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RightNation.US: Separation of Church and State: Podcast - RightNation.US

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I. How it is
A. 1947 Everson v Board of Ed
1. Hugo Black
a. first of nine Roosevelt nominees
b. fifth longest-serving justice in Supreme Court history
c. advocated a textualist reading of the United States Constitution
d. liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights were imposed on the states ("incorporated") by the Fourteenth Amendment
e. opposed the doctrine of substantive due process
f. no basis in the words of the Constitution for a right to privacy
g. successfully defended E. R. Stephenson in the sensationalistic trial for the murder of a Catholic priest (1921)
h. joined the Ku Klux Klan shortly after to further political career
i. Near the end of his life, Black (like Nathan Bedford Forrest) would admit that joining the Klan was a mistake, but he went on to say "I would have joined any group if it helped get me votes."
j. "disliked the Catholic Church as an institution"
k. Everson v. Board of Education (1947): applied the Establishment Clause in the country's Bill of Rights to State law. Prior to this decision the First Amendment words, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" imposed limits only on the federal government, while many states continued to grant certain religious denominations legislative or effective privileges. This was the first Supreme Court case incorporating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as binding upon the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision in Everson marked a turning point in the interpretation and application of disestablishment law in the modern era. Even though the court ruled in favor of reimbursing parents for transportation costs to religious schools, the majority opinion stated:
"The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State.'" 330 U.S. 1, 15-16.

l. Engel v. Vitale (1962): ruled it is unconstitutional for state officials to compose an official school prayer and encourage its recitation in public schools.
1. New Hyde Park, New York public school parents. The five plaintiffs were made up of 3 Jews and two self-proclaimed "spiritual" people who did not belong to any one organized religion. One considered himself, “religious, but not comfortable with prayer”.
2. The prayer: "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country. Amen."
3. This was decided in a vote of 6-1, because before the decision could be announced, Justice Felix Frankfurter suffered a cerebral stroke that forced him to retire, and Justice Byron White took no part in the case.
4. The Court explained the importance of separation between church and state by giving a lengthy history of the issue, beginning with the 16th century in England. It then stated that school's prayer is a religious activity by the very nature of it being a prayer, and that prescribing such a religious activity for school children violates the Establishment Clause. The program, created by government officials to promote a religious belief, was therefore constitutionally impermissible.
5. The Court rejected the defendant's arguments that people are not asked to respect any specific established religion; and that the prayer is voluntary. The Court held that the mere promotion of a religion is sufficient to establish a violation, even if that promotion is not coercive. The Court further held that the fact that the prayer is vaguely worded enough not to promote any particular religion is not a sufficient defense, as it still promotes a family of religions (those that recognize "Almighty God"), which still violates the Establishment Clause.
m. Abington School district v. Schempp (1962): the Court decided 8–1 in favor of the respondent, Edward Schempp, and declared school-sponsored Bible reading in public schools in the United States to be unconstitutional.
1. Pennsylvania law, like that of four other states, included a statute compelling school districts to perform Bible readings in the mornings before class. Twenty-five states had laws allowing "optional" Bible reading, with the remainder having no laws supporting or rejecting Bible reading. In eleven of those states with laws supportive of Bible reading or state-sponsored prayer, the state courts had declared them unconstitutional.
2. More famous than Schempp was Madalyn Murray O'Hair, mother of plaintiff William J. Murray III (b. 1946) in Murray v. Curlett, who founded the group American Atheists (originally Society of Separationists) in 1963. Since Unitarians allegedly outnumbered Atheists at the time, the Murray case was consolidated with Schempp's on appeal to the Supreme Court.
n. Wallace v. Jaffree (1985), the Supreme Court ruled Alabama's law permitting one minute for prayer or meditation was unconstitutional.
o. Lee v. Weisman (1992), the court prohibited clergy-led prayer at middle school graduation ceremonies
p. Santa Fe ISD v. Doe (2000), in which the Court extended the ban to school-organized student-led prayer at high school football games.

II. How it was: In its first hundred years, the United States Supreme Court interpreted the Constitution's Bill of Rights as a limit on federal government and considered the states bound only by those rights granted to its citizens by their own state constitutions. Because the federal laws during this period were remote influences at most on the personal affairs of its citizens, minimal attention was paid by the Court to how those provisions in the federal Bill of Rights were to be interpreted.
A. States with ESTABLISHED churches AFTER the Constitution and Bill of Rights were ratified:
1. Massachusetts until 1833
2. Connecticut until 1818
3. New Hampshire 1819
4. South Carolina established Protestantism as its official religion in 1776
B. Dissenters, Nativists, and anti-Catholics, not freethinking or atheism drove disestablishment efforts in the 19th century… “the history of the separation of church and state cannot be understood simply as the history of religious liberty and its protection by American institutions.”
1. Roger Williams and the metaphor- Patrick…
2. Thomas Jefferson and the metaphor… Letter to Danbury Baptists communicates his personal belief in separation. His letter to Samuel Miller in 1808, "I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the United States. Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in religious discipline has been delegated to the General Government. It must then rest with the states, as far as it can be in any human authority."
3. 1820s-NYC public funded schools run by the Public School Society (non-sectarian but anti-Catholic) required KJV of the Bible in schools.
4. 1840s-American Republicans “The Bible is essential, but cannot be presented along with doctrinal; or creedal promotion.”
5. Native Americans (Philadelphia version of American Republicans) “the Bible is the ‘wand that broke the scepter of tyrants’, a way of saying that the Bible itself reveals divine authority for separation.”
6. The above REDIFINED their religious liberty to protect themselves from the groups they feared.
7. Specialization in the economy spilled over into culture. Medicine, law, politics, and religion were all supposed to work independently of each other.
8. Religion HAD worked to harmonize all elements, but became oppressive and divisive in modernity. (Example: Mario Cuomo stating that he personally opposes abortion but is sworn to uphold the Constitution. Yet invokes religion often to support his liberal economic positions.)
9. Politics became religion
a. Emotions and desires associated with religion are unavoidable and will seek other outlets.
b. Politics became “holy” and “pure” when absolute separation is achieved.
c. It’s assumed that powerful yearnings for purity and transcendence are less dangerous when focused on this world rather than the next.
d. Minorities who failed to conform to elevated Protestant and American ideals of individualism were a danger to these ideals.
e. Therefore, antiestablishment religious liberty BECAME Separation of Church and State

