Black Spirituality Religion : The word Religion does not mean Christian.

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by dnommo, Oct 18, 2001.

  1. dnommo

    dnommo Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    HEY RA, I KNOW YOU GONNA LIKE THIS ONE...just thumbing through information in my constant search to grow...

    Excerpts from the Opinion substantiating the verdict in the case, BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF CINCINNATI, plaintiff in error, v. MINOR at al. (28 Ohio St. 2ll)

    Researched and edited by Jim Allison and Susan Batte



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    Supreme Court, State of Ohio

    December Term,1872

    . . . This opinion might well end here. Were the subject of controversy any other branch of instruction in the schools than religion, I have no doubt it might safely end here, and the unanimous opinion of the court thus rendered be satisfactory to all. The case is of peculiar importance, however, in the fact that it touches our religious convictions and prejudices, and threatens to disturb the harmonious working of state government, and particularly of the public schools of the state. I deem not improper, therefore, to consider briefly some of the points and matters so ably and elaborately argued by counsel, although really lying outside of the case proper, or only bearing on it remotely.

    The real claim here is, that by "religion," in this clause of the constitution, is meant "Christian religion," and that by "religious denomination" in the same clause is meant "Christian denomination." If this claim is well founded, I do not see how we can consistently avoid giving a like meaning to the same words and their cognates, "worship," "religious society," "sect," "conscience," "religious belief," throughout the entire section. To do so, it will readily be seen, would be to withdraw from every person not of Christian belief the guarantees therein vouchsafed, and to withdraw many of them from Christians themselves. In that sense the clause of Section 7 in question would read as follows:

    "Christianity, morality and knowledge, however, being essential to good government, it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to pass suitable laws to protect every Christian denomination in the peaceable enjoyment of its own mode of public worship, and to encourage schools and the means of instruction."

    Nor can I see why, in order to be consistent, the concluding clause of section 2 articles 6, should not read as follows:


    . . . "But no Christian, or other sect or sects, shall have any exclusive right to or control of any part of the school funds of this state; BUT CHRISTIANS AS A BODY, INCLUDING ALL THEIR SECTS, MAY HAVE CONTROL OF THE WHOLE OF SAID FUNDS."

    I do not say that such a reading of the sections in question is literally contended for; and yet I see no fair escape from it, if the word "Christianity," or the words "Christian religion," or "the religion of the Bible," are to be interpolated or substituted for the word "religion," at the place indicated.

    If, by this generic word "religion," was really meant "the Christian religion," or "Bible religion," why was it not plainly so written? Surely the subject was of importance enough to justify the pains, and surely it was of interest enough to exclude the supposition that it was written in haste or thoughtlessly slurred over. At the time of adopting our present constitution, this word "religion" had had a place in our old constitution for half a century, which was surely ample time for studying its meaning and effect, in order to make the necessary correction or alteration, so as to render its true meaning definite and certain.. The same word "religion," and in much the same connection is found on the Constitution of United States. The latter constitution, at least, if not our own also, in a sense, speaks to mankind and speaks to the rights of man. Neither the word "Christianity," "Christian," nor "Bible," is to be found in either. When they speak of "religion," they must mean the religion of man, and not the religion of any class of men. When they speak of "all men" having certain rights, they cannot mean merely "all Christian" men.

    We are told that this word " religion " must mean "Christian religion," because "Christianity is a part of the "common law of this country," lying behind and above its Constitutions. Those who make this assertion can hardly be serious, and intend the real import of their language. If Christianity is a law of the State, like every other law, it must have a sanction. Adequate penalties must be provided to enforce obedience to all its requirements and precepts. No one seriously contends for any such doctrine in this country, or, I might almost say, in this age of the world. The only foundation -- rather, the only excuse -- for the proposition that Christianity is part of the law of this country, is the fact that it is a Christian country, and that its Constitutions and laws are made by a Christian people.

    Board of Education of the City of Cincinnati v. Minor.

    BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF CINCINNATI, plaintiff in error, v. MINOR at al. (28 Ohio St. 2ll) Constitutional Law -- Bible in the Public Schools.
     
