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Scott Lloyd

What is a secular nation?

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On another thread, the declaration was made that “we are a secular nation.” I pose the question of what is meant by “secular nation.” After others have weighed in, I’ll give my view. It may be surprising to some. 

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I have neither studied nor pondered the issue in great depth, but perhaps one meaning is that religion, qua religion, plays no active role in government, at least, not directly, not in the sense that, e.g., Iran, per its official name, is the Islamic Republic of Iran.  One way some people interpret the Constitution's Establishment Clause is simply to say that the United States of America has no official state religion. 

In an era of less religious diversity and minimal secularism, perhaps such an understanding of the Establishment Clause made sense.  I'm not sure how well it holds up in a society that is both increasingly religiously heterogeneous and increasingly secular (that is, increasingly irreligious).  At the risk of taking the thread too far afield (you're certainly welcome to request that no one pursue this angle if you believe it is not relevant), I wonder if culture is the wide middle ground on which the religiously devout (of varying stripes) and the irreligious might meet.  A majority of justices on the United States Supreme Court seem at least to have peeked into that door/window in the recent decision of American Legion, et al v. American Humanist Association, et al.

I made a similar point a few years ago in an op-ed.  (Focus less on the "Christmas" angle and more on the broader "religion-and-culture" angle.  Again, if you feel it is not relevant, you're certainly welcome to dictate that this angle not be pursued.)

 

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The “Kingdom” of Outer Darkness.

Edited by The Nehor
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By 'secular nation' in the US, I understand the term to mean a Constitution that is neutral on religion and belief.

Whereas religious value and secular ethic are both equally protected, religious entities have no say in government at the expense of losing tax-exempt status.

A desire of some to have a religious nativity creche at the court house lawn cannot overrule the desire of some not to have it, for instance.

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1 minute ago, Jake Starkey said:

By 'secular nation' in the US, I understand the term to mean a Constitution that is neutral on religion and belief.

Whereas religious value and secular ethic are both equally protected, religious entities have no say in government at the expense of losing tax-exempt status.

A desire of some to have a religious nativity creche at the court house lawn cannot overrule the desire of some not to have it, for instance.

So why is my desire to chuck anyone who gets upset about a simple nativity crèche into a wood chipper always overruled? Why am I being discriminated against?

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I dunno

The meaning is changing.  

Let me know when you get the answer.  ;)

 

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If religious value is protected but not religious entity as the Constitution is written, then no discrimination exists concerning the absence of creches on the courthouse lawn.

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When Madalyn Murray O'Hair filed her lawsuits against various government entities, the process of driving out religious expressions (prayer, reading Bibles, etc) from schools and the public square became more prominent.  Now the social engineers have gained firmer stranglehold over the education of children and college students, their ever increasing secularism has established atheism, evolution, experimental overhaul of human relations, etc as the "de facto religion" of the STATE.

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40 minutes ago, longview said:

their ever increasing secularism has established atheism, evolution, experimental overhaul of human relations, etc as the "de facto religion" of the STATE.

And when was the last time an atheist was president?  A Supreme Court justice?  Any open atheists in Congress?

Edited by Calm
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21 minutes ago, Calm said:

And when was the last time an atheist was president?  A Supreme Court justice?  Any open atheists in Congress?

Obama is either a moslem or an atheist (or a blend of both).  Chief Justice Roberts was actually a homosexual activist before being appointed to USSC.

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3 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

On another thread, the declaration was made that “we are a secular nation.” I pose the question of what is meant by “secular nation.” After others have weighed in, I’ll give my view. It may be surprising to some. 

A secular constitution is usually typical of a secular nation, whereas a religious constitution would be characteristic of a religious nation.  The USA for example is a pluralistic secular nation, which makes it possible for a wide array of kinds and types of people to coexist.  Some countries are a mix in which there may be a state church (England, Germany), which levies taxes, in addition to largely political secularism.  Other countries may be formally established as ethnically religious countries (Israel, Saudia), in some of which religious law is the norm (Sharia law in Islamic countries).  Some very secular countries have outlawed some types of religion (Falungong or Islam in China).

Some people mistakenly believe that the people of a nation make it religious or secular, but a nation-state is either secular or religious based on the laws of that nation, not on the beliefs held by the inhabitants.

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47 minutes ago, Calm said:

And when was the last time an atheist was president?  A Supreme Court justice?  Any open atheists in Congress?

The operative word there is "open."  Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, so all politicians must needs appear to love babies, mom, apple pie, and God.

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3 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

I have neither studied nor pondered the issue in great depth, but perhaps one meaning is that religion, qua religion, plays no active role in government, at least, not directly, not in the sense that, e.g., Iran, per its official name, is the Islamic Republic of Iran.  One way some people interpret the Constitution's Establishment Clause is simply to say that the United States of America has no official state religion. 

In an era of less religious diversity and minimal secularism, perhaps such an understanding of the Establishment Clause made sense.  I'm not sure how well it holds up in a society that is both increasingly religiously heterogeneous and increasingly secular (that is, increasingly irreligious).  At the risk of taking the thread too far afield (you're certainly welcome to request that no one pursue this angle if you believe it is not relevant), I wonder if culture is the wide middle ground on which the religiously devout (of varying stripes) and the irreligious might meet.  A majority of justices on the United States Supreme Court seem at least to have peeked into that door/window in the recent decision of American Legion, et al v. American Humanist Association, et al.

I made a similar point a few years ago in an op-ed.  (Focus less on the "Christmas" angle and more on the broader "religion-and-culture" angle.  Again, if you feel it is not relevant, you're certainly welcome to dictate that this angle not be pursued.)

 

image.png.e27a424559894428b95add2f5c45e489.png

And if culture is inseparable from religion then so is philosophy.

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34 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:
58 minutes ago, longview said:

Obama is either a moslem or an atheist (or a blend of both). 

 CFR. And how does that even work. By the way I have it on good authority that you are a Scientologist, a JW or a blend of both...

It is well documented that Obama's mother was full bore communist as well as the Kenyan father (either socialist or communist) and his mother's parents.  He was mentored by Bill Ayers and Frank Marshall Davis.  Being communist is by definition embracing atheism.  Obama has also made favorable comments about Islam and stating that America is no longer a Christian nation.  He attended a moslem school in 4th grade in Indonesia.  He made the ridiculous claim that Islam played a major role in the founding of the American Constitutional Republic.

34 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:
Quote

Chief Justice Roberts was actually a homosexual activist before being appointed to USSC.

Activist is a loaded term here, but how in the world is that relevant. 

Activism is very much a part of Roberts repertoire.  He supported the Obama administration in their attempts to justify certain aspects of ObamaCare as a tax in order to avoid declaring it unconstitutional.

Edited by longview

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30 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, so all politicians must needs appear to love babies, mom, apple pie, and God.

Which would suggest there is no atheist de facto state religion if people have to hide it to be elected.

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1 hour ago, Calm said:

And when was the last time an atheist was president?  A Supreme Court justice?  Any open atheists in Congress?

Pete Stark of California was a member of Congress for 40 years and is openly and avowedly atheist. He lost his re-election bid to fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell in 2012.

There may be others in Congress; he's the one who springs immediately to mind, and I haven't bothered to check if there are others.

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54 minutes ago, Calm said:

Which would suggest there is no atheist de facto state religion if people have to hide it to be elected.

Maybe there's a reason.....I watched "The Family" recently on Netflix, and was flabberghasted!

 

 

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5 hours ago, longview said:

When Madalyn Murray O'Hair filed her lawsuits against various government entities, the process of driving out religious expressions (prayer, reading Bibles, etc) from schools and the public square became more prominent.  Now the social engineers have gained firmer stranglehold over the education of children and college students, their ever increasing secularism has established atheism, evolution, experimental overhaul of human relations, etc as the "de facto religion" of the STATE.

Another word for evolution is science.

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4 hours ago, longview said:

Obama is either a moslem or an atheist (or a blend of both).  Chief Justice Roberts was actually a homosexual activist before being appointed to USSC.

What you said about Obama is a lie.

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4 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Pete Stark of California was a member of Congress for 40 years and is openly and avowedly atheist. He lost his re-election bid to fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell in 2012.

There may be others in Congress; he's the one who springs immediately to mind, and I haven't bothered to check if there are others.

With emphasis on "avowedly."

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It's broad in possibilities, but a secular nation could be one based on values accessible to many beliefs, both religious or not, like: valuing the individual, valuing limited government.

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11 hours ago, longview said:

Obama is either a moslem or an atheist (or a blend of both).  Chief Justice Roberts was actually a homosexual activist before being appointed to USSC.

😂😂😂

eta: Yes, I’m laughing AT you 

Edited by MiserereNobis
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7 hours ago, sunstoned said:

Another word for evolution is science.

I don't think so.  Science may describe evolution, but evolution, in itself, is not science.

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