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Government and religion

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Robert Harris, Dec 7, 2002.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    Government and religeon

    Those who favor letting the government open meetings with prayers, etc., will love this lawsuit.

    Wiccan sues county board over prayer refusal

    Saturday, December 7, 2002 Posted: 3:36 PM EST (2036 GMT)

    RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) -- A woman who practices a religion rooted in witchcraft is suing county officials for refusing to add her name to a list of clergy invited to open board meetings with a prayer.

    The American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed the lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court on behalf of Cynthia Simpson, a Wiccan.

    The lawsuit claims the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors board discriminated against Simpson based on her religion by inviting Christian clergy to deliver invocations while refusing to allow her to do so.

    "The county's treatment of Ms. Simpson amounts to the marking of Wicca with an official badge of dishonor," the lawsuit says. "It represents nothing less than overt, official governmental disapproval of a religious tradition."

    More at:
  2. Advocat

    Advocat Viral Memes a Speciality Staff Member

    Hmmm... "In <u>Gods</u?> we trust?"
  3. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    Well, they haven't attacked Santaria...at least not yet ;)
  4. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    Perhaps they are saving that for the next lawsuit.
  5. Sunriser13

    Sunriser13 Knee Deep in Paradise

    Well, in all honesty, if they allow one then they must allow all - Jewish, Christian, Catholic, Islamic, Wiccan, etc...

    It would be in keeping with separation of church and state to allow none. But they were the ones that opened the door by allowing any religion in to begin with.

    Wicca is an organized religion, whether they like it or not, as is indeed even Satanism - which although nothing like Wicca, would have the same right to take part in these meetings, since the board has made religion of any kind of a part of them.

    One of the reasons to keep church and state totally separate; as no religion is supposed to be favored over any other...
  6. jfcjrus

    jfcjrus Veteran Member

    Being from the Boston area, and being daily bombarded with the latest info regarding the behavior of a prominent religion around here, I admit that I may be a bit biased.
    But, the sooner our government separates itself from the mention of any part of ANY religion, the better!
  7. bruzzes

    bruzzes Truthslayer

    Hari Krisna, Hari Krisna

    Krisna, Krisna

    Hari Rama.

    Om Shanti...
  8. IamZed

    IamZed ...

    I used to be into this shit. But even I didnt take my self seriously at the time.
  9. Techie2000

    Techie2000 The crowd would sing:

    I have to agree with the lawsuit. I feel that either they allow everyone, or they allow no one...
  10. yazdzik

    yazdzik Veteran Member

    Dear Friends,
    Of course, I agree with rufus.
    Nonetheless, the case has no merit, as such invocations are ceremonial deism, and have no religious significance.
    Does no one at the ACLU read?

    All good wishes,
  11. Techie2000

    Techie2000 The crowd would sing:

    So according to your arguement, prayer has no religous significance whatsoever. Then why is Mr. Falwell always saying that he is going to pray for everyone. When I went to church they were always telling me to pray. I had to pray at church. You are not going to sit there and tell me that prayer has nothing to do with religion when in fact prayer is the main way that people worship their deities individually...
  12. yazdzik

    yazdzik Veteran Member

    Dear Techie,
    No, not my argument; I believe, without a few mnutes of research, Thurgood Marshall coined the term.
    It means that the prayers opening Congress and mottos like "In God we trust" are so much a part of our mores that they have a formal significance other than their religious.
    Those who pray believe it, I am sure, but the fact that invocations are prayers, because of the long standing tradition, does not mean the country ought to do without ceremony, according to the USSC.
    I, personally agree with ruf and sunriser, but, my personal beliefs and the law are two different beasties.
    My comment was directed at the ACLU, for whom personal belief, however right, is more important than statute and stare decisis.
    The issue involved stands decided, and therefore the case is, at this time, when more serious cases of this type are unresolved at the highest level, silly, as within ten minutes any first year law student could find the reference I made to the sixties decision, which would stop any judge in the case cold in his tracks.
    If she believes her Wiccan invocation to be potent, then it is no longer ceremonial deism, and not allowed, and if it is merely decorative, why bother?
    Ruf and sun are right, but, this instance is a matter de minimis.

    (My kids think I talk funny too!)
  13. Techie2000

    Techie2000 The crowd would sing:

    The reason that the American Civil Liberties Union cares more about personal belief because its job is to protect the rights and liberties of individual citizens. Practices such as invocations and prayers opening court and congress no matter how deeply rooted in tradition do not make it right. We had slaves for hundreds of years. Did that make slavery right? No we realized that it was in fact wrong to enslave a population and thus we did away with slavery.
  14. bruzzes

    bruzzes Truthslayer

    Why do I feel I have to learn latin all over again when I read one of your posts Martin?;)

    The little I know comes from being an alter boy...40 yrs ago.

    Thank you for your comments in this thread. It seems pretty definitive.

    Does the above also cover the Chaplain remarks before the congress and the big hubbub about the "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance?

