The Instigator
astrosfan
Pro (for)
Losing
16 Points
The Contender
Vi_Veri
Con (against)
Winning
52 Points

Extreme religious symbols ought to be removed from public places.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/21/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,087 times Debate No: 4131
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (16)

 

astrosfan

Pro

First to define some key words in this resolution and set the realm of the debate.

Extreme- 1 a: existing in a very high degree b: going to great or exaggerated lengths : radical c: exceeding the ordinary, usual, or expected

Symbol- 1: an authoritative summary of faith or doctrine : creed2: something that stands for or suggests something else by reason of relationship, association, convention, or accidental resemblance; especially : a visible sign of something invisible

Public- 1 a: exposed to general view : open b: well-known, prominent c: perceptible, material

Now even thought the resolution doesn't state that we should focus on the US I think that it would be beneficial to both the Pro and Con because in the US we have a thing called the constitution that protects the rights of religion while we have a thing called congress that tries to create loop holes in this document that could limit this ability. Thus I believe the realm of the debate should be set as the pro arguing that the US should remove extreme religious symbols in the US, while the con argues that the US government should not remove extreme religious symbols in the US.

So now with that out of the way we can get down to the real debate

Observation 1: the law

I believe that everyone is educated in that by the first amendment saying "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" gives us as citizens the freedom of religion. But what people may not know is the laws that determine what would prohibit the free exercise of religion, the US congress in 1993 passed the Religious Freedom Restoration http://en.wikipedia.org... which reinstated something called the Sherbert Test http://en.wikipedia.org... which has 4 criterions that must be meet to prove that the government is prohibiting religious freedom. So if the government proves that some of these things are not meet then it dose not infringe on the freedom of religion.

Contention 1: freedom of no religion

Now while people have the right to practice there religion people also have the right not to have others religion forced on them. Looking at the definition of symbol it is an object that has represents something else or a deeper meaning, and by having this object in a public place it means that these people are trying to show this deeper meaning to the general public. Thus by allowing these symbols to be in public places the government is no longer protecting a person's right to religious neutrality. One's decision to join a religion should be based on what they see they can get out of this religion rather then what they see on the street. Secondly on this point allowing for these symbols to be in public places violates the first part of the statement defending freedom of religion that states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" thus by allowing for these symbols to be in public it would be respecting this religion.

Contention 2: disturbing the peace

Because of the word extreme being included in this resolution it means that these symbols will become a disruption of the peace. For example an extreme religious symbol could be a burning cross now this would attract a lot of attention and would become a disruption of the peace. Now as it states under the Sherbert Test that if the government proves that the removal of these symbols is for the betterment of the public then it is constitutional for them to do so. So thus because the extreme nature of these symbols the government has the constitutional responsibility to remove them.
Vi_Veri

Con

I will be accepting two of my opponents proposed definitions. Those two definitions are as follows: public and symbol. What I will not be accepting is his proposed objective description of the term "extreme" holding a negative connotation. I do however accept the dictionary definition.

Extreme is not objectively given negative qualities in a symbol.

To an atheist or agnostic, the sight of a gigantic cross hanging a top the steeple of a massive church in a bustling city may seem like a dramatic, negatively extreme symbol. But to a Roman Catholic, the symbol implies positive devotion to a god they believe is all good, all knowing, and all prevailing. The extremity is positive promotion in their eyes. The god may hold negative ideals in some minds, extraordinary images in others, but that is all it is; a symbol, an idea. An idea can not lash out and touch someone. An action can. In this debate we are arguing the display of symbols; not the actions religious people might do while possibly holding these symbols.

Observation one (1) The Law:

My opponent argues the first amendment, but fails to deliver what it actually implies. The full amendment, as he states, is as follows: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." This means that Congress will never establish a law promoting a religion in any way, or stopping the free exercise of a person's religion (like displaying symbols). Therefore, a church has all the right in the world to exist as a symbol in itself (will discuss churches as symbols later on).

