Scripture Signs Removed From High School Choir Room Following Complaint From Atheist Activist Group

SEARCY, Ark. — Several displays featuring quotations from Scripture have been removed from a choir room at a public high school in Arkansas following a complaint from one of the nation’s most conspicuous professing atheist activist organizations.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter in November to the superintendent of the Searcy School District to assert that the signs, displayed by choir director Tina Niederbrach at Searcy High School, are violative of the U.S. Constitution.

According to reports, the signs included the verses, “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19); “Love binds us together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:14); and “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God” (Psalm 42:1).

“The district violates the Constitution when it allows schools to display religious symbols or messages. Public schools may not advance, prefer, or promote religion,” the FFRF claimed in its correspondence.

“The display alienates those non-religious students, families, teachers and members of the public whose religious beliefs are inconsistent with the message being promoted by the school,” it asserted.

The atheist and agnostic group asked for the Bible-themed displays to be taken down.

“The district should remind its employees of their constitutional obligation to remain neutral toward religion while representing the district and ensure that its schools do not contain religious displays,” FFRF wrote. “Please have these posters removed from Ms. Niederbrach’s choir room.”

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Read the letter in full here.

On Monday, FFRF advised in a press release that it had been notified in a letter from Superintendent Diane Barrett that the displays are no longer present in the Searcy High School Choir room.

“A music room should should not be a place of discord,” Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said in a statement. “We’re pleased that the school has taken action to ensure that student chorus members of minority faiths and no religion feel equally welcomed.”

However, as previously reported, while some state that God and government must remain separated, others note that the nation was founded by those who believed that America could not expect to be blessed if it failed to acknowledge and honor Almighty God.

Adams

On March 23, 1798—less than 12 years after the signing of the U.S. Constitution—John Adams, the second president of the United States called for a day of national repentance, prayer and fasting.

“[T]he safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety without which social happiness cannot exist nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed,” he wrote.

James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, similarly called for a national day of prayer on July 9, 1812.

“I do therefore recommend the third Thursday in August next as a convenient day to be set apart for the devout purposes of rendering the Sovereign of the universe and the Benefactor of mankind the public homage due to His holy attributes; of acknowledging the transgressions which might justly provoke the manifestations of His divine displeasure; of seeking His merciful forgiveness and His assistance in the great duties of repentance…”

The first textbook used in the American colonies even before the nation’s founding, “The New England Primer,” was largely focused on the Scriptures, and was stated to be popular in public and private schools alike until approximately the early 1900’s. It used mostly the King James Bible as reference, and spoke much about sin, salvation and proper behavior.

“Save me, O God, from evil all this day long, and let me love and serve Thee forever, for the sake of Jesus Christ, Thy Son,” it read.

Noah Webster’s famous “Blue Back Speller” also referenced Christianity, including God-centered statements in reading lessons such as “The preacher is to preach the gospel,” “Blasphemy is contemptuous treatment of God,” and “We do not like to see our own sins.” Webster, a schoolmaster, is known as the “father of American education” and strongly advocated teaching children the Scriptures. Many of the Founders’ children are stated to have learned to read from the primer.


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  • Quince

    School employees cannot promote religion or religious beliefs while on the clock.

    Likewise, a teacher could not put up a poster declaring “There are no gods” or advocating that reincarnation is true.

    Government spaces need to remain neutral so that each student can observe their personal religious beliefs without government influence.

    If you want your kids to be protected from teachers pushing religious views that contradict what you teach at home, you must extend the same courtesy and protections to other people’s kids.

    • Netizen_James

      Just so. I wish more people understood the ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ aspects of this issue. Far too many don’t bother to think about the fact that they wouldn’t want their child’s school pushing someone ELSE’s religious beliefs on THEIR kids, but are just find when the school pushes THEIR religious beliefs on someone ELSE’s kids.

  • legaliis

    They should STOP pandering to these small, obscene, minor groups and put the signs back up for the good of one and all. GOD BLESS ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Kieran Dyke

      So, you would be fine with posters saying “There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet”? Or is it only your religion that you think should get special treatment?

    • Mikey Jacobs

      You mean Allah bless us all, don’t you?

    • ♥LadyInChrist♥InGodITrust♥

      Amen!!! and Amen!!!

  • JustNTyme

    Oy. The “usual suspects” again. They think signs create an established religion. Too crazy.

    • Quince

      This protects your children, too.

      An estimated 30% of young people are not religious, and these people will be the next generation of teachers. Pretty soon, at least 3 in 10 of your children’s teachers will not believe christianity.

      Unless you are fine with your child sitting in a classroom for 9 months looking at posters that read “Imagine No Religion,” “Man Created Gods in Their Own Image,” and “Each church accuses the others of unbelief. As for me, I disbelieve them all ~ Thomas Paine”, then now is the time to join with the FFRF to keep public school employees neutral on matters of religion.

      Children in public schools have an absolute right to freedom of religious belief. Protect this by making sure that teachers and administrators do not impose their beliefs while on the job.

      • The Skeptical Chymist

        Very well said!

    • Guzzman

      What constitutes an “establishment of religion” is often governed under the three-part test set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971). Posting religious messages (Bible verses and gospel song lyrics) on public school property fails each and every part of the Lemon Test: 1) The primary purpose of the posters were religious in nature, not secular; 2) The messages promoted and advanced religion and 3) there was excessive entanglement between government and religion in that public school officials authorized the display of the posters.

      So there you have it. By any legal standard, the posters containing Bible verses and gospel song lyrics would constitute “an establishment of religion.” The school realized their mistake and removed the posters.

    • 98C3LCMT9Y4

      Oy, the “usual suspects” – so ignorant of our Constitution and that desperate need to LIE over & over.

  • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

    Teachers can’t push their religion on other people’s children, and who would want that anyway? It might not be the same as the parents’ religion.

    • Trilemma

      Interesting way to spell Westley.

  • Reason2012

    Notice all these “atheist” activists pretend you cannot talk about Christianity, yet they ignore how in more and more public schools, kids are forced fed all about islam while Christianity is censored in those same schools, and these “atheist” activists have no problem with that whatsoever. You think they’d care of Christianity was just flat out taught to everyone while islam was censored? Of course. This behavior shows these “atheist” (and LGBT) activists are actually pro-islam activists using atheism and LGBT to eradicate Christianity while islam is replacing it instead. Search on public school islam and read all about the promotion of islam in public schools while these activists will actually find ways to defend that as being fine. Our country is under siege from within by islam, as islamic activists continue to infiltrate our government and schools.

    • Quince

      When and where did any public school in the US teach that Islam is true?

      Evidence, please.

      If it happened, contact the FFRF to put a stop to it.

      HS social studies classes teach about various major religions, including deity(ies), common beliefs, holidays, etc, This includes protestant and catholic Christianity. But they cannot/should not express a preference or state one is true and the others false,

    • 98C3LCMT9Y4

      Wow, aren’t you the good little LYING kristian! I certainly do hope that you have never reproduced or this great nation is on a dive into become the sh!thole that the unethical orange one & Pence the hypocrite want & desperately need.

    • Netizen_James

      This is simply not so. Got facts? Please provide names and dates and objective unbiased sources which support your claim that public school kids are being ‘force fed’ Islam. Bet you can’t.

      We have a RIGHT to be free from ‘Government Religion’.
      And when your child’s teacher is teaching them about reincarnation and praying to Lord Ganesha, you might begin to gain some appreciation for that right.

    • Enniscorthy

      (Sigh) No. Just no. Islam is not allowed either, and if there was any instance of it, it would be treated exactly the same way. Your country is not under siege.

    • Mikey Jacobs

      What does being gay have to do with Islam?

      • Netizen_James

        Not a thing. These folks don’t understand that Islam denigrates gay people even more than they do, presuming that’s possible, and many Muslims no trouble with their theocratic states executing people on mere suspicion of homosexual tendencies. This is just part of the paranoid persecution syndrom, where in order to feel part of the ‘in’ group, they must pretend that everyone else is out to get them.

        • Chet

          Why are Christians accused of the “denigrating” of homosexuals where they are merely adhering to God Almighty’s decrees as written in His Word the Holy Bible, which BTW, includes sins of adultery and fornication et al. And Christians by no means are following OT standards on the matter, yet, it’s understood Islam destroys, no…

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            Why are Christians accused of the “denigrating” of homosexuals

            Because they denigrate homosexuals. It doesn’t really matter if their motive is religious or not.

          • Chet

            You’re mistaken, dude, they denigrate no one, they merely observe what thus saith the Lord, that’s it. Sinners, sexual and otherwise, need to take up their complaints to the God of all flesh for it is Him with whom we all have to do, sooner or later. The Holy Bible is the source document, the answer to all complaints as it truly shows the Lord Jesus Christ of Calvary to be the answer to all man’s problems, sin and daily living. FYI, Christians are to share the Word of God wherever possible and men are to in-turn make their own decision as to whether to repent and believe the good news gospel or no. The authority to spread the Word is found at Matthew 28 and Mark 16, Holy Bible… Jesus saves from the guttermost to the uttermost, no exceptions, no turn-aways…

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            You’re mistaken, dude, they denigrate no one, they merely observe what thus saith the Lord, that’s it.

            Refresh my memory on what Jesus said about homosexuals.

