Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Ron Paul makes some serious fallacious claims.

I was reading another article today and ran across a link to an article by Ron Paul that immediately threw up a red flag. I decided to debunk his false claims here. I'm also a bit depressed to see this, as Ron Paul has thus far had a surprisingly solid record on the veracity of his claims and views etc.
From http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul148.html
The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion. The establishment clause of the First Amendment was simply intended to forbid the creation of an official state church like the Church of England, not to drive religion out of public life.
The highlighted section is patently false in the case of the Constitution, and makes a false connection between Christianity and what are only deistic references, quite contrary to Christianity in reality, in the Declaration of Independence, which was written by Thomas Jefferson, who was probably the biggest proponent of Separation of Church and state in the history of the founding of our country, having drafted Virginia's Statutes on Religious Freedom, which espoused his views on Separation of Church and State, and also clearly stating his views in other other correspondence;
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 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.
His references to the deistic God in the Declaration of Independence were "Nature's God", "Creator" and "Divine Providence". Jefferson made it very clear that he was not a Christian and generally abhorred organized Christianity, the church etc.

He even went so far as to re-write the bible in order to remove dogmatic teachings and references to Jesus' divinity etc.
Jefferson did not believe in the divinity of Jesus, but he had high esteem for Jesus' moral teachings, which he viewed as the "principles of a pure deism, and juster notions of the attributes of God, to reform (prior Jewish) moral doctrines to the standard of reason, justice & philanthropy, and to inculcate the belief of a future state." Jefferson did not believe in miracles. He made his own condensed version of the Gospels, omitting Jesus' virgin birth, miracles, divinity, and resurrection, primarily leaving only Jesus' moral philosophy, of which he approved. This compilation was published after his death and became known as the Jefferson Bible.
The only references to Religion in the Constitution are expressly to restrict them or forbid them. There is no mention of God whatsoever anywhere in the Constitution or any of its amendments.

The last paragraph of Article 6 states:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
And the first amendment states in part:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof
Those are the only mentions of religion anywhere in the Constitution or any of its amendments.

The Constitution even goes so far as to explicitly spell out in Article 2, Section 1 the oath of Presidency to remove any reference to God or religion, in line with the assertion made in Article 6.
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
This is regularly violated immediately with the swearing in of Presidents, as they add the "so help you God" to the end of the oath, even though the Constitution itself forbids a religious litmus test and explicitly states the oath to attempt to prevent alteration of that oath.

It should be clear at this point that Ron Paul's assertions are plainly completely fallacious and rather quite contrary to the truth of the matter.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'll answer your thoughts. They actually say the word "creator", which means any god - of your choosing. IE: whatever it is you want to believe. The only way to insure you are allowed to have your religion, is to be tolerant of other religions. Remember, we don't have limited rights, we have limited government. One of our most important rights, and thus defined, is that congress shall make no law. With personal freedom, comes the personal responsibility to allow others to believe what they will. Also, many of their were deists, not christians.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I guess you were saying that. I'm not sure what you are saying he is wrong about.

But I don't see where anything you said was exactly wrong. I think you both mean the same thing.

Largo said...

"This is the real reason the collectivist Left hates religion: Churches as institutions compete with the state for the people’s allegiance, and many devout people put their faith in God before their faith in the state. Knowing this, the secularists wage an ongoing war against religion, chipping away bit by bit at our nation’s Christian heritage. Christmas itself may soon be a casualty of that war."

If you read the actual article, you'd see that the article is specifically about Christianity. And as you stated, many of our founding fathers were not Christians, but Deists. There is a rather fundamental difference there.

The errors Ron Paul made were in asserting that our Founding Fathers were Christian and that the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were "both replete with references to God" in his words. This was wrong on several levels.

To think that the founding fathers even embraced Christmas is questionable. Early Americans were aware of the Pagan origins of Christmas and went as far as to ban the celebration outright in Boston in 1659, for 22 years. And even after the ban was repealed under pressure from the crown, people by and large refused to celebrate the holiday well into the 1800's.