  2. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

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    MR . D

    I DEF LOVE THIS ONE
    GOTTA READ IT AGAIN !:heart:
     
  3. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    True Dat!

    The argument is made eloquently here and it seems that it would need no further explanation. Nevertheless, religion and Christianity are not one and the same and no matter that 85% of the population claims to Christian, this nation was in no way founded on Christian doctrine--human doctrine and philosophy, perhaps, but not Christianity. Some how many seem to forget that the founding fathers of this country came to the "new world" to escape the religious persecution of the church and state called the Church of England. They saw what happened when religion and government mixed and were quite gun shy and that is why they made so government could not have a hand in religion and religion could not have a hand in government. They are separated on purpose.

    Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.

    -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782.

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    But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

    -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782.

    History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.

    -Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813

    This comes from one of the founding fathers of the country. Clearly, he was not enamored of religion although he was a deist. Still, in this country there is an overwhelming thought that when religion is mentioned that it is Christianity but the changing religious landscape now even begs that question.

    Ra


    ;)
     
  4. dnommo

    dnommo Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    i knew you would comment but let's look at this a little clearer. This country was founded on biblical principles. The reasoning for the departure from England was to escape the forced practice of Catholicism. While i will not say they founded this country on Christianity, i would say that it was founded on Chrisitan values.

    The truth is this: When anyone mentions the word Chrisitianty, it has been the common practice to believe that it means "all religions of the Westernized world, or of the USA." this is wrong. It should not imply such but because the formation of this country was based on certain morals and beliefs then that is the assumptioon all around. Thomas Jefferson did speak such but he has walked on the premise that there should be no law defininf what religion we should practice. That is was happened in England and is the reason why they left. bleow isd the one letter that many believe is the reason why the "separation of church and state occurred."

    As noted below, separationists take this language from Thomas Jefferson's 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists in which he argued that the Constitution created a "wall of separation between church and state." But, as noted above, separationists have never taken the phrase as anything more than a handy (if historically significant) summary of the intent of the religion clauses of the First Amendment. Separationist scholar Leo Pfeffer, for example, notes:



    quote:
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    "No magic attaches to a particular verbalization of an underlying concept. The concept at issue here is more accurately expressed in Madison's phrase 'separation between Religion and Government,' or in the popular maxim that 'religion is a private matter.'" (Church, State, and Freedom, pp. 118-119).
    Second, accommodationists don't apply this argument consistently. Pfeffer, for example, observes that:

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    The phrase "Bill of Rights" has become a convenient term to designate the freedoms guaranteed in the first ten amendments; yet it would be the height of captiousness to argue that the phrase does not appear in the Constitution. Similarly, the right to a fair trial is generally accepted to be a constitutional principle; yet the term "fair trial" is not found in the Constitution. To bring the point even closer to home, who would deny that "religious liberty" is a constitutional principle? Yet that phrase too is not in the Constitution. The universal acceptance which all these terms, including "separation of church and state," have received in America would seem to confirm rather than disparage their reality as basic American democratic principles (pp. 118).

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    Thomas Jefferson on Separation of Church and State

    Here is the letter sent to Thomas Jefferson from the Danbury Baptist and his response to them. This memo is the single most important letter in the battle between sepreation of church and state simply because it is the only evidence that separatist and atheist use to support their views. Once again there is no law or Constituional amanedmant sperating church and state.

    The Danbury Baptist Association, concerned about religious liberty in the new nation wrote to President Thomas Jefferson, Oct. 7, 1801.
    Sir, Among the many millions in America and Europe who rejoice in your Election to office; we embrace the first opportunity which we have enjoyd in our collective capacity, since your Inauguration, to express our great satisfaction, in your appointment to the chief Majestracy in the United States; And though our mode of expression may be less courtly and pompious than what many others clothe their addresses with, we beg you, Sir to believe, that none are more sincere.

