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savafan
07-08-2005, 01:54 AM
Actually sounds like a pretty good program to me.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/state/content/state/epaper/2005/07/06/m1a_fathers_0706.html

By Dara Kam

Special to The Palm Beach Post

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

TALLAHASSEE Just before Father's Day, Gov. Jeb Bush announced that he wanted every public school in Florida to host a Christian-based program designed to increase fathers' participation in their children's lives.

The program, All Pro Dad, combines a biblical foundation with the draw of popular professional athletes to promote the belief that "the father is the head of the household" and that men should rely on God to help them be better parents and keep their marriages intact. It also encourages Bible reading.

"This is a really great program," Bush said at a news conference last month, though he did not make any reference to the project's Christian foundation. "The response of this program has been a success, and I hope it expands throughout the entire state to every school in every school district."

But critics say the program, which has a direct link on the Florida Department of Education Web site, clearly has Christian overtones and is part of a national effort by evangelicals who view public schools as recruiting fields.

An official state Web site should not be linked to such an organization, said Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Lynn said the link violates the First Amendment, which prohibits government from establishing a state religion and at the same time prohibits government from interfering with religious practices.

"This has a very clear religious message, so that's wrong and that should be stopped immediately," Lynn said from his office in Washington. "This is an overtly fundamentalist Christian worldview that's being promoted."

Program popular in Tampa area

The All Pro Dad program is used in about 60 locations in 20 states, including a dozen Tampa Bay-area public schools. Monthly breakfast meetings are held in school cafeterias or nearby Chick-fil-A restaurants. There are no active chapters in Palm Beach, Martin or St. Lucie counties.

Last month, however, Florida K-12 public schools Chancellor Jim Warford touted the program to the state's 67 school superintendents.

"I encourage you to go to http://www.allprodad.com/yourneigh borhood.asp to get a free introductory DVD about the program and how you can get fathers more involved in your schools," Warford wrote in a June 17 memo. The memo does not include information about the program's religious orientation.

Department of Education officials defended the state's endorsement of the Christian-based program, but otherwise referred queries about All Pro Dad to Volunteer Florida, a Bush-appointed nonprofit agency charged with faith and community outreach.

"It's appropriate for the Department of Education to endorse programs that encourage parents to be involved in their children's lives. We would support any program that would encourage that," department spokeswoman Melanie Etters said. "The fact is that a lot of the people that participate in the All Pro Dads are NFL stars and they reach out to some populations that the Department of Education wouldn't attract."

Etters said the department "welcomes other programs" that would promote parental involvement in their children's lives.

But Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, said Bush and the department's endorsement of the program is indicative of the governor's disregard for the state constitution, which prohibits spending state money, directly or indirectly, on religious programs.

"It may be a wonderful program, but a program that encourages Bible reading and strengthening your relationship with God is not the kind of program that should be sponsored by the public schools, nor should it be the kind of program that is organized and facilitated by the public schools," Simon said.

"From vouchers, from faith-based initiatives, to the nation's first faith-based prisons, this governor has a blind spot when it comes to the constitutional requirement on separation of church and state. He's completely uncritical. He doesn't believe that reading the Bible and strengthening your relationship with God is a faith-based message."

The Florida Supreme Court is now considering whether Bush's 6-year-old Opportunity Scholarship Program is constitutional. The program gives vouchers for students at failing schools to attend private schools, including religious schools.

Two lower courts have struck down the voucher program, declaring it violated the constitutional provision barring state tax dollars from being spent on religious institutions.

The All Pro Dad curriculum was created by Family First, a Tampa-based nonprofit "research and educational organization," according to founder and President Mark Merrill. It is being promoted throughout the nation, in part with the help of fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, whose founder, S. Truett Cathy, is a Southern Baptist. Merrill was tapped by Bush, a Catholic, to serve on Volunteer Florida's 25-member board.

Mulrennan Middle School in Valrico, east of Tampa, promotes All Pro Dad on its school marquee and in newsletters. The school also advertises the program on its radio and television stations, said assistant principal Matthew Diprima, who organizes the monthly meetings.

"This is something the school supports, and this is something that's fostered by the school," Diprima said.

He said the Mulrennan group meets at a neighborhood Chick-fil-A, which donates materials to the children who participate. The group uses the All Pro Dad Web site to choose topics for discussion.

Included on the Web site are tips for fathers, including "Ten Ways to be a Better Dad" and "How to Save Your Marriage."

Father called 'head coach' of family

One of the marriage-saving lessons, written by All Pro Dad Director Bryan Davis, coaches men to pray with their wives.