In Colonial America, the Puritans of New England disapproved of Christmas; its celebration was outlawed in Boston from 1659 to 1681. At the same time, Christian residents of Virginia and New York observed the holiday freely. Christmas fell out of favor in the United States after the American Revolution, when it was considered an English custom.

By the 1820s, sectarian tension in England had eased and British writers began to worry that Christmas was dying out. They imagined Tudor Christmas as a time of heartfelt celebration, and efforts were made to revive the holiday. Charles Dickens' book A Christmas Carol, published in 1843, played a major role in reinventing Christmas as a holiday emphasizing family, goodwill, and compassion over communal celebration and hedonistic excess.

Interest in Christmas in America was revived in the 1820s by several short stories by Washington Irving appearing in his The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon and "Old Christmas",and by Clement Clarke Moore's 1822 poem A Visit From St. Nicholas (poularly known by its first line: Twas the Night Before Christmas. Irving's stories depicted harmonious warm-hearted holiday traditions he claimed to have observed in England. Although some argue that Irving invented the traditions he describes, they were widely imitated by his American readers. The numerous German immigrants and the homecomings following the American Civil War helped promote the holiday by bringing with them continental European traditions. Christmas was declared a U.S. Federal holiday in 1870.


Christmas is a wholly pagan holiday, with the Christmas tree itself being explicitly banned in the bible. Yule logs, holly, caroling, giving presents, the feasts, mistletoe etc... are all pre-Christian pagan traditions from the Winter Solstice and Saturnalia etc.

The modern idea of people saying that "Happy Holidays" is stealing the meaning from Christmas ignorantly ignores the fact that Christianity itself stole Christmas from pre-existing pagan holidays in an effort to convert pagans to Christianity and to override the dates of their popular holidays etc.

Ron Paul's assertions that the founding fathers embraced Christmas, were Christians and that the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were "both replete with references to God" are all at the very least misleading, and in large part simply patently false.

North Liberty said...

I'm a Deist and have found nothing wrong with the statements RP made about church and state. Some folks take the separation of church and state to mean that religion should never be brought up or used when governing, but the Constitution doesn't clarify anything of the sort. It protects people, the people who are able to worship any God or no God. Atheists and Deists are protected by the Constitution, so are Christians, Jews and Muslims. Not because they are part of a group, but because each Christian, Jew or Muslim is an individual human being.

Are you an athiest? Cool. Don't mess with the civil liberties of Christians.

Are you a Christian? Cool. Don't mess with the civil liberties of Muslims.

Are you a Muslim? Cool. Don't mess with the Jews.

Are you a Jews? Cool. Leave the idol worshippers alone.

Are you a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Deist, Scientologist, Buddhist or atheist? Cool. Say goodbye to your tax-exempt status and all faith-based spending you have received.

Being a Deist Ron Paul supporter, I've studied his philosophy on the role of religion in government. So far I've yet to find any qualms and I would enjoy much more religious freedom under President Ron Paul than I have at any time in my life.

Bret Moore said...

We should note that whatever his personal feelings on the matter, he would never use the government as a cudgel. That's more than we can say for either spate of offerings from the War Party.

I think we should not be distracted by these things. They are not materially important. What is important is ending war. Ron Paul is the only one philosophically committed to doing that, in all its forms.

Largo said...

Whether or not you've studied the issue, you seem to still fail to understand the principles involved.

Rather than try to type it all out here in the comments, I've simply made a post specifically covering the topic on the main page.

Separation of Church and State

Jeff said...

I would consider myself agnostic, and also an avid supporter of Ron Paul.

I strongly agree with your writings here in regards to the separation of church and state. While he may have incorrectly stated the founding fathers where Christian, Ron Pauls view is that the government may "write no law" either endorsing or suppressing religion. That in my opinion what the founding fathers intended.

Personally I have no problem with people publicly celebrating Christmas or whatever holiday they want to. I don't think the founding fathers would support forcing people to be politically correct as to not to offend anyone. If people want to have a party, who cares! Let them!

Largo said...

Trust me, I have no problem with people celebrating Christmas. :)

I see just as much of people infringing on religious people's right to celebrate as I see Christians infringing on non-believers rights. It goes both ways.

