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Separation of church and state: my ideal solution.






Do you agree with my assertions here?
Yes, with all of them!
25%
 25%  [ 1 ]
There were one or two that could use improvement.
50%
 50%  [ 2 ]
I agree with some of it, but a lot of it could use changes.
25%
 25%  [ 1 ]
I hardly agree with any of them.
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
How could you say these horrible things?!?
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
I'm against the separation of church and state.
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
I lost my glasses! Somebody help me find them!
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 4

ocalhoun
The problem of the separation of church and state has come to my attention now, so I'll address it.

Marriage:
Marriage should be viewed as a strictly religious ceremony, and there should be no reason for the government to be involved in it.
There would be no legal or tax differences for married couples.
If you wanted to get married (even a controversial marriage, such as same-sex), all you would have to do is find a church, chapel, or 'minister' willing to perform the ceremony. The marriage would be a private matter, between the two (or more) people married to each other, and their religion.
I find any government involvement in the religious ceremony of marriage to be just as bad a violation of the separation of church and state as the government dictating who can and can't be baptized, for example, or the government deciding how Jews should celebrate Passover, or the government awarding special tax status to a Buddhist who had achieved enlightenment.

Schools:
The key here would be use of reason.
Can a principal declare a time of prayer for the school? No. (It would be wrong to thus encourage the swath of religions that use prayer.)
Can the principal be seen praying in public view of students during school hours? Yes. (It would be wrong to force the principal to practice his belief in secret.)

-On the teaching of evolution: Leave that to the science class. Then, add a section on the creation beliefs of various religions to social studies. (The 'theory of intelligent design' could probably be mentioned in science class, but just mentioned and briefly explained, with an offer of more information to students who want to learn more about it, not taught in-depth. It would just be mentioned as an aside when discussing evolution.)

Charity:
(As you may know, I oppose all government funding of charity work. The only government charity program that I would suggest is that tax money collected for state charity be still collected, but instead distributed to the approved charity of the taxpayer's choice.)
Under that system, there would be no problem. Religious-oriented charities would only get funding from those taxpayers who want to fund them. (And of course, they would only get on the approved list if their primary goal was helping those in need, with religious evangelism as a secondary objective.)

Government Publications, Songs, Pledges, and Mottoes:
I do agree that having 'in God we trust' and 'under God' officially sanctioned is a violation of the separation of church and state.
However, those opposed to such things are going about it the wrong way.

Don't ban the official US motto. Don't ban the official pledge of allegiance.
CHANGE them. There's no reason congress couldn't change these things, and changing them would make a lot more sense than trying to restrict their use.

Decorations:
(Such as displaying the ten commandments in a courthouse.)
Why are we putting so much effort into decorating an official building anyway? I don't want my tax money used on any needless decoration of official buildings, religious or not.

Leave the decorations where they belong: in museums and on fancy privately owned buildings.
Leave the religious art where it belongs: in the church, or in the privately owned buildings of the pious.


This is part 3 of my Ideal Government for America series.
The series will continue on an as-I-have-spare-time basis until I run out of topics to talk about, and then they will all be consolidated into one, concise vision for the ideal government of the USA, after assimilating comments and advice given from Frihosters, of course.
Ophois
Quote:
Marriage:
I pretty much agree on this one. But would you remove the marriage by a Justice of the Peace option? I assume so, if we are to keep it strictly religious. Also, the removal of tax differences solves two issues: 1 - it keeps Government out of a Religious affair. 2 - it makes it so that Atheists are not forced to go through a Religious ceremony in order to receive such benefits, or to be denied those benefits because they are unwilling to participate in a ceremony in which they do not believe.
Quote:
Schools:
I also agree here. Though I think there should be an "elective" class in which students can sign up to learn about differing theories, such as Creation or Intelligent Design. Much the way a Philosophy or Political Theory class could be an elective.
Quote:
Charity:
I have a problem with any tax money going to charity. Even if it's voluntary. If a person wants to donate to a charity, I think it should be between them and the charitable organization alone, and leave Government completely out of it. The State should not be allowed to operate charities, in my opinion. As much corruption as we see in our Government, Governors using State coffers to go on South American trips and whatnot, what would keep them from raiding the State charity plate?
Quote:
Government Publications, Songs, Pledges, and Mottoes:
This one is tricky. I think religious references should be removed from our money and other things, but then the slope becomes slippery when you think about the fact that many State Constitutions reference God, and people are very much against changing that. I personally would remove it, but that is a huge, uphill battle.