"God has joined you and your wife together. He is the Author of love and marital harmony. Deepening your relationship with Him is the key and foundation of a successful marriage. If you haven't cracked open a Bible in a while, start. Find I Corinthians 13 and give it a read. It's the perfect blueprint for your marriage," Davis advises.

A video introduction by Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, All Pro Dad's national spokesman, lays the groundwork for good parenting by establishing the father as the "head coach" of the family.

"That's the biblical way it's set up. Mom and Dad directing the family together, with the dad being the head of the household," Dungy instructs participants. "Now that doesn't always happen... but that's the ideal way and the best way, and that's the way we're going to function the best."

But the group's president last week did not directly answer several questions about the Bible's role in the All Pro Dad resources.

"Isn't that self-evident?" Merrill said. "A lot of the principles contained in the Old and New Testaments really are superior principles for raising children and for living."

pedro
07-08-2005, 02:06 AM
I don't really have a problem with the schools hosting such programs but no tax or other school money should go towards it.

Rojo
07-08-2005, 01:04 PM
A video introduction by Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, All Pro Dad's national spokesman, lays the groundwork for good parenting by establishing the father as the "head coach" of the family.

Priceless. You just can't make this stuff up.

GAC
07-08-2005, 01:07 PM
I have no problem with it whatsoever as long as it is an elective.

Johnny Footstool
07-08-2005, 01:11 PM
Sounds like a new version of the Promise Keepers.

Chip R
07-08-2005, 01:16 PM
Sounds like a new version of the Promise Keepers.I was going to say the same thing.

Michael Allred
07-08-2005, 02:27 PM
Why does it have to be christian based? Why does religion have to be involved at all? Programs about fathers being more involved in kids lives doesn't need to involve god at all. This is CLEARLY yet another attempt by the right to force religion into people's lives.

Yeah and religious people say homosexuals try to recruit.

Chip R
07-08-2005, 02:30 PM
Why does it have to be christian based? Why does religion have to be involved at all? Programs about fathers being more involved in kids lives doesn't need to involve god at all. This is CLEARLY yet another attempt by the right to force religion into people's lives.

Yeah and religious people say homosexuals try to recruit.
Just because it's Christian based, Michael, doesn't mean it's automatically bad.

pedro
07-08-2005, 02:58 PM
Why does it have to be christian based? Why does religion have to be involved at all? Programs about fathers being more involved in kids lives doesn't need to involve god at all. This is CLEARLY yet another attempt by the right to force religion into people's lives.

Yeah and religious people say homosexuals try to recruit.

Because Jesus only hires "Coach Dad" if he's a Christian. It's in the playbook.

Redsfaithful
07-08-2005, 04:07 PM
Just because it's Christian based, Michael, doesn't mean it's automatically bad.

If it's being pushed by the government then it doesn't look too good.

Chip R
07-08-2005, 04:17 PM
If it's being pushed by the government then it doesn't look too good.
It may not look good but it doesn't mean it isn't good. Like Pedro said, as long as the schools aren't using tax dollars or school dollars for it then it's not a problem. Just because something is Christian it doesn't necessarily mean it's bad. That's prejudice.

Redsfaithful
07-08-2005, 04:25 PM
Just because something is Christian it doesn't necessarily mean it's bad. That's prejudice.

I agree completely. I just don't like our government mucking around with religion, and I'd think rational religious people would feel the same way. Tax dollars or not.

Falls City Beer
07-08-2005, 04:48 PM
Just because it's Christian based, Michael, doesn't mean it's automatically bad.

Conversely, just because it's Christian doesn't mean it's self-evidently good, either.

And school programs are/should be designed for the "common" good.

registerthis
07-08-2005, 04:59 PM
I don't necessarily have a problem with this, but I woul dbe curious to know what the reaction would be if a Jewish Rabbi wanted to host the same thing.

People think these types of programs are all well and good until someone not of their religion tries to host it.

Chip R
07-08-2005, 05:00 PM
Conversely, just because it's Christian doesn't mean it's self-evidently good, either.

And school programs are/should be designed for the "common" good.
And that's true too.

RosieRed
07-08-2005, 06:22 PM
Jon Kitna is quoted on this program's web site.

Anyway, my main issue with this program is this:


"That's the biblical way it's set up. Mom and Dad directing the family together, with the dad being the head of the household," Dungy instructs participants. "Now that doesn't always happen... but that's the ideal way and the best way, and that's the way we're going to function the best."