Where it crosses the line when tax dollars are used to support a particular religion, or a symbol of one religion is placed on public grounds, such as Christian monuments in a public park, or the 10 Commandments on the wall of a court room etc. Those are not secular, neutral monuments. They specifically endorse 1 particular religion and do so at the cost of public tax dollars etc.

I don't support Christianity and I don't want my tax dollars going to support it, endorse it, advertise it etc.

Anonymous said...

It is wrong to use the sword of the state to destroy the freedoms of Christians or any other group one might dislike. The government should be blind to religion in contracts, grants, and requirements of office.

There were individuals among the founding fathers who were Christians; Sam Adams and Patrick Henry were notable among them. The two powerful ideological forces at that time were Christianity, especially natural law Christianity, and enlightenment, especially the libertarian thinking. All worked within that framework. There was never any notion that Christians should give up support for natural law in the public arena, just because it was a predominently Christian idea at the time. Many who where not Christians shared the idea, but even if they did not, it would make no difference. Today, natural law, or, if you prefer, its emergence in common law, is key in good interpretation of the Constitution. The idea that a Christian should not bring this to the table is silly.

And consider the Just War criteria for war based on centuries of Christian thought based on the writing of Augustine. This is important Western thought on war and should not be trown off the table just because it has the label Christian.

The idea that a role in government is for atheists only is pretty silly.

I encourage a tolerance and the discipline that goes with it. I encourage a wide reading of history, not just a reading that caters to a particular croud.

Largo said...

I find it humorous that you think I haven't read history.

First off, point out where I in any way was advocating destroying the freedoms of Christians? Did I say they couldn't go to church, worship, believe as they wished etc? Of course not. Neither did I every say that the government should be Atheist. I said it should be NEUTRAL. SECULAR. NON-THEISTIC in its laws in order to equally protect people of all beliefs, whether they be Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist or simply non-theistic.

What's humorous is that you imply that the role of government as Atheists only is silly, but you don't have any problem with a Christians only government, which clearly illustrates your ignorance and hypocrisy.

Also, your implication that Natural law has anything to do with Christianity is also false. Natural law has nothing to do with Christianity. It exists wholly separate from it and existed long before it.

There is no such thing as "Natural Law Christianity". Only Christianity trying to adopt the concepts for their own agenda, long after the fact.

It's no different than trying to say that Christianity is a requisite for morality. Implying that morality didn't exist before it etc.

Also, our common law is based on the Roman tables of law, not on biblical rules of religious observance which are by and large mostly about worshipping God, not about moral or ethical issues.

I suggest you not only read what I wrote a bit more carefully next time, but also that you follow your own advice and do a bit more studying and do so outside of your obviously Christian-biased hypocritical bubble.

Anonymous said...

Based on your rant against Christianity and the carelessness on history, and even the distortions of my statements, I don't think anybody can believe you when you say government should be neutral. You clearly have an ax to grind and you intend to use it.

And because of the rant, I think you made some interesting assumptions about me.

I'd like for the government to be neutral, and to that end I would like for you to be far from it.

Jeff said...

Anonymous - I too am confused where you see largo implying "government is for atheists"

Religion shouldn't even be a factor, but regardless, in this mostly Christian nation where it's political suicide to say you’re anything besides a Christian. It truly is sad, but that quote from bush saying atheists aren't true Americans reflects the belief of a LOT of people.

Largo - You made a point I hadn't thought of before. I'm curious how Ron Paul feels about Christian monuments, like the 10 commandments and such, in government buildings.

I imagine he would object because it’s not an authorized use of the tax payers money, much like the congressional metals he voted against, but it would be a good question to ask him. I would like to hear his response.

Of Course I don't see eye to eye exactly with him, the main area being abortion and religion, but I think Ron Paul is the best thing that could happen to this country, and just may save it.

I cringe when I see public discussions like this where supporters point out his flaws. But then again those against him will make the same points eventually... not to mention most of the country would see this subject as a plus...

Nice blog btw, glad I found it during my daily Ron Paul new news search.

Anonymous said...