Then my opponent goes on to mention the Sherbert test. I will post the test on here as I will be using it through out my argument as an aid:

"The Sherbert Test consists of four criteria that are used to determine if an individual's right to religious free exercise has been violated by the government. The test is as follows:

For the individual, the court must determine

-whether the person has a claim involving a sincere religious belief, and

-whether the government action is a substantial burden on the person's ability to act on that belief

If these two elements are established, then the government must prove

-that it is acting in furtherance of a "compelling state interest," and

-that it has pursued that interest in the manner least restrictive, or least burdensome, to religion."

What my opponent failed to inform is that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993 was struck down, and the Sherbert test was only reinstated with limited application to Federal laws only.

Ridding extreme religious symbols from all public places would imply a Federal Law, so it must pass the Sherbert test.

So let us begin.

1. whether the person has a claim involving a sincere religious belief

Symbols are used by people to represent their sincere religious beliefs.

2. whether the government action is a substantial burden on the person's ability to act on that belief.

Ridding a Roman Catholic of their Cross, their public Churches, etc. would hinder the immensely. We can argue that the cross is a very extreme symbol as it depicts the tragic death of Jesus Christ, and holds very strong emotions for Christians. Christianity is about worshipping God, about showing how majestic Jesus Christ is and the Lord is in architecture, literature, music, and paintings to name a few (Such as Christ of Saint John of the Cross, a painting by Salvador Dal�, which paintings are a form of symbolic representation. Should such famous works be removed from public art galleries? I will also discuss this further in my argument). It is sometimes even a political symbol, like the Star of David being used on their National flag (should the Israelis ban that?).

If these two elements are established, then the government must prove

3. that it is acting in furtherance of a "compelling state interest"

What interest would the state have in removing Churches, paintings, giant crosses that cause no harm, and freedom of speech for a person to put a nativity scene in their front lawn (which is an extreme symbol. Technically, showing that Jesus is god is an extreme symbol in itself as other religions don't believe in it. But again, the symbol is not openly attacking anyone. It is not an action and projection of a belief system some people find very real.) or pass out Bibles (which are also a symbol of Christianity) etc? Removing these would actually harm the state culturally, would harm the majority of the U.S. (Christians), and would be a burden on our money (the act of removing the symbols and enforcing the new law.) And is ridding Freedom of Speech on the state's interests?

4. that it has pursued that interest in the manner least restrictive, or least burdensome, to religion.

Removing all public symbols is not "least burdensome" or "least restrictive." It is "all" symbols, so creating a massive burden and massive restrictions.

Now that we have established that the Sherbert test does not let a law that would remove all extreme public religious symbols exist, we can move on to the next portion of my argument.

Contention 1: freedom of no religion

My opponent said that allowing symbols in public would be respecting that religion and would be counter the first amendment. No, it wouldn't, because respecting a religion's right to self expression is exactly what the first amendment is about. The government is not putting the symbols up, the people are on their own property.

He also said that it would conflict with the people's right to religious neutrality. As I do not see this in the constitution, I am assuming it is an implied right. A symbol does not force you to become religious in any more of a way as an American flag forces you to become nationalist. I see religious symbols all the time, and I, and 11% of the country, are still atheists out of our own convictions. If you can be swayed by a symbol, then your convictions must not be that strong in the first place. That argument is logically flawed. What a person bases their faith on is also their own personal reasoning skills. Should we get rid of the marketing profession, then?

Contention 2: disturbing the peace

Because my opponent uses the Sherbert test to validate his claim, it is now irrelevant. Also, removing something just because it causes a disturbance in peace (without it being massively violent, which is also subjective to the situation) would violate Freedom of Speech *and or assembly, depending on the situation to assemble and create such a ruckus*. Displaying any symbol is an exercise of Freedom of Speech and should be respected or we will turn into a nation of religious censorship.

Now to my two points that I remarked I would return to; a church being a symbol, and religious art work.