          • Chet

            You might start with the Old Testament regarding such as was/is stipulated in the Jewish Law. Then, read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction cause by its residents lusting after Angels who were thought to be ordinary men guests. Then, you might move forward to the New Testament where Christ again specified marriage as the union of male and female in a number of places. Then, read the Apostle Paul’s warning regarding sin in general, to include sexual sins of adultery, fornication and homosexuality. See Galatians 5:19-21 and 1st Corinthians 6: 9-11, Holy Bible. The Word of God is replete with admonitions against homosexuality and other sexual sin, whether we like it or no, whether we agree or no. God has the last say in all such matters and Christians merely understand such and believe it and adhere to His Word, period. Those who have a problem with what God Almighty has clearly decreed must needs take it up with Him. God in no wise hates any sinner and neither do Christians. God loves all us sinners without exception but we must understand His perfect plan of salvation and forgiveness of all sin via Christ Jesus.
            We Christians merely warn fellow sinners of the truth of God’s Word and afford such the opportunity to learn of God’s only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ of Calvary, who willingly gave his life on behalf of all us sinners… Please know Jesus saves from the guttermost to the uttermost, no exceptions, no turn-aways… Thanks for this opportunity to state clearly, God indeed loves you, W2…

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            You might start with the Old Testament

            To find out what Jesus said about it? No, that’s why I specified Jesus.

          • Chet

            The Lord Jesus Christ is God Almighty in flesh, the God-man. All of the Holy Bible is His Word as God breathed and those God-fearing men of old who penned such did so under the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit. In an sincere response to your request, I remain, read the references so stated. Pray first and ask God Almighty to illumine your heart and mind to His truth, not what you or I or someone else may think, but, rather, what His Holy Spirit will impress to you, personally, on your matter of concern. The answer is there and it is not difficult to understand, Sir… Thanks for the exchange. Out…

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            The Lord Jesus Christ is God Almighty in flesh

            That’s your theology, but in any case he didn’t reiterate anything about gays while wearing that costume.

          • Chet

            My theology is not at play here, but, rather, you seem to seek approval of specific behaviour of which there is none and never will be. Whether that be adultery, homosexuality or fornication, God never changes His position, period… It’s us, sinners each and every one who must repent and come unto the Christ of Calvary. Upon doing so, not only are our innumerable sins forgiven, but even forgotten. Then, as we learn what saith the Lord via His Word and Holy Bible preaching and teaching churches, our eyes become opened and we learn to see sin as God does and we will desire to flee from it. You speak of a costume, I speak of mind and heart transformation of which only Christ can accomplish in each of us upon receiving Him as one’s personal Lord and Saviour…

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            My theology is not at play here, but, rather, you seem to seek approval of specific behaviour of which there is none and never will be

            No, I’m just asking where Jesus said anything about homosexuality. I don’t care about whether you “approve” or not.

          • Chet

            I gave you the requested response in the authorized format, dude.

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            Sorry, that doesn’t count as Jesus.

          • Chet

            Sorry, but to those of us who believe the Holy Bible, it’s all that’s needed.

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            That’s kind of my point.

          • Chet

            Huh!

          • Diverse Synergy

            Jesus does not specifically mention homosexuality, but He is questioned a few times on marriage and divorce and gives clear answers. Whilst not a direct narrative on homosexuality, Christ’s reply in Matthew 19: 4-6 makes it clear what His stance on marriage and sexual relationships should be:

            “4“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” ~NIV

            Christ is referencing straight from Genesis 2 here (v.24), so I think the inference about God’s ordained context of marriage right from the beginning of creation is clear from Christ’s teaching here for those who truly want to hear and understand the message. This is each individual’s free choice though, Christ himself says several times “let he who has ears, let him hear”.

            I’m curious though, judging from your other comments, I wouldn’t have assumed you would give much countenance to Christ’s teachings – so why do you ask?

            PS – nice reference to the constant “e” in your name by the way. Isn’t it fascinating that this universe has such mathematical intricacies and “language” in-built into its very laws of nature, science and mathematics.

            PPS – counter question, do you believe that gay marriage is OK – and if so/if not then what is your reference for this moral stance?

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            I’m curious though, judging from your other comments, I wouldn’t have assumed you would give much countenance to Christ’s teachings – so why do you ask?

            Earlier in the thread, someone asked “Why are Christians accused of the “denigrating” of homosexuals”

            PPS – counter question, do you believe that gay marriage is OK – and if so/if not then what is your reference for this moral stance?

            Yes, because some gay people want to get married and there are no good reasons not to allow such marriages.

          • Diverse Synergy

            > Earlier in the thread, someone asked “Why are Christians accused of the “denigrating” of homosexuals”

            Actually, I meant more what was the purpose behind asking the question. Was it to garner knowledge? Or for some other reason?

            > Yes, because some gay people want to get married and there are no good reasons not to allow such marriages.

            But my question was “what is your reference” for this moral stance?
            For instance my reference point is the Christian scriptures – which state that practising homosexuality is spiritually damaging – a position which you might not agree with, but at least it has a reference point.

            Is your reference point merely that of subjective human reasoning?

            In which case what level of moral authority do you think this carries? And, for instance, why is your position any more or less valid than the opinion of say those societies around the world today which deem that the practice of homosexuality carries the death penalty – seeing as you seem to suggest can just use subjective human reasoning as a reference point for morality?

            Fundamentally, do you have any evidence that practising homosexuality is NOT spiritually damaging – such that you can so readily answer “yes” to this question with such conviction?

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            Actually, I meant more what was the purpose behind asking the question.

            I find that a lot of Christians are cafeteria Christians, taking what they like from the OT and NT, and my question was to point out that Jesus didn’t condemn homosexuality, though plenty of Christians do (while often ignoring things Jesus DID condemn).

            > Yes, because some gay people want to get married and there are no good reasons not to allow such marriages.
            But my question was “what is your reference” for this moral stance?

            Me, of course.

            For instance my reference point is the Christian scriptures

            Do you want to force non-Christians to follow your religious tenets? What if someone has a religion (possibly even a Christian sect) that allows for gay marriage?

            Is your reference point merely that of subjective human reasoning?

            In which case what level of moral authority do you think this carries?

            The same as anyone else’s. Notice that gods never show up; it’s always humans who claim to speak for gods. Why believe any of them?

            Fundamentally, do you have any evidence that practising homosexuality is NOT spiritually damaging

            I don’t CARE if YOU think it’s spiritually damaging. If that’s what you think, I suggest you do not do it. But on what authority do you impose that on anyone else?

          • Diverse Synergy

            >I find that a lot of Christians are cafeteria Christians, taking what they like from the OT and NT, and my question was to point out that Jesus didn’t condemn homosexuality, though plenty of Christians do (while often ignoring things Jesus DID condemn).

            You say that Jesus didn’t specifically condemn homosexuality, though plenty of Christians do. I guess I don’t see the significance of this statement. St Paul does specifically condemn this, several times (in passages Chet has already cited) – hence that is no doubt the frame of reference those Christians are using.

            I don’t specifically condemn homosexuality incidentally. Maybe I should, but I find it more helpful to point out the reasons why I believe it is spiritually harmful based on my source of truth. Similarly, I wouldn’t condemn a friend of mine who smoked. It wouldn’t be helpful. I would just try to point out to them that I love them, and hence I don’t want to see them doing something I believe to be physically and medically harmful, and provide the source of truth for that reasoning too.

            I still wouldn’t try to force them not to smoke though, it is their life and their choice. This doesn’t abdicate me from my responsibility to love them and try to encourage them to not harm themselves. I would be no friend of them if I stood by and said nothing.

            It is tough these days though, because it has become taboo to try and discuss your point of view in relation to someone else’s. If you try and do so, it is frequently interpreted as judgmental and oppressive and “not OK” – even if the genuine heartfelt motive couldn’t be further away from that. We live in a very unique stage of human history from that perspective. I don’t think the ancient Greeks would have got very far if instead of listening to alternate viewpoints and debating them in the public forum, they got “triggered” and responded by shutting their ears and immediately put up a wall of hostility.

            Jesus didn’t condemn a great deal by the way, his method was more along the lines of trying to get the other person to see the truth for themselves. See the woman at the well in John 4. He states the truth about her life and about who he is, but makes no moral judgments. See the opening verses of John 8. Jesus had every right to condemn the woman caught in adultery, but elects not to. He simply says “Neither do I condemn you, go [as a free person] and sin no more”. The main thing Jesus condemned was the religiosity of the spiritual leaders of his community, and their duplicity of motives. This is actually a really important point to recognise.

            So you are actually spot on with your charge against “cafeteria” Christians, of which I have no doubt I too am “guilty” of at times and could be much better at. Luckily the message of Christianity is freedom from sin and condemnation, but as imperfect sinners ourselves we Christians often don’t do a great job of communicating this message very well. I find grace is very useful in such circumstances.

            For instance, your responses to me I find to be somewhat spiky. I could reinforce my own prejudices about you and think: “wow, what a typical atheist – spiky and hostile” and leave the conversation even more entrenched in my own tribal position than I entered. Or I could apply grace, give you the benefit of the doubt that you probably react like that after many previous conversations with Christians who haven’t been very loving towards you – and I try to just listen to the actual points you are making, filtering out the writing style.

            > Me, of course.

            You say “of course” as if I didn’t strongly suspect this already =o)

            >>For instance my reference point is the Christian scriptures

            >Do you want to force non-Christians to follow your religious tenets?

            No. Why would you think that? I tried to make a clear point in my first reply in that how we live our lives and whether we choose to accept the gospel message is everybody’s free choice – that is the very crux of this stage of existence, in that we have free will. I can’t, and shouldn’t try to, force you to do anything. Neither will God.

            >What if someone has a religion (possibly even a Christian sect) that allows for gay marriage?

            Then they are free to do so. As you are free to hold your moral stance. However, I believe you would both be wrong to do so, based on the claims of my moral reference point – which has a source outside of myself – unlike yours. My source also makes claims to be a moral authority outside and above humanity – therefore if it is true, it necessarily trumps your moral stance. I say this not out of a position of arrogance, but as a simple logical fact.

            This discussion is a classic case of absolute truth versus relativism. For instance, we could argue that I think that Berlin is the Capital of France, you could argue that it is London. And we could go back and forth all day with our own rationale for why we think this. Then we could both cite relativism, and what right do either of us have to force our position on the other etc. And this is correct we wouldn’t have that right. However, it wouldn’t get us anywhere. Also it wouldn’t change the fact that the capital of France is actually Paris – which a third party source, say a book called the Encyclopedia Britannica, truthfully asserts. We could do any amount of counter-posturing and invoke relativism all we liked, it would not alter the truth and the validity of that other source.