Personally, I think it functions best when both parents are head of the household. I certainly wouldn't want to have a daughter growing up in a house where I'm not perceived as a "head coach." And I'm in no way an expert on families, but of all the families I've spent time with, the mother runs the house 9 times out of 10.

Falls City Beer
07-08-2005, 06:26 PM
Jon Kitna is quoted on this program's web site.

Anyway, my main issue with this program is this:



Personally, I think it functions best when both parents are head of the household. I certainly wouldn't want to have a daughter growing up in a house where I'm not perceived as a "head coach." And I'm in no way an expert on families, but of all the families I've spent time with, the mother runs the house 9 times out of 10.

Yep. Soon it'll be "Dad knows best when it comes to your reproductive rights, not you silly women."

What I don't understand is some women go along with this tripe. I just want to shake them and say, "Do you have no self-respect?"

Michael Allred
07-08-2005, 06:28 PM
Just because it's Christian based, Michael, doesn't mean it's automatically bad.

Nobody is explaining why these programs that the Bush family thrust upon us HAVE to be religious based. What is the reason? Aren't there programs that do the exact same thing but minus "god"?

I know there are.....so why aren't they used instead?

pedro
07-08-2005, 06:34 PM
Jon Kitna is quoted on this program's web site.

Anyway, my main issue with this program is this:



Personally, I think it functions best when both parents are head of the household. I certainly wouldn't want to have a daughter growing up in a house where I'm not perceived as a "head coach." And I'm in no way an expert on families, but of all the families I've spent time with, the mother runs the house 9 times out of 10.

Or if the Mom is the GM :)

Falls City Beer
07-08-2005, 06:43 PM
Or how about a program that teaches girls not to stand for the notion that their male counterparts in the workplace make a $1.00 for every $.70 that a woman makes, for the same labor. Or that teaches girls not to tolerate sexual harrassment or workplace intimidation. Or that teaches girls to dream big, believe in themselves, and not be shaken by the old boy's network.

None of that needs God either.

Rojo
07-08-2005, 06:46 PM
I don't necessarily have a problem with this, but I woul dbe curious to know what the reaction would be if a Jewish Rabbi wanted to host the same thing.

Even better, a Muslim program. American Madrassahs, that's what we need.

GAC
07-08-2005, 07:01 PM
Conversely, just because it's Christian doesn't mean it's self-evidently good, either.

And school programs are/should be designed for the "common" good.

Agreed. But sadly enough they all aren't.

GAC
07-08-2005, 07:03 PM
Yep. Soon it'll be "Dad knows best when it comes to your reproductive rights, not you silly women."

What I don't understand is some women go along with this tripe. I just want to shake them and say, "Do you have no self-respect?"

Or how about a program that teaches girls not to stand for the notion that their male counterparts in the workplace make a $1.00 for every $.70 that a woman makes, for the same labor. Or that teaches girls not to tolerate sexual harrassment or workplace intimidation. Or that teaches girls to dream big, believe in themselves, and not be shaken by the old boy's network.


And of course, Christianity promotes that right? :rolleyes:

Falls City Beer
07-08-2005, 07:30 PM
And of course, Christianity promotes that right? :rolleyes:

No, not necessarily, just Dungy's "version" of Christianity.

But it's a little silly and quixotic, IMO, that some men think it's their birthright to be head of the household when statistics show that it's men who abandon their families to the tune of twice as often as women do. And that's the point I was referring to in Rosie's bolded portion, not Christianity overall.

traderumor
07-08-2005, 08:19 PM
1) The program is voluntary, if one does not like the foundation it is based on, then no one is forcing them to use it.

2) Why are people so threatened by something they consider so powerless as Christianity? The paranoia that comes forth at the presence of something with Christian underpinnings always amazes me. They could have a link to a Wiccan program promoting good morals and any Christian objectors would be ridiculed. But let a Christian program be recommended and we have immediate cries of "Separation of Church and State, separation of church and state, freedom from religion, freedom from religion." Its like clockwork.

Redsfaithful
07-08-2005, 08:28 PM
They could have a link to a Wiccan program promoting good morals and any Christian objectors would be ridiculed.

Come on tr, you know better than that. Any religious program in our public schools is going to be questioned by most of those on the left. It's simply not necessary, whether it's Christianity or any other religion.

There's no reason why this program couldn't happen without the Christian undertones, but people have to push their personal agendas.

Falls City Beer
07-08-2005, 08:29 PM
1) The program is voluntary, if one does not like the foundation it is based on, then no one is forcing them to use it.