I'd suggest that the importance of the separation of church and state is proportionally to the power of each. That is to say that the separation at the Federal level should be quite distinct and faithfully guarded. On the other hand, at the town-level this may not need to be quite as stringent (though it'd still be a good idea). The family is another institution with a government of sorts which naturally operates to some degree in the areas where "church" and "state" overlap. The individual then is of course afforded complete dominion.

With respect to the collectist Left quotation, I do think that the State in certain ideologies fulfills roles that are often filled by religion. I don't find this fact to be controversial and therefore neither is the assertion of antagonism between "devout people" and Statists.

The history of the Christmas holiday is not especially relevant to the point. The point, I think, was the deconstruction of the Christian portion of our nations history. That Christianity was a significant part of our heritage is unequivocal. It's significance can still be overstated.

Finally, some actual legal actions regarding this issue are really quite inconsequential. Even considering the danger of the "slippery slope", displays of religious significance on public property (not funded by tax dollars -- or even if they are meager amounts) do not bother me. I suppose I am not so sensitive about religious matters and see it as part of human life and am not offended.

At any rate, if there be a slippery slope it seems at present to decline not towards religion but away from it.

--Tim

Anonymous said...

I am one of the anonymous commenters. I was cranky today and got pretty careless. I apologize to everybody. I especially didn't want to reduce discussion to I-read-books-too, and I apologize for that.

Largo said...

Tim: I agree that there are attacks today, but I see them as more of a justified form of self-defense.

Our education system is under attack in much the same way the Catholic church suppressed literacy in the dark ages. Science is being demonized in favor of teaching theology in its place in schools. Education funding is cut. Scientific programs are seeing their funding cut and their research attacked and made illegal etc. Stem Cell research, cloning etc are all being demonized for patently religious reasons and our country is suffering as a result. We've seen ourselves slip from the the pinnacle of scientific research to just a runner up a ways back in the pack. Our literacy, mathematical and scientific testing scores rank far behind many other OECD countries.

Laws are being passed to use tax dollars to fund religious institutions and schooling, laws have already been passed to change this country from one that was of and for the people, to one that makes us clearly a Christian nation serving God etc, and in spite of clear statements trying to prevent it, religion has clearly become a litmus test for government office and a powerful campaigning tool.

We are becoming an increasingly theocratic country where to state that you're not a believer is political suicide. We're the joke of the international community, having the highest level of religious belief, belief in creationism over evolution, and some of the lowest scores in actual education etc.

I think it's sad that Christians have the gall to complain about being attacked by non-believers when they patently attack non-believers constantly. The hypocrisy is astounding.

I just posted an article on the front page about "Discrimination against Atheists", which sums up rather well this issue.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the educational system is the focus of much of this debate. I wish that it were not.

I've never been quite comfortable with the public education system and most certainly not any effectively compulsory requirements handed down from the federal government. But that is another discussion.

I have not seen science in general being demonized. Instead some people are rather aggressively trying to add intelligent design to science curricula but they have so far been unsuccessful. This is essentially a continuation of the struggle entailed in the Scopes trial and Epperson v. Arkansas and even back to the dark ages, as you mention. But dogmatism and religion are not one and the same. Dogmatists believe many things. We try to protect ourselves with our votes at each election.

Regarding stem cell research, cloning, hybrids, etc., there are reasonable ethical concerns that should not be viewed as an attack on or demonization of basic research.

We have not slipped from the top of scientific research (yet). But if we do it will not be because we don't federally fund stem cell research. Instead there seems to have crept into our culture an acceptance of laziness, cheating, and ignorance. At least this is what I hear from the educators and professors I talk with. Students are not avoiding science and math because they have been demonized.

If individuals want to use a candidate's religion or personal values as a litmus test then they are free to do so. I wouldn't attack that freedom with governmental force. It's frustrating for sure, but at least they can't force you and me to use their criteria.

I do not collect my report card from the international community though we should always listen to criticism and advice wherever it may originate. Every nation has enough problems of its own. Of course, our problems are projected across the world due in part to our overall successfulness but more perniciously due to our interventionism.

I do not believe that having the highest level of religious belief, belief in creationism over education, and the lowest test scores are positively correlated. Well, maybe they are (I don't actually know). But I am certain that the first does not imply the second and third.