            I believe there is such a thing as absolute truth. I also think that relativism leads society down a very dark path ultimately.

            >>In which case what level of moral authority do you think this carries?

            >The same as anyone else’s.

            Not quite so.

            >Notice that gods never show up; it’s always humans who claim to speak for gods. Why believe any of them?

            Except that, if Christ was who He claimed to be, then God did turn up. That is the unique significance of Christ.

            When you say why believe any of them, that is a vast question. And the only thing I can offer, is my own limited knowledge and perspective on it.

            For me, it is a combination of believing the gospel accounts and applying them to the physical universe we observe around us. For example, having studied physics to university level, I recognise that this universe demonstrates two key properties – it is time-bound, and it is constrained by the second-law of thermodynamics (entropy). Both of these properties are attested to and measurable by secular science. The significance of these properties is such that this universe CANNOT be infinite. Time had a beginning, the universe had a “first cause”, and entropy will eventually cause all life and processes of this universe to cease – it will one day end/die. These are unavoidable consequences of what we know and can measure.

            If this universe cannot be infinite, then there has to be something outside of it that IS infinite*. We cannot hope to measure outside of our own dimensions of existence. Therefore, you can do endless unprovable secular theorising – such as suggest there are an infinite number of “multiverses”, although this merely extends the bounds of the first cause further out (infinite regress). Note that secular science can never hope to prove this, as we cannot measure outside of our own existence.

            Therefore, the only hope for us is if whatever is outside of own dimensions chooses to come in and interact with us. I believe that an infinite being outside of our existence did just that, first through the Old Testament revelations – and next in person, through the actual physical person of Christ.

            *There has to be one level of existence that is infinite, always was, and always will be. Alternately, nothing exists. This universe cannot be infinite, as demonstrated by our measurable laws of physics. Something must exist, as at the bare minimum I know that my own consciousness exists. I can’t prove that anything exists, maybe my brain is all that exists and it is conning me into thinking there are other people and a planet we live on etc. But even so, I am perceiving something, therefore “something” exists.

            So, “something” exists, and this universe is not infinite. Therefore something outside of our own universe must be infinite. The only way we can find out is if the “something” outside of our universe chooses to come in and interact with us. The ONLY evidence we have for something outside of our universe interacting with us, are the religious scriptures that make claim to a God.

            Of course, the religious scriptures could be made up – but they do at least exist as evidence, and you have to assess how reliable that evidence is. So either the scriptures are false, so whatever exists outside of our universe hasn’t interacted with us for whatever reason – and early human beings made up a God to make them feel better. Or whatever is out there has chosen to interact with us, and it is God.

            I choose to believe that the Scriptures are true, as it is the only answer that makes any sense of the universe around me. If you are correct, and there is no God, then there is no hope. You could behave as saintly or as horrifically as you choose to be in this existence, and it makes utterly no difference. One day we are all dead, and this planet will die, and all evidence of everything that ever happened here will be gone.

            An added problem you have in your position is that you necessarily have to reject all claims and evidence about higher powers which DO exist – declaring them all to be false, and accepting your own position that there is no God, for which you have utterly no evidence other than your own rationalising.

            >>Fundamentally, do you have any evidence that practising homosexuality is NOT spiritually damaging

            >I don’t CARE if YOU think it’s spiritually damaging. If that’s what you think, I suggest you do not do it. But on what authority do you impose that on anyone else?

            I don’t impose it on anyone else, it is their own free will. They have access to the same information I do, it is up to them what they believe.

            My question isn’t about me though. I have stated what I believe, and provided the source evidence for why I believe it.

            My question is what is YOUR source evidence for what you believe? You state that gay marriage is OK, and hence presumably you believe that you can say with 100% confidence that it is NOT spiritually damaging and will not impact anyone practising it in any way. I am simply trying to make the point that you are in no position to make that claim. You simply don’t know. You assume that the spiritual regulations handed down to us are irrelevant, but what if they are not?

            To try and look at it another way, estimate what % of everything that there is to “know” – about this universe and what may or may not exist outside of it – do you think you currently “know” as an individual? Taking it one step further, what % of everything that there is to “know” do you think that humanity can possibly ever attain, if they maximised all the tools and technology that we could possibly build with the materials of this universe. I suggest to you that the maximal knowledge we humans can hope to attain whilst constrained within this universe, compared to everything that actually exists, would be such an irrelevant percentage that it is effectively 0%.

            Then consider how ridiculous it would be for humanity to genuinely think it can have the last clue about the existence of God, based only on its own rationalising and empirical evidence from our own impossibly-limiting perspective on this relative speck of dust within even the vastness of merely our own universe. Surely the only way to be able to make any such assessment is if God chooses to go the other way, and comes down to our level, and makes revelations to us. That is the only thing that could possibly make any sense.

            This is an epic of a response, for which I apologise – but I find this vast topic of science/the universe/God truly fascinating, and it is rare I get the chance to discuss it with people of a different perspective. Hopefully you understand that I genuinely want to enter into dialogue with you, and openly discuss it – rather than try to “prove you wrong” or whatever. I genuinely look forward to hearing your reply on this, because I think your perspective would be very interesting to listen to.

          • Diverse Synergy

            I tried to post a lengthy response, and got spam blocked!

            I will try to reduce it down to the two most important points:

            Point 1)

            >I find that a lot of Christians are cafeteria Christians, taking what they like from the OT and NT, and my question was to point out that Jesus didn’t condemn homosexuality, though plenty of Christians do (while often ignoring things Jesus DID condemn).

            You say that Jesus didn’t specifically condemn homosexuality, though plenty of Christians do. I guess I don’t see the significance of this statement. St Paul does specifically condemn this, several times (in passages Chet has already cited) – hence that is no doubt the frame of reference those Christians are using.

            I don’t specifically condemn homosexuality incidentally. Maybe I should, but I find it more helpful to point out the reasons why I believe it is spiritually harmful based on my source of truth. Similarly, I wouldn’t condemn a friend of mine who smoked. It wouldn’t be helpful. I would just try to point out to them that I love them, and hence I don’t want to see them doing something I believe to be physically and medically harmful, and provide the source of truth for that reasoning too.

            I still wouldn’t try to force them not to smoke though, it is their life and their choice. This doesn’t abdicate me from my responsibility to love them and try to encourage them to not harm themselves. I would be no friend of them if I stood by and said nothing.

            It is tough these days though, because it has become taboo to try and discuss your point of view in relation to someone else’s. If you try and do so, it is frequently interpreted as judgmental and oppressive and “not OK” – even if the genuine heartfelt motive couldn’t be further away from that. We live in a very unique stage of human history from that perspective. I don’t think the ancient Greeks would have got very far if instead of listening to alternate viewpoints and debating them in the public forum, they got “triggered” and responded by shutting their ears and immediately put up a wall of hostility.

            Jesus didn’t condemn a great deal by the way, his method was more along the lines of trying to get the other person to see the truth for themselves. See the woman at the well in John 4. He states the truth about her life and about who he is, but makes no moral judgments. See the opening verses of John 8. Jesus had every right to condemn the woman caught in adultery, but elects not to. He simply says “Neither do I condemn you, go [as a free person] and sin no more”. The main thing Jesus condemned was the religiosity of the spiritual leaders of his community, and their duplicity of motives. This is actually a really important point to recognise.

            So you are actually spot on with your charge against “cafeteria” Christians, of which I have no doubt I too am “guilty” of at times and could be much better at. Luckily the message of Christianity is freedom from sin and condemnation, but as imperfect sinners ourselves we Christians often don’t do a great job of communicating this message very well. I find grace is very useful in such circumstances.

            For instance, your responses to me I find to be somewhat spiky. I could reinforce my own prejudices about you and think: “wow, what a typical atheist – spiky and hostile” and leave the conversation even more entrenched in my own tribal position than I entered. Or I could apply grace, give you the benefit of the doubt that you probably react like that after many previous conversations with Christians who haven’t been very loving towards you – and I try to just listen to the actual points you are making, filtering out the writing style.

          • Diverse Synergy

            Point 2)

            >>Fundamentally, do you have any evidence that practising homosexuality is NOT spiritually damaging

            >I don’t CARE if YOU think it’s spiritually damaging. If that’s what you think, I suggest you do not do it. But on what authority do you impose that on anyone else?

            I don’t impose it on anyone else, it is their own free will. They have access to the same information I do, it is up to them what they believe.

            My question isn’t about me though. I have stated what I believe, and provided the source evidence for why I believe it.

            My question is what is YOUR source evidence for what you believe? You state that gay marriage is OK, and hence presumably you believe that you can say with 100% confidence that it is NOT spiritually damaging and will not impact anyone practising it in any way. I am simply trying to make the point that you are in no position to make that claim. You simply don’t know. You assume that the spiritual regulations handed down to us are irrelevant, but what if they are not?

            To try and look at it another way, estimate what % of everything that there is to “know” – about this universe and what may or may not exist outside of it – do you think you currently “know” as an individual? Taking it one step further, what % of everything that there is to “know” do you think that humanity can possibly ever attain, if they maximised all the tools and technology that we could possibly build with the materials of this universe. I suggest to you that the maximal knowledge we humans can hope to attain whilst constrained within this universe, compared to everything that actually exists, would be such an irrelevant percentage that it is effectively 0%.

            Then consider how ridiculous it would be for humanity to genuinely think it can have the last clue about the existence of God, based only on its own rationalising and empirical evidence from our own impossibly-limiting perspective on this relative speck of dust within even the vastness of merely our own universe. Surely the only way to be able to make any such assessment is if God chooses to go the other way, and comes down to our level, and makes revelations to us from outside.