III. How it should be
A. Like “free speech” was simply a way to remove blasphemy laws, was the whole point of separation of church and state a way to remove cultural respect for Christianity?
B. Should we return to local control over church-state issues?
C. Can we return to local school districts and city governments deciding these issues, and if so, what would it take?

My Mind is Clean
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4 Comments On This Entry

I just saw this. I'm going to a baptism. I'll listen to you when I get home.
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Wag-a-Muffin (D), on 20 July 2019 - 11:41 AM, said:

I just saw this. I'm going to a baptism. I'll listen to you when I get home.


Dunk or sprinkle? ��
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Immersion.

And one small critique. I have to turn up the sound in order to hear you--so it sounds like your taping in the wind. I really enjoy your informative talks, and you're getting better (or so it seems to me) and you seem more comfortable. But I think both of you needed your own mic?

Observations? I'm old. And I remember seeing meme about how we need prayer back in the school--but I can never remember a prayer being offered in my presence in elementary, middle, or high school--except for Baccalaureate--which took place not during school hours. I don't know if the boys' sports teams prayed before games. And I'm so old we didn't have girls' teams. (Which may happen again if biologically born females are edged out of girls' sports.)

Much of my husband's family comes from Tennessee. It was the part of Tennessee where they joined the Union. They were HATED by the members of their State who joined the South. And one of his ancestors was captured and sent to Andersonville, where he died. Now, if you're familiar with that prison, you know the conditions were terrible. But they were even worse for Southerners who were POWs than northerners. The soldiers from the north were allowed to keep their clothes and their personal effects. The southerners were striped. My husband's relative had everything taken away and died from exposure.

Sorry--off topic. One valuable item one of Jack's distant relatives gave to us was a partial copy of a survey that the State of Tennessee commissioned. It is fascinating. Also, I've been reading the local paper. And there was a big article about some "bushwackers" who came into the area, murdering black men who had the nerve to work at the same manufacturing plant as white men. And people in the area, risked their own lives (and the lives' of their families) by hiding these men and their families so the Deep South Bushwackers wouldn't kill them.

I know this isn't religious, but I am amazed at how different "life" in Tennessee actually was from how "modern media/drama" tells us was.

And--your podcast got less windy and clearer as it went on.
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Wag-a-Muffin (D), on 20 July 2019 - 03:04 PM, said:

Immersion.And one small critique. I have to turn up the sound in order to hear you--so it sounds like your taping in the wind. I really enjoy your informative talks, and you're getting better (or so it seems to me) and you seem more comfortable. But I think both of you needed your own mic?Observations? I'm old. And I remember seeing meme about how we need prayer back in the school--but I can never remember a prayer being offered in my presence in elementary, middle, or high school--except for Baccalaureate--which took place not during school hours. I don't know if the boys' sports teams prayed before games. And I'm so old we didn't have girls' teams. (Which may happen again if biologically born females are edged out of girls' sports.)Much of my husband's family comes from Tennessee. It was the part of Tennessee where they joined the Union. They were HATED by the members of their State who joined the South. And one of his ancestors was captured and sent to Andersonville, where he died. Now, if you're familiar with that prison, you know the conditions were terrible. But they were even worse for Southerners who were POWs than northerners. The soldiers from the north were allowed to keep their clothes and their personal effects. The southerners were striped. My husband's relative had everything taken away and died from exposure. Sorry--off topic. One valuable item one of Jack's distant relatives gave to us was a partial copy of a survey that the State of Tennessee commissioned. It is fascinating. Also, I've been reading the local paper. And there was a big article about some "bushwackers" who came into the area, murdering black men who had the nerve to work at the same manufacturing plant as white men. And people in the area, risked their own lives (and the lives' of their families) by hiding these men and their families so the Deep South Bushwackers wouldn't kill them.I know this isn't religious, but I am amazed at how different "life" in Tennessee actually was from how "modern media/drama" tells us was.And--your podcast got less windy and clearer as it went on.

I have a good mic, I just don’t know how to use it yet. We WERE recording in the wind because we were outside in my Tiki shed. There was a dog barking the whole time, sirens going off, drag racing (I guess), someone running a planer or a wood chipper...pretty much the least professional set up we could have. But it was extremely pleasant weather, and I love hanging out in my Tiki shed. I’ll figure it out eventually once I mess around with the software some more.

I’ll do podcasts on some Civil War Topics for sure. There’s a book out about one of my relatives who stayed loyal to the Union and worked for Grant as a scout.
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