>> The hypocrisy is astounding.

The hypocrisy is plain enough. Yet as the role of government increases it touches on increasingly sensitive matters. Groups then necessarily struggle for protection from whomever happens to be wielding the power. Regardless, attempts to create a theocractic or atheocractic state are as detestable as the violence that would inevitably ensue.

--Tim

Largo said...

I agree that there are ethical concerns to be addressed. Not religious concerns. When you are against stem cell research only because you think it's playing the role of God, not for any rational reason, especially when it contradicts other things you're ok with... that's not something that we should address.

An old article of mine on Stem Cell research that I brought back from the grave.

And I don't think our lagging scores are solely the result of religion by any means. It's also in part due to our litigious and spoiled nature. Parents are suing schools for failing their children and teachers, fearful of this, are passing children with failing grades in order to avoid hurting their feelings.

I also agree that people are free to judge a candidate based in part on their religious beliefs, etc. But when that religious belief is so out of proportion with every other aspect of that person's character and record, you have the flock of sheep voting for the wolf in sheep's clothing and we all suffer as a result.

I am constantly trying to balance my loathing of Christianity with my views on the protections of belief (or non-belief) regarding religion.

I've written many articles on my views as to why and how religious belief leads to stunted cognitive function. I'll get around to reposting those shortly. I'm cleaning up on my blog and porting old posts forward and removing the old cruft in order to shift to a team authorship instead of my personal ranting.

In closing, while I have to admit that I'd much prefer a government of atheists, as they seem a hell of a lot more educated, rational and level headed, I agree that both would be bad for certain reasons... which is precisely what I've been saying all along. Government should not be religious, it should be a neutral body protecting the rights of all of its citizens equally, which it cannot do when it begins to take a specific stance on one side of the fence and speaking for its citizens on their beliefs and in part legislating those beliefs onto its citizens etc.

Anonymous said...

First, PHREADOM is right, Ron Paul's history is incorrect.

But, PHREADOM does miss the point of Ron Paul's article, which is historically and Constitutionaly accurate, even if his history is wrong. Ron's thesis in the article is that outlawing religious activies is a miss interpretation of the idea of seperation of church and state. When Jefferson coined the term, he was writing to a group of Baptist in Connecticutt who were afraid that the government would try to legislate what kind of religious practices and displays were legal, which is essentially what we have today. Yes, the founders where concerned about the church running the state, hence the reason that the First Amendment is a two way street. Ron Paul never says the because we are a christian nation, we should allow Christmas stuff, he simply says that the Constitution is clear that you can not make a law that limits or bans the free expression of any religion, (Congress shall make no law respecting ..., or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...), which he uses the bans placed on Christians at Christmas as an example. Now, for PHREADOM to assume that this stance necessarily is pro Christian and anti anyone else, is just full of koolaid.

Anonymous said...

Why is it so hard for people to face reality: some of the founders were deists and others were actually Christians. Why skew the read of history to treat the founders as some monolith? Or to pretend that the history of religion in colonies like VA is the same as that in MD? And even if the founders overall skewed deist, why the notion that they are representative of the whole history of the establishment of our government, as if there wasn't a larger process involved in the ratification of the constitution? Or that the meaning of the words turn on the beliefs of these men versus, you know, the meaning of the words they chose.

I mean, come on. So Ron Paul uses a colorful phrase and can be rightly criticized for saying that the docs are replete with references to God. Hell, they aren't replete with references to much of anything if you go on word count. I'd hardly judge the matter on the quantity of words referenced in either doc.

Yet, the response to Ron Paul is to reduce the history of the foundation of this country on this issue down to one man, Thomas Jefferson?

If you want to truly talk history, do some real complete study on the matter. Like read Judge McConnell's case book on the Religion Clauses and the Constitution.

It's so damn tiresome to see how people are so damn fearful of reality. No, this country was not founded by a monolith of people who thought it was the promised city on the hill and to be a Christian nation. But neither was it founded by a monolith of people who had no connection to Christianity, but were just all Deists.