            You state elsewhere that “gods never show up” – but actually that is the whole point: if Christ was who He claimed to be, then God DID turn up. That is the unique significance of Christ.

            When you say why believe in any religion out of so many, that is a vast question. And the only thing I can offer, is my own limited knowledge and perspective on it.

            For me, it is a combination of judging the claims of Christianity against the other religions, and against the observable physical universe we around us – and rationalising which fits this observable existence the best.

            For example, having studied physics to university level, I recognise that this universe demonstrates two key properties – it is time-bound, and it is constrained by the second-law of thermodynamics (entropy). Both of these properties are attested to and measurable by secular science. The significance of these properties is such that this universe CANNOT be infinite. Time had a beginning, the universe had a “first cause”, and entropy will eventually cause all life and processes of this universe to cease – it will one day end/die. These are unavoidable consequences of what we know and can measure.

            If this universe cannot be infinite, then there has to be something outside of it that IS infinite*. We cannot hope to measure outside of our own dimensions of existence. Therefore, you can do endless unprovable secular theorising – such as suggest there are an infinite number of “multiverses”, although this merely extends the bounds of the first cause further out (infinite regress). Note that secular science can never hope to prove this, as we cannot measure outside of our own existence.

            Therefore, the only hope for us is if whatever is outside of own dimensions chooses to come in and interact with us. I believe that an infinite being outside of our existence did just that, first through the Old Testament revelations – and next in person, through the actual physical person of Christ.

            *There has to be one level of existence that is infinite, always was, and always will be. Alternately, nothing exists. This universe cannot be infinite, as demonstrated by our measurable laws of physics. Something must exist, as at the bare minimum I know that my own consciousness exists. I can’t prove that anything exists, maybe my brain is all that exists and it is conning me into thinking there are other people and a planet we live on etc. But even so, I am perceiving something, therefore “something” exists.

            So, “something” exists, and this universe is not infinite. Therefore something outside of our own universe must be infinite. The only way we can find out is if the “something” outside of our universe chooses to come in and interact with us. The ONLY evidence we have for something outside of our universe interacting with us, are the religious scriptures that make claim to a God.

            Of course, the religious scriptures could be made up – but they do at least exist as evidence, and you have to assess how reliable that evidence is. So either the scriptures are false, so whatever exists outside of our universe hasn’t interacted with us for whatever reason – and early human beings made up a God to make them feel better. Or whatever is out there has chosen to interact with us, and it is God.

            I choose to believe that the Scriptures are true, as it is the only answer that makes any sense of the universe around me. If you are correct, and there is no God, then there is no hope. You could behave as saintly or as horrifically as you choose to be in this existence, and it makes utterly no difference. One day we are all dead, and this planet will die, and all evidence of everything that ever happened here will be gone.

            An added problem you have in your position is that you necessarily have to reject all claims and evidence about higher powers which DO exist – declaring them all to be false, and accepting your own position that there is no God, for which you have utterly no evidence other than your own rationalising.

            This is an epic of a response, for which I apologise – but I find this vast topic of science/the universe/God truly fascinating, and it is rare I get the chance to discuss it with people of a different perspective. Hopefully you understand that I genuinely want to enter into dialogue with you, and openly discuss it – rather than try to “prove you wrong” or whatever. I genuinely look forward to hearing your reply on this, because I think your perspective would be very interesting to listen to.

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            You shouldn’t have replied to yourself — I usually follow through disqus, which only shows replies to my comments, so I didn’t see your part 2 until now.

            Anyway…

            My question is what is YOUR source evidence for what you believe?

            I already told you — me.

            You state that gay marriage is OK, and hence presumably you believe that you can say with 100% confidence that it is NOT spiritually damaging and will not impact anyone practising it in any way.

            You can’t assume that at all. Do you think everyone wants to outlaw everything that might be “spiritually damaging”? I sure don’t assume that of everyone.

            I am simply trying to make the point that you are in no position to make that claim.

            I’m NOT making that claim.

            You assume that the spiritual regulations handed down to us are irrelevant, but what if they are not?

            You assume that Hinduism is false, but what if it is not?
            You assume that Islamis false, but what if it is not?
            You assume that atheism is false, but what if it is not?
            [insert about 100 other religions here]

            Do you argue as if hundreds of religions other than your own may be true? If not, why do you expect that of me?

            You state elsewhere that “gods never show up” – but actually that is the whole point: if Christ was who He claimed to be, then God DID turn up.

            I see no good reasons to think Christianity is true, and many good reasons to think it’s false.

            These are unavoidable consequences of what we know and can measure.

            Look up quantum physics.

          • Diverse Synergy

            >>You state that gay marriage is OK, and hence presumably you believe that you can say with 100% confidence that it is NOT spiritually damaging and will not impact anyone practising it in any way.

            >You can’t assume that at all. Do you think everyone wants to outlaw everything that might be “spiritually damaging”? I sure don’t assume that of everyone.

            Sure I can assume that you are asserting with 100% confidence that people who practice gay marriage will not come to any spiritual harm. You said “yes” when I asked you if gay marriage was ok in your earlier post.

            Let’s use another analogy. If I gave you a bottle of unidentified liquid, and you asked me “is it ok to drink this?”. And I replied “sure it’s ok, go ahead!” Then you said, “Ok, so I assume you are 100% confident I won’t come to any harm if I drink it then?” Then I went “whoa dude, I never said that!” What would you make of my two statements? :o)

            Just to clarify, I don’t want to outlaw gay marriage. I just think it is spiritually damaging, and I would point people to my source evidence for that.

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            Sure I can assume that you are asserting with 100% confidence that people who practice gay marriage will not come to any spiritual harm.

            No, you can’t. I’ve only said it should be legal because there aren’t any good reasons for it to be illegal.

            You said “yes” when I asked you if gay marriage was ok in your earlier post.

            Yeah, so? I think smoking should be legal, even though it kills people.

          • Diverse Synergy

            I added more to my previous comment, because it posted itself before I finished – take a look at the other points too.

            I never said should it be “legal”, I said do you think it is “ok”. And you said yes.

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            Well then, you just don’t know what I mean by “OK”. That doesn’t not imply anything like “totally harmless” to me.

          • Diverse Synergy

            No, no – I won’t let you wriggle out of it!

            Take my unidentified liquid analogy. It is exactly the same thing. If you wouldn’t tell someone some liquid was “ok to drink” unless you were damn sure it was ok to drink, then you shouldn’t tell people gay marriage is ok, unless you are damn sure about that too.

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            Take my unidentified liquid analogy. It is exactly the same thing.

            No, it isn’t. Here’s your original question:
            “counter question, do you believe that gay marriage is OK – and if so/if not then what is your reference for this moral stance?”

            Now, coming from a group that often tries to keep gay marriage outlawed, I took your question to mean if it should be legal — just as if I was answering someone who wanted to outlaw smoking if smoking was OK — I would answer “yes” because people want to get married/smoke and there are insufficient reasons to make it illegal.

            Now, if you really want to argue instead of word games, ASK me if I think gay marriage is, QUOTE, “spiritually damaging”, because THAT’S how you can determine whether I think it is or not.

          • Diverse Synergy

            Ok, to be clear I’m not talking about legal. Human laws are arbitrary and transitory.

            Do you think that those who practice gay marriage suffer no “spiritual harm” in doing so, to the point you would encourage those that want to undertake it and say that it is fine to do so? Similar to someone about to drink a bottle of unknown liquid that could either be water or a slow-release poison, and you know full well they are using no frame of reference to discern whether it is ok to drink it or not?

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            Do you think that those who practice gay marriage suffer no “spiritual harm” in doing so, to the point you would encourage those that want to undertake it and say that it is fine to do so?

            Yes, because I see no reason to think humans have actual “spirits”, so it can’t be harmed any more than it could hurt their aura. If by chance you mean “spiritual harm” in the metaphorical sense as emotional harm, I would say it is no more or less harmful than heterosexual marriage.

            Similar to someone about to drink a bottle of unknown liquid that could either be water or a slow-release poison

            Now you’re just building a false dichotomy.

          • Diverse Synergy

            I really don’t see that this is a false dichotomy – at least not in the way you see it. Maybe you could explain why you think it is?

            From my perspective, it can only be a false dichotomy if you believe the decision whether God exists (or not) is a relatively trivial matter – whereas whether to drink a bottle of unknown liquid would be a very important decision, because you could die – so you rightly give this the gravitas it deserves.

            Whereas in point of fact, if God does exist, then the decision about the bottle of liquid is actually infinitesimally trivial in comparison to a decision about your eternal wellbeing. Deciding whether or not God exists is the most significant decision you need to make in life.

            The point I am trying to make (probably quite badly) is that I just hope that you have studied the decision about God to at least the level you would test a bottle of unknown liquid before making a decision about drinking it. Because I believe the decision is SO much more important than the bottle of liquid scenario.

            You don’t know me. You probably think I am just a bit gullible, and have been brainwashed into an unprovable belief system. But even if you think I am deluded, I hope you can see that I only raise this issue out of genuine concern for your wellbeing :o)

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            Maybe you could explain why you think it is?

            Because you are only allowing for two possibilities, when there are many more. I’d normally say tap water is OK to drink, but it might make you sick, or might taste off, or might kill you, or any number of other things.

            From my perspective, it can only be a false dichotomy if you believe the decision whether God exists (or not) is a relatively trivial matter

            The trivial-ness doesn’t matter. A false dichotomy is when only two choices are presented when they aren’t the only ones.

            whereas whether to drink a bottle of unknown liquid would be a very important decision, because you could die – so you rightly give this the gravitas it deserves.

            You could die at any moment doing anything.

            The point I am trying to make (probably quite badly) is that I just hope that you have studied the decision about God to at least the level you would test a bottle of unknown liquid before making a decision about drinking it.

            Gods are obviously ancient myths.

            Because I believe the decision is SO much more important than the bottle of liquid scenario.

