This morning I received a disturbing e-mail, urging people to agree or disagree and giving numbers that would suggest if you disagree you would be in the minority. I personally found myself disagreeing with the e-mail, mostly in its conclusion. Much of this may offend, so please read at your own discretion. It is not my intention to flame or say one religion is bad or good. I humbly request no one flame me.
Supreme Court building
Several of the Christian symbols on the building were mentioned, as well as other buildings having Bible verses etched in the stone.
The Supreme Court building does not only use Christian symbolism to define itself, although I am sure a significant amount is since many of the founding people were Christian and those symbols carried more meaning. That’s true even today, but it does not negate the fact that the building carries many other religions’ symbolism of what is “right” or “just”. Some examples:
Justice, holding sword and scales, and The Three Fates, weaving the thread of life: ancient Roman religion
Some other Lawgivers include: Solon (Athenian statesman, lawmaker, and lyric poet), Confucius (Chinese philosopher who founded Confucianism)
The bronze doors depict historic scenes in the development of law: the trial scene from the shield of Achilles as described in the Iliad, a Roman praetor publishing an edict, Julian and a pupil, Justinian publishing the Corpus Juris, King John sealing the Magna Carta, etc.
Not only are the images and people depicted in the architecture varied, the materials used to build the Supreme Court courthouse come from many parts of the world, including Ivory Vein marble from Alicante, Spain, and marble from Italy and Africa.
-Supreme Court building brochure: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/about/courtbuilding.pdf
Yes, for the most part our country was founded on a Christian belief system, but it was also founded on the ideal that people can believe what they want. That is the reason (I hope) America became independent of Great Britain, to escape the religious and political tyranny.
Prayer and Pledge of Allegiance in School
“It is said that 86% of Americans believe in God. Therefore, it is very hard to understand why there is such a mess about having the Ten Commandments on display or ‘In God We Trust’ on our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance.”
It is my belief that religion is personal. What works for one person may not work for another. We are all unique. I am neutral about having children pledge allegiance. The statement of “under God” should be revised though. Those who live under different beliefs should be able to say “under Allah” or “under Yahweh”, and then the pledge would have more meaning for that person. Honestly, I don’t mind it being removed completely. It was only added to the pledge in the 1950s due to the “Red Scare”. As freedom of religion is a part of our constitution, people should be free to not have a religion and should not be forced to say “under [insert religious diety here]”. The best answer is always the “lowest common denominator”, and if no “diety” is the LCD, then “under [God]” should be removed. But, as noted, I am not as worried about that detail.
Prayer, however, should not be forced unless in a religious school that is not a part of the state. If students want to gather together and pray before school or at lunch, then please assemble peaceably and do your thing. Do not force them to pray, and if religion must be taught in school, teach more than one religion. The world is full of beliefs and ideas. If you teach one, teach several to give perspective. Teach the facts, not the word. School is for learning facts (and how to think hopefully), church is for learning the word. There needs to be a fine line between state and church.
Longevity equals Right
“How, then, have we gotten to the point that everything we have done for 220 years in this country is now suddenly wrong and unconstitutional?”
I am not saying Christianity is wrong in this scenario, simply that one cannot base is “correctness” due to longevity. The United States believed in slavery for at least one hundred and fifty years. Although it was definitely believed for a long time, we now, mostly, recognize that it was wrong. Longevity does not equal rightness.
When I asked the person who sent this why they agreed, this is the response: “I felt that those who oppose to the constitution have been living by it for centuries and we’re doing just fine the way it is”
My response to this was: “It’s against the first amendment to tell people to shut up, and that’s what it is. An amendment. To the constitution. It isn’t infallible. It’s been amended. 26 times. And if it requires more work, then it is truly a living document that reflects our society.”
We need both those who maintain tradition and those with radical or new ideas to speak up, and we need to make sure we find the compromise between the two without flaming each other if possible. We need debate, things need to be challenged, regardless of how annoying it is.
This statement (it’s conclusion), however, IS unconstitutional.
“It is said that 86% of Americans believe in God. Therefore, it is very hard to understand why there is such a mess about having the Ten Commandments on display or “In God We Trust” on our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance. Why don’t we just tell the other 14% to Sit Down and Be Quiet!!!”
Sit down and be quiet? I quote:
Article 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Everyone has the right to not be quiet. That means you can say what you want, but don’t tell others they can’t say anything.
Christianity as Dictatorship
“Thomas Jefferson worried that the Courts would overstep their authority and instead of interpreting the law would begin making law an oligarchy, the rule of few over many. “
This is a very reasonable concern, but an odd one considering Christianity (Catholic) is dictatorially controlled by the Pope, one man. The Supreme Court (nine judges) and all other branches of state should not be involved in religious affairs, and the church in state affairs. It’s hard because we bring our morals into our decision making, and most morals are based on our religion. It’s a touchy and sensitive area, but we trust those nine people to make those decisions. They will change with time, as the judges themselves are a part of society and reflect that society.
Morals vs Religion
“The very first Supreme Court Justice, John Jay, said: ‘Americans should select and prefer Christians as their rulers.'”
It greatly sores me that many people still follow the belief someone can only be moral if Christian. Just in my own experience in my short lifetime I have met many immoral Christians and moral non-Christians and vice versa. Religion, unfortunately, doesn’t equal morality, although it is supposed to provide a similar set of morals for a community to follow. It is ideal, but not how it works in real life from what I have learned.
Okay, this wasn’t mentioned in the email, but to continue in that vein: it is my belief that the state should recognize any union between humans, whether it is man and woman, woman and woman, or man and man (or those grey areas in between). If two people want to be considered dedicated to each other and take on those responsibilities, the state shouldn’t stop them.
However, it is not appropriate to try to pass a law to force churches or religions to accept them or recognize them as married. Marriage is a religious act, and it is up to the couple to find a religion that supports their ideals and beliefs. It is unfortunate that many Christian sects do not support them, but it is the couple who need to realize that those sects do not meet their needs.
In conclusion, I again quote the email “It is said that 86% of Americans believe in God. Therefore, it is very hard to understand why there is such a mess about having the Ten Commandments on display or ‘In God We Trust’ on our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance.” “Very hard to understand” is the key fragment of this sentence. If you do not understand it, you should not speak about it. You should learn more to make a better decision, and you should not be telling others to “Sit Down and Be Quiet”, or else you’ll never understand. The Bible doesn’t change, but the Constitution does. Please, keep the church and the state separate. Please don’t hate me. 🙁