There are many famous paintings that have significance to the world, and not displaying them would cause a lot of harm culturally. I can give Crucifixion with Saints, Mary Virgin, Mary Magdalen, John and Jerome by Raphael as an example. If this painting is in a public gallery, should we remove it as it is an extreme symbol? It is, after all, a painting of the death of a man in a torturous way.

And to my next point of a church being a symbol in Christianity. Christians believe their churches are houses of God and make them grand and elaborate (like the Notre Dame for example) in order to show their respect and awe in god. It is a symbol of their devotion, and therefore a symbol for their religion. Getting rid of all extreme symbols (I would consider a massive Church, any building really, an extreme way of making a symbol) would hinder in the worshipping process of all Christians.

Regards,

Vi
Debate Round No. 1
astrosfan

Pro

=========
Definitions
=========

First I would like to clarify the definition of public places. A public place is, a place not privately own thus my opponent's examples of churches are not valid, because this place is privately owned the owner can ban people from coming in and have them arrested for trespassing. Thus because place is not open to everyone it is not public.

Now on the definition of extreme, my opponent claims that extreme symbols have some positive effects to the people who fallow that religion, but it still will be seen negatively by all the people who don't fallow that religion. Using her example, having a large cross would be seen as a negative thing by Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Hindus, Buddhist, and more. Meaning that these symbols would have a much larger negative effect then positive ones.

=======
The Law
=======

The 1st amendment does protect people's right to practice religion but because the government can not promote religion these religious symbols can't be in public places. Because public place such as a park are owned by the government and having religious symbols in these places would violate the first part of this amendment. Thus it would not be unconstitutional for the government to remove these symbols.

Now for the debate over the Sherbert Test

First the RFRA was not struck down it has unanimously approved by the House and passed 97 to 3 in the Senate. Now this act was replaced by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act http://en.wikipedia.org... but this act still based the government's ability to limit religious practices on the principles of the Sherbert test.
(1) No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation in a manner that imposes a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person, including a religious assembly or institution, unless the government can demonstrate that imposition of the burden on that person, assembly or institution
((A) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
((B) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
((2) Scope of Application. This subsection applies in any case in which--
((A) the substantial burden is imposed in a program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability; or
((B) the substantial burden affects, or removal of that substantial burden would affect, commerce with foreign nations, among the several States, or with Indian tribes, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability; or
((C) the substantial burden is imposed in the implementation of a land use regulation or system of land use regulations, under which a government makes, or has in place formal or informal procedures or practices that permit the government to make, individualized assessments of the proposed uses for the property involved.

Defend my opponent's attacks
1-I concede that if these people have these symbols that believe in the faith
2-First cross apply what I state in my definitions part of the debate where I state that privately owned churches are not valid examples. Secondly the example of a cross is not an extreme symbol because all Roman Catholic churches have crosses thus this example doesn't meet the definition of extreme as being "exceeding the ordinary". Thirdly because these symbols are above the ordinary then the are more then what is necessary, meaning that it wouldn't burden people's ability worship because they could still worship in a non-extreme way
3-This point will be supported by my 2 contentions that show how it removing these symbols would be better for the state.
4-Cross apply my third argument on the second point that because these are extreme symbols that people can find a non-extreme way to fallow their religion

===================
freedom of no religion
===================

My opponent's first statement miss interprets the resolution; I'm not arguing that the government will stop people from having the right to put things on there own property but rather if they these symbols can be in public places.

Next my opponent claims that these symbols don't cause people to warship a religion but then why dose 10% of people in the US say they're Christian but don't actively fallow the religionhttp://en.wikipedia.org... ? Because of all the religious symbols around them be the one our money or in the pledge it cause people to think that the government supports this religion, and by the government allowing these symbols to be on government owned land it looks as though they support this religion thus causing people to convert to Christianity.