            You are assuming the decision is important; I’d guess that’s because you are the type of Christian who thinks anyone with a mistaken opinion will be in eternal torment.

            “Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.” Jefferson, to his nephew Peter Carr in 1787

          • Diverse Synergy

            Interesting quote, and equally interesting discussion.

            The quote doesn’t entirely work of course, because that is merely Jefferson’s opinion of God – rather than the stated position of God, which can only be derived from the scriptures. I’m sure many people have entered a human court of law with similar opinions on how the judge will react to their circumstances, and then been very surprised when the judge didn’t fit their expectations.

            At the end of the day, either God exists – in which case I am correct in pursuing such discussions as this one in the hope to lead others towards Him on their journeys.

            Or God does not exist, in which case I don’t know how you can spend your time in pointless online debates about this topic. If there is no God, then millions of people around the world this very second are experiencing hardship beyond imagining. If I were an atheist, I would quit my job immediately and spend the rest of my life in voluntary humanitarian aid – as I would want to spend every second reducing the impact of pain and suffering in others as much as possible during this short existence with no other meaning, in the belief that there is no higher reward or justice for those that suffer now.

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            The quote doesn’t entirely work of course, because that is merely Jefferson’s opinion of God – rather than the stated position of God

            No, no, no. YOUR OPINION of what you think is the stated position of your god.

            That’s ENTIRELY different.

            Or God does not exist, in which case I don’t know how you can spend your time in pointless online debates about this topic.

            Oh well.

            If there is no God, then millions of people around the world this very second are experiencing hardship beyond imagining.

            This is true whether any god exists or not.

            If I were an atheist, I would quit my job immediately and spend the rest of my life in voluntary humanitarian aid

            So you’re saying your religion makes you a worse person, because you can ignore other people’s suffering? Really?

          • Diverse Synergy

            >No, no, no. YOUR OPINION of what you think is the stated position of your god.

            How is it my opinion? I didn’t write the scriptures. Maybe it is SOMEONE ELSE’s opinion who wrote it. But it is not mine. I am referring to third party evidence.

            >>Or God does not exist, in which case I don’t know how you can spend your time in pointless online debates about this topic.
            >Oh well.

            No seriously, what do you get out of it? I hate football, but I wouldn’t go to an online forum about football telling avid fans what a bunch of idiots they are for loving football. Strikes me as an entirely peculiar thing to do.

            >>If there is no God, then millions of people around the world this very second are experiencing hardship beyond imagining.
            >This is true whether any god exists or not.

            Except for my follow up point later on, that if God exists then there will be eternal justice for those that suffer and a balanced reward.

            >>If I were an atheist, I would quit my job immediately and spend the rest of my life in voluntary humanitarian aid
            >So you’re saying your religion makes you a worse person, because you can ignore other people’s suffering? Really?

            Haha, nice try – but there’s no God in this scenario, remember – so no moral absolutes. So how exactly am I “better” if I do voluntary humanitarian aid, or “worse” if I don’t. By whose yardstick do you define it? A sadistic dictator wouldn’t think that voluntary aid was a “better” decision, they would think I was a sap for wasting my life helping others.

            If there is no God, there is no good or evil. So you could just do what you wanted. Make your life’s goal to exert as much power and control over as many other humans as your influence can extend, like Hitler or Pol Pot.

            Give me a reason, based on pure empirical logic, why someone shouldn’t do that – if you say there is no eternal justice? What justice applies to Hitler, and what reckoning for his victims, according to your worldview? He’s dead, and all his victims are dead. To quote you: “oh well”…

            As per my point above, if there is a God, then people still suffer – but God will have a reckoning for what people do and what they experience and will “make it good”, via some system of eternal justice. So it is not imperative for me to specifically act, unless it is an area I feel called to use my skills an energies to assist with voluntary aid.

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            How is it my opinion? I didn’t write the scriptures.

            It’s your opinion that your scriptures are from your god. You can be wrong.

            No seriously, what do you get out of it?

            I mostly argue for the civil rights of atheists, and this article is one such example. Selfish Christians trying to misuse a pubic school to push their religion is harmful to atheists.

            Except for my follow up point later on, that if God exists then there will be eternal justice for those that suffer and a balanced reward.

            Depends on what god(s) exist, and the standard Christian one does not dispense justice, since a mistaken opinion gets you eternal torment.

            Haha, nice try – but there’s no God in this scenario, remember

            But you were contrasting what you would do — I assume you’re a Christian, and also that you haven’t “quit your job immediately and spend the rest of my life in voluntary humanitarian aid”, so it looks like you’d be a better person as an atheist.

            By whose yardstick do you define it?

            Mine, of course. How many times do I need to tell you that? Is it hard for you to understand?

            If there is no God, there is no good or evil. So you could just do what you wanted.

            Except for all the other people around.

            Make your life’s goal to exert as much power and control over as many other humans as your influence can extend, like Hitler or Pol Pot.

            Why would I want to do that? Are you projecting your own desires for power onto me? Why are you arrogantly assuming AGAIN that you “know” what I would do

            Give me a reason, based on pure empirical logic, why someone shouldn’t do that

            Well, Hitler killed himself on his honeymoon, that doesn’t sound so great.

            if you say there is no eternal justice?

            If “eternal justice” answers everything, why should we have criminal laws? After all, they’ll get what’s coming to them, so why bother?

            but God will have a reckoning for what people do and what they experience and will “make it good”, via some system of eternal justice.

            But you appear to be using that as an excuse to not help people now — you’d only help if you were an atheist. So I’d say being a Christian is making you a worse person.

          • Diverse Synergy

            >>No seriously, what do you get out of it?
            >I mostly argue for the civil rights of atheists, and this article is one such example. Selfish Christians trying to misuse a pubic school to push their religion is harmful to atheists.

            Harmful to atheists in your opinion, and assuming there’s no God. If there is a God, then what you are doing is spiritually harmful to those same students. We can dance around in circles like this all day! It is just your opinion, and my opinion. Who decides what is “best”, and by what right is it enforced? And don’t say the law or the constitution, because that changes based on the transient whims of humans too. In some countries to speak against gay marriage incurs you civil penalties. In some countries to engage in homosexuality carries the death penalty. In both cases it is the law.

            >>By whose yardstick do you define it?
            >Mine, of course. How many times do I need to tell you that? Is it hard for you to understand?

            You keep telling me that your morality is based on your own opinion. I get it. You don’t address the problem though, my opinion might be the exact opposite to yours – so who arbitrates? The transient opinion of the “democratic” mob? So when homosexuality was illegal because that was the law and majority opinion, that was ok? All of the laws the Nazis passed were ok?

            >>If there is no God, there is no good or evil. So you could just do what you wanted.
            >Except for all the other people around.

            Yep, all those “other people around” in North Korea can really do a lot about their subjugation…

            >>Make your life’s goal to exert as much power and control over as many other humans as your influence can extend, like Hitler or Pol Pot.
            >Why would I want to do that? Are you projecting your own desires for power onto me? Why are you arrogantly assuming AGAIN that you “know” what I would do

            I clearly didn’t mean you specifically, I mean a generic you as in “one could make one’s goal…” I’ve assumed very little about you in fact, you seem to assume a lot about me though – for example:
            >Why are you arrogantly assuming AGAIN that you “know” what I would do
            nope, not what I was saying – ironically that’s just your assumption about me

            >>if you say there is no eternal justice?
            >If “eternal justice” answers everything, why should we have criminal laws? After all, they’ll get what’s coming to them, so why bother?

            Do you assume human criminal justice is about morality? In which case, you are on a certainty to be disappointed. At best, it has a fairly good strike rate at keeping dangerous people away from other citizens in society – though not always. Or do you honestly think that locking somebody away for 30 years makes moral amends for say killing 100 people? That isn’t justice, and you’re a fool if you think it is.
            Of course we still need the human justice system, to keep harmful individuals away from law abiding citizens. But that is about all it achieves.

            >But you appear to be using that as an excuse to not help people now — you’d only help if you were an atheist. So I’d say being a Christian is making you a worse person.

            A worse person according to… oh that’s right, just your opinion. “oh well”

            PS – Guzzman seems to really love everything you say, judging by the 1 upvote each time. Are you the same person, or does Guzzman just really get you?

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            Harmful to atheists in your opinion, and assuming there’s no God. If there is a God, then what you are doing is spiritually harmful to those same students.

            No, it isn’t. Keeping the government OUT of religion protects EVERYONE’S rights. You can’t even see that.

            So when homosexuality was illegal because that was the law and majority opinion, that was ok?

            Are you really that dim? Seriously, do I have to explain the history of governments and laws (and the total absence of gods showing up) as if you’re five years old?

            PS – Guzzman seems to really love everything you say, judging by the 1 upvote each time. Are you the same person, or does Guzzman just really get you?

            Guzzman isn’t me, but he’s a follower and he upvotes pretty much all my comments. I think one reason he follows me is to find comment threads to comment on like this one.

          • Diverse Synergy

            >No, it isn’t. Keeping the government OUT of religion protects EVERYONE’S rights. You can’t even see that.

            I think we could learn a lot more from each other if we try to stop making assumptions about the other person’s position. I say this for my own benefit as much as anything else, and I will try harder not to do it.

            I actually agree with your point here – insofar as if you try to keep a government as “neutral” as possible, it protects and increases individual rights. So, I’m with you on this. Let’s try to find the common ground if we can.

            Where I diverge from your position, is that I don’t believe that it necessarily increases a person’s wellbeing (or that it is “less harmful”) if you try and increase individual rights through “neutrality” of opinions in the public arena and in the government.

            The biggest problem you face is in ultimately deciding what counts as “neutral”.

            This is an interesting point in fact, how far do you think a public educational institution should remain “neutral”? Would you say that you have to teach strictly equally about every possible worldview and then let the students decide amongst them all for themselves?