    Curious minds want to know!
  15. Techie2000

    Techie2000 The crowd would sing:

    Yes, in fact it does. Either they let everyone get their chance (even if we have congress spending one month for a Buddhist chant or something in the middle of an Arizona desert) or no one gets their chance. That's all I ask. As a non-practicing atheist (atheists don't practice atheism) I personally do not feel all to comfortable around any religion, but if the diverse people of our great nation feel they wish to have religion enter our government's affairs, then all portions of our religious society should be represented equally.
  16. Sunriser13

    Sunriser13 Knee Deep in Paradise

    OK, Martin, accepting "ceremonial deism" as allowed in this and other openings of formal proceedings, then why would it not extend to the Pledge of Allegiance in our schools? As I have seen quoted, "A generic two-word reference to God tucked inside a rote civic exercise is not a prayer." How is this any different, and why is it acceptable in one place but not another?
  17. yazdzik

    yazdzik Veteran Member

    Dear Sun and friends,
    I am in total agreement, that either the prayers are prayers, or they are not.
    My belief is nonetheless not the law of the land, and I am merely pointing out what the law is.
    The case having a greater chance of changing it is the ninth circuit decision, since it was, unlike much of the politically driven drivel from the the "fruit loop,"(no, not my joke, but a generally used irreverent reference to the ninth!) well written, completely consonant with precedent, and in one line deriving from previous USSC decisions where it broadened precedent.
    At the point where the pledge reverts to its original, pre-1955 form, the precedent will then be set for removal of ceremonial deism from public functions.
    As much as I love old-fashioned formality, I can only imagine the hurt of a jewish kid mouthing words to christmas carols, just because there was a chanukah song on the school "holiday programme" as well. No child should be made to feel left out, and that is why the pledge case, irrespective of the sincerity of the appellant, is the more important. Can you imagine that I cannot move out of NYC, because I do not want my kids to be made to feel bad when the other kids ask, "Where do you go to church?" They would cry. Would I dry their tears with my erudition? For children, the issue is acceptance, not philosophy.
    Ruf, Tech, and Sun, you are all "right," but the state of the law requires a few years to catch up, or, sometimes immense courage to lead.
    Let us hope that no child will ever feel that being a Hindu or atheist, or muslim, even in a remote school in the bible belt, makes him "different." Until then, let us hope that we, those whose compassion exceeds our ideological conviction, will help our country to be more loving.
    The ACLU needs more funding, better legal scholarship, and fewer ideologues. All three are in scarce supply. There is no insult meant, merely an observation made. As far as that goes, I am not convinced that all, or even most, federal judges are chosen for intellect, scholarship, fairness, and compassion. I think more than one congressional committee of more than one party has advanced politics before judicial qualities on more than one occasion.

  18. joseftu

    joseftu ORIGINAL Pomp-Dumpster

    Thank you, Martin, for trying to understand something that seems so hard for many to even accept as a possibility.
    And thanks, too, for this hope, which I share.
  19. drslash

    drslash It's all about the beer

    Why should we take refuge in children regarding this issue? I teach my children to respect others even though they may be different or have different traditions. I tell them differences don't always mean someone is right and someone else is wrong. Accepting people with differences is the most important social lesson we can teach our children. I say that a child that feels left out has not been taught about accepting others. Adults spend a lot of time projecting their fears on children and assume that they feel the way we think they feel.

    As far as the Wiccan women's lawsuit goes, if I were the County Administrator I would disallow their invocations for another reason. As far as I know the Wiccans do not have a formal national organization or national office. There are many so-called religions, including some that can be joined from the back of a magazine or registering on a web site for "tax" purposes, that should not be allowed to give invocations at county meetings.
  20. jamming

    jamming Banned

    Actually there are several national organizations of Wiccans, though not that have widespread acceptance in the whole community. Some of my most favorite discussions have been with Wiccans before I joined this forum. We would discuss theology and religious practices. Even though they have a different world view, they are struggling with many of the same issues that everyone else does. Why do bad things happent o good people, does the deity become involved in our individual lives, how do we promote greater understanding between different religious traditions in our secular society.

    Many Wiccan organizations are as contentious as Baptists or Congregational Churches. When they have a difference of opinion, "poof!" one circle becomes two. Sort of like the fishes and the loaves miracles of Jesus' Ministry. Whereas I don't see a Wiccan Revivalism sweeping the World, they are a member of the community of religious organizations and many are your neighbors and friends.

    People just don't seem to believe that we are by nature a religious nation since the beginning. Many of the founding father's ranged through many religous traditions from Puritan, Quaker, Deists, and whatevers. The Chambers of the Congress and the location of the Supreme Court, both had Worship Services conducted on Sunday in early D.C. As long as the religious experience is not used as a method to divide the country more, we should respect them all, even in our public life. Whereas the ones who do not acknowledge a deity (which is no less a belief) feel that the free practice of religion in public life is an affront to them personally.

    I have learned important life lessons from many people of different religions on a personal level, something that still boggles my mind. Religion is many different approaches to explain and understand the universe and a persons place within it. I cannot understand why free speech only applies to non-religious expression by people in government. It would seem to me, that the more we discuss our differences we discover how we are more alike as people, if that's not true then what the heck is it I am doing here at Global Affairs?

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