Thus this is bad of the US for 2 reasons; 1 it violates the constitution because these symbols are on government owned land and having them there would be respecting a religion. 2 it violates a person's right to not worship a religion because it cause someone to do something for the wrong reasons.

=================
disturbing the peace
=================

First as I have stated above that the test in a valid way to fallow the topic thus my opponent's first point is mute. Next she claims that it violates a person's freedoms, but the way that the US legal system works is that if you do something that violates someone else's rights then you lose your own. Meaning that if it is found that these symbols cause a disturbance of the peace then it violates other people's rights thus the right to have these symbols will be removed.

Next for my opponent's 2 examples; first on both these arguments these are not examples of extreme symbols because they do not go past the ordinary, and both examples are flawed because they are both on privet property not public one thus don't apply to the topic.

On the example about art; first these paintings may cause people's right to peace to be violated if the find something they dislike in these peaces. Secondly these works of art have little worth in terms of religion but instead have more historical value meaning removing them doesn't burden worshipers.

Next on the church example; on this point just cross my statements from above that these place can violate people's rights and that these things are not considered extreme because there are many large churches.

To rap up as a judge you're going to vote for the pro because of the fact that the costs of these extreme symbols outweigh the benefits, because one they violate people's right to no religion and right to peace. Thus because of this it can be seen that it would benefit the country to remove them.
Vi_Veri

Con

My opponent:

"First I would like to clarify the definition of public places. A public place is, a place not privately own thus my opponent's examples of churches are not valid, because this place is privately owned the owner can ban people from coming in and have them arrested for trespassing. Thus because place is not open to everyone it is not public."

My opponent's original definition was:

"Public- 1 a: exposed to general view : open b: well-known, prominent c: perceptible, material"

My opponent changes his definition from "exposed to general view" to "a place not privately owned." I do not accept my opponents change in definition just to excuse my examples from the debate. Once a definition has been set in the introduction of an argument, the instigator can not go changing their original description of the argument in further rounds. A "public place" is a vague term. A public place could mean anything from a public park to a public beach, to a public church or shopping mall. Some of these things are privately owned, and some of them are state owned. So public, as my opponent first defined it in his first round, and as I started debating my opinion on acknowledged definitions of his accusation, will be a place exposed to general view.

My opponent says, :

" Now on the definition of extreme..."

I already stated that symbols were not absolute in their meaning of extreme. I stated that extreme is a subjective word; it is an adjective for both extreme goodness and extreme badness. We can have extreme good religious symbols like a church that any person of any faith is allowed into (as long as you are respectful like in any public place). But we can also have bad religious symbols (ones that people might take negatively to). But all in all, it's freedom of speech no matter the way a group might read it. I know that the nation is predominantly Christian, so a Christian symbol hanging up in a public place wouldn't have a larger negative effect than positive. Again, it's subjective just as an American flag has a negative effect on anyone who is anti-American (yes there are anti-Americans even in America). Again, I as an atheist see Christmas decorations up 2 months in advance every year, but it doesn't really matter in a country that respects the religious opinions of everyone.

My opponent goes on to say that if a religious symbol is in a public place than the government is promoting it. Public places, again, has been redefined here. If my opponent takes the definition he first implied, then no, the government doesn't have to promote any symbol in public view. Also, my opponent should know that religious groups (or any group really) can rent out the space in a public park for events. It does not in any way mean that the government supports these temporary events, but that the government is tolerant of anyone who wishes to hold a public event.

To move further in the argument...

My opponent apparently doesn't know what striking down a law implies. A law is struck down one someone raises court concern over it, and it is over turned because of that court case. This is from the wikkipedia site my opponent himself supplies, with an insert by me:

"In the 1997, the United States Supreme Court had held the RFRA to be unconstitutional, as applied to state and local governments, in City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507. [THIS IMPLIES STRIKING IT DOWN] Unlike the RFRA, which required religious accommodation in virtually all spheres of life, the RLUIPA only applies to prisoners, and Land Use (Zoning) of properties."