2) Why are people so threatened by something they consider so powerless as Christianity? The paranoia that comes forth at the presence of something with Christian underpinnings always amazes me. They could have a link to a Wiccan program promoting good morals and any Christian objectors would be ridiculed. But let a Christian program be recommended and we have immediate cries of "Separation of Church and State, separation of church and state, freedom from religion, freedom from religion." Its like clockwork.

Who on earth thinks Christianity is powerless? Who in their right minds would consider that to be the case?

pedro
07-08-2005, 08:40 PM
1) The program is voluntary, if one does not like the foundation it is based on, then no one is forcing them to use it.

2) Why are people so threatened by something they consider so powerless as Christianity? The paranoia that comes forth at the presence of something with Christian underpinnings always amazes me. They could have a link to a Wiccan program promoting good morals and any Christian objectors would be ridiculed. But let a Christian program be recommended and we have immediate cries of "Separation of Church and State, separation of church and state, freedom from religion, freedom from religion." Its like clockwork.

That's simply not true.

RosieRed
07-08-2005, 08:42 PM
2) Why are people so threatened by something they consider so powerless as Christianity? The paranoia that comes forth at the presence of something with Christian underpinnings always amazes me. They could have a link to a Wiccan program promoting good morals and any Christian objectors would be ridiculed. But let a Christian program be recommended and we have immediate cries of "Separation of Church and State, separation of church and state, freedom from religion, freedom from religion." Its like clockwork.

Obviously this country is founded on freedom from religion and separation of church and state ... so when it appears that either or both of those philosophies is being compromised, some people are going to point it out. Christianity is a predominant religion in this country; it's what we hear about the most. So it's going to get most of the flack, for lack of a better term.

Faith-based initiatives are always going to be scrutinized, no matter what faith is involved. Especially when they have government backing and meetings are held at public schools.

For the record, I don't think Christianity is powerless. I don't know anyone who thinks that. Most people seem to think the opposite: that Christianity is powerful. And with power comes criticism, and fear.

Personally, I don't much care if it's a Christian-based program, or a Jewish-based program, or whatever. In this case my concern is with what the program is actually trying to put forth (the whole "man is the head of the household" thing). I would take exception to that no matter what religion was involved, or if no religion were involved.

BUTLER REDSFAN
07-09-2005, 12:47 AM
its freedom of religion not from

savafan
07-09-2005, 12:52 AM
its freedom of religion not from :clap:

Redsfaithful
07-09-2005, 03:39 AM
its freedom of religion not from

Separation of church and state pretty much makes it both.

savafan
07-09-2005, 03:44 AM
Separation of church and state pretty much makes it both.

Not in the manner in which it was intended. Congress cannot make any laws regarding the establishment of a national religion. That's pretty straightforward. That isn't the case here, nor in thousands of other situations where people have cried, "Freedom of Religion".

pedro
07-09-2005, 03:45 AM
its freedom of religion not from

Yes, and freedom of religion implies that the state will sponsor nor promote any one religion. That's pretty clear IMO.

GAC
07-09-2005, 11:38 AM
Even better, a Muslim program. American Madrassahs, that's what we need.

I have no problem with Equal Access, which is upheld by the courts. Go ahead and set one of those clubs up. ;)

traderumor
07-09-2005, 11:49 AM
RF, FCB, and Rosie,

I know your collective comments are the right thing to say with my comment, but Christianity seems to be the most threatening to people. Is it simply because it is the most prevalent in the culture? Perhaps its that simple. I'm curious, did any of you take a position when the Wiccans got a school Halloween parade cancelled on the premise that it painted witches in a negative light? I'm not accusing, just asking. What about including Hanukkah and Winter Solstice celebrations being included in school programs but traditional Christian Christmas ideals are not allowed?

Redsfaithful
07-09-2005, 12:00 PM
I'm curious, did any of you take a position when the Wiccans got a school Halloween parade cancelled on the premise that it painted witches in a negative light?

That's pretty stupid. Not just because it's a stupid premise, but also it's terrible PR. I don't know how a Wiccan would think cancelling something like that would eventually lead to an increase in their social standing. It's just going to tick people off.


Is it simply because it is the most prevalent in the culture?

Yeah, that's pretty much why.


Not in the manner in which it was intended.

Sava, clearly you should be sitting on the Supreme Court since you know exactly what our founding fathers intended. That's amazing.