            If so, you quickly run into some very tricky areas:

            1) Should a public school teach equally about the worldview of shunning education altogether? In fact, should not the first step in a child’s education be to ask them if they would rather be educated and go to school or if they would rather spend their time doing something else?

            2) What subjects should be given priority in the classroom? How should the curriculum be decided? In fact, through the mere action of sending a child to school where they teach specific subjects in a formal classroom environment, the parents are already ‘indoctrinating’ that child into a system where we are formally educated in this way – and within a system where we spend a disproportionate amount of time teaching our children certain subject areas over others in those public schools. These are subjects which our society/government deems more important to impart on young minds than other topics (eg mathematics and science tend to be given more classroom time than say arts and music). Is it right that we prioritise certain subject matters in this way, or should the government remain “neutral” in this area?

            3) Should a public school advocate a worldview of paying taxes to a centralised government, voting as citizen within democracy, and adhering to national laws? Or should they also include an equal amount of teaching from eg advocates of the worldview of anarchism?

            4) Should public schools delve into areas of moralising? Eg, don’t bully other people, don’t hit, don’t steal, say please and thank-you etc?

            5) What should schools teach about a country’s cultural heritage and history? Would it be wrong to instil a sense of national pride about one’s country, and to encourage them to support that country for the good of all its citizens?

            6) What should schools teach about religion? Should it not mention this subject at all? Should it cover all religions? If so, would that have to be all existing religions, or what we know about any religion at any point of history?

            These are not intended to be trap questions. They are serious questions, which I think your relativistic worldview would struggle to deal with.

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            The biggest problem you face is in ultimately deciding what counts as “neutral”.

            This obviously can’t include such subjective, religious criteria like “spiritually harmful”, which you previously advocated.

          • Diverse Synergy

            Ok, you made that point already. How about all the other points I raised?

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            What about them?

          • Diverse Synergy

            Given that you demand the government/society should remain neutral on advocating or promoting any particular religious position over any other in public schools, then oughtn’t you to equally demand that the government/society remain neutral on all of the following worldview areas within public schools as well – which at present the school system is far from neutral on:

            1) Should a public school teach equally about the worldview of shunning education altogether? In fact, should not the first step in a child’s education be to ask them if they would rather be educated and go to school or if they would rather spend their time doing something else?

            2) What subjects should be given priority in the classroom? How should the curriculum be decided? In fact, through the mere action of sending a child to school where they teach specific subjects in a formal classroom environment, the parents are already ‘indoctrinating’ that child into a system where we are formally educated in this way – and within a system where we spend a disproportionate amount of time teaching our children certain subject areas over others in those public schools. These are subjects which our society/government deems more important to impart on young minds than other topics (eg mathematics and science tend to be given more classroom time than say arts and music). Is it right that we prioritise certain subject matters in this way, or should the government remain “neutral” in this area?

            3) Should a public school advocate a worldview of paying taxes to a centralised government, voting as a citizen within a democracy, and adhering to national laws? Or should they also include an equal amount of teaching from eg advocates of the worldview of anarchism?

            4) Should public schools delve into areas of moralising? Eg, don’t bully other people, don’t hit, don’t steal, say please and thank-you etc?

            5) What should schools teach about a country’s cultural heritage and history? Would it be wrong to instil a sense of national pride about one’s country, and to encourage them to support that country for the good of all its citizens?

            6) What should schools teach about religion? Should it not mention this subject at all? Should it cover all religions? If so, would that have to be all existing religions, or what we know about any religion at any point of history?

            —–

            Or do you think it is fine to single out religion as a purely arbitrary and cherry-picked worldview to target – the only worldview area where you choose to demand this stance of neutrality in schools, for no reason I can see other than your personal vexation against advocates of this particular area of worldview?

          • Diverse Synergy

            >>So when homosexuality was illegal because that was the law and majority opinion, that was ok?
            >Are you really that dim? Seriously, do I have to explain the history of governments and laws and how people advocate for actions to be legal or illegal (and the total absence of gods showing up) as if you’re five years old?

            If it helps you to think I am stupid, then feel free to explain it as if I am a small child so that I can understand.

            My simple question is: “In the absence of the absolute morality of eg a religion, how do you decide what is ‘ok’ and what isn’t ‘ok’?” Is it literally down to the majority decision at a given point of time in a specific geographical jurisdiction?

            So at the same time, you can have the moral position that it is ‘ok’ that in the USA an individual risks civil penalties for refusing to support gay marriage – because that is the current majority opinion (or at least the most vocalised public opinion in the media). And you can have the moral position that it is ‘ok’ that in other countries that practising homosexuality carries the death penalty.

            And then the same question for different timeframes. So when homosexuality was illegal in the USA 100 years ago, that was “right”. And now that it is legal today, this is also “right”? How does it work, according to your worldview?

            >Guzzman isn’t me, but he’s a follower and he upvotes pretty much all my comments. I think one reason he follows me is to find comment threads to comment on like this one.

            Did you ever consider that if God does exist, and you have to give an account for your life one day, it will not just be your own rejection taken into account – but the level of influence you had in leading other people astray?

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            My simple question is: “In the absence of the absolute morality of eg a religion, how do you decide what is ‘ok’ and what isn’t ‘ok’?” Is it literally down to the majority decision at a given point of time in a specific geographical jurisdiction?

            No, here in the US, it’s more complicated than just majority rule. But gods don’t get involved, it’s people all the way down.

            Did you ever consider that if God does exist, and you have to give an account for your life one day, it will not just be your own rejection taken into account – but the level of influence you had in leading other people astray?

            You mean the way you’re leading people away from atheism, which is the only way to get into the Invisible Pink Unicorn’s heaven?

          • Diverse Synergy

            >No, here in the US, it’s more complicated than just majority rule. But gods don’t get involved, it’s people all the way down.

            Right, but when some people say something is ‘ok’, and other people say that same thing is ‘not ok’ – what is actually ‘ok’?

            Also, good luck placing your hope in merely people/humanity. Remember, that is the same humanity who brought you earlier works such as slavery, child sacrifice, crucifixion, Nazism, Communism, bio-warfare and the Atom Bomb.

            You have lived during an immensely fortunate period of time in a society that has protected you from most of the horrors that base humanity has to offer. The vast majority of humanity has not had the luxury of the experience you have enjoyed however, and perhaps that is why you so blindly believe in humanity.

            >You mean the way you’re leading people away from atheism, which is the only way to get into the Invisible Pink Unicorn’s heaven?

            The key difference being, of course, that the Invisible Pink Unicorn is entirely a fictional concoction for which there is zero historical or third party evidence (although feel free to cite some external evidence if you believe there is any). ‘God’ does not suffer from this same lack of evidence. There are religious texts handed down from earlier societies, and recorded eye-witness testimony that eg Christ ‘turned up’. Ok, all of this evidence might be made up – but it exists, whether you like it or not.

            I think you are confusing 100% blind faith (for instance if I believed that my dustbin was my creator deity, with no evidence other than my own “gut feeling”, and to appease it I had to fill it with rubbish every week lest bad stuff should happen to me) with rationalised faith, which recognises the fact that religious texts and claims to historical events exist, and I use my brain to rationalise the evidence against the observable universe around me – and then I exercise faith to accept the things I cannot prove.

            You do the same of course. For instance, you have no proof you really exist, or that you’re really here on Earth. You take it on faith that your brain is accurately reporting to you the existence you perceive around you – or that you even have a body and a brain in the first place. *You* as a human might not really be there at all – there could be an infinite number of reasons why you perceive what you perceive:

            – you could be a delusional alien who has suffered a severe breakdown, and you currently reside in a padded cell on some far away world totally convinced you are a human being living freely on this planet called Earth

            – you could be under the influence of a mind-controlling entity forcing you to perceive that you here on Earth, which could be for either benign or malevolent reasons (eg you could be in deep stasis travelling across the universe on a space-ship in an induced dream-like state to keep your brainwaves alive during your 10,000 year transit, or you could be held hostage by a supreme race of AI robots who are harvesting you for organic tissue and inducing you to believe you are really on Earth so that you don’t fight back)

            – your consciousness could just be a plasma-like state which causes you to perceive that you are a human with a body and a brain, whilst it runs whatever processes a plasma-like state consciousness needs to run to sustain itself

            – you could already be in heaven, and this life is like an Avatar simulator of what you would do and experience if given free will. One day the simulation will end, and you’ll see how well you did.

            … and so on, ad infinitum.

            It’s back to the “0% knowledge” scenario I was talking about in an earlier thread. Socrates put it best, when he recognised that he was the wisest man because he appreciated that he knew absolutely nothing.

            I accept that, in myself, I know nothing and also I have no hope. I can only have hope through faith that there really is a Creator who loves us, that there really is redemption for my sins and failures (otherwise I must carry them forever to my shame), and there really is a higher purpose and meaning behind this fallen existence here on Earth.

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            Right, but when some people say something is ‘ok’, and other people say that same thing is ‘not ok’ – what is actually ‘ok’?

            There IS no objective right and wrong. Even if there WAS, people don’t agree on how to determine that, so you just end up with subjective guesses as to what “objective” morals exist, which is even worse because fanatics think THEIR perfect morality justifies any sort of actions like killing everyone who doesn’t agree.

            Sorry, you’ll have to learn to deal with it.

          • Diverse Synergy

            Except I don’t have to deal with it, I believe in absolute morality.

            The more facetious part of me kind of hopes that Western society collapses as a result of the increasingly vocal lobby pushing for unsustainable social positions, such as the ones you seem to advocate, because then you will experience was true subjective morality looks like under the anarchy that will ensue. Then perhaps you will get it.

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            Except I don’t have to deal with it, I believe in absolute morality.

            Of course you do, you have to deal with lots of people who don’t believe in your absolute morality.

            The more facetious part of me kind of hopes that Western society collapses as a result of the increasingly vocal lobby pushing for unsustainable social positions, such as the ones you seem to advocate

            Like what?

            because then you will experience what true subjective morality looks like under the anarchy that will ensue. Then perhaps you will get it.