My opponent then conveniently leaves out his new bill's purpose, which is as follows:

"(RLUIPA) is a United States federal law that prohibits the imposition of burdens on the ability of prisoners to worship as they please, as well as making it easier for Churches and other religious institutions to avoid state restrictions on their property use through zoning laws"

This bill SUPPORTS religious freedom, so it is a curiosity to me why my opponent even thought it supported his agenda. This bill actually grants religion a bonus over other what other land owning institutions do not have.

My opponent then goes on to attack my Sherbert example. He concedes to the first point, then goes on to attack my second point with his new definition of public. Therefore, my argument stands on the second point. And my opponent misses the fact that not all Christian denominations worship like the Amish in wooden little Churches. Roman Catholics love their grand cathedrals and the Mega Churches that Evangelicals are springing up everywhere hardly count as non extreme symbols (an extreme symbol being something out of the ordinary for a symbol. Again, a large church is a very extreme way of showing a symbol). For his second point, his two contentions above were met by my argument. And for his final argument, I have already met it with an repeal on his second. You can not limit a person's ability to worship their god if their denomination requires for them to do it in an extreme, eloquent fashion.

In the freedom of no religion section, my opponent's first point is again revoked because of his new definition violation. Then my opponent makes a ridiculous claim that somehow symbols supply heavy peer pressure on citizens. Again, he supplies no psychological backing on this and also doesn't even look at the aspect of freedom of speech or that his attack goes straight into the marketing field. Should we not let any business market for their products, then, because people might just be persuaded? And he also makes it sound like being Christian is a horrible thing that Churches shouldn't be sucking the public into. My opponent seems rather biased against Christianity. Then he spouts a conspiracy theory about the government having a Christian agenda. No one is forced to say the pledge. The existence of "freedom of speech" shows this. And, also, the pledge has nothing to do with our debate.

People seeing religious symbols does not violate their right to "do something for the right reasons." Again, a person should do things out of their better judgement, and why not introduce them to all their options?

As for his disturbance of the peace argument, I am not sure how a symbol can violate someone's rights. My opponent hasn't even established how other than it would rile up negative emotions. A symbol does not protest, throw rocks, or spit on someone. A person can't brawl with a symbol. He is pretty much throwing an is/ought fallacy here. Because there is a religious symbol, it ought to cause a riot. No, a Mega Church does not cause a riot. Vast amounts of Christmas decorations in the streets dont cause a riot. My opponent has supplied no burden of proof.

Then if my opponent even for a second claims that famous pieces of art work like "The Last Supper" have no religious meaning, he is delusional. People can dislike art work, but the public still has a right to put it up in a public gallery or publicly viewed art show. It is ridiculous to claim that we should censor art work just because people don't share the opinion of the artist.

Then he states that churches are not a symbol and that they are not extreme because there are many of them. A church, I must state again, is an extreme way of making a symbol. In fact, the whole catholic religion relies on symbols. The priest is a symbol, the waifers are a symbol, the wine is a symbol, the alter is a symbol. It's all symbolic in religion. A building, again, is an extreme way to make a symbol.

So to finish my argument, my opponent supplies no example in which an extreme symbol has disrupted the peace. Again, my opponent must keep his definitions, and realize that the symbols are relevant to the faith, not others. Everyone wont agree on everything. Not even the American flag.

Regards,

Vi
Debate Round No. 2
astrosfan

Pro

To road map this last round first I'm going to address the debate over the definitions and my observation one, and then I will over view the round, and then go into the rest of the debate.

=========
Definitions
=========

First on the definition of public

I thought that this word in the resolution was self explanatory, but I guess it wasn't. First defending my interpretation because of the word "place" in the resolution you have to group the 2 words together and define public places which are places that are publicly owned not places privately owned. This was the definition that I was using though out my first round ("rather then what they see on the street", "thus by allowing for these symbols to be in public it would be respecting this religion.", "public place it means that these people are trying to show this deeper meaning to the general public.") these examples show how I was defending this definition form the start of the debate. Secondly even if you think that I can't do that the definition that I use can still support this interpretation because a public place must be a place "open" to all people, thus privately owned places are not public because the person that owns the place can not allow people to go there, thus not meeting the definition of public as being open because they are not open to all people.

