The Instigator
Zanejakobs
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
hutt4life
Con (against)
Winning
1 Points

The first amendment should be expanded to further remove religion from government

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
hutt4life
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/23/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 404 times Debate No: 78972
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

Zanejakobs

Pro

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." This is the text of the first amendment to the United States' constitution. However, recently, the separation of church and state, one of the fundamental building blocks of our nation, has been blurred. Many politicians in the House of Representatives and the Senate have tried, and in some cases succeeded, in passing legislation that supports religious principles. For example, during the recent Supreme Court case, where bans on gay marriage were declared to be unconstitutional, the primary argument against gay marriage was religious. People argued that gays shouldn't be allowed to marry because in the certain interpretations of the Christian bible, being gay is considered a sin. Also, this problem has reared its ugly head in debates on global warming. Certain politicians have argued that since in the Christian bible, the Christian God gives man (extended to mean all humans) domain of the earth to do with it as they desire. Even presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is running on making America a more Christian country, stating that our founding fathers founded the USA as a Christian nation. In reality, they strongly rejected such a notion, as stated in article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli, a treaty signed in the late 1700s, which reads as follows: "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion..." The rest of the article has been omitted, as it is relevant to the treaty of Tripoli, which was signed by the USA and certain pirates. The whole treaty can be found here: http://avalon.law.yale.edu...
My argument is that the first amendment should be expanded to disallow any religious argument from being used to support or oppose any United States legislation. While by no means the prefect amendment, an example of the extension to the amendment could be something along the lines of: "Being that there exists a separation of church and State, Congress shall make no law based with in and of religion."
hutt4life

Con

I'd like to begin by saying that I do not consider myself to be, by any extent of the imagination, a religious nut. I have my personal faith, but I am one of the moderate (some of the more cynical amongst you might call me "cherry picking", which is rather silly because religion, in and of itself is an interpretation) Catholics, one who believes in the right of personal choice and freedom to live in any way you choose, as long as it doesn't harm or infringe on those same liberties of another.

The reason I chose to accept the negative side in this debate, given my previous explanation, is because while I believe in the freedom of choice liberated from the constraints of societal dogma (or in this case, religious dogma), I also firmly believe in the right to choose the exact opposite - the right to impose restrictions on oneself, to believe in what one wishes, and to advocate for those desires as one sees fit. For when we start to say "You can't advocate for something in X way" or "You can't advocate for Y", we take the first step towards sacrificing our freedoms altogether. If we take your argument in a more general perspective, you're essentially saying "I don't agree with you. Thus, you should be removed from voicing your opinion." This is a rather selfish and egotistical way of trying to prove a point.

Now, you're probably going to want to point out that if religious dogma would restrict the freedoms of, for example, homosexuals, then shouldn't religious dogma be denied? You're absolutely right. I have no compunction with specific applications of why religion contradicts the freedoms of others, and should therefore be removed from that facet of government or public life. My objection lies with your blanket rejection of religion by nature of it being religion. To make an amendment saying you cannot use ANY part of ANY religion to JUSTIFY an argument is totalitarian in nature, and is not necessary.

Instead, it seems more reasonable to create or modify an amendment to limit the extent of influence of ANY ideological thinking (religious or philosophical) to the point at which it interferes with the freedoms of others. This would get the best of both worlds, because while it would disallow people from trying to say gay marriage is bad because God condemns it, since clearly that would limit the freedom of others, but it would also prevent people from making the (absurd) logical chain that "God condemns murder. You have a law that says I can't murder. Therefore clearly you're using religious laws to back up your law, so I can ignore it." or something like "Well I personally believe murder is ok, so you saying murder is bad violates my beliefs", because murder would violate the freedoms of the people who are affected by it (a.k.a. the person who is murdered).

I hope you can see the nuance in my argument; it is not saying that religious arguments are true or should be followed verbatim, but rather that a complete ban on any argument with any tenuous link to religion is both nonsensical and uneccessary, and my proposed compromise of