            And yearn for religious dictatorship? That seems to be what you want.

          • Diverse Synergy

            >Of course you do, you have to deal with lots of people who don’t believe in your absolute morality.

            Except that truly subjective morality is a myth people have to con themselves into believing. You yourself claim to be a moral relativist, yet I’m willing to bet you hold the sanctity of human life as paramount within a country’s legal system, along with several other Judeo-Christian morals as part of your inherited cultural heritage in the West.

            Besides, I didn’t mean by this statement that I don’t have to deal with people like yourself, who *believe* that they believe in subjective morality. Dealing with this is quite easy though, because I simply present them with the massive dilemma of their position – such as the 6 points I presented to you twice now about neutrality across the board with all worldviews in public schools, and you have no logical answer to give me – because there is none. Ultimately you have no workable school, because you have central absolute topics left to teach – if indeed you should even be teaching at all, as belief in teaching and education is itself an absolute position. That is just how bonkers what you claim to be advocating actually is. The fact you can’t see it is entirely your problem, I have helped to point it out as much as I can.

            What I meant by this, is that I personally don’t have deal with the problem of trying to square the logical impossibility in trying to formulate a workable society around the fundamentally flawed philosophy of subjective relativism. That is your quandary to deal with, not mine. Subjective relativism leads you to anarchy. And if you suggest that it somehow doesn’t, then you are not actually advocating pure subjective relativism after all.

            >Like what?

            Like subjective, relativistic reasoning. It logically implodes on itself. And if enough morons try to implement it in schools and wider society, then society itself implodes in on itself.

            >And yearn for religious dictatorship? That seems to be what you want.

            Yes, that is exactly what I stated – great quoting of me there. “I want a religious dictatorship, like Saudi Arabia where women are treated like property”. That is practically verbatim from my post the other day right?

            We can either have a reasonable discussion, where we listen to each other and what we are actually saying, or we can have a ridiculous discussion where you hold up caricatures of my arguments and point to your own hyperbole. This seems to be your M.O.

            Sadly history is against you on this. It is out of practically a monoculture of a historically Judeo-Christian environment and laws that your very own fair country, the U.S.A, became the freest and most prosperous nation this planet has ever seen.

            What you are advocating however, is more akin to Communism – an atheist state, with subjective relativism of humanly-derived ideologies at the helm. Let me point you to the Soviet Union, and say Venezuela for a more current example, of what your style of ideology actually achieves.

            I think it speaks volumes, that you never actually answer my questions with a logical, rationalised account of your own position. My questions are most often met with some hyperbolous counter-question.

            So third time lucky, I have presented you with 6 scenarios to consider, where I would like to hear your stated logic and position on how you would deal with ensuring “neutrality” on several other areas of worldview, similar to the religious area, and how you still intend to have a workable educational system at the end of it. Care to answer this challenge, presenting your own position with mere logic and well-reasoned argument, rather than a hyperbolous counter-questions?

          • Diverse Synergy

            Except you didn’t get the second post, because Disqus spam blocked me yet again. I’m new to Disqus, and already I find it quite terrible. Here is my previous post, again:

            Given that you demand the government/society should remain neutral on advocating or promoting any particular religious position over any other in public schools, then oughtn’t you to equally demand that the government/society remain neutral on all of the following worldview areas within public schools as well – which at present the school system is far from neutral on:
            1) Should a public school teach equally about the worldview of shunning education altogether? In fact, should not the first step in a child’s education be to ask them if they would rather be educated and go to school or if they would rather spend their time doing something else?
            2) What subjects should be given priority in the classroom? How should the curriculum be decided? In fact, through the mere action of sending a child to school where they teach specific subjects in a formal classroom environment, the parents are already ‘indoctrinating’ that child into a system where we are formally educated in this way – and within a system where we spend a disproportionate amount of time teaching our children certain subject areas over others in those public schools. These are subjects which our society/government deems more important to impart on young minds than other topics (eg mathematics and science tend to be given more classroom time than say arts and music). Is it right that we prioritise certain subject matters in this way, or should the government remain “neutral” in this area?
            3) Should a public school advocate a worldview of paying taxes to a centralised government, voting as a citizen within a democracy, and adhering to national laws? Or should they also include an equal amount of teaching from eg advocates of the worldview of anarchism?
            4) Should public schools delve into areas of moralising? Eg, don’t bully other people, don’t hit, don’t steal, say please and thank-you etc?
            5) What should schools teach about a country’s cultural heritage and history? Would it be wrong to instil a sense of national pride about one’s country, and to encourage them to support that country for the good of all its citizens?
            6) What should schools teach about religion? Should it not mention this subject at all? Should it cover all religions? If so, would that have to be all existing religions, or what we know about any religion at any point of history?
            —–
            Or do you think it is fine to single out religion as a purely arbitrary and cherry-picked worldview to target – the only worldview area where you choose to demand this stance of neutrality in schools, for no reason I can see other than your personal vexation against advocates of this particular area of worldview?

          • Diverse Synergy

            OK, I am going to end our discussion here for two reasons:

            1) Disqus keep spam blocking my responses, so – as a newcomer – I am not convinced Disqus is fit for purpose as a platform

            2) From my side – the discussion is very fruitless. You are not offering me direct answers to my questions, outlining your position and the logic behind why you hold your opinions. It seems you aren’t interested in asking questions and learning more about each other’s relative positions. The questions you do ask seem to just be for the purpose of delivering the odd wise-crack response, then constantly attempting to demonstrate how “dim” and “wrong” I am in my position compared to the “correctness” of your own position. This gets us nowhere, unfortunately.

            If you think that is an unfair charge against you, please provide three quotes where you believe you have asked me a genuine question with the intention of learning what I believe, so that you can listen to it objectively, consider your own stance against it, and potentially reconsider your own stance based on my response.

            A trick I learned is to try and go away from a discussion with somebody who holds an opposing viewpoint, and really try to think about the discussion from the other person’s perspective. Why are they asking the questions, why are they responding in the way they are, and then try to give the benefit of the doubt.

            Also, try to read the responses as if the other person has an important point to make, no matter how silly their comment might seem to you at first. I try to leave my prejudice at the door, then think to myself – why do they think this point is so important? Do they have a point here? Have I perhaps overlooked this perspective when I heard a similar argument previously?

            Then you actually LEARN something from a discussion.

            Nobody ever learned anything by entering a discussion convinced they are right and trying to convey that “rightness” to the other party. I suggest to you, that if you go through life with this approach and demeanour, you will learn very little.

            I recognise there is no easy way to give you this advice, without sounding patronising. However, that was not my intent – it was genuinely well-meant as advice – as I recognise I used to debate in a very similar way to the way you do, and I eventually realised it was a sub-optimal approach. I hope that this advice is received as such.

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            You are not offering me direct answers to my questions

            Some of your questions are ridiculous; for those, I either ignore them or point out why they are ridiculous. I answer questions that seem coherent.

            For example, when I pointed out that not everyone believes in an absolute morality, and that people who DO believe in an absolute morality don’t agree with each other as to what it is, and you’ll just have to live with that, you replied “Except I don’t have to deal with it, I believe in absolute morality.”

            No, you really DO have to deal with other people who don’t have the same morality as you do. That’s the real world.

            See, I answered a question of yours, but you tried to ignore the very situation, which is nonsense.

            It appears you ask me questions, but also expect me to frame my answer as if YOUR view of the universe is correct, because your responses assume that at every step. I talk about stopping public school officials from pushing their religion on other people’s children, yet you complain that’s “spiritually harmful” if your god exists (and, you’re assuming those school officials will be pushing YOUR god and not some other god). You also question how to determine what’s wrong or right because you happen to know exactly what should be wrong and right, because it’s all from your god, and you can’t even seem to grasp how other moral systems can even exist, much less operate.

            I don’t see how you can write “Then you actually LEARN something from a discussion” when you yourself demonstrate how you can’t even entertain the possibility that your god doesn’t exist, or isn’t the correct one.

            And it takes a huge amount of effort to explain anything to you, largely because of these tendencies of yours.

          • Guzzman

            Yep, I follow W2.718281828stl2.718281828y because we have similar interests, e.g., constitutional issues such as church-state violations, and even more compelling topics such as Monty Python and Firesign Theatre.

          • Theo

            Same homeless shelter.

          • Diverse Synergy

            I guess I don’t see the value of your upvote, if you uprate Westley’s every comment, and not once uprate any of the opposing viewpoints. Are you not objective enough in your reasoning to recognise a good point made by a proponent of an opposing worldview?

            I’m quite thick-skinned by the way; worry not, I will get over the fact you haven’t upvoted me – that is not my purpose for this advice.

            A challenge for you: can you think of one point I raised, or one line of logic I produced, where you thought I made a good point – and why did you think that? It demonstrates far greater maturity to recognise and uprate an opponent for making a good point, than a friend who shares your own position anyway. You will also learn a lot more if you try and think more along those lines. Challenge your own position as much as that of others.

          • Guzzman

            I consistently upvote over a dozen people that I follow because I think they make good points. It’s a nice way to show people that you took the time to read their comments and wholeheartedly agree. I don’t understand your problem with that.

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            You say that Jesus didn’t specifically condemn homosexuality, though plenty of Christians do. I guess I don’t see the significance of this statement.

            No, I guess you don’t, and since I’ve already explained it, I doubt you will in the future.

            What was your point 2?

          • Diverse Synergy

            Ah, that is a shame. I had hoped I had found someone who would enter into a discussion where we both listened to one another, rather than assuming that our position is definitely “correct” and attempting to demonstrate our “correctness” to the other person. Which sadly leads nowhere.

            Thank-you for your time, I wish you well in your journey in this life and beyond.

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            I’d be fine with entering a discussion, but when you repeatedly ask why I brought up Jesus’ silence on homosexuality, and I explain it, and you can read how chet brought it up and my replies, and you STILL don’t understand, there’s nothing left to explain.