Next on extreme

I do agree that extreme symbols do have positive aspects to them but they still have negative ones as well, but more important then this is what is an extreme symbol. Now the definition of extreme is something "exceeding the ordinary" meaning something that is widely used like a church or a cross are not extreme because all Christians use these symbols, thus all of my opponent's examples about churches and crosses don't apply to the resolution. Things like burning crosses would be an extreme symbol because they are out of the ordinary. Because of this definition, yes these symbols will have some positive effects, the fact is that they have a much larger negative effect.

Next my opponent argues that the government would not be supporting a religion using how the government allows people to have displace of religion but if they saw these symbols to be too extreme they wouldn't allow people to do these things.

=======
The Law
=======

On this point first I will defend the RLUIPA and the show why you will use it in the round

Yes the US congress did get rid of the RFRA but then they instated the RLUIPA which use many of the same ideas. Now while the RLUIPA does focus to the right of prisoners it still applies to the resolution because of the land use part of the bill. It states that if the government proves that the symbols have negative effects on the public the government can remove them.

Talking on the Sherbert Test
1.This point doesn't mater
2.Again cross apply what I said above that the examples that my opponent are not valid examples
3.Cross apply the same thing as from my second point
4.And because these are extreme symbols they go beyond what is needed and removing them wouldn't burden worshipers.

Next my opponent continues to try to say that churches are extreme symbols, but I would like to point out a huge contradiction in my opponent's logic "Roman Catholics love their grand cathedrals and the Mega Churches that Evangelicals are springing up everywhere hardly count as non extreme symbols (an extreme symbol being something out of the ordinary for a symbol. Again, a large church is a very extreme way of showing a symbol)" she claims that these churches are extreme but how is that possible if the definition of extreme is something out of the ordinary while they are "springing up everywhere" meaning that these are not a valid example. The next 2 points are justified with to 2 contention that I will get to latter.

Even if you buy that legally this bill doesn't apply to these debate it still a good why to evaluate the debate because it show how the pro side can defend that these symbols have a negative effect while the con has the ground to show otherwise, secondly my opponent has no other way to weigh the round thus you should fall back to mine as being the best way evaluate the round.

========
Overview
========

In this overview I will divide the debate's arguments into offensive arguments or defensive ones. On the pro side you have the 2 offensive contentions that show how the government can benefit from the removal of these religious symbols, now on the con side if you look at all of here arguments there is no offence, alls he says is that is no point while presenting no negative effect that the resolution would cause. Now point I'm trying to get at is that my opponent has no chances of winning because there is a 0% chance that anything negative can come from the resolution because my opponent makes no argument that shows how something negative can happen, now because of the fact that it is imposable to prove something to be 100% false that means even if you don't believe my offensive there still is at least a 1% chance that something positive will come from the resolution. Meaning that you as the judges are going to weigh that 1% chance that something positive happens over the 0% chance anything negative will happen. And because of this fact my opponent has no chance of winning

===================
Freedom of no religion
===================

First extend this point that my opponent has almost failed to answer that these symbols do have a large effect on people. She claims that I have no support for this contention, but look to my last speech when I use Wikipedia to show how more then 10% of the US population says they are Christians because of all the symbols that they se around them like the pledge and our money, I use the example of Christianity because it is the largest worshiped religion in the US and it has a large effect on the government but not in a conspiracy theory why. The point of this argument is to show how so many people who don't know what they truly are have there mind changed because of these symbols thus not allowing people to have the freedom to be neutral.