Falls City Beer
07-09-2005, 12:14 PM
RF, FCB, and Rosie,

I know your collective comments are the right thing to say with my comment, but Christianity seems to be the most threatening to people. Is it simply because it is the most prevalent in the culture? Perhaps its that simple. I'm curious, did any of you take a position when the Wiccans got a school Halloween parade cancelled on the premise that it painted witches in a negative light? I'm not accusing, just asking. What about including Hanukkah and Winter Solstice celebrations being included in school programs but traditional Christian Christmas ideals are not allowed?

I'm not familiar with the "Wiccan clampdown" of which you speak, but if it's true, then it's stupid. Just as I think it's stupid that some parents get their panties in a bunch about kids dressing up like the devil or a vampire or something for Halloween. I say to them, get over your bloody selves. It's freakin' kid stuff.

Just call the winter celebration stuff "A Holiday Pageant." Situation de-fused.

But again, I think you miss my overriding point. My point is not to shut down things like celebrations; my point is to say, my tax dollar should not fund Christian (or any religion's) teachings in public schools. Teaching about Christian, Muslim, Jewish history is one thing, as a disinterested, objective venture--telling people to "act" according to Scripture is a whole other beast. Surely you can see that.

traderumor
07-09-2005, 12:33 PM
I'm not familiar with the "Wiccan clampdown" of which you speak, but if it's true, then it's stupid. Just as I think it's stupid that some parents get their panties in a bunch about kids dressing up like the devil or a vampire or something for Halloween. I say to them, get over your bloody selves. It's freakin' kid stuff.

Just call the winter celebration stuff "A Holiday Pageant." Situation de-fused.

But again, I think you miss my overriding point. My point is not to shut down things like celebrations; my point is to say, my tax dollar should not fund Christian (or any religion's) teachings in public schools. Teaching about Christian, Muslim, Jewish history is one thing, as a disinterested, objective venture--telling people to "act" according to Scripture is a whole other beast. Surely you can see that.Voluntary program, a link to a websight. No other religious groups are noted as objecting, well except for the secular humanists ;)

savafan
07-09-2005, 12:41 PM
But again, I think you miss my overriding point. My point is not to shut down things like celebrations; my point is to say, my tax dollar should not fund Christian (or any religion's) teachings in public schools. Teaching about Christian, Muslim, Jewish history is one thing, as a disinterested, objective venture--telling people to "act" according to Scripture is a whole other beast. Surely you can see that.

I agree with you on this to a point. In fact, I am very much in favor of teaching about a wide variety of religions, not just one. There is so much good philosophy in many of our world religions, I find myself to be a better person for understanding them.

Falls City Beer
07-09-2005, 01:34 PM
Voluntary program, a link to a websight. No other religious groups are noted as objecting, well except for the secular humanists ;)

It really doesn't matter if it's compulsory or voluntary--it's still my tax dollar going to religious (and exclusively Christian apparently) teaching in public schools.

Why doesn't a private company sponsor it if it's so popular?

savafan
07-09-2005, 01:39 PM
It really doesn't matter if it's compulsory or voluntary--it's still my tax dollar going to religious (and exclusively Christian apparently) teaching in public schools.

Why doesn't a private company sponsor it if it's so popular?

If it was a multi-faith organization, would you be so strongly against it?

Not directing this at you FCB, but there are some people out there who cry out saying that parents need to be more involved with their kids, and then an organization like this comes a long and those same people say, oh no, we can't have a Christian organization in schools.

Why the fear? No one can make you go to any one church. When the government starts coming in with guns and tells me that I have to attend their church, that's when I'm leaving this country.

You are still free to believe what you want or don't want to believe. Why be afraid of the message? Afraid you may buy into it?

Falls City Beer
07-09-2005, 01:44 PM
If it was a multi-faith organization, would you be so strongly against it?


Yes. This is not a program aimed at "showing" what religion is or its history, but a program aimed at getting kids to "act" in accordance with Scriptural recommendations. It's the difference between exposition and didacticism. And that's a very important difference.

And no, I wouldn't have a problem with this program at all if it wasn't on my dime.

CrackerJack
07-09-2005, 02:22 PM
And no, I wouldn't have a problem with this program at all if wasn't on my dime.


Agree.

I belonged to a couple Christian youth groups in high school, and it took place off school grounds at night and in the summer and on weekends. Nothing wrong with that. The school stayed out of it as did the government. Worked just fine, and it was very popular, the groups were talked about widely and well-known. That's the way it should be.

I don't need a particular religion to tell me how to be a good father, to respect others and treat them considerately and respect their differences. That's what laws are for. Worship as you please, just don't do it on our dimes.