Shockingly, most Christians, when recognizing the Christian roots that do exist in our country's history, are not panting for the establishment of some sort of theocracy. And the last person that can be mistaken for that desire is Ron Paul.

What the historical argument is good for is to demonstrate the irrationality of those who try and interpret the religion clauses in a manner that excludes all religion in the public space, a reading that is contrary to the plain meaning of the clauses. Because it is hard to reconcile with the religious landscape of the time.

But to debate the rest of it is a waste of time. Frankly, some of the comments suggest the concern isn't with Ron Paul at all, but some perceived "gotcha" that Christianity repurposed Pagan things. Guess what? That's what Christianity has done from the beginning. It's only seems to be a problem mostly to non-Christians. Christians find nothing shocking about this (or shouldn't). There's nothing wrong with giving a why to what a pagan might believe that is correct or giving new life and meaning to a cultural practice that resonates with people by connecting it to belief in God. Seriously, what's so devious or criminal about that?

Largo said...

You seem to miss the mark on almost everything you say.

The point in many of these issues is that they are false. You don't seem to have any problems with Christians and Ron Paul lying and making fallacious claims, but how dare anyone else say anything with even a possibility of a generalization.

Many, if not most, Christians do in fact want a wholly and specifically Christian government. Not Atheist, not non-theist, not Muslim etc... Christian.

Ron Paul made some completely false statements about the very document that is the core of his political belief system. That should be troubling indeed. It should not be dismissed because YOU have a bias towards Christianity and Ron Paul etc.

I don't have a problem with the idea of Christians or other religious people being in government per se, nor do I for a minute believe that Christian beliefs didn't play a part in the decision making process during the ratification process of the Constitution, as I most certainly am aware that they did. I don't believe you'll find where I made such a claim.

Beyond that, again, the problem with your closing statement is that the Christians stole things under false pretenses and lies. The fact that you don't have any problem with that reflects on your own problems, not on any with my points. Not only did Jesus most likely never exist, but he certainly wasn't born on Christmas, a holiday invented long after he supposedly died, and specifically set to the date of previous pagan religions in order to attempt to convert followers and wipe out the other religion.

Pagans have a why to their beliefs and don't need your personal imaginary God to fill any gap in those beliefs for them. That is just another reflection on your own sad bias, if not your own ignorantly arrogant belief (which is obvious) that only Christianity is the real religion and that other beliefs are just pretend ones that need the Christian God to give them meaning and validity. Really pathetic honestly.

Christians should have a serious problem with the abominable mess of lies that is the core of their religion. The history of lies, manipulation etc. If I were still a Christian and knew that my religion was essentially nothing more than a collection of myths stolen from pre-existing religions and astrology, the core of which was a figure that despite later claims of being a real and famous religious figure, has no contemporary record of his existence in contrast to the scores of other documented contemporary religious figures in the meticulous and expansive array of historical records of the time.

Not to get too far off topic, but you made a bunch of stupid statements based on a personal bias towards a religion which is arguably a steaming pile of bullshit. That makes you doubly an idiot and an asshole to boot, and being tired at 6am, I don't have the patience to baby you.

I still stand behind Ron Paul, but people need to acknowledge and address his faults. He is not perfect. If he makes a false claim, he should have it addressed, just like anyone else.

As several of the previous comments here address, despite Ron Paul's personal religious views, his respect for the Constitution should be enough to separate his personal beliefs from his political actions. I think that, despite his erroneous claims as referenced in my post, he understands the intentions of the founding fathers in maintaining a separation of church and state, but that it does not mean there can be no expression of religious belief whatsoever. A person's faith, no matter how misguided, is their personal business unless it adversely affects another person's freedom or deprives them of their property or personal safety etc.

The founding fathers deliberated long and hard, to say the very least, about the role of religion in government. I am glad to say that rational minds prevailed.

A person is free to vote for a candidate of their choice, and to base that choice on that candidate's faith if they so choose, but as the Constitution clearly states, there can be no religious litmus test for office... in other words, if the people elect a President, and he happens to be an Atheist, he cannot be barred from office because of that religious belief despite his winning the vote of the people, nor can the government force the people to belong to any particular religion etc.

The concepts involved are complex, but they are not difficult to understand when you rationally approach them. Your comments were off the mark and obviously biased towards a pro-Christian stance that made the grave mistake of forgiving Christians, and Ron Paul, for making provably false claims while attacking the valid points made in the post with weak generalizations that missed the mark at best.

Please think it over again and see if you can't make a more rational argument. I have no qualms in admitting I'm an Atheist and rather dislike Christianity to say the least, but I'm also well read on the subject and make a conscious effort to consider other faiths in the same manner in which many of the founding fathers did in drafting and ratifying the Constitution, much in the same way that I would expect such a staunch Constitutionalist as Ron Paul to do and why I made a point to address his egregiously fallacious claims about the Constitution being full of references to God and as such being justification for his pro-Christian views that stray into political circles.

Anonymous said...

Atheism Is A Religion.

Just because words of wisdom may originate from someone that is associated with a particular "Sect" should not mean that those words are forever associated with that religion and thus be banned from mention in governmental context.

To Do So Is To Rob Mankind Of Guidance.

One Does Not Have To Show Reverence To Recognize Societal Foundation In "The 10 commandments". Skip The "God" Stuff If You Like. Thou Shalt Not Kill, Lie, Cheat, Or Steal sounds like a good Idea to me. So there is a reference to an Almighty; As Long as you are not forcing me to pay hommage, Big Woop That It's There.

There are much bigger issues with our current situation in Government. Ron Paul appears to be the only one who will consider the reality of what is now and what will be if current course continues.

Ron Paul is not going to mandate the spread of Christianity.

Your Tax Dollars Are Spent Much More Foolishly Than Making Religious Plaques. You Would Do Us All A Great Favor If You Would Shift Your Focus.

Anonymous said...

As to religion and education, I must say that in general I am not impressed with public education, and like RP I am not in favor of centralized federal control of education. I was homeschooled, and I learned about creationism among other ideas. I went on to become a National Merit Scholar and earned a BS in Physics. So, I don't know what generally happens, but from my point of view studying creationism certainly didn't ruin my chances of understanding other academic matter later on. Once I graduated, I didn't find to many physics jobs. The one I found was working for the DoD (and neither creation nor evolution had any effect on what was going on there). I really didn't like the personalities there and I subsequently quit. Now my Dad and I are working together to start our own business in real estate investing.

So - the only reason I give you this mini biography of myself is to show that scientific progress and achievement aren't really related to whether you study creation or not.

Justin Stressman said...

Certainly. But you were home schooled for a start.

One my main issues is with Creationism being taught in Science class. It is not, and never will be SCIENCE. It is a religious belief and belongs, at best, in a class such as philosophy. Never in a science class.

That aside, there are many cases of fundamentally religious people holding scientific jobs or even getting advanced degrees in scientific fields. I read an article recently about the controversy over young earth creationists getting paleontology degrees by basically compartmentalizing their beliefs and basically considering this real science as though it were simply a mental exercise in imagination in order to get themselves a degree in a field they in reality didn't believe in in the slightest (many times in order to later use the degree to falsely act as though they were converted by the truths of religion and have the authority of having been an actual scientist etc).

Many colleges are now considering whether or not to deny such students access to graduate programs.

In short, while your little essay is nice, it doesn't prove anything and it completely avoids the main point that Creationism is religion, and thus does not belong in public schools as more than a brief philosophical mention in a humanities class at best, and NEVER in a science class as it is not SCIENCE. (And that goes for the reprehensible "Intelligent Design" deceptive re-labeling of Creationism as well, as it is precisely the same thing only renamed to try to sneak it back into the schools. Those ID people should be horribly ashamed of themselves.)

Oh, and did I mention that I was brought up being taught Creationism as well? And that only through my own dedicated study did I eventually learn how ridiculous the mythology was that I'd be taught? I resent that I had to spend years educating myself to undue the ridiculous archaic mythology that had sadly been pressed upon me by parents who mistakenly thought it best to brainwash me into their cult. Fortunately they saw the drive in me for the sciences and furnished me with scientific encyclopedias in my youth, which along with spending a lot of time in the library, reading Greek and Roman mythology (as a 3rd grader etc)... this and much more led me to question the claims of religion which seemed so obviously counter to the laws of the rest of the universe around me and history as we knew it etc.

The more I learned about the real world and trained my critical thinking skills etc, the more I realized how ridiculous religion was until after serving as a youth minister in my late teens I eventually began calling myself an agnostic in my early 20s when I began looking much more seriously at religion and contrasting it with the years of study I'd done in other fields... and after over 10 more years since then of scientific, historic, theological and a wealth of other study and research, I stand today upset at the ridiculous myths that are foisted as truths when they are provably false and even impossible... and terribly saddened that at times even otherwise intelligent people can fall for such ridiculous fairytales. (Science has well borne out the nature of how people can fall prey to confirmation bias, compartmentalized thought, cognitive dissonance etc... and how sometimes intelligence itself can be a terrible enemy to ones self, blinding a person to their own ignorance etc. Continued study in these fields continues to give me fascinating insights into these things and I try to post about them here from time to time.)

This is getting pretty verbose, so I'll leave it at that for now.

Anonymous said...

meh. the old man like's christmas. but he's a state's rights guy, so if Hawaiian's want a Luau on the 25th and Alaskan's want seal hunting parties on the 25th....so be it. Your verbose extrapolation is boring. And both documents reference a creator. I'll take a principled guy like RP who has a bit of a slant to his libertarianism, then any rabble like the blog's author or half a million other people, who talk shit, but if you put their lives under a microscope, they ain't 1/10th the man RP is. Blog's are cheap talk.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a creationist. Creationist are nutz. That being said, there are people who try a scientific approach, and there are scientists. Don't confuse the two. I know several dozen scientists and doctors....physicists, oncologists, sociologists, archeologists, you name it...and if you spend enough time listening to exchanges, you'll recognize that these smart people have their own biases, dogmas, and idiosyncratic behaviors. You live long enough and you'll realize that you can wipe religion off the face of the planet, and you won't have changed a thing. Not one single thing. There will still be war, there will still be killing, suffering, hunger, pain, abuse. Religion is one of the handiest and easiest things to reach for and toss out when finding justificiation for some any given action. Eliminate religion and humans will just reach for something else. Instead of moral authority based on invisible god, moral authority based on self, or state. "Think of the children"...or just talk about saving "baby seals" or "cute puppies", or watch out for boogyman they might get you. Us vs Them. Any number ways humans can manipulate each other. I think this blog and supporters of it, are missing the forest for the trees. There is a very serious threat, that may not be concentrated over a small period of time, but more akin to the frog in the boiling pot. That threat is apathetic unprincipled masses.

Justin Stressman said...

Actually no, both documents DON'T reference a Creator, as I CLEARLY explained in the post that you seem to have not bothered to read very closely. :)

Also, as I've stated numerous times, I'd still take Ron Paul over basically any other candidate, but that doesn't mean we should ignore any faults we find (which I've also previously explained).

I think it's ridiculous to even imply that I might consider myself remotely on the level of Ron Paul just because I pointed out a problem I had with something he said. I think that illustrates a bit of your own flawed way of thinking.

As for the second part of your post... religion is a major problem. It is one of the, if not THE primary driving force in breeding superstition and irrational thinking in a way that actively seeks to repress scientific knowledge, if not also human rights progress, equality among people etc.. depending on the particular brand of primitive superstitious irrationality.

I won't argue for a minute that we wouldn't still have war over things like natural resources etc. Those things are essentially inevitable on a planet with a growing population and finite real estate and resources.

Justin Stressman said...

I want to correct something I said in the original article.

"Jefferson made it very clear that he was not a Christian ... "

That's not accurate. He did consider himself a Christian, in the sense of admiring Jesus as the greatest moral teacher in history. But he did not believe in any of the supernatural aspects of the bible, the divinity of Christ, miracles, etc. So in effect he saw himself as a "true" Christian, and other Christians as following a false dogma that had been polluted by men to introduce all that other nonsense.

I cover that a bit in my original post, but it's not correct to say that he didn't call himself a Christian. He did call himself a Christian, but only after specifically redefining what "Christian" meant. ;)