=================
Disturbing the peace
=================

On this point all my opponent does is use non extreme examples to support her claims, but extend what I have said above that churches are not extreme symbols because they are used everywhere Christians have churches, Muslims have Mosques, and Jews have Synagogues these are widely used and not out of the ordinary thus are not examples of extreme symbols. Things that are extreme are things like a burning cross that are not ordinary these symbols can cause much rioting and dislike. Secondly even if these symbols don't cause riots they can still disturb the peace if they cause people to feel uncomfortable they violate that persons right to feel at peace.

One the second point, the fact is that first the last supper is not a extreme symbol because it has been reproduced many times and is not out of the ordinary, secondly there examples of art work that has offended people and if these pieces are found to have a large enough negative effect then they should be removed.

On this next point cross apply what I have said though out the round that churches are not extreme because the are used in all religions and that they are everywhere thus meaning they can not be defined as extreme.

To close the debate you as judges are going to vote for the pro on the resolution because the fact my opponent has no offense thus it is imposable for her to win and because of the 2 contentions show how the government will benefit from the resolution and it is justified under the Sherbert test. and the pro is the only side that has any form of evidence that support their cause
my opponent has no support her arguments.
Vi_Veri

Con

My opponent again tries to re-define public to mean a publicly owned place.

My opponent gives "examples" of how he kept his definition, but they all lead to my same conclusion. He quotes, "rather then what they see on the street" without realizing streets are government owned. He quotes, "thus by allowing for these symbols to be in public it would be respecting this religion" without stating who would be "respecting this religion," so I only assumed the general public. In fact, respecting a religion is not unconstitutional. Only if the government itself promotes the religion is it unconstitutional (I've mentioned this before). And finally, he goes, "public place it means that these people are trying to show this deeper meaning to the general public." That again doesn't show "government owned land." That shows a place where the general public can see.

Next I will show you how a church is an extreme symbol using my opponent's own definition.

Extreme- 1 a: existing in a very high degree

Churches exist in very high degrees.

b: going to great or exaggerated lengths : radical

Mega Churches are extreme, radical, and exaggerated.

c: exceeding the ordinary, usual, or expected

Catholic churches exceed the ordinary -grandiose. The very fact you can identify a church amongst other buildings makes it "exceeding the ordinary." It has salient features, and unique architectural forms, bells, etc.

My opponent is grasping at straws. The RLUIPA states nothing about removing religious symbols. My opponent shows you all of the components of the RLUIPA in his round 2 argument. There is nothing there that states the government can remove religious symbols.

My opponent again throws the Sherbert act at me, but if the government will allow the extreme symbol of the 10 commandments to remain on Government Property (source: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us...)

Van Orden v. Perry, the Court allowed a Ten Commandments monument to be located on Texas' capitol grounds.

"The Supreme Court based its decision upon the nature of the monument and the historical significance of religion in American life. The Court wrote that having religious content or promoting a message consistent with religious doctrine does not, by itself, violate the Establishment Clause. In examining the context in which the religious text was used, the Court found that the monument conveyed a secular moral message about proper standards of social conduct and the historical relationship between those standards and the law."

Two more cases where the government has allowed religious symbols on government property (source: http://www.pluralism.org...):

"In June of 2003, a court ruled that a Ten Commandments plaque that has hung for 83 years on the facade of the Chester County, PA courthouse does not constitute an official endorsement of religion, and may remain there for the sake of historical preservation."

"On April 6, 2004, a court ruled that city officials in Cincinnati could not bar religious displays on a downtown plaza during the Christmas and Hanukkah seasons."

Next, my opponent makes another ridiculous claim; that somehow the "10%" of Christians that don't go to church in his statistics are somehow confused. The exact quote from his Wikipedia site is, "The largest religion in the US is Christianity, with nearly 78.5% of the population identifying themselves as Christian.[1] About 62% of the population are members of a church.[2]" This, in no way states, quoting him, "when I use Wikipedia to show how more then 10% of the US population says they are Christians because of all the symbols that they se around them like the pledge and our money."