With motto's, songs, and the Pledge of Allegiance, it really depends, to me, where it is being used. Yes, I think religious motto's should be removed from Capitol buildings and money and other areas, and the Pledge should not be used in a public school at all, even if there were no religious tones in it. I just don't think that public schools are the right place for swearing a political oath. If a baseball game wants to sanction a song with a God reference in it, or if they want to put a Christmas tree in a public park during the Holidays, I have no problem with that at all. I also think that the swearing on a Bible in Court should have been thrown out a long time ago.
Quote:
Decorations:
Religious decorations on State or Federal buildings should all be removed. There are better uses for tax money. If they want to decorate, then there are ways to do it which are more beneficial to the community. They could offer local artists the opportunity to design(non religious) statues or paintings or whatever, and have a public vote on which artist gets commissioned to create their piece for display. It could be like an art fair, attracting business and tourism to raise money for the project, and then it wouldn't even have to be paid for out of taxes.
ocalhoun
Ophois wrote:
Quote:
Schools:
I also agree here. Though I think there should be an "elective" class in which students can sign up to learn about differing theories, such as Creation or Intelligent Design. Much the way a Philosophy or Political Theory class could be an elective.

Oh, philosophy! That's another good example of a class that could make mention of non-scientific creation beliefs.
Quote:

Quote:
Government Publications, Songs, Pledges, and Mottoes:
This one is tricky. I think religious references should be removed from our money and other things, but then the slope becomes slippery when you think about the fact that many State Constitutions reference God, and people are very much against changing that. I personally would remove it, but that is a huge, uphill battle.

With motto's, songs, and the Pledge of Allegiance, it really depends, to me, where it is being used. Yes, I think religious motto's should be removed from Capitol buildings and money and other areas, and the Pledge should not be used in a public school at all, even if there were no religious tones in it. I just don't think that public schools are the right place for swearing a political oath. If a baseball game wants to sanction a song with a God reference in it, or if they want to put a Christmas tree in a public park during the Holidays, I have no problem with that at all. I also think that the swearing on a Bible in Court should have been thrown out a long time ago.

I would tend to take that path as well, but it just doesn't make sense to endorse a national motto and then ban its use in government institutions. I do agree with you that a school is no place for a pledge of allegiance, even a non-religious one. To be honest, personally, by the time I figured out what it meant, I just lip-synced and never actually recited it with the rest of the class.

Interesting that you should mention state governments... Though separation of church and state is spelled out for the federal government, is it actually worded to also include state governments?
It might be that a state with a constitution that allows it can blend state government and religion to heart's content...
Quote:

Quote:
Decorations:
Religious decorations on State or Federal buildings should all be removed. There are better uses for tax money. If they want to decorate, then there are ways to do it which are more beneficial to the community. They could offer local artists the opportunity to design(non religious) statues or paintings or whatever, and have a public vote on which artist gets commissioned to create their piece for display. It could be like an art fair, attracting business and tourism to raise money for the project, and then it wouldn't even have to be paid for out of taxes.

I like the idea of the art fair!

Ophois wrote:
Quote:
Charity:
I have a problem with any tax money going to charity. Even if it's voluntary. If a person wants to donate to a charity, I think it should be between them and the charitable organization alone, and leave Government completely out of it. The State should not be allowed to operate charities, in my opinion. As much corruption as we see in our Government, Governors using State coffers to go on South American trips and whatnot, what would keep them from raiding the State charity plate?

