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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:44 pm 
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Atheists sue to keep 'In God We Trust' off Capitol Visitor Center

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Reuters – The US Capitol dome is reflected in the glass roof of its underground visitor center ahead of President … By Rob Hotakainen, McClatchy Newspapers Rob Hotakainen, Mcclatchy Newspapers –

Sat Jul 18, 6:00 am ET
WASHINGTON — A California Republican congressman wants to do a little writing on the walls of Washington's newest federal building. If Rep. Dan Lungren gets his way, Congress will spend nearly $100,000 to engrave the words "In God We Trust " and the Pledge of Allegiance in prominent spots at the Capitol Visitor Center .

Lungren's proposal drew only a whimper of opposition last week when the House of Representatives voted 410-8 to approve it. Now, however, Lungren finds himself tussling with a national atheists and agnostics group.

The Wisconsin -based Freedom From Religion Foundation Inc. sued this week to stop the engraving, accusing Lungren of trying to force his religious beliefs on as many as 15 percent of all U.S. adults. That comprises "atheists, agnostics, skeptics and freethinkers, none of whom possess a belief in a god," according to the lawsuit.

"It really is a Judeo-Christian endorsement by our government, and so Lungren is wrong," said Dan Barker of Madison, Wis. , a co-president of the foundation. "Lungren and others are pro-religious, and they want to actually use the machinery of government to promote their particular private religious views. That is unconstitutional, and that's what we're asking the court to decide."

The Senate has approved a similar plan introduced by Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina . The congressional directive orders the Capitol architect to make the changes in the design of the $621 million center, which opened last December.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation , which has 13,500 members, sued in U.S. District Court in Wisconsin . It alleges that Congress is trying to make belief in God synonymous with citizenship and "discouraging nonbelief" among Americans, a contention that Lungren rejects.

Lungren said that the phrase "In God We Trust " had a long history and was consistent with the beliefs of America's founding fathers. He also said that the Declaration of Independence referred to rights given by a creator.

Lungren, a former California attorney general, said that while the proposed engravings incorporated religious references, they didn't violate the Constitution.

"What we're doing is making a specific historical reference to the beginnings of this republic," he said. "To ignore this or to forbid this statement or something like it to appear is to distort history. . . . We're not trying to change history. We're trying to enshrine history in the Capitol Visitor Center ."

Barker said history was better left to others.

"It's not the job of our government and our government buildings to do that," he said. "Historians can point out that many of our founders were indeed religious. But saying 'In God We Trust' in the visitors center of the Capitol is not just some historical reference. It's actually government speaking for all of us Americans."

Barker said the foundation had been waiting for the right case to challenge "In God We Trust ." He said government actions could be challenged on state-church grounds if they had specific religious agendas. In this case, he said, backers of Lungren's plan have provided "the smoking guns" by giving specific, overt religious reasons for doing the engraving.

Barker said that atheists regarded the phrase "In God We Trust " as rude, uncivil and un-American.

"Tens of millions of really good Americans don't believe in God," he said. "In fact, there's many more nonbelievers than there are Jews, and we wouldn't think of offending Jews on our national monuments. . . . Why is it wrong to offend a Jewish minority but it's not wrong to offend those of us who serve in the military and sit on juries but we don't believe in God?"

He said no hearing had been set.

Lungren is confident that a federal judge will allow the engraving to proceed.

"I never thought I'd see the day when someone would sue to stop us putting in the United States Capitol a statement of the national motto and the Pledge of Allegiance," he said. "Suggesting that the Pledge of Allegiance and the national motto is un-American in some way — talk about turning ideas on their heads."


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:22 am 
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Greetings,

Interesting.

I hope the athiest challenge is successful.

Metta,
Retro. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:14 am 
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I'm not so sure how I feel about this. Though, for example, I support the Church of FSM in their work to keep intelligent design out of the public schools. But there's also the history of the exact reasons this country was founded. And they were religious. These things have been around forever, (like the In God We Trust on our currency). I don't think anyone pays much attention. In fact I know most people don't pay attention to it.

The Pledge of Allegiance has been around forever too. I'm just not sure it's such a big deal. I'm far more concerned about the Sarah Palins of the world who want to pound their fanatical version of Christianity into our everyday lives and our required education. They're lurking in our government and no one is paying attention or publicly talking about it. It's either the elephant in the middle of the room syndrome or not enough people are publicly keeping tabs on them.

Kindly,
Drolma


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:40 am 
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Ngawang Drolma wrote:
These things have been around forever, (like the In God We Trust on our currency). I don't think anyone pays much attention. In fact I know most people don't pay attention to it.