My opponent must realize that Unitarians don't need to go to church; non denominationals don't need to - he doesn't get the right to say why that 10% aren't in church. Some of them may be confused (that's legitimate, as religion is a deep, philosophical question), but he can't make up a reason for it.

My opponent then gives the burning cross as the only example of an "extreme religious symbol." A burning cross was a battle symbol used through out northern Europe, mainly by the Scottish, before a battle. It was in no way a religious symbol, but a battle symbol. The symbol today is an intimidating way for the Ku Klux Klan to scare their enemies.

In the U.S. Supreme Court case, Virginia v. Black (http://www.supremecourtus.gov...) Judge Thomas wrote after about banning cross burning, "prohibits only conduct, not expression. And, just as one cannot burn down someone's house to make a political point and then seek refuge in the First Amendment, those who hate cannot terrorize and intimidate to make their point."

They banned cross burning because it is a CONDUCT, not an expression. Therefore, my opponent really has no negative extreme religious symbols.

Then my opponent goes on to try and debunk the extreme nature of the Last Supper. Obviously, there is still an original last supper, and just the image itself is an extreme symbolic piece. Again, removing it would violate freedom of speech, and I've never heard of a case where someone was offended over the Last Supper.

I'd also like to correct my opponent that not all religions use "churches." Most religions, however, have places of worship. Pagans worship nature, so should we remove forests because they "offend" anti-pagans?

My opponent makes a claim in his overview that I present no negatives, but obviously I have done so on many occasions. One of my most obvious remarks was:

"Ridding a Roman Catholic of their Cross, their public Churches, etc. would hinder the immensely. We can argue that the cross is a very extreme symbol as it depicts the tragic death of Jesus Christ, and holds very strong emotions for Christians. Christianity is about worshipping God, about showing how majestic Jesus Christ is and the Lord is in architecture, literature, music, and paintings to name a few (Such as Christ of Saint John of the Cross, a painting by Salvador Dal�, which paintings are a form of symbolic representation. Should such famous works be removed from public art galleries? I will also discuss this further in my argument). It is sometimes even a political symbol, like the Star of David being used on their National flag (should the Israelis ban that?)."

So, all in all, judges, extreme religious symbols should not be removed from public places. They are a form of freedom of speech, freedom of religion. They have been allowed in the past, and show the ever accepting and diverse society America is supposed to be. I now leave it to you, judges, to vote as you please with your own evaluations of the debate. Happy judging.

Regards from the contender,

Vi
Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by birdpiercefan3334 8 years ago
birdpiercefan3334
I'm Fasih Ahsan, your new Judge # 3, and I just posted my decision on Facebook. This was a pretty good debate. Good luck to the both of you.
Posted by Vi_Veri 8 years ago
Vi_Veri
Joking, Derek. Bring up whoever you want.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
I'm not allowed to mention Hitler then?
One could argue that the Soviet's also had something akin to a religious symbol in the hammer and sickle.
Of course, I might then look as though I were being ironic about Astrosfan's icon. ;-)
Posted by Vi_Veri 8 years ago
Vi_Veri
Shall I bring up Godwin's law, Derek.Gunn?

Reductio ad Hitlerum ;)
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
I recall the Swastika was regarded by Hitler as a religious symbol.
He was going to replace Christianity with his own religion.

I wonder how people would feel about having that religious symbol about?

;-)
Posted by Vi_Veri 8 years ago
Vi_Veri
"alls he says is that is no point while presenting"

Pro. I'm a she.
Posted by Vi_Veri 8 years ago
Vi_Veri
"one someone raises a court concern" should be "when someone..."
Posted by Vi_Veri 9 years ago
Vi_Veri
Not a problem, astrosfan :) School comes first.
Posted by astrosfan 9 years ago
astrosfan
sorry i took so long to post but i had school work, but now i'm done with it and i will post arguments faster
Posted by Vi_Veri 9 years ago
Vi_Veri
"hinder the immensely"

hinder them* immensely
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