True, this one deviates from my libertarian ideal of small government somewhat. BUT, the socialists among us do have a point. People do have a responsibility to help those in need, a responsibility that comes hand-in-hand with ability to help.
This is my solution for making a way to help that encroaches on individual freedom the least.
(I'm assuming that private charity couldn't really handle the burden of all the work that needs to be done without extra incentive.) (Refer to #1 in this series, which is entirely written about this subject.)
liljp617
ocalhoun wrote:
Marriage:


Is marriage a religious institution? I'll admit I'm not that educated in the history of marriage. In the past, has it or did it originate as a religious institution? If yes, then perhaps your position is correct. If no, then I simply have to disagree with the position.

Baptism and Passover are clearly religious traditions/institutions. I'm not sure about marriage...maybe somebody can elaborate on some of the history. I wish I had the motivation to do the research at the moment Razz

What about people who want to be married (I imagine being married would remain a sort of social expectation) but don't practice any religion?

And are you referring to polygamy in the "or more" part?

Quote:
Schools:


The principal shouldn't ignore any of his duties and responsibilities to pray, correct?

I see no reason to mention ID in any science classroom. It is not science; it is creationism. There's nothing about it that can be legitimately discussed or even mentioned from a scientific point of view. However, making mention of the debate between evolution/ID-creationism could be acceptable, as I think tying classroom material to current events is always more interesting to students. Not much time should be spent on that discussion of course -- that should be left to social sciences.

I don't know if there are many high school students who can be "trusted" to discuss religion from an educational setting. I don't know how many high school teachers can be "trusted" to teach it either. That's a tough topic. I don't believe any course that focuses specifically on religious and creationist beliefs should be mandatory -- it should be an available elective, if anything, and perhaps offered only to juniors or seniors in high school.

Quote:
Charity:


No real opinion on this. I'm not too familiar with the issue.

Quote:
Government Publications, Songs, Pledges, and Mottoes:


I haven't seen anyone petition for banning of the motto/pledge, but I wouldn't put it past some people. I agree, change them....and immediately.

Quote:
Decorations:


Agree.
liljp617
ocalhoun wrote:
Interesting that you should mention state governments... Though separation of church and state is spelled out for the federal government, is it actually worded to also include state governments?
It might be that a state with a constitution that allows it can blend state government and religion to heart's content...


Sadly, I can't say I've even read my own state's constitution, so I don't know Sad The US Constitution doesn't make any specific mention of how the Bill of Rights should be applied to states from what I remember. This was actually a very sticky issue in the past.

There is the Supremacy Clause, however, which basically says that where federal and state government collide, federal wins. Also, there have been many Supreme Court cases over the decades that brought up numerous issues with how the Bill of Rights applied to states. Most of those court cases have led to the Bill of Rights being expanded to states, so I would say the First Amendment has been applied fully to all citizens and states.
ocalhoun
liljp617 wrote:


And are you referring to polygamy in the "or more" part?

Quite so. The only thing you would need even for the most outrageous of weddings would be a person who meets two qualifications:
1: Willing to perform the ceremony, despite any oddities.
2: Has (both) your respect as someone who can perform a marriage.

As for the history of marriage, marriage predates recorded history, so we may never know how it started (cave paintings don't give a good representation of such abstract subjects). How could the government legitimately claim an interest in it though? What reason is there for government involvement?
liljp617
ocalhoun wrote:
How could the government legitimately claim an interest in it though? What reason is there for government involvement?


I entertained this very idea when I was making that post. That's why the history interests me. I don't know if it's a religious institution, but I also don't know if it's a government institution. Perhaps it was simply a social institution -- two people got together and said they were married and that was it.

