John Stossel – Separation of Church & State

I have to say, yet again, that I am sick and tired of religionists demanding that their non-evidence based claims be ‘respected’ more than any other non-evidence based stories, just because they call them ‘religion’.

I am sick and tired of non-evidence based beliefs being afforded more privileges under the law than evidence-based claims.

But most of all, I am sick and tired of people demanding limits on my freedom of speech, just because my I will not treat as absolute truth everybody else’s non-evidence based claims!

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23 Responses to “John Stossel – Separation of Church & State”

  1. CodeSlinger Says:

    Xanthippa:

    This video illustrates perfectly why I have no patience for loud, strident atheists.

    Religious people at least admit that their position is grounded purely in faith.

    Atheists aren’t that honest.

    They want to claim that seeing the Ten Commandments carved in stone outside a courthouse makes them feel unsafe?

    Please.

    I suppose they feel equally unsafe when they see a statue of Justitia, the Roman goddess of justice, with blindfold, scales, and sword?

    And if not, why not?

    The claim is ridiculous, but the effects of giving in to it are deeply harmful.

    The Ten Commandments form an essential part of the cultural bedrock on which Western civilization rests – even more so than Justitia.

    Unbeknownst to themselves, these shrill, petulant atheists are just one more contingent of shock troops in the multifarious attack on the white Judeo-Christian hetero-patriarchy.

    • xanthippa Says:

      CodeSlinger:

      the difference between Justitia and the ten commandments is obvious: one is a symbol of a dead religion, yet one which symbolizes the equality of men before the law while the other is a part of a living religions many of whose practitioners attempt to raise their religious commandments (which, by the way, do NOT symbolize equality in front of the law but rather suggest that justice is reserved for God alone – and thus are antithetical to a fair trial…so the last place to put them should be near courts) above secular laws, much as adherents of Sharia would like to do with their own.

      And, no… I’ve said this over and over again and you know I am right: our Western culture was NOT based on Judeo-Christian culture. It is based on the Reformation, when the Judeo-Christians got kicked out of power and people could begin to build a good society free from its oppression.

  2. CodeSlinger Says:

    Xanthippa:

    The idea that justice is the prerogative of God alone is the idea that justice issues from an authority higher than any mere government. It carries the crucial implication that no government has the right to define what the word, justice, means.

    This is nothing other than the principle of inalienable individual rights.

    And yes, this is one of the most important aspects of the Judeo-Christian cultural legacy.

    It also happens to be one of the main obstacles standing in the way of the globalist totalitarian plutocracy – which is why the globalists sent out their cultural Marxist running dogs to destroy the Judeo-Christian roots of Western civilization.

    This principle of inalienable (or, to put it another way, God-given) individual rights has no counterpart in Greco-Roman religious and legal traditions. Some things we do find in those traditions is that they recognized slavery, raised the rights of citizens above those of everyone else, and permitted evidence to be obtained by torture (indeed, the testimony of a slave was admissible in court only if taken under torture).

    Citizens were theoretically equal before the law, but only patricians and soldiers were exempt from torture. And women, though formally citizens if they were freeborn, could neither vote nor hold political office, and were exempt from torture only if pregnant.

    In short, the proposition that Greco-Roman religious and legal traditions were somehow more egalitarian than Judeo-Christian ones is ludicrous.

    • xanthippa Says:

      CodeSlinger:

      I did not say that we, as a society, were adopting the Greek model of justice.

      All I meant (or attempted to) is that we saw that representation of that particular goddess is without its religious baggage (it being a DEAD religion) and we are simply appropriating the symbolism of ‘blind justice = equality before the law’ bit.

    • CodeSlinger Says:

      Xanthippa:

      So you think we should wait until Christianity is dead before adopting the good ideas conveyed by its symbols?

      • xanthippa Says:

        CodeSlinger,

        now you are getting it!

        Until a religion is dead – thousands of years dead – can its good archetypes be adopted without dragging in the bad ones.

        Since Christianity is not dead yet, its good archetypes cannot be used without dragging in the downright evil ones.

        Which, on the balance, leaves us better off without any of them.