It's not a bad thing because it's Christian-based, it's a bad thing because it is a government endorsed program. The Bush agenda is not lost on a lot of people, and frankly it's offensive they try to promote this sort of thing and insult the intelligence of so many people, among other things.

Dom Heffner
07-09-2005, 03:06 PM
It really doesn't matter if it's compulsory or voluntary--it's still my tax dollar going to religious (and exclusively Christian apparently) teaching in public schools.

Jefferson agreed:

To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.-- Thomas Jefferson, Statute for Religious Freedom, 1779. Papers, 1:545


I was reading some James Madison the other day, which I often do, and the more I read the type of arguments that mostly come from the right on this subject, the more I am convinced he was one of the most brilliant men to inhabit this country, at least when it comes to this topic, anyway.

In the passage I was reading, Madison argues that even if every single one of us believed in the exact same god and the exact same creed, that we are still, on principle, better off to display this strictly through our religious representatives rather than our government. It does not matter what the majority thinks when it comes to matters of conscience, because these things, by their very nature, can never be proven while on this earth. These are all matters of opinion, and people will be disagreeing about them until the truth is finally revealed, whenever and if ever that happens.

When a bill that provided aid and education to the poor through a church came to his desk, Madison vetoed it, saying that even though the bill meant well, the principle of church and state separation meant even more.

That takes big ones, as they say.

I have read lately that George W. Bush wants the courts to take a "do no harm" approach to this principle: if no harm is done, then the courts should allow things like the Ten Commandments to be posted in government buidlings and for religion to be placed in public schools.

What Bush fails to realize is that this issue was addressed two hundred and twenty five years ago, and his side lost.

It does not matter how good your intentions are with this stuff, it is a bad idea, indeed, to intertwine the two.

There was a thread on here awhile back where someone quoted the freedom of religion and establishment clauses of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

The poster argued that based on the above words, the government was only prohibited from passing laws respecting one religion. Anything else is fair game, because that's what the Constitution says right there in bold print.

Well, that line of reasoning is what caused Madison and Hamilton to resist the idea of a Bill of Rights. Their biggest fear was that if they put something down in words- like they ended up doing- then someone would construe a power that was never given to the government in the first place.

Their idea was for the Constitution to be simply silent on the matter of religion. If it was not mentioned in the document, then no one would be able to find any hint of government authority in it.

In other words, there would be absolutely no way to construe something from nothing. Hamilton wrote the following in the Federalist no. 84:

bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are granted; and on this very account, would afford a colourable (sic) pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretence for claiming that power.

The idea of religious freedom was revolutionary not only because it allowed for a complete separation from government and religious matters and the chance for people to worship freely without persecution, but it also allowed for many different factions of religions to exist, and the hope was that they would keep each other in check without one becoming more powerful than another:

Freedom arises from the multiplicity of sects, which pervades America and which is the best and only security for religious liberty in any society. For where there is such a variety of sects, there can not be a majority of any one sect to oppress and persecute the rest.
-- James Madison June, 1778.

He said that at the Virginia convention for ratification of the Constitution, not in some obscure letter.

(On a side note, doesn't that seem like a strange thing to say for a guy who supposedly wanted this nation to be Christian? I would think the situation he describes would be a nightmare for today's Christians.)

Things didn't turn out that way, of course, and my fear is that because the country is mostly Christian, the line of separation will become more and more blurred, simply because a majority of people thinks it should be.

traderumor
07-09-2005, 05:08 PM
It really doesn't matter if it's compulsory or voluntary--it's still my tax dollar going to religious (and exclusively Christian apparently) teaching in public schools.

Why doesn't a private company sponsor it if it's so popular?The article said Chick-Fil-A was donating meeting space in one place. I scanned the article again just to verify, but where is there a dime being spent? The labor cost for adding a link to a websight? Maybe we'll ask the webmaster to do that one on his own time. It looks like its all volunteer and after hours, with a recommendation of the schools as the "interference." But I did just scan, please point out where it is if school money is being spent on the program. Sorry, but inclusion in newsletters doesn't count, unless you object to the time and cost of office supplies (.003 cents of ink, another .001 penny for the paper cost maybe?)