I'm not sure why religion or government should be involved. I can't see any more purpose for religion to be involved than for government to be involved...assuming, of course, marriage is no more a religious institution than a government institution.
Ophois
ocalhoun wrote:
Oh, philosophy! That's another good example of a class that could make mention of non-scientific creation beliefs.
In that class, you could even encompass religion, as far as discussing the different belief systems, without endorsing any of them. I see it as more of a pre-College level class, so as liljp617 says, leave it to the upper classes.
Quote:
I would tend to take that path as well, but it just doesn't make sense to endorse a national motto and then ban its use in government institutions. I do agree with you that a school is no place for a pledge of allegiance, even a non-religious one. To be honest, personally, by the time I figured out what it meant, I just lip-synced and never actually recited it with the rest of the class.
This one is funny to me. My step mother is a Jehovah's Witness, so we were not allowed to participate in the pledge. Something about worshiping idols, I think.
Quote:
Interesting that you should mention state governments... Though separation of church and state is spelled out for the federal government, is it actually worded to also include state governments?
It might be that a state with a constitution that allows it can blend state government and religion to heart's content...
That one I wasn't sure about. But if a State can blend Religion and Government together, and since most States have a Religious foundation in their Constitutions, wouldn't they simply refuse the removal of Religious decorations and references from State Capitols and schools, etc.? Very little would change from State to State, as far as the removal of such things, I imagine.
Quote:
I like the idea of the art fair!
In Charleston, SC(and many other places) they have similar types of festivals. In Charleston, for example, they have a Jazz festival, a Greek festival, something called Piccolo Spoleto, which is an all encompassing festival of opera, dance, music, food... Festivities like this in any city do a few really good things: they build a sense of community, they bring in touri$m, they promote numerous different arts and business ventures, and most of all, they are an economic boon for the area. These funds could be used for any number of things. The city already charges people and businesses to set up tents or booths, so why not advertise for city projects, take donations, sell tickets to events, and use that money to fund any number of projects that tax payers normally pay for?
Quote:
True, this one deviates from my libertarian ideal of small government somewhat. BUT, the socialists among us do have a point. People do have a responsibility to help those in need, a responsibility that comes hand-in-hand with ability to help.
I guess I can agree with that. Actually, I agree completely that the ability to help comes with the responsibility to do so. I am just loathe to get the State involved in charity work. But I guess it's along the same lines as my desire for the State to offer health care, so I'd be a hypocrite to want one and not the other.
liljp617 wrote:
Is marriage a religious institution?
I think you got it right, when you say it's more of a social institution than anything. Or at least it should be, and likely was in the distant past. But as it is now, it's a Religious gig. And they can have it, as far as I'm concerned. I don't like the idea of marriage any more than I like the idea of Religion.
Quote:
I don't know if there are many high school students who can be "trusted" to discuss religion from an educational setting. I don't know how many high school teachers can be "trusted" to teach it either.
I see where you are coming from here. Getting students of different Religions in a class to discuss different Religions just seems like a good way to start some fights. That's why I would put it under the Philosophy class, that way they can discuss Religions from a philosophical view point, and it wouldn't be the main area of study.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Marriage:
Some people may choose not to believe in God. I like the way marriage is conductecd at the moment with a choice of either Government or Government plus religious ceremonies. The part that I object to is the part where the tax authorities have to get involved in it. I don't believe people should be taxed on the basis of whether they are married at all. There should be no tax consequences for being married or not being married, or living together. If people should get married they should be able to elect to be taxed jointly or separately. There should also be no need to register any specific married status. If the spouse elects to change her name, and prefers to be taxed as before, all she would need to do is submit a change of name.
ocalhoun wrote:
Schools:
The key here would be use of reason. Can a principal declare a time of prayer for the school? No. (It would be wrong to thus encourage the swath of religions that use prayer.)
I thought it would have been against the law, but if we debate it that there is no law, I would say that would be up to the school board to decide. If it is a private school for example, or a public school in a very religious society who feels a strong need for opening school with prayer in the mornings, then yes. I don't think there is a need for declaring times however. The first class can be opened with prayer, if that is the choice of the people of that community. And it is not against the law.
ocalhoun wrote:
Schools:Can the principal be seen praying in public view of students during school hours? Yes. (It would be wrong to force the principal to practice his belief in secret.)

