The US government should be secular.
I argue pro, opponent argues con.
1st round: Acceptance
2nd round: Arguments
3rd round: Rebuttal and Conclusion
I accept, awaiting argument.
The Founding Fathers meant for US government to be secular
After winning the revolutionary war against Britain, the founding fathers had a close look at a government with close ties between church and state. Because of rising conflicts in Europe due to religious differences, the founders wanted a government with "separation of church and state." This is why they made the law of the land (the constitution) completely secular. Not only did the founders omit mentioning any deity, including Jesus, but they also included the first amendment. This states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of a religion..."(http://www.archives.gov...)
All religious references were omitted in currency as well. "In god we trust" was added to coins in 1864 and paper currency in 1957. This change was clearly unconstitutional, but that is a separate debate.
And finally, the Treaty of Tripoli clears this issue up the best. It states, "As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion..." The founding fathers created this to be as clear as possible.
Some may argue that there are religious references in the Declaration of Independence. However, the Declaration of Independence does not represent any law of the United States. It was written before the founders created the law of our land (the constitution).
Thank you Pro for this debate. I chose it specifically for the definition of ‘secular’ you proposed to be used for this debate; “not spiritual, of or relating to the physical world and not the spiritual world.”
By initiating the debate and proposing the terms it is implied that your arguments will be in accordance with the premise (your proposed definition of ‘secular’)
Thus it should be safe for me and spectators to read your debate topic as “The US Government should NOT have a sense of spirit, to not be spiritual, to pertain to and relate only to the physical world and not the spiritual world.” And expect your arguments to back up that contention.
You’re arguments do not, I find them irrelevant. You’re arguments specifically and obviously are addressing the matter of state religions, and whether or not it was what our founding fathers intended, and what seems to work best in other countries.
That is a separate matter altogether from “The US Government should NOT be spiritual, to pertain to and relate only to the physical world and not the spiritual world.”
I think what you failed to consider is that religion and spirituality are not synonymous. It is VERY obvious that the founding fathers didn’t want the laws of the land to be subjected to, or influenced by, religious dogma. Hence the separation of church and state, if that was your debate I would have picked the same side you did.
But you clearly addressed in round 1 this debate was going to be about spirit, not religion. (In that regard the US Government already is secular, we don’t have state church governments)
Now that is cleared up let me argue the United States was founded on a DEEP sense of spirit. I read that you omit the Declaration of Independence, that’s fine; the Preamble in the Constitution should suffice.
”We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish
Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the
general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do
ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. “
‘..perfect Union..’ ‘..establish Justice..’ ‘..insure...Tranquility..’ ‘…welfare..’ ‘..Blessings..’ ‘…Liberty..’
Those are spiritual matters; they do not pertain to anything material, if they did the founding fathers would have stayed in Britain, but they left out of spiritual destitution, they specifically say why they left:
“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security” –
That is an incredible spiritually powerful assertion, their spirit and heart told them something was wrong, and they were in a position to do something about it, and felt obligated to perform it (risking life, chancing death) out of a sense of duty for them, and for us (future security).
In this essence the founding fathers were indeed spiritual warriors, it’s a bit exotic I admit, but true nonetheless.
So my argument rests: The United States, it’s people and government, should absolutely without a doubt be spiritual, and have a sense of spirit, and to not blindly consider matters that pertain strictly only to the physical world – that’s how slaves are made.
My opponent's argument claims that spirituality and religion are two separate matters. However, by definition, spirituality and religion are nearly synonymous.
Spiritual- of or relating to religion or religious beliefs.
Using the correct definition of spiritual (relating to religion), my opponent then makes several points that support my opinion... Separation of church and state keeps the US government from becoming non secular.
My opponent then argues that "perfect union, establish Justice, insure Tranquility, welfare, blessings, and liberty" are all spiritual (relating to religion) references.
Perfect- having no mistakes or flaws.
Union- an act of joining two or more things together.
Establish- to cause something to be widely known and accepted
Justice- the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals.
Insure- to buy insurance for.
Tranquil- unvarying in aspect.
Welfare- the state of being happy, healthy, or successful
Blessings- approval that allows or helps you to do something.
Liberty- a political right.
As you can see above, none of these have spiritual (relating to religion) references.
I apologize for spewing definitions at you, but my opponent's arguments can be dispelled by simply looking up the meaning of misunderstood words/phrases.
I have provided many facts, statistics, and sources that prove that the government should be secular. I also have proved that secular means not-involving religion or the spiritual world, therefore proving my opponent's initial arguments incorrect.
My opponent is suggesting that we accept to consider two words that are nearly synonymyous to be actually synonymous.
This is logically absurd, kool-aid is almost the same as water, i mean it's close, but if i promised you kool-aid, and then gave you water - you'd feel robbed, especially if I want on to say "Hey, it's almost the same thing, which is the same as theres no difference!"
I'm not even going to extrapolate further that spiritual is not synonymous with religious (because it's not), that's not what this debate was supposed to be about. It was supposed to be about Government should be X (secular), and he gave a STRICT definition for X=not spiritual. So it should have been perfectly valid and fair for me to interpret his argument as "Government should not be spiritual" And I made my argument accordingly.
Then he goes on to refine spiritual to meet his own end by focusing solely on one interpretation of it listed in the dictionary, this is called a semantic drift.
My point was clear and logically valid and that was my only agenda.
His agenda on the other hand was obviously to denounce and attack religion the whole time, he should have made that his point from the beginning. (it took ME to bring up the word religion, read my argument in round 2)
Now the debate is moot and he still wants a vote!, which means if you feel inclined to vote for him then do so, it's only insulting to his own intelligence and yours, I didn't want a victory, i wanted a logical debate, if it takes me to lose this in order to remain logical, than so be it!
Oh and by the way, his definitions to the words in the preamble I pointed out, are correct, and they still are in align with my point, because none of those definitions pertain to anything material, which was my point from the beginning, which was only fair of me to assume because HE is the one who proposed a definition of secular.
If he wanted to talk religion, he should have said so. Religious people can be extrememly unscrupulous, evil and non spiritual. Spiritual people can be sages and amazing humans beings, and not necessarily religious.
Yet he wants us to treat them interchangeably.
I argue this debate is moot.
Discern of this as you will, but it's wiser we all just walk away.