I swear, when I see Barry Lynd's name, it is about like the other aisle seeing Pat Roberston or Jerry Falwell's name. Chances are with either, the complaints are ludicrous and overblown. That certainly seems to be the case here. A link to a websight with a Christian foundation. The horrors.

traderumor
07-09-2005, 05:14 PM
Dom,

If the Founding Fathers were so set against having religious (OK Christian) principles and disciplines included in government, why have they been included since the founding of this country in the halls of government? If they all were just a bunch of Enlightenment politicians, how did that stuff get included? Why have Christian prayers been a consistent part of opening governmental meetings?

Falls City Beer
07-09-2005, 05:21 PM
The article said Chick-Fil-A was donating meeting space in one place. I scanned the article again just to verify, but where is there a dime being spent? The labor cost for adding a link to a websight? Maybe we'll ask the webmaster to do that one on his own time. It looks like its all volunteer and after hours, with a recommendation of the schools as the "interference." But I did just scan, please point out where it is if school money is being spent on the program. Sorry, but inclusion in newsletters doesn't count, unless you object to the time and cost of office supplies (.003 cents of ink, another .001 penny for the paper cost maybe?)

I swear, when I see Barry Lynd's name, it is about like the other aisle seeing Pat Roberston or Jerry Falwell's name. Chances are with either, the complaints are ludicrous and overblown. That certainly seems to be the case here. A link to a websight with a Christian foundation. The horrors.

I report, you decide (lifted from the article):

"But Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, said Bush and the department's endorsement of the program is indicative of the governor's disregard for the state constitution, which prohibits spending state money, directly or indirectly, on religious programs."

And frankly, it doesn't matter how much money is spent, it matters that money *is* spent, either in the form of tax breaks or direct contributions.

It's great that you don't think it's a big deal. Really, bully for you. But it is to me and a lot of other people that my money (not YOUR money), but MY money is being spent to further the agenda of religion. I mean, you're a person who believes in absolutes so much, you don't seem to understand that money spent, whether it's pennies or gold bricks, is still money spent. I don't make a distinction in terms of "how much."

pedro
07-09-2005, 06:00 PM
Dom,

If the Founding Fathers were so set against having religious (OK Christian) principles and disciplines included in government, why have they been included since the founding of this country in the halls of government? If they all were just a bunch of Enlightenment politicians, how did that stuff get included? Why have Christian prayers been a consistent part of opening governmental meetings?

Many of them had slaves too, even though the constitution guarantees all citizens equal treatment under the law. Does that mean slavery is OK too?

Dom Heffner
07-09-2005, 06:03 PM
If the Founding Fathers were so set against having religious (OK Christian) principles and disciplines included in government, why have they been included since the founding of this country in the halls of government?

They did no such thing. They have been added over the years and then pointed to repeatedly as evidence of something the founders had gone away from. Washington was but a humid messy swamp when the Constitution was ratified.

I answered your question, now here is one for you:

If the founders were trying to perpetuate a Christian order, how come there is zero mention of God or Jesus in the Constitution?


If they all were just a bunch of Enlightenment politicians, how did that stuff get included? Why have Christian prayers been a consistent part of opening governmental meetings?

Actually, the idea of prayer was brought up at the Constitutional convention and it was shot down. Hamilton, I believe, thoguht that if word got out that they were praying, then people would think the Convention was in trouble. It's the only time religion is mentioned in madison's notes on the convention. Sort of funny that a group of "religious people" voted to not pray and then never mention god again.

The prayers in Congress were actually a tradition that started 20 years before the Constitution was ratified, and they did not escape Madison's criticism:

This (religious freedom) has always been a favorite principle with me and it was not with my approbation that the deviation from it took place in congress, when they appointed chaplains, to be paid from the national treasury. It would have been a much better proof to their constituents of their pious feeling if the members had contributed for the purpose a pittance from their own pockets. As the precedent is not likely to be rescinded, the best that can now be done maybe to apply to the constitution the maxim of the law, de minimis non curant.

I am not saying that the all the founders were not religious- that would be absurd. But it is entirely arrogant to say that the ones who were would then try to instill their religious beliefs on subsequent generations. Actually, some of them did try - like Patrick Henry- and they were soundly defeated.

In fact I would say that Madison himself was Christian- he just didn't feel the need to use taxpayer money to support his personal opinion, nor did he want the government to have any influence over what peope believed in matters of religion. Separation meant separation, and there is an overwhelming amount of evidence in support of this.

savafan
07-09-2005, 08:25 PM
Dom,

Your last few posts on this topic were excellent. You really have me thinking. Not sure where I stand right now on this issue.

Dom Heffner
07-09-2005, 10:03 PM
If the Founding Fathers were so set against having religious (OK Christian) principles and disciplines included in government, why have they been included since the founding of this country in the halls of government?