Agreed, but if that is the wish of the community however and it is approved by the school board, and it is not against the law. If it is a public school for example, where quite a large number of students are from families who do not practice religion and who object to their children being potentially influenced in that way, perhaps this may not be the right kind of behaviour.
ocalhoun wrote:
Schools:-On the teaching of evolution: Leave that to the science class. Then, add a section on the creation beliefs of various religions to social studies. (The 'theory of intelligent design' could probably be mentioned in science class, but just mentioned and briefly explained, with an offer of more information to students who want to learn more about it, not taught in-depth. It would just be mentioned as an aside when discussing evolution.)
This again would be dependent on the society that the particular school is serving. If it happens to be a religious one and the school children, or parents of school children would like their children to study more religion, then there should be a class that teaches religious studies. Evolution could be taught in both science and religious studies. If it is a society that does not favour too much religion, then the religion could be taught as "social studies" along with other belief systems, including evolution. Evolution would have a good place in science class, perhaps even biology class as well.

ocalhoun wrote:
Charity:
(As you may know, I oppose all government funding of charity work. The only government charity program that I would suggest is that tax money collected for state charity be still collected, but instead distributed to the approved charity of the taxpayer's choice.)
I don't agree, I'm totally against government participation in charity programs. Charity should be completely voluntary and community based. Government should focus on doing Government stuff. The only part that Government can have a role in, is registration of select charities for tax deduction purposes.
ocalhoun wrote:
Charity: Religious-oriented charities would only get funding from those taxpayers who want to fund them. (And of course, they would only get on the approved list if their primary goal was helping those in need, with religious evangelism as a secondary objective.)
Completely agreed. This should also be voluntary. And ditto Government participation should be limited to the registration of charities for tax deduction purposes.

ocalhoun wrote:
Government Publications, Songs, Pledges, and Mottoes:
I do agree that having 'in God we trust' and 'under God' officially sanctioned is a violation of the separation of church and state.
However, those opposed to such things are going about it the wrong way.

Don't ban the official US motto. Don't ban the official pledge of allegiance.
CHANGE them. There's no reason congress couldn't change these things, and changing them would make a lot more sense than trying to restrict their use.
I have never thought about the latter before and I think that is a brilliant suggestion. Also one that most people will be able to live with much better.

ocalhoun wrote:
Decorations:
(Such as displaying the ten commandments in a courthouse.)
Why are we putting so much effort into decorating an official building anyway? I don't want my tax money used on any needless decoration of official buildings, religious or not.

Leave the decorations where they belong: in museums and on fancy privately owned buildings.
Leave the religious art where it belongs: in the church, or in the privately owned buildings of the pious.
I don't mind decorations. They are not a big deal to me. Some religious decorations can be very attractive. We also should be careful to get to the point that we discriminate against religion, and remove or avoid decorations because of religion. That would take away freedom of expression.


ocalhoun wrote:
This is part 3 of my Ideal Government for America series.
The series will continue on an as-I-have-spare-time basis until I run out of topics to talk about, and then they will all be consolidated into one, concise vision for the ideal government of the USA, after assimilating comments and advice given from Frihosters, of course.
Great stuff Ocalhoun. Sort of a summary of all the discussions we've had. Good stuff!
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Marriage:
Some people may choose not to believe in God. I like the way marriage is conductecd at the moment with a choice of either Government or Government plus religious ceremonies. The part that I object to is the part where the tax authorities have to get involved in it. I don't believe people should be taxed on the basis of whether they are married at all. There should be no tax consequences for being married or not being married, or living together. If people should get married they should be able to elect to be taxed jointly or separately. There should also be no need to register any specific married status. If the spouse elects to change her name, and prefers to be taxed as before, all she would need to do is submit a change of name.

There would still be plenty of opportunity to get a non-religious marriage. To do that, all you have to do is find someone you respect to perform whatever ceremony you think appropriate. Or, you could even just skip the ceremony and just declare yourselves married. The government doesn't have to be involved to make it secular.
Quote:

ocalhoun wrote:
Schools:
The key here would be use of reason. Can a principal declare a time of prayer for the school? No. (It would be wrong to thus encourage the swath of religions that use prayer.)
I thought it would have been against the law, but if we debate it that there is no law, I would say that would be up to the school board to decide. If it is a private school for example, or a public school in a very religious society who feels a strong need for opening school with prayer in the mornings, then yes. I don't think there is a need for declaring times however. The first class can be opened with prayer, if that is the choice of the people of that community. And it is not against the law.