Hi Drolma,

Actually, the motto is a new thing and not from the Founding Fathers like many believe:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_God_We_Trust

I wrote an article about the religions of the Founding Fathers here:

http://antiwarrepublicans.com/foundingfathers.aspx

Many of the first Americans were hard-core Christians who were facing persecution in Europe, but the Founding Fathers had different ideas and were mostly atheist, deist, or agnostic.

The craze over putting God everywhere came during the height of the Cold War to combat the "God-less atheists of communism."

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:51 am 
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TheDhamma,

How fascinating, thank you!

:namaste:


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 4:28 am 
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Quote:
"Historians can point out that many of our founders were indeed religious. But saying 'In God We Trust' in the visitors center of the Capitol is not just some historical reference. It's actually government speaking for all of us Americans."



Interesting, if i remember my history studies correctly most of the founding fathers with deists, that is to say they didnt believe in organised religion or the theism of abrahamic religions, only a philosophical concept of a creator. I also remember some of them being atheist or agnostic


For example

Quote:
The Christian God is a being of terrific character- cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust

-Thomas Jefferson

To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say there are nothing, or that there is no soul, no angels, no god. I cannot reason otherwise...I am satisfied, sufficiently occupied with the things which are, without tormenting or troubling myself about those which may indeed be, but of which we have no evidence

-Thomas Jefferson

Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone upon man

-Thomas Jefferson

During fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been it its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolences in the clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution

-James Madison

Lighthouses are more useful than churches

-Benjamin Franklin

This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it

-John Adams

As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how it has happened that millions of fables, tales, legends have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed

-John Adams

I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has produced- the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced.

-John Adams

And everyone should know of the 1797 Treaty with Tripoli drafted by George Washington himself.

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitian nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of harmony between the two countries.



Shake off all fears of servile prejudices, under which weak mines are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for 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.

-Thomas Jefferson

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 4:33 am 
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I do find it funny when extreme christians (or other religious extremists) try to argue that america was founded on "christian or religious values"


Quote:
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitian nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of harmony between the two countries.




America was founded on secularist and rational political values. Religion has no place in its system (indeed in any political system) although sadly its slowly starting to slide that way

metta

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:44 am 
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We shall always find quotes that further our own views, here are a few from Christians:

Quote:
http://www.aproundtable.org/tps30info/beliefs.html

Thomas Jefferson:
"My views...are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from the anti-christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others..." April 21, 1803 in a letter to Dr. Benjamin.

“The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend to all the happiness of man.”



As long as men/women who constitute the government are religious, religion will be a part of government. :smile:


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:46 pm 
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Whatever, Jefferson was, it certainly was not hard-core Christian. He wrote his own version of the Bible, removing all miracles and the supernatural:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_bible

But I agree, it comes down to who is in office and which agenda they push.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:42 pm 
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sraddha wrote:
We shall always find quotes that further our own views, here are a few from Christians:

Quote:
http://www.aproundtable.org/tps30info/beliefs.html

Thomas Jefferson:
"My views...are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from the anti-christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others..." April 21, 1803 in a letter to Dr. Benjamin.

“The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend to all the happiness of man.”



As long as men/women who constitute the government are religious, religion will be a part of government. :smile:



Indeed it shall but religious policies should never come into government, neither should a persons religious belief be paraded around town during election time

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:45 pm 
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Quote:
Thomas Jefferson:
"My views...are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from the anti-christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others..." April 21, 1803 in a letter to Dr. Benjamin.

“The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend to all the happiness of man.”



Hardly religious stuff just simple recognition of morality


He was a Deist, not something i would even call religious but philosophical in nature


metta

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:02 pm 
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Well, in the passage Thomas Jefferson admits to being a Christian in his own way. However, I do agree that religion need not be paraded as part of a campaign -- I think it takes a certain type of insecurity about your religion to constantly be wearing your religion on your sleeve.

That being said, I was surprised to find that many European countries do have Christianity declared as an official religion.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 2:10 pm 
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sraddha wrote:
Well, in the passage Thomas Jefferson admits to being a Christian in his own way. However, I do agree that religion need not be paraded as part of a campaign -- I think it takes a certain type of insecurity about your religion to constantly be wearing your religion on your sleeve.

That being said, I was surprised to find that many European countries do have Christianity declared as an official religion.




Indeed, in my country we still have the Church of England which kinda still makes Christianity an "offical" state religion, despite the fact that most people over here are atheist/agnostic now. We even have a law that the Queen or King has to be a protestant Christian :jumping: as well as a blasphemy law :?


metta :smile:

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:22 am 
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clw_uk wrote:



Indeed, in my country we still have the Church of England which kinda still makes Christianity an "offical" state religion, despite the fact that most people over here are atheist/agnostic now. We even have a law that the Queen or King has to be a protestant Christian :jumping: as well as a blasphemy law :?


metta :smile:


I think in France, Catholic priests are civil servants and are paid by the government! :smile:


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