            You never said what your point 2 was.

          • Diverse Synergy

            From my side it shows Point 2 as posted, but maybe it got spam flagged again. I will try again later.

            Let’s stick with Point 1 for now:

            Ok, let’s assume I am a bit slow and I *still* don’t understand you. Why not give me the benefit of the doubt and come down a level to meet me where I’m at?

            Last time I had my IQ measured it was 141, so I have empirical evidence to believe I am not *that* stupid by the way, but let’s go with your assertion. In which case, please forgive my relative ineptitude, and just try and explain it to me like I’m a golden retriever.

            You say that Jesus is silent on condemning homosexuality. I tried to explain that there is more than one tack when it comes to conveying your opinion on something. Christ chose not to openly condemn it. Christ instead pointed to the scriptural basis for marriage from Genesis 2 when questioned around this topic area, and left it at that. So that everyone listening at the time, and anyone reading it now, can go away and make their own judgment about what he meant about man and woman becoming one flesh – which was the created order of this existence.

            My point isn’t that I am too slow to understand why you keep bringing it up, moreover I am asking why you keep bringing it up as evidence that Christ might actually have been “OK” with it. His response about marriage makes that assessment pretty unlikely.

            I then point out that whilst Christ doesn’t specifically condemn it, St Paul does – quite vehemently and in several places. Therefore, the fact that Christ chooses to remain relatively silent, I struggle to see any relevance for – because another great theologian canonised in the Scriptures, did.

            So (answering like I’m a golden retriever remember) – why do you keep bringing up that Christ isn’t ever specifically recorded as saying “homosexuality is sinful, don’t do it” – when the inferences of Christ’s position about marriage, and the specific direct statements of St Paul on the matter of homosexuality, make the position of Christianity on this point abundantly clear?

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            Ok, let’s assume I am a bit slow and I *still* don’t understand you. Why not give me the benefit of the doubt and come down a level to meet me where I’m at?

            Look, chet brought up “Why are Christians accused of the “denigrating” of homosexuals”, and I pointed out it’s because a lot of Christians denigrate homosexuals, and as an aside, I mentioned that Jesus never referred to homosexuals.

            What don’t you understand about that? Seriously, I have no idea what kind of information you still need.

          • Diverse Synergy

            Yes, but St Paul did directly refer to homosexuality – so the fact Christ doesn’t state anything directly surely doesn’t make any difference? A Christian could still hold that opinion on homosexuality based on the writings of St Paul, and not based on anything Christ specifically spoke about.

            Ok, I’m going to try one more analogy, because I think I’m not explaining my point very well.

            Say my wife says to my daughter, “don’t throw rocks at the windows”, and later that day my son starts throwing rocks at the windows. My daughter comes along says to him “you’d better not do that, mum already told me not to”. And then my son points out, “it’s ok to throw rocks at the windows, I tape recorded dad all morning – see at breakfast he just talked about the weather, and later on he mentioned that article in the newspaper, but he never once said not to throw rocks at windows.”

            Do you honestly think my son would have a valid argument?

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            Yes, but St Paul did directly refer to homosexuality

            So what? My point was that Jesus didn’t.

            so the fact Christ doesn’t state anything directly surely doesn’t make any difference?

            Why do you believe Paul?

            And you STILL haven’t explained what you still need explained.

  • Guzzman

    Public school officials admitted they were wrong to post Bible verses and gospel song lyrics on the walls of the school’s choir room. Such postings are blatantly unconstitutional.

    This should have never happened, but thankfully the school took corrective action and removed the religious posters.

  • Netizen_James

    Good that these school administrators decided not to waste their community’s taxdollars on a useless and losing lawsuit to defend this clearly unconstitutional behavior.

    Our religious liberty necessarily includes the right to be free from Government Religion.

    The only appropriate stance of any government entity toward religion is strict neutrality – promoting none, prohibiting none, encouraging none, enjoining none. Anything less is a violation of our right to religious liberty.

    And Heather – pulling quotes out of context to attempt to prove that the Founders didn’t want a separation of church and state is fundamentally dishonest and demonstrates some pretty severe bias. Are you a journalist, or just a propagandist? There’s a difference you know. Even if you’re working for a Christian newspaper, you still have a Journalistic responsibility to be fair and balanced, rather than biased toward or against any given perspective. The founders wrote and ratified a godless Constitution ON PURPOSE. (do note that neither the word ‘God’ nor the name ‘Jesus’ appear EVEN ONCE in the Constitution – the ONLY references to religion in the Constitution is in the NEGATIVE. No religious tests for public office, no laws to establish religion, no laws to prohibit religion.) Daily prayers were suggested by Franklin at the convention, and were REJECTED. Adams himself signed the Treaty of Tripoli, which states without ambiguity that “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…”

    Madison, the AUTHOR of the first amendment wrote this:
    “Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. …
    The establishment of the chaplainship to Congs is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles: The tenets of the chaplains elected [by the majority] shut the door of worship agst the members whose creeds & consciences forbid a participation in that of the majority. To say nothing of other sects, this is the case with that of Roman Catholics & Quakers who have always had members in one or both of the Legislative branches. Could a Catholic clergyman ever hope to be appointed a Chaplain? To say that his religious principles are obnoxious or that his sect is small, is to lift the evil at once and exhibit in its naked deformity the doctrine that religious truth is to be tested by numbers. or that the major sects have a right to govern the minor.” (from ‘Detached Memoranda’ – let me know if you need a link)

    To get a better feel for what Madison was saying, replace ‘Quakers’ with ‘Muslims’, and ‘Roman Catholics’ with ‘Scientologists’.

  • Chet

    Try taking a stand against this FFRF and let them cry foul and throw dirt in the air till they cry themselves to sleep. Who cares? The most they can do is sue, and they may lose, or win. The tide is turning again in America under new WH leadership. Worst case, should they win, continue on as usual as did Daniel of old till they have the schoolhouse closed down. The kids will be turned out into the streets and in very short order parents will demand it be reopened in concert with law enforcement and all will be well again. Fear not the anti God anti Christ sorts…

    • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

      The most they can do is sue, and they may lose, or win.

      And the school would end up losing a lot of money for stupid reasons.

      • Chet

        No, no stupid reason. And we know not just how God Almighty will work in the case till we slug through the case, dude. Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus Ye Soldiers Of The Cross…

        • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

          No, it really would be stupid to think a public school can violate longstanding case law. But since school officials appear to have stopped the violation, there’s no problem.

          • Chet

            There is no Constitutional support for so called separation of church and state, but, rather, no allowing of the state to stipulate some specific faith system such as existed in old England – Catholicism, being the state “religion”. Such is why our forefathers fled and came to America, religious freedom, dude…

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            There is no Constitutional support for so called separation of church and state

            The supreme court disagrees with you; also, Madison.

          • Chet

            Nay, rather, the writing refers to state establishment of “religion” not separation from God Almighty of our nation’s forefathers. We are not to have Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Presybyterians, Mormons and/or Catholics et al establishing their take on God Almighty to thus rule the nation.

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            Nay, rather, the writing refers to state establishment of “religion” not separation from God

            Sorry, the courts disagree with your limited reading. You’ve already tried to impose monotheism by insisting on one god.

          • Chet

            That’s your take and the take of other leftists even as still others strongly disagree and challenge such all the time. In fact, there have been recent victories where Christians were not forced to provide goods against their faith’s adherence. The tide is now changing in America. And please be assured there are no multiple gods. There is but one God the Father, one God the Son and one God the Holy Ghost. You can learn all about Him, the One with whom we all have to do (sooner or later) in His Word, the Holy Bible…

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            And please be assured there are no multiple gods.

            Hundreds of millions of Hindus would disagree. You can’t just assert your myths are true and think other people will just assent.

          • Guzzman

            You wrote, “There is no Constitutional support for so called separation of church and state.” I think James Madison, long-honored as Father of the Constitution, would vehemently disagree with you:

            “The settled opinion here [in the United States] is, that religion is essentially distinct from civil Government, and exempt from its cognizance; that a connection between them is injurious to both.” (Letter to Edward Everett, Montpellier, March 18, 1823).

            So when Madison and Jefferson used terms such as “wall of separation between church and state”, “total separation of the church from the State”, “separation between religion & Gov’t in the Constitution”, “perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters”, “the line of separation between the rights of religion and the civil authority”, and so forth, they were just lying?

          • Chet

            Others interpret differently, the godless atheistic view of so called separation of church and state. BTW even if it were to be so interpreted as you’ve suggested, it does not separate America from God Almighty, dude, merely the church……

          • Guzzman

            You wrote, “Others interpret [First Amendment] differently, the godless atheistic view of so called separation of church and state.”

            The only views that matter are those of the Founders who wrote the Constitution and those of the Supreme Court who interpret the Constitution. And by the way, “separation between religion & Gov’t in the Constitution” (Madison’s phrase) demands neutrality, not a “godless atheistic view” – huge difference.

            The Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that the First Amendment prohibits government from taking ANY position on questions of religious belief: “The touchstone of the Establishment Clause is ‘the principle that the First Amendment mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.'”[McCreary County v. ACLU, 545 U.S. 844, 860 (2005), quoting Epperson v. Arkansas (1968)].

          • Chet

            America cannot ever separate herself from the God who sustains her, that is, till He lifts His Almighty hand from her, which folks such as yourself long for. Nevertheless, please be apprised “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this, the judgment” Hebrews 9:27, Holy Bible. For it is Him, with whom we all have to do, sooner or later. May God bless America even as this newly elected president et al seek to MAGA…

  • glenbo

    My tax dollars pay for public schools.
    Religion is tax exempt.
    If you as a Christian resent your tax dollars paying for abortions, then I as an Atheist can resent my tax dollars being abused to recruit children into religion within the schools I pay for.
    It works both ways..