    • CodeSlinger Says:

      Xanthippa:

      Well, it’s a good thing the framers of the American Constitution didn’t think that way, otherwise they would never have adopted the idea that the rights of man stem from a source that no government on Earth has jurisdiction over.

      • xanthippa Says:

        Well, actually, CodeSlinger…

        They did debate that exact point.

        And the reason they included the ‘creator’ bit was specifically to satisfy both the theists and the much more numerous atheists among them.

        To theists, the ‘endowed by their creator’ simply translates into ‘god’ and the issue is settled.

        To the atheists and antitheists (both meanings of the term) among them, this implied that these rights came because their parents (OK – fathers) had these rights from before human history and which are, therefore, transferred onto the offspring…in the common-law tradition.

    • CodeSlinger Says:

      Xanthippa:

      Yes! Exactly! Finally we are getting somewhere!

      This is the approach I’ve been advocating all along: let those who need to put faces on their archetypes do so, without forcing it on those who don’t need it.

      What matters is the ethical, epistemological, and ontological content of the archetypes.

      The presence or absence of an anthropomorphic face is just a way of making that content accessible to people whose minds work in different ways.

      The point is that those who need to put faces on their archetypes cannot be “cured” of that need, and they far outnumber those who prefer a more abstract world view.

      The destruction of the West by cultural Marxism shows exactly what happens when we ignore these facts.

  3. CodeSlinger Says:

    Xanthippa:

    Any attempt to treat the Ten Commandments as comparable to Sharia Law is… well, bizarre.

    Outside Vatican City, there has never been a Christian theocratic legal system comparable to Sharia, nor has there been one in Judaism since the destruction of the second temple. True, the Roman Catholic Church exerted a great deal of influence over European monarchs, but this is not the same as a formal theocracy.

    This uneasy balance of power between the church and the state – in particular the shift of this balance in favour of the state – is what the framers of the American constitution had in mind when they wrote the so-called “establishment clause,” which reads

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

    Notice that this limits the power of the state over the church, not vice versa.

    Indeed, the phrase “separation of church and state” is a paraphrase of a letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to the so-called Danbury Baptists, who feared the power of the state over their church. Jefferson’s actual words were as follows:

    “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with solemn 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.”

    There is a huge difference between the framers’ wisdom in denying the government the power to make laws regarding the practice of religion, and modern atheists’ childishly truculent demands to remove all symbols of Judeo-Christian culture from public buildings.

    This leap requires a twisting of words comparable to modern progressives’ attempt to (mis-) interpret the right to bear arms as restricted to members of a formal militia.

    It is a masterpiece of cultural Marxism.

    • xanthippa Says:

      CodeSlinger,

      tell that bit about theocracy to the Hussites: oh, wait – they were wiped out by the Church army.

      OK, tell it to the midwives: oh, wait – they were burned at the stake by the Church! OK, not as many in the West and in Central and Eastern Europe, but, hey, I come from there and some of my relatives were those burned at the stake!

      How about telling Giordano Bruno?

      Yeah, them CHristians were never really mean about their religious oppression!

      How about the whole feudal system, being held in place because the CHurch preached it was God’s Order?!?!?!

      No, CodeSlinger – your blinders are showing again: if given the power, the Christian rule would be no less oppressive than Sharia and their comparison is not only not bizzare, it is dead on accurate!

      Cultural Marxism is a religion, and just like any other, it attempts to displace its enemies. No more, no less.

      Which only make my argument stronger: resist all the religions and their attempt to hold power over our lives!

    • CodeSlinger Says:

      Xanthippa:

      The Catholic Church had no army of its own, so it had to get the Holy Roman Empire to fight the Hussites.

      Thus the anti-Hussite crusades illustrate my point perfectly.

      They were made possible by a “one-hand-washes-the-other” deal between Sigismund of Hungary and Pope Martin V.

      Sigismund wanted to annex Bohemia by becoming its king, and Martin wanted to stop Jan Hus from exposing ecclesiastic corruption.

      This is not a theocracy. It is a balance of power between church and state.

      The same argument applies to all the other atrocities you list.