Public school in a religious society... still no go. There's a reason for the separation of church and state; when they get too intertwined, very bad things can happen. If all the students want to pray before class, that's fine. They'll just have to organize it and do it without help from school faculty.
At a private school: they can do whatever they want. There is no separation of church and state issue because the private school is not a state institution, and no matter how religious it is, it is still separate from the state.
Quote:

ocalhoun wrote:
Schools:Can the principal be seen praying in public view of students during school hours? Yes. (It would be wrong to force the principal to practice his belief in secret.)

Agreed, but if that is the wish of the community however and it is approved by the school board, and it is not against the law. If it is a public school for example, where quite a large number of students are from families who do not practice religion and who object to their children being potentially influenced in that way, perhaps this may not be the right kind of behaviour.

The principal is employed by the state, but he isn't the state. Despite his employment, the state must respect his right to practice his religion. Sure, some students might be influenced by seeing him pray. That, however, is a lesser evil than forcing a man to not practice his religion.
Quote:

ocalhoun wrote:
Charity: Religious-oriented charities would only get funding from those taxpayers who want to fund them. (And of course, they would only get on the approved list if their primary goal was helping those in need, with religious evangelism as a secondary objective.)
Completely agreed. This should also be voluntary. And ditto Government participation should be limited to the registration of charities for tax deduction purposes.

Unfortunately, I don't think enough people would donate on a voluntary basis. That would be the best way to do it, but it just isn't possible to do that and fulfill the responsibility towards those in need. Remember, under this system, there would be no welfare, no medicare, no social security, no government health plan. Replacing all of those with private sector charity work would be expensive. The private sector would do a better job of it, but they would still need a lot of funds, much more than they're likely to get on a voluntary basis.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Public school in a religious society... still no go. There's a reason for the separation of church and state; when they get too intertwined, very bad things can happen. If all the students want to pray before class, that's fine. They'll just have to organize it and do it without help from school faculty.
I can't really see that happening though can you? However, I would be able to live with this. I.e. restrict praying to home.
ocalhoun wrote:
The principal is employed by the state, but he isn't the state. Despite his employment, the state must respect his right to practice his religion. Sure, some students might be influenced by seeing him pray. That, however, is a lesser evil than forcing a man to not practice his religion.
I'm not so sure about this. It may cause some unhappiness among parents who are quite serious about their children not being influenced by exposure to religion. If it were the wish of the school board for teachers not to exhibit their religion publicly, then I think this is something the teachers need to abide by.
ocalhoun wrote:
Unfortunately, I don't think enough people would donate on a voluntary basis. That would be the best way to do it, but it just isn't possible to do that and fulfill the responsibility towards those in need. Remember, under this system, there would be no welfare, no medicare, no social security, no government health plan. Replacing all of those with private sector charity work would be expensive. The private sector would do a better job of it, but they would still need a lot of funds, much more than they're likely to get on a voluntary basis.
I assumed that Government would take care of welfare and community programmes, also medical aid for the poor, persion, social security etc. I considered charity to be something completely different, i.e. completely voluntary.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
I can't really see that happening though can you? However, I would be able to live with this. I.e. restrict praying to home.

It doesn't have to be restricted to home (banned from school). You just can't have it officially sanctioned.
Quote:

I'm not so sure about this. It may cause some unhappiness among parents who are quite serious about their children not being influenced by exposure to religion. If it were the wish of the school board for teachers not to exhibit their religion publicly, then I think this is something the teachers need to abide by.

As long as he's not using his position to officially endorse a religion, the state cannot take away his right to practice it, no matter who he works for. As long as he doesn't make his prayer time an official act, endorse religion to students, or expect students to join in, he's protected. Separation of church and state not only protects the state from religion, but also protects religion from the state.
Quote:

I assumed that Government would take care of welfare and community programmes, also medical aid for the poor, persion, social security etc. I considered charity to be something completely different, i.e. completely voluntary.

I think of these activities as the state doing charitable activities. I would define charitable by what is done, rather than who is doing it. Appropriating money for these charitable causes may be a necessary evil, but I would mitigate that evil by giving people a choice of which causes are most important. (By eliminating the old programs, the amount of 'taxes' paid stays the same (a large portion of those taxes is the charity portion.))
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
deanhills wrote:
I can't really see that happening though can you? However, I would be able to live with this. I.e. restrict praying to home.