Sorry to add to this.

One point I did not make is that when some of the founders- Franklin, Jefferson and someone else, I believe- were given the task of coming up with a national slogan, they came up with e pluribus unum. They could have picked anything in the world and they chose a phrase that translates roughly to from many, one.

In 1954 (?) this was changed to In God We Trust. I often find it odd how these government officials - Eisenhower was wholly (no pun intended) behind this- changed the slogan to honor the "religious tradition" of our country when the founders themselves had roughly 300 years of religious history behind them in this land and they didn't feel the need to do it at all.

As well, Traderumor, the assumption in the point you make is that the religious phrases are Constitutional by their very existence on the buildings. Most of them were placed there years after the founding by people who would have disagreed with Madison and Jefferson (but who probably didn't realize it).

Again, these people meant well, but meaning well doesn't trump the Constitution.

Additionally, the court has basically said that they can remain there as long as they are in a historical setting and not religious. That should be offensive to the both of us.

For you, there is no way to look at those words and think of them as being merely symbolic of years worth of religious worship. When you read the commandment that says "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," I would assume you think of those words as having a literal and true meaning no matter the setting.

For me, it is offensive for the very same reason. As a non-believer, it doesn't make me feel any better reading those words on a building that my tax dollars help pay for merely because a court has decided that it's meaning is historical and not religious.

And we should be equally offended at the way the court has ruled on the term "ceremonial deism." If you are religious, there is only one God- there is no way to believe in one true God and then also pay homage to a ceremonial one. That would seem to contradict the aforementioned commandment prohibiting false gods. Your religious beliefs should not be toyed with that way. I'm not sure I understand the concept of being monotheistic while simultaneously creating some ceremonial god that gets his name on the currency and buildings but serves no religious purpose.

For me, I find it offensive because Eisenhower and the boys merely made up the idea of ceremonial deism to head off an establishment clause issue. They merely wanted to find a way to finally add God to our government - something people had been upset over ever since the Constitution was ratified (and trust me, there was a firestorm over His omission).

That's playing with both your religious beliefs and mine. And why you, me, and religion are all better off with politician's noses out of it.


Dom,

Your last few posts on this topic were excellent. You really have me thinking. Not sure where I stand right now on this issue.

Thanks, sava.

I just wish people could see that the same government that can declare that there is a god can declare that there isn't one, too. There might be a Christian majority today, but in 100 years if there is not, are we going to want a different religious sect throwing all of these establishment clause trespasses right back in our faces?

Therein lies the danger, and it is another thing Madison warned of.

I find the time of the framing very intriguing. It was the Age of Enlightenment, set right smack between the two Great Awakening periods- it was indeed a time when science was causing some to doubt all they had been told about religion, but that by no means meant all of the people suddenly abandoned their religious beliefs. If we look at the core group of founders, we see a different belief for each one: Jefferson ridiculed the trinity - the Athanasian Creed as he called it- to the point that would offend some Americans today, but he was a sometimes Deist sometimes Unitarian who believed that nature's god granted us with certain rights. John Adams, the son of a preacher, held the strange belief that the Bible was the best book ever written while at the same time denouncing, like Jefferson, the trinity. Apparently they thought that the virgin birth and a "three being equal to one" math proposition was a trick thrown down by the church to gain power. Hamilton was a believer when it was politically convenient, but the man was hardly a moral showpiece - he had affairs with his sister-in-law, other people's wives and whoever else would climb into his chambers.

And then there is Madison, who the Encyclopedia Brittanica said was a Deist, but who I would argue was a Christian who simply thought it to be impolite to express his religious beliefs, for the simple reason he thought it to be none of anybody's business.

And it is for this reason that I admire him most. Anyone who can be both so humble and gracious enough to orchestrate such moving and well thought out works about the need for religious freedom -in spite of their own beliefs -is a true hero. We should all be thankful.

I only went into the beliefs of these people merely to show that it would be a logical jump to think that they would have accepted each other and the beliefs of others - Jefferson did wonderful things in advancing the acceptance of the Baptists- and would then create a Constitution that would somehow advance the beliefs of religion over non-religion or vice versa.

Just some thoughts. :)

GAC
07-10-2005, 09:29 AM
Additionally, the court has basically said that they can remain there as long as they are in a historical setting and not religious. That should be offensive to the both of us.

But when they were first placed there it wasn't for a historical setting, but a religious one? I find that poor reasoning, and a sort of compromise, by today's courts. ;)