      Granted, they were due to the influence of the church, but the church had to negotiate with the state to get what it wanted.

      Therefore none of them were examples of theocracy.

      An Islamic Caliphate is a theocracy – an overt one, because the church has absorbed the state.

      The totalitarian secular Edenist collective promulgated by cultural Marxism is a theocracy – a covert one, because the state has absorbed the church.

      But Western civilization has not been any kind of theocracy because church and state have been separate entities.

      In the West – especially during the period that gave rise to Classical Liberalism – the uneasy balance of power between church and state resulted in much more freedom and prosperity than we could ever hope for under any other possible system.

      In the early days, atrocities resulted from too much church influence.

      But today, atrocities result from too little church influence.

      In between these extremes, there is a sweet spot.

      And that sweet spot is where Classical Liberalism flourishes.

      That’s where we need to be.

      • xanthippa Says:

        Sorry, CodeSlinger,

        I beg to disagree most vociferously.

        The fact that the Pope could raise armies – over and over – demonstrates theocracy.

        The fact that Jesuits burned people, whole families – including the elderly and infants, in their homes, if they found them in possession of books in general and the Bible in particular, demonstrates Christian theocracy. My grandmother’s grandmother was a witness to multiple burnings such as this – so no manner of tricks can divert me from the truth of it.

        Face it, CodeSlinger: religion, despite its best claims, is always destructive with no positive.

        Christianity included!

    • CodeSlinger Says:

      Xanthippa:

      Once again: the Pope could not raise armies.

      He had to go horse-trading with Kings to raise armies for him.

      The fact that the antics of the Jesuits and Dominicans were tolerated demonstrates that the church had a good negotiating stance – which is not the same as a theocracy.

      Nowadays, the church has a very poor negotiating stance, and the state commits the atrocities on its own account.

      Nazis and communists have proven conclusively that this is not an improvement!

      • xanthippa Says:

        And, once again, CodeSlinger….

        Nazis and Communists were no worse than Christian theocrats. And the Popes DID raise armies – how is irrelevant to the discussion.

    • CodeSlinger Says:

      Xanthippa:

      No, the how is crucial to the discussion.

      Sargon of Akkad needed no one’s assent raise an army.

      Pope Martin V had to cut a deal with Sigismund.

      Huge difference.

      The difference is important because the need to maintain the balance of power limits the ability of both church and state to oppress the people.

      So, yes, the shift in the balance of power from church to state over the centuries was a good thing – a very good thing! – up to a point.

      But too much of a good thing is bad.

      And that is where we are now.

      History has shown us very clearly that when the church wields too much power, atrocities result; and when the state wields too much power, atrocities result.

      Therefore you want to get rid of them both.

      I understand. I really do.

      But…

      IT IS IMPOSSIBLE.

      The only workable option is to play them off against each other, without letting either one win.

      In perpetuity.

  4. CodeSlinger Says:

    Xanthippa:

    To call the Reformation a departure from Judeo-Christian culture and values is… again, bizarre.

    It’s like calling the Reform Party a departure from parliamentary government.

    Not even the Enlightenment can be called a real departure from Judeo-Christian culture and values.

    The only significant departure from our Judeo-Christian roots is the one that is coming to a head right now, instigated by cultural Marxism and deliberately orchestrated over the last 100 years or so for the express purpose of destroying Western civilization.

    • xanthippa Says:

      CodeSlinger,

      this is a discussion we have had may times and, yet again, I think you are wrong and I am right, for all the reasons cited over the years!

    • CodeSlinger Says:

      Xanthippa:

      You’re not seriously claiming that the cultural values of Protestants like Jan Hus or Martin Luther were anything other than Judeo-Christian… are you?

      • xanthippa Says:

        CodeSlinger,

        you bet your bippies I am!

        While Hus or Martin Luther were too brainwashed by their upbringing to properly formulate it, yes, their ideas were acutely anti-Christian. At least, in what ‘Christianity’ meant in their days.

        That is why THE representative of Christianity of the day, the Catholic Church, led multiple crusades against them.