It doesn't have to be restricted to home (banned from school). You just can't have it officially sanctioned.

OK, I get it, and that makes good sense. Being subtle and cautious.
ocalhoun wrote:
Quote:

I'm not so sure about this. It may cause some unhappiness among parents who are quite serious about their children not being influenced by exposure to religion. If it were the wish of the school board for teachers not to exhibit their religion publicly, then I think this is something the teachers need to abide by.

As long as he's not using his position to officially endorse a religion, the state cannot take away his right to practice it, no matter who he works for. As long as he doesn't make his prayer time an official act, endorse religion to students, or expect students to join in, he's protected. Separation of church and state not only protects the state from religion, but also protects religion from the state.
I like where you are going with this one, i.e. both being protected, but at the same time being separate.
ocalhoun wrote:
Quote:
I assumed that Government would take care of welfare and community programmes, also medical aid for the poor, persion, social security etc. I considered charity to be something completely different, i.e. completely voluntary.

I think of these activities as the state doing charitable activities. I would define charitable by what is done, rather than who is doing it. Appropriating money for these charitable causes may be a necessary evil, but I would mitigate that evil by giving people a choice of which causes are most important. (By eliminating the old programs, the amount of 'taxes' paid stays the same (a large portion of those taxes is the charity portion.))
You are right of course, much better to take care of the poor and disabled than to leave them to their own devices.
handfleisch
ocalhoun wrote:
The problem of the separation of church and state has come to my attention now, so I'll address it.

Marriage:
Marriage should be viewed as a strictly religious ceremony, and there should be no reason for the government to be involved in it.
There would be no legal or tax differences for married couples.
If you wanted to get married (even a controversial marriage, such as same-sex), all you would have to do is find a church, chapel, or 'minister' willing to perform the ceremony. The marriage would be a private matter, between the two (or more) people married to each other, and their religion.
I find any government involvement in the religious ceremony of marriage to be just as bad a violation of the separation of church and state as the government


I totally agree with this. Government involved in marriage is a very obsolete and antiquated thing. It's bizarre if you think about it -- what business does the gov't have in marriage in the US of A? People could use a standard legal form to lay our their legal promises to each other (property, inheritance etc) or get a lawyer.

I think the only exception would be that the government would have to recognize the legal union in terms of spousal benefits like social security payments, veterans pensions, etc.
ocalhoun
My reaction:
*oh, look, a reply to that old topic, I'll go check it out!*
*uh oh... the reply is from handfleisch...*
*hey, wait, that wasn't bad at all!*

Nice to see we've found something else we can mostly agree on.

handfleisch wrote:

I think the only exception would be that the government would have to recognize the legal union in terms of spousal benefits like social security payments, veterans pensions, etc.

Well, since I would also dump all those programs, I wouldn't leave any exception. I would replace social security with tax-augmented private charity and individual savings accounts, and instead of worrying about veterans' spouses getting their pensions, just make life insurance a benefit.
furtasacra
Marriage:
Quote:
"Marriage should be viewed as a strictly religious ceremony, and there should be no reason for the government to be involved in it."


Nix on the religious ceremony. Marriage is primarily a social/economic/legal contract, and people should have the option of a civil ceremony officiated by some government type person if they don't want to (or can't get) married by clergy.

Schools:
There is no place for "intelligent design" in a science class, and it shouldn't even be mentioned in that context.

As far as prayer goes, why not have a moment of silence every morning? Make everybody just shut the hell up for a minute or two. Those who wish to pray can do so (silently) and the teachers get a brief respite from the deafening noise.

Decorations:
I love Ophois' idea about having an art fair! Or maybe a big competition would be fun.
Bikerman
Well, it may be a surprise but I agree (mostly) with the last posting.
Marriage was never a religious 'thing'. It started primarily as a business/political instrument. The church hijacked it (as it does) so that most people have some notion that the Church invented the tradition, or was instrumental in starting it. Untrue.

I don't entirely agree about ID (which again might surprise some). I think it can and should be taught - but not in science of course. It should be taught in comparative religious studies, RE, RS or whatever you like to call it. I'm not sure if the US has this - here in the UK it is compulsory.
I think it is important that kids be given knowledge of the religious traditions that are still very influential in life - if only to 'know the enemy' Smile
deanhills
furtasacra wrote:
Marriage:
Quote:
"Marriage should be viewed as a strictly religious ceremony, and there should be no reason for the government to be involved in it."


Nix on the religious ceremony. Marriage is primarily a social/economic/legal contract, and people should have the option of a civil ceremony officiated by some government type person if they don't want to (or can't get) married by clergy.
That would entirely depend on who are getting married and how they view marriage. Quite a large number of people regard it as a religious ceremony. Why does the Government need to be involved in it? If people want the marriage to be a contract only, they can easily go to their lawyers and draw up a legal contract between the two of them. Why does the Government have to officiate at all?
Bikerman
As I said, the church has managed to convince many people that the marriage ceremony is religious. IT NEVER WAS. It has always been a civil contract, nothing has changed. People do NOT get married in Church and never did. They have a wedding ceremony. The marriage is the contract (normally signed in the sacristy if it is a church do) - that is a CIVIL document - nothing to do with the church.
The reason it is a state 'do' is that the state sanctions the arrangement - in legal and civil terms.
It was always thus - the fact that people think something has changed merely tells you how successful the churches were in propagandizing...
http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/Yourrightsandresponsibilities/DG_10026937?cids=Google_PPC&cre=Government_Citizens_Rights
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
As I said, the church has managed to convince many people that the marriage ceremony is religious. IT NEVER WAS. It has always been a civil contract, nothing has changed.

Even if it is not an exclusively religious thing, why should the government care?
(Besides taxation differences, which could and should be eliminated.)
What is the government's stake in the arrangement, that they have motivation to officiate the whole thing?
Bikerman
ocalhoun wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
As I said, the church has managed to convince many people that the marriage ceremony is religious. IT NEVER WAS. It has always been a civil contract, nothing has changed.

Even if it is not an exclusively religious thing, why should the government care?
(Besides taxation differences, which could and should be eliminated.)
What is the government's stake in the arrangement, that they have motivation to officiate the whole thing?
Well that is a historic thing. Traditionally the family was 2 married opposite sex people with kids. That was a societal unit and the state 'approved' by granting all sorts of special privileges.
If you are asking me what the state's role should be nowadays, I tend to agree - it shouldn't really have one.
liljp617
In western nations at least, is it fair to say that the "common" nuclear family, more often than not, yields productive members of society, specifically compared to those individuals not raised in such a setting? Does the government's involvement in marriage (such as the tax differences and other legal benefits awarded to married individuals) add any encouragement for people to desire forming a nuclear family/household?



*Devil's Advocate...zing!*
Bikerman
I don't think it does.
Speaking personally I never gave it much thought. The fact that we got a slightly higher tax allowance was about the only obvious difference - and that was pennies.
I don't believe it is the role of the state to try and socially engineer to the extent of favouring one particular lifestyle choice over another via the law. Such law will always, by definition, be discriminatory, and ultimately retrograde.
ocalhoun
liljp617 wrote:
In western nations at least, is it fair to say that the "common" nuclear family, more often than not, yields productive members of society, specifically compared to those individuals not raised in such a setting?

I remeber seeing (some time ago, so if you want specifics, look them up for yourself) statistics stating that children raised by two parents were much better off than children raised by just one, more likely to get a good job, less likely to do drugs, less likely to become a single parent themselves, et cetera... generally more productive in society.

The statistics didn't cover any parental environment besides two parents and one parent, so there could be other, even better, alternatives.
Bikerman wrote:
I don't believe it is the role of the state to try and socially engineer to the extent of favouring one particular lifestyle choice over another via the law. Such law will always, by definition, be discriminatory, and ultimately retrograde.

Agreed. The benefits to society from an encouragement of traditional families are outweighed by the detriment of a social-engineering-happy government.
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