    Our Sentiments are uniformly on the side of Religious Liberty -- That Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals -- That no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious Opinions - That the legitimate Power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor: But Sir our constitution of government is not specific. Our ancient charter together with the Laws made coincident therewith, were adopted on the Basis of our government, at the time of our revolution; and such had been our Laws & usages, and such still are; that Religion is considered as the first object of Legislation; and therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the State) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights: and these favors we receive at the expense of such degradingacknowledgements, as are inconsistent with the rights of freemen. It is not to be wondered at therefore; if those, who seek after power & gain under the pretense of government & Religion should reproach their fellow men -- should reproach their chief Magistrate, as an enemy of religion Law & good order because he will not, dare not assume the prerogatives of Jehovah and make Laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ.

    Sir, we are sensible that the President of the United States, is not the national legislator, and also sensible that the national government cannot destroy the Laws of each State; but our hopes are strong that the sentiments of our beloved President, which have had such genial affect already, like the radiant beams of the Sun, will shine and prevail through all these States and all the world till Hierarchy and Tyranny be destroyed from the Earth. Sir, when we reflect on your past services, and see a glow of philanthropy and good will shining forth in a course of more than thirty years we have reason to believe that America's God has raised you up to fill the chair of State out of that good will which he bears to the Millions which you preside over. May God strengthen you for the arduous task which providence & the voice of the people have cald you to sustain and support you in your Administration against all the predetermined opposition of those who wish to rise to wealth & importance on the poverty and subjection of the people.

    And may the Lord preserve you safe from every evil and bring you at last to his Heavenly Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Glorious Mediator.

    Signed in behalf of the Association.

    Nehh Dodge
    Ephram Robbins The Committee
    Stephen S. Nelson




    Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut were persecuted because they were not part of the Congretationalist establishment in that state.
    On January 1, 1802, in response to the letter from the Danbury Baptist Association, Thomas Jefferson wrote:

    Gentlemen:

    The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which are so good to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should `make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore man to all of his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

    I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessings of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem.

    Thomas Jefferson


    Sources: Robert S. Alley, Professor of Humanites, Emeritus, University of Richmond, from his article, "Public Education and the Public Good," published in William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, Vol. 4, Issue 1, Summer 1995.
    And Lipscomb, Andrew and Bergh, Albert, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Vol. 16, pp. 281-282.

    just adding to the pot a little...
     
  5. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Misses the Point

    To say that the United States was founded on Christian principles misses the point that the principles it was founded upon came from a variety of philosophical backgrounds and Christianity happened to be one of them. The republic and democratic principles were taken from the Greeks, as well as, the form of our government which is also a democratic republic. The idea of fairness, equality and moral living also came from a variety of sources some of which include the Bible, but also include Plato, Diogynes, Josephus, and believe it or not, early Persian scholars.

    The first six presidents of the United States weren't Christian, although they were deists. They knew the horrors of the Bible if taken literally and readily shunned it as divisive as a foundation for the establishment of government especially after living under the tyranny of the church in England.

    The Bible has much that is worthy of attention in the form of ideas about how to live properly, treatment of our fellow man, and the spirit of giving, but it is also filled with hate, slaughter, revenge, intolerance, misogyny and bad science. It is no different with any other "Holy" books that have survived to become world religions. They were written by scientifically ignorant, superstitious and tribal men and to adhere to what we know is incorrect is not only disingenuous but dangerous.

    I will grant that the many ideas were taken from the Bible as far a how people should relate to one another, but it was that same Bible that allowed slavery to take place right here in the United States and it was used by the government to overlook the rights of an entire population calling them less than human. I will give the Bible its due for some of its wisdom, but it has no more wisdom that can't be found elsewhere and in better and more useful form without the tribalism.

    Now I will concede that the government is almost a quasi-religious institution by the fact that those who run it are largely religious, but hopefully it will remain secular and stay away from interfering with religious practice and by the same token stay away from tinkering with the peoples right to have religion or to be free from it.

    Ra
     
  6. dnommo

    dnommo Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    My premise was that the Constitution was fromed on Christian values. While i agree with your concepts of the forming of the United States, we cannot ignore the fact that religion was one of the basis for the creation of this country. But i did state that this country was founded on biblical principles. I knew i should not have put that last line in there but well i always like to stir the pot..

    But also this country was founded on values in which most were formed from the reading of the Bible. If we take the actions of the decendants of the forefathers as proof that it didn't work then we discredit their purpose. The laws goeverning this land were created to protect BUT over time there has been so much manipulation of the basic laws that who knows what is legal and what isn't. Also there were plenty of absurd laws that day becuase simply put, if no one could decide what was right then let's make a law governing it. This country has taken the basis of the Constitution and transformed it into a teflon shield to hide behind and support their views and actions. As much as in Ilsam, Judaism, Atheism, Buddhism and any other belief system, you will have those who take their "Holy Book" to the extreme. But it's nto all Christianity. The Bible tells stories as well as give instruction. We cannot discredit that. If we look for the goodness and "sunny days" of such books then they would be lyign to the reader. The Qumran speaks of peace and yet those who practice the Islamic faith murder and kill just as much as Christians if not more. Yes slavery was done by those who miscontrued the Bible but do we place the blame on the Word or the one who reads it?

    I see it as this. We place too many charges on the Bible itself and not on th eone who misinterprets it. It goes a simple as someone taking scripture like Thou shalt not murder (kill) and attempt to circumvent it by using another scripture that says "An eye for an eye." Without lookng that the history behind it then how can we blame it? I beleive in people making their won decisions and we should cast the blame on a book. It is the choice of that person to read it and abide by it. Once again, It's a choice.

    The forefathers wanted to create a country free of tyranny and political and religous persecution. They create the Constitution on moral values that they learned from reading the Bible.

    Ra, i value your opinion as always but it was not the Bible that caused slavery nor was it the Bible that caused the government to consider a nation of people "less than human." It was human decision making that did that. With your knowledge and background, how many have you seen take scripture and twist it to fit what they want to beleive? I see it all the time.

    Now as for your last statement, i agree. The government should not determine what religion or faith system one should practice for it takes away the decision process, much lik eEngland did which is why we are here in the USA. The political process should stay secular because it gives the chance to respect ALL VIEWS.

    You gave a lot of sources for fairnes, equality, and moral living but the question is where did the writers of the Constitution pull its morals values and fairness from?

    You know what? We haven't had a discussion like this in a while. This is good. Tag you're it...
     
  7. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    You Are right!

    Much of the thought for the constitution did come from the Bible but it should also be clear that the men who framed the constitution were well read and were familiar with the concepts and philosophies of other cultures including great French thinkers, German philosophers, Italian religionists and of course classical Greek discourse.

    I believe that if they did use the Bible as a model, then it was as a general outline using its idea not its content, but that is nickles and dimes in the broader scheme of themes and we are at a time when the fundamentals of the constitution may be in jeopardy in our zeal to proctect ourselves against terrorism. We must view what is happening very closely to be sure we do not give up our freedom in the attempt to be totally safe. That is not life, that is captivity.

    Ra
     
  8. dnommo

    dnommo Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    my point exactly. When i said biblical principles, i didn't mean the Bible as a whole. The principles of laws and morals. Things that instill postivie thinking.

    Yes we must grasp the situation of today. This terrorism concept has become a place of complete confusion.

    Hmmm, what would be a good forum question on that one?
     
  9. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Always nice doing this

    It is difficult to speak rationally sometimes, but even the attempt enlightens us all and I enjoy these conversations thoroughly because they strain my brain and make me think--Ra

    ;)
     
  10. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Deism

    Looking at the key framers of the constitution, Franklin, Jefferson, Madison and others, the constitution was not formed on Christian values--the best that can be said to invoke Christianity is that some of its dogma is the same as other methods of philosophies--but at the time Christianity was not in favor among the framers as most of them had suffered Christianity's rule in England--however, the first several preseidents of the country did believe in a God, it just wasn't the god of the Bible, which Thomas Jefferson described as an abomination to humanity. These men were mostly Deists and Unitarians which is a far cry from Christianity.

    However, today, Christianity IS the defacto belief in the United States and when people speak of the constitution they are speaking of Christian values--they aren't speaking of Islamic values, Hunduist values, Buddhist values or any other values--they mean Christian values and that is the rub--taken as originally written--it would seem that the founders meant that also, but a look at their personal history and the histroy of that time shows that isn't the case.

    Regardless of the interpretation, a majority of Americans see it as Christian values and that is the problem--it isn't true.

    Ra

    :)
     
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