        Had it not been for the threat from Muslim invaders, the anti-Hus/Luther wars would have continued until either the Catholic Church killed all of the protestants, or the protestants put an end to the Papacy. No reading of the history of those times leaves a doubt about this!

        OK, both of them had a lot of ‘Christian baggage’. But, they were both educated, which, back then, meant brainwashed, by The Church.

        Yet, they both saw how deeply flawed the doctrine of vicarious redemption was and, both of them, to the best of their limited faculties, rebelled against it.

        And both of them – Hus mote than Luther – demanded people to educate their children in reading and reasoning: this alone, applied to the Bible, would have lead to the downfall of Christianity in Europe hundreds of years before Reformation, had not this movement been suppressed by the Christian Church.

        (OK – I am not addressing in this the connection between the Hussites, the Cathars, the Bogomils and such…because it is just too obvious a line of argument to take…which completely takes apart the foundational teachings of Christianity, as it is understood by most people today, and brings it into the realm of the Gnostic Gospels and Arianism (not to be mistaken for Aryanism) which was the dominant form of Christianity in Europe in the first millennium.)

    • CodeSlinger Says:

      Xanthippa:

      Well, this explains a big part of our disagreement, because whoever won – the Protestants or the Catholics – the winner would still have been Christian!

      Obviously, my definition of Christian is much broader than yours.

      And my definition of Judeo-Christian is broader yet.

      I would call the Cathars and Bogomils Christians, too. In fact, they may be more authentically Christian than the Catholics – it seems to me there was a fair amount of Gnosticism going on in places like Qumran.

      • xanthippa Says:

        CodeSlinger,

        at the time of Jan Hus, the Catholic Church WAS all of Christiandom in Western and Central Europe. Opposition to it was ‘heresy’ and Hus was indeeed burned at a stake as a heretic.

        What I am driving at is that regardless of the underlying belief structure, once any form of Christianity became dogmatized (as, indeed, Cathrism, Bogomisl and Hussites eventually also became), then any opposition that came against them was judged as heresy by them and their adherents and punished by death.

        Thus, the act of rebelling against accepting current authoritative CHristian dogma as above secular law was, in other words – the definition of CHristian society – was
        by definition anti-Christian. As in – not CHristian, which teaches submission to the church leaders, even in the various protestant sects.

        It was only when society as a whole rejected the authority of these Christian churches to make and enforce laws – protestant or not – that Europe stopped being a Judeo-Christian culture and the reformation could take place.

        As in, once Judaic and/or Christian religious laws do not trump the laws of the land, you no longer have a Judeo-CHristian society. By definition.

    • CodeSlinger Says:

      Xanthippa:

      Yes, of course the Roman Catholic Church was the official face of Christianity in Europe at the time, but that doesn’t justify equating Catholicism with Christianity as a whole.

      Catholicism was merely one sect of Christianity, albeit a very powerful one.

      The title of Pontifex Maximus passed from Caesar to Pope at least four hundred years before Charlemagne.

      This is when the separation of church and state officially began in Europe.

      Thus, neither the Holy Roman Empire nor any subsequent European state has ever been a de jure theocracy.

      Nonetheless, as late as the 11th century, Pope Gregory VII was able to use his power to excommunicate Kings to force Henry IV to do penance by walking to Canossa barefoot, in January. At this point, one might argue that there was still a de facto theocracy, though not de jure.

      A hundred years later, Frederick the Great defied Pope Gregory IX with impunity, completely ignoring four separate excommunications. Even the reading of history most sympathetic to your point of view must count this as the very latest date on which the theocracy ceased even to be de facto.

      The Hussite crusades took place roughly three hundred years after that (about the same time as Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks).

      Another three hundred years or so brings us to the Enlightenment and the creation of classical liberalism, including the American revolution.

      Classical liberals rejected the secular authority of the priesthood together with the slanted metaphysics that propped it up, but – crucially – they retained the ten commandments and the value placed on the individual on account of being “created in God’s image.”

      Thus the Christian moral foundations of Western civilization remained intact until the cultural Marxists showed up, about a hundred years ago.

      And that – not coincidentally! – is when the decline of the West began…


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