary “thinkers” who laid the faith cornerstone of this Republic to promote, protect and defend freedom “of” religion.

          Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists is a case in point.

          However.

          The issue being debated today in the 21st century is not about the original intent of the “thinkers” who founded our Republic, or Justice Story’s accurate articulation of to original intent of the founders of our Republic of laws.

          The issue being debated today in our Republic is a progressive “new thinker” philosophy that the original intent of the “thinkers” is passe…

          … and the “original intent thinking” of the founders, INCLUDING the Deist Thomas Paine, MUST be replaced with whatever removes the influence of religion “from” the public square.

          Obviously, the intent was “of” religion and not “from” religion.

          Thomas Paine agrees – from Deism.com –
          >> see – http://www.deism.com/theageofreason.htm

          It is THIS “new thinker” emphasis today that Justice Story could not deal with during his day.

          The principle of the ‘separation of church and state” is irrelevant to the “transformers” of America.

          That means that Justice Story’s words extracted from your 2nd quote above also are also being ignored by the progressive “new thinkers” in our Republic,

          “… perpetual strife
          “… on the subject of ecclesiastical ascendancy,
          “if the national government
          “were left free to create a religious establishment.

          “The only security was in extirpating the power.”

          In “extirpating the power” the “national government” was NOT to be FOR freedom “OF” religion and NOT to be FOR freedom “FROM” religion.

          But the progressive “new thinkers” are ignoring the constitution and the “original intent” as Justice Story articulated.

          Why?

          Because the progressive “new thinker” philosophers and academicians and legislators who want to “nudge” America into a brave new world do NOT care about the “Congress … no law” 1st Amendment, just as they do NOT care about the 2nd amendment, etc., and they definitely do NOT care about the “natural born citizen” clause in Article 2, Section 1.

          The progressive “new thinker” influence to ignore the “original intent” of “natural born citizen” has infected the debate, both left and right.

          To conclude.

          What has changed in USA today is the attempt by some progressive “new thinker” agnostics and atheists, and even Deists, who believe that removing the influence “of” religion “from” the public sphere would free the spirit of this age and transform what it means to be a citizen of this Republic.

          There is a “putsch” to change our Republic, one “nudge” at a time, and the BHObama administration is in agreement with and is an active “putscher” of the progressive “new thinker” philosophy that seeks to “transform” our Republic from a government of laws to a government of progressive “new thinker” men and women.

          We can refer the progressive new thinkers to Justice Story and the revolutionary “original intent” of the US Constitution…

          …but they don’t care…

          … their progressive new thinker “revolution” is happening, and the “occupy” the public square movement is a symptom of the ideology behind the revolution…

          … and the “original intent” of the words of the US Constitution and Justice Story’s accurate articulation will just be ignored until a brave new social justice community is given birth.

          Art

    • dougindeap

      Reliance on Story’s comments in his Commentaries is problematic to say the least. First, note that he offers conflicting ideas. In passages preceding those you quoted, he says this about the no-religious-test clause of the Constitution: “This clause is not introduced merely for the purpose of satisfying the scruples of many respectable persons, who feel an invincible repugnance to any religious test, or affirmation. It had a higher object; to cut off for ever every pretense of any alliance between church and state in the national government.” He goes on to explain the aim was to cut off any alliance between government and any religion, Christian or other: “The framers of the constitution were fully sensible of the dangers from this source, marked out in the history of other ages and countries; and not wholly unknown to our own. . . . The Catholic and the Protestant had alternately waged the most ferocious and unrelenting warfare on each other; and Protestantism itself, at the very moment, that it was proclaiming the right Of private judgment, prescribed boundaries to that right, beyond which if any one dared to pass, he must seal his rashness with the blood of martyrdom the history of the Parent country, too, could not fail to instruct them in the uses, and the abuses of religious tests. . . . With one quotation more from [Blackstone], exemplifying the nature and objects of the English test laws, this subject may be dismissed. ‘In order the better to secure the established church against perils from non-conformists of all denominations, infidels, Turks, Jews, heretics, papists, and sectaries, there are, however, two bulwarks erected, called the corporation and test-acts. . . .’ It is easy to foresee, that without some prohibition of religious tests, a successful sect, in our country, might, by once possessing power, pass test-laws, which would secure to themselves a monopoly of all the offices of trust and profit, under the national government.” Story then turned to the amendments and offered the seemingly contrary views you quoted.

      Second, perhaps in all his comments but at least in those concerning the First Amendment, Story appears to express his personal views rather than some conclusion drawn from evidence. He offers no evidence of the framers’ intent in this regard (failing even to acknowledge that Madison had by then already vetoed two bills based on an understanding of the First Amendment contrary to Story’s), and instead resorts to his personal opinion: “The promulgation of the great doctrines of religion, the being, and attributes, and providence of one Almighty God; the responsibility to him for all our actions, founded upon moral freedom and accountability; a future state of; rewards and punishments; the cultivation of all, the personal, social, and benevolent virtues;– these never Can be a matter of indifference in any well ordered community it is, indeed difficult to conceive, how any civilized society can well exist without them. And at all events, it is impossible for; those, who believe in the truth of Christianity, as a divine revelation, to doubt, that it is the especial duty of government to foster, and encourage it among all the citizens and subjects.” (Moreover, that he was wrong in supposing this “impossible” is evidenced by the fact that hardly all devout founders shared this idea.)

      Third, (as should be especially appreciated by those modern day show-me-the-words-separation-of-church-and-state literalists), he entirely fails to explain how he reads the words “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” to mean only “to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects” and “Christianity ought to receive encouragements from the State.”

      For many reasons, this notion simply does not square with the amendment’s language or evidence of the founders’ intent. First, note no mention in the text of “Christianity” or “sect” or anything of the sort. Second, note that the word “religion” is uttered once–setting the scope of both the establishment clause and the free exercise clause. If the text is read so that the term “religion” means only a “national Christian sect” or the like (thus limiting the scope of the establishment clause as Story supposes), violence is done to the free expression clause, which then would merely constrain Congress from making a law prohibiting the free exercise “thereof”–i.e., a national Christian sect–and leave it free to interfere with the exercise of any and all other religious beliefs. Silly.

      While the founders were, no doubt, confronted with the need to address competition and conflict between a variety of sects (largely but not exclusively Christian) and some (but hardly all) founders were motivated by that perceived need to support separation of church and state, it is a non sequitur to suppose therefore that they intended merely to stop the government from favoring one “sect” (however defined), but leave it free to favor some (also undefined) grouping of sects (e.g., “generic” Christianity or perhaps monotheism, or theism, or deism, or some such).
      Any such interpretation, moreover, would raise so many problems that I tire at the thought of listing them. For instance, where and how would one distinguish sects or groups of sects? Christianity comprises dozens or even hundreds of sects depending on how one draws the lines. And why stop with Christianity since there are other monotheistic religions? Would it be okay for the government to support Islam as long as it refrained from choosing the Sunni or Shiite sect? And even if one wished to stop with Christianity, how does one draw the line around that? For instance, some question whether Mormonism is a “Christian” sect.

      While the First Amendment undoubtedly was intended to preclude the government from establishing a national religion as Story notes, that was hardly the limit of its intended scope. The first Congress debated and rejected just such a narrow provision (“no religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed”) and ultimately chose the more broadly phrased prohibition now found in the Amendment. In keeping with the Amendment’s terms and legislative history and other evidence, the courts have wisely interpreted it to restrict the government from taking steps that could establish religion de facto as well as de jure. Were the Amendment interpreted merely to preclude government from enacting a statute formally establishing a state church, the intent of the Amendment could easily be circumvented by government doing all sorts of things to promote this or that religion–stopping just short of cutting a ribbon to open its new church.

      • http://no-apologies-round2.blogspot.com/ AmericanborninCanada

        “Story appears to express his personal views rather than some conclusion drawn from evidence. He offers no evidence of the framers’ intent in this regard…”
        Seems that that is what Supreme Justices do, they draw from persona; views on what they believed the intent of the founders when they wrote the Constitution.

        As for your questions reguarding the use of the words sect and religion, it is because most of the founders were learned in the Christian Bible, and came from a nation that while imposed a state sanctioned church, the head of which was the King of England- it was still a church based on the religion of Christianity. The fact that the very settlement of the first colonies was for Christian religious purposes, the founders Christian Biblical knowlege and beliefs is why the freedom OF religion argument has basically been meaning the Christian religion.

        • dougindeap

          While Supreme Court Justices often are criticized for drawing more on their personal views than on the intent of the framers (particularly in the media and blogosphere), the fact is that when interpreting the Constitution, they generally endeavor to determine the intent of the framers–or, at least, take pains to explain their conclusions with reference to the intent of the framers.

          Again with the prepositions? That seems more a semantic sidetrack, but perhaps it would be more useful to note the two aspects of the First Amendment. First, it protects the freedom of individuals to exercise their religions. Second, it constrains government not to promote or otherwise take steps to establish religion. The phrase “freedom of religion” is sometimes used to refer to the first aspect, sometimes to the whole. The phrase “freedom from religion” is sometimes used to refer to the second aspect in the sense of freedom from government promoted or established religion.

      • KenInMontana

        Madison while having the honorific of “Father of the Constitution” (one he repeatedly declined) was a champion of the document but not even close to its sole author, as the document was a product of a committee of delegates. You were aware that Madison was adamantly opposed to the Bill of Rights were you not? While Madison did do yeoman’s work in keeping the convention together and functioning, It was James Wilson of Pennsylvania a member of the Committee of Detail to whom we owe the lions share of thanks to in putting together our Constitution.

        Your view of the reference to Story’s work as “problematic”, would seem to be a personal bias. I for one do not see the problems with it apparently that you do. For example, Your parsing of what he wrote, does shade it to appear that way ( I have often seen the technique before) however it does indeed make sense when the statement is taken as a whole as in;

        § 991. The real object of the amendment was, not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment, which should give to an hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government. It thus sought to cut off the means of religious persecution, (the vice and pest of former ages,) and the power of subverting the rights of conscience in matters of religion, which had been trampled upon almost from the days of the Apostles to the present age. The history of the parent country had afforded the most solemn warnings and melancholy instructions on this head; and even New-England, the land of the persecuted puritans, as well as other colonies, where the Church of England had maintained its superiority, had furnished a chapter, as full of dark bigotry and intolerance, as any, which could be found to disgrace the pages of foreign annals. Apostacy, heresy, and nonconformity have been standard crimes for public appeals, to kindle the flames of persecution, and apologize for the most atrocious triumphs over innocence and virtue.

        And then we have this;

        § 988. Probably at the time of the adoption of the constitution, and of the amendment to it, now under consideration, the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as it is not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, and the freedom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation.

        Changes it a bit, when taken in context, does it not? That is about as far as I care to go or have time to, at this moment. In other words, I find your argument, specious.

        • Anonymous

          Yeah, I caught these points the first time around in your posting. It does appear that Christianity was certainly front, center and preferred at the founding. And Story made the contradistinction more clear with Christianity vis-a-vis Islam etc.

          Although it is natural that the threads can get wordy… sometimes clarity and brevity is certainly more appreciated… and the point stated needs to be done succinctly. That’s missing when people go on for pages.

        • dougindeap

          Apart from simply characterizing my views as “personal bias,” suggesting that my parsing of Story’s words is a “technique” to somehow “shade” his meaning, and then asserting, without explanation, that his words “make sense” when taken as a whole, you do not substantively address ANY aspect of my several arguments. That, on that basis, you find my argument “specious” is the height of irony.

          • KenInMontana

            I merely pointed out that you cherry picked two lines out of two separate sections and presented them, falsely, as Story contradicting himself. This type of misrepresentation is common among the “Living Document” hacks of the progressive left (which is where I have seen the technique used most frequently). What you obviously missed in your skimming of Story’s commentaries, is that he points out that the First Amendment protects the right of the people to openly and freely practice their faith of choice without the threat of sanction, persecution, bias or interference from the Federal government. Likewise it prohibits the Federal government from championing any particular faith or “sect” of a faith. My previous reply to you pointed out the specious nature of your argument, by presenting the lines in their actual context to illustrate your misrepresentation. The real irony here is that you attempt to discredit the very work that supports your expressed view.

            • dougindeap

              From your explanation, I now understand the problem. You misunderstood my comments.

              The two lines you claim I cherry picked have nothing whatever to do with the contradiction I pointed out in the first paragraph of my comment. The contradiction is between what Story said with respect to the Constitution’s no-religious-test clause (pertinent portions of which I quote above) and what he says with respect to the First Amendment (pertinent portions of which you quote above).

              I note the two lines you mention in making the separate and further point (in the third paragraph of my comment) that Story fails to explain how he derives a limitation only on championing any particular faith or sect from the words of the First Amendment.

              Having misunderstood those points, you disputed something I never argued and, in the process, did not really respond to what I actually said.

              In any event, what’s all this muttering about “living document” and techniques and hacks of the progressive left and supposing I only skimmed Story’s Commentaries? You would do better to focus more on my arguments and speculate less about me. I first encountered Story’s Commentaries, by the way, more than thirty years ago while researching for a law review article I was writing on First Amendment issues. Rest assured, I have more than skimmed them.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KMEYJC5R7B3Q6FWWLMCB7ATW2Q Mark

    Bill states that you “can have an internal Judge without God, it’s just a damn site harder to find”. Yes you do have to purposely think, reason and act because moral actions just don’t happen by accident. Man needs a philosophy to live and our schools don’t teach any, secular or religious. We need to assert our sovereignty, rights and our moral codes on Earth-based facts not mystical-beliefs if they are to have unimpeachable authority. There is such a philosophy, distilled from the greatest thinkers of Western Civilization, it is the Objectivist philosophy. If there is any hope for the human race to break out of our suicidal ways, Objectivism is it.

    • http://no-apologies-round2.blogspot.com/ AmericanborninCanada

      good luck with that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sj.reidhead SJ Reidhead

    Franklin – a man of virtue?
    Jefferson – a man of virtue?
    The era of our founding – one of great virtue?

    What history is Whittle reading, it certainly is nothing I’ve ever read. Franklin was a womanizing jerk who apparently associated with the Hellfire Club while in England. Jefferson never met a married woman he did not try to seduce, and did not have the intellectual courage to free his slaves, even upon death. Washington’s greatness was not in his virtue but in the fact that he over-came his personal ambitions. That is not virtue, but character.

    If you were to time-travel back to the time of the “founding” I think you would find it a vile place to live, filthy, unbathed, diseased, corrupt – a culture that was reaching the point where it could literally go no farther. That was the reason for revolution. It was replaced by a more enlightened era that began around 1797 or so when men cut their hair, began to bathe on a daily basis, brush their teeth, and deodorize. I think if you were to step into the Continental Congress in July, 1776 you would gag over the filth and the body odor. The real change in culture began in England with the advent of Beau Brummell.

    As for Jefferson, the more I learn about him, the more repulsive he becomes. This was a man who not only provided the creative philosophy behind the Reign of Terror in France, but NEVER ONCE spoke out against the cold blooded murder of tens of thousands of innocent men, women, and children, the vast majority of them guilty of being nothing more than devout Catholics.

    The founding of this nation was a remarkable thing in history, unique, creative, and courageous. It is a great insult to take very human men, many of whom absolutely detested the sight of one another, and give them qualities they did not possess. Their greatness was in over-coming their personal demons and learning how to compromise to create something amazing. Don’t insult their memory by turning them into saints. They were far from it. They were humans, frail, flawed, and imperfect – that is their real greatness!

    SJR
    The Pink Flamingo

    • Anonymous

      Did you write this yourself or copy and paste it from the Progressive Playbook chapter on How To Trash America’s Founding Fathers?

      The last paragraph is genius and will, I’m sure, fool 99.9% of the fools who read it. But a little too little too late after the whole “gag over the filth and the body odor” stuff.

      Have fun laughing at the replies you’re bound to get from people who take you seriously.

    • Anonymous

      All men are flawed, but it’s not the men that we hold up. It is the ideas that they all brought together to form what became the greatest documents ever created (beside the Bible), to build a nation. If you follow the life of any man, you can find enough flaws to disqualify them if that is your desire. The goodness of the ideas of these men, if is the only good done in their whole life, has benefited the people of this country for more than two centuries.

    • Anonymous

      Aside from the fact that now we have indoor plumbing, amazing advances in medical care, anything we need or want at the corner mini mart, how much more “vile” and corrupt do you think do think they were than at this time? Your reasoning is totally flawed.

    • Anonymous

      “What history is Whittle reading, it certainly is nothing I’ve ever read.” (Reidhead)

      Have I isolated your problem? I think I have. Try reading non-revisionist history written prior to the hate and denigrate everything about America craze.

      What you call “learning” sounds like indoctrination. Here’s a guess, you’re in your twenties “learning” history.

      While we shouldn’t turn them into Saints (and who has done that?) you shouldn’t try so hard to demonize them.

      “…vile place to live, filthy, unbathed, diseased, corrupt…” (Reidhead)
      This might be a great description of your mind and soul. While you may smell like a perfectly powdered pink flamingo on the outside, it appears that you may very well stink on the inside.

    • Anonymous

      This is the same history I know. You have obviously been exposed to the revisionist history that began decades ago to portray our honorable leaders as evil cheaters.

  • dougindeap

    I largely agree with Whittle’s main thrust.

    He slips in certain regards though. He speaks of our nation’s founding and founders in rather simplistic and unduly worshipful terms (perhaps owing largely to the brief video format). He also largely conjoins virtue and religion, particularly Christianity, and all but brushes aside the prospect of virtue without belief in god(s). Lastly, he gratuitously adds an unexplained and unjustified swipe at what he terms the “Occupy” generation and “OWS,” broadly painting them as lacking virtue and claiming entitlement.

    • Anonymous

      Someone is being simplistic for sure. It very well may be the guy wearing your underpants. From what frame of reference would an atheist who has studied history on this planet draw from? I contend that without the Judeo-Christian ethic you would have no frame of reference at all to discern what is virtuous and what is not. Las1 does a great job above at putting your naive assertion to bed. Rather than rephrasing what he has already said to another one who theorizes as you do, I’ll simply refer you to his eloquent posts above on the subject.

      • dougindeap

        As if morality was not possible until god(s) were invented. The notion that morality depends on religion is preposterous. Yes, yes, I’ve heard much opining on relativism, absolutism, and all, so thank you for sparing me.

        • Anonymous

          God was there with Adam and Eve. When did man invent God? Man didn’t invent God. God invented man.

          Kindly explain what morality is please.

          • dougindeap

            Rshill7,

            I understand you pose an important and interesting philosophical subject about which much could be said. My interest in commenting here is focused more on the constitutional separation of government and religion, so I’d rather just leave any discussion of the existence of god(s) and the possibility of morality sans god(s) to others.

            • Anonymous

              OK, I wonder what John Adams meant by this: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

              I guess he really meant that the recipe for maintaining “a moral and religious people” was to divest them from each and every sphere of American life?

              Ludicrous on it’s face, foolish just under the skin, and ridiculous to the bone :-)

              • dougindeap

                As Whittle suggests, to the extent our Constitutional framework leaves people largely free to do as they will, we count on people to act morally. I think Adams had largely the same idea in mind.

                What you mean by your second sentence, I do not know.

                • Anonymous

                  How can one produce a document for “a moral and religious people” while simultaneously removing the cause of the morality from the public sphere? That’s ludicrous. It’s like saying, “Stove, you give me some heat, and then I’ll put some wood in you.”

                  I guess when ludicrous knocks on your door, you welcome it in and serve it tea and crumpets. I slam the door in it’s stupid face. See the difference?

                  P.S. Out of curiosity…do you believe in manmade global-warming?

                • dougindeap

                  I agree with you that the founders would not establish a government that is inherently at odds with their religious convictions. Moreover, given the republican nature of our government, I think it is only natural and expected that the laws enacted by our government–in both the founders’ time and today–largely reflect Christianity’s dominant influence in our society.

                  That said, there is no reason to suppose that Christianity or theism is an inherent aspect of our constitutional government. Indeed, any such claim is antithetical to the constitutional principle against government establishment of religion. By founding a secular government and assuring it would remain separate, in some measure at least, from religion, the founders basically established government neutrality in matters of religion, allowing individuals to freely choose and exercise their religions and thus allowing Christianity (and other religions) to flourish or founder as they will. As noted above, it is to be expected that the values and views of the people, shaped in part by their religions, will be reflected in the laws adopted by their government. There is nothing in the Constitution that requires or calls for this; it is simply a natural outgrowth of the people’s expression of political will in a republican government. To the extent that the people’s values and views change over time, it is to be expected that those changes will come to be reflected in the laws adopted by their government. There is nothing in the Constitution to prevent this; indeed, just the opposite–the Constitution establishes a government designed to be responsive to the political will of the people. It is conceivable, therefore, that if Christianity’s influence in our society wanes relative to other influences, that may lead to changes in our laws. Nothing in the Constitution would prevent that–and moreover the establishment clause would preclude Christians from using the government to somehow “lock in” (aka establish) Christianity in an effort to stave off such an eventuality.

                • Anonymous

                  Hopefully people will resist and reject those that would steal their National Christian heritage from them and remake us into a collective atheistic society. Understand this. As mankind loses the inner ability to morally restrain itself, it will increasingly need outside coercion for that purpose. As God and His morality wanes, statism grows. Morality becomes whatever the state says it is. The individual becomes subordinate to the collective and everything and everyone, goes to Hell. It would seem that since you have nothing to proselytize. The proper venue for that would be to nobody.

                • dougindeap

                  There you go. Make a pitch for your point of view; each of us can do likewise and see how it plays out in our society and polity. I prefer to make my pitch to a full room, thank you.

                  The Constitution, including particularly the First Amendment, embodies the simple, just idea that each of us should be free to exercise his or her religious views without expecting that the government will endorse or promote those views and without fearing that the government will endorse or promote the religious views of others. By keeping government and religion separate, the establishment clause serves to protect the freedom of all to exercise their religion. Reasonable people may differ, of course, on how these principles should be applied in particular situations, but the principles are hardly to be doubted. Moreover, they are good, sound principles that should be nurtured and defended, not attacked. Efforts to undercut our secular government by somehow merging or infusing it with religion should be resisted by every patriot.

                • Anonymous

                  Is prohibiting a prayer by a school’s valedictorian allowing free exercise of religion? Is banning Christian clubs from meeting on campus free exercise? Is the punishment of kids for “possessing Christian material” free exercise? Is disallowing explicit Christian prayer at cemetaries administered by the Fed free exercise? What we have in our society today is open hostility to the Christian religion, not the free exercise of it. The US Government is openly hostile to Christianity.

                  Affirmative action for atheism. That’s what you advocate.

                • dougindeap

                  It is important to distinguish between the “public square” and “government” and between “individual” and “government” speech about religion. The constitutional principle of separation of church and state does not purge religion from the public square–far from it. Indeed, the First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause assures that each individual is free to exercise and express his or her religious views–publicly as well as privately. The Amendment constrains only the government not to promote or otherwise take steps toward establishment of religion. As government can only act through the individuals comprising its ranks, when those individuals are performing their official duties (e.g., public school teachers instructing students in class), they effectively are the government and thus should conduct themselves in accordance with the First Amendment’s constraints on government. When acting in their individual capacities, they are free to exercise their religions as they please. If their right to free exercise of religion extended even to their discharge of their official responsibilities, however, the First Amendment constraints on government establishment of religion would be eviscerated. While figuring out whether someone is speaking for the government in any particular circumstance may sometimes be difficult, making the distinction is critical.

                  Wake Forest University recently published a short, objective Q&A primer on the current law of separation of church and state–as applied by the courts rather than as caricatured in the blogosphere. I commend it to you. http://tiny.cc/6nnnx

                • Anonymous

                  Were you responding to me and my assertions as I have been responding to yours I might not lose interest, but since you are not, I have. Perhaps that imaginary person you are responding to can reciprocate.

                • dougindeap

                  You posed a series of factual questions. I responded by noting the framework in which those questions should be considered and offering a reference that discusses the types of questions you posed. Had you bothered to consult it, you would have learned the short answers to your questions are: It depends–on the circumstances and details.

                • Anonymous

                  This joint statement whose drafting committee included members of the ACLU and People for the American Way as well as members of the ACLJ (Pat Robertson’s organization)

                  This “objective” Q&A reads perfectly like the ideal wish list for entrenching left-wing judicial activism in America. The findings in the form of a Q&A illustrate perfectly the mess America is in when broaching this subject of religion in the public, private, government spheres. It illustrates how much the religious advocates have lost in America and the upper hand goes increasingly to the statist group think enforcers.

                  The findings find agreement on what IS concerning church and state legal decisions recently. But there would naturally be disagreement on the outcomes and reasonings used in the decisions. The Q&A tells it like it is, not how it should be.

                  It’s a quagmire… what what used to be simple in America is now confusion, complication and unmanageable… simply because of increasing leftist judicial activism.

                  It’s a good read, but man it will make your head spin.

                • dougindeap

                  And here I thought it showed that, notwithstanding sometimes lofty rhetoric by courts and commentators about an impenetrable wall of separation, as maintained by the courts, that wall is low and leaky enough to allow various connections between government and religion. Indeed, the exceptions and nuances recognized by the courts can confuse laymen and lawyers alike, occasionally prompting some to question the principle itself, since decisions in various cases may seem contradictory (e.g., depending on the circumstances, sometimes government display of the 10 commandments is okay and sometimes not).

    • Anonymous

      Duh, every word and concept you have attempted to debunk is true and admirable. Come to the party!!

  • Anonymous

    Bill Whittle is a man of great integrity.

  • Anonymous

    Note: Virtue doesn’t require a teleprompter.

  • Anonymous

    phlpn.es/829r8s

  • Anonymous

    Wow / Spot on.

  • cabensg

    Whittle is amazing and his commentary is always right on no matter what topic he tackles. I watched one of his speeches at a Tea Party rally and it was electric. He’s always been among my favorites since I first watched him on PJTV.

  • Anonymous

    Having at last found time to listen to this, the ever-brilliant Whittle again does not disappoint.

    I embrace what he is saying. I personally am in the throes of building that discipline which he is talking about in a faithful effort to influence the very same ones we have disappointed, as I once was myself.

    Come on folks! I hope I have company. Let’s go. There is so much at stake. We CAN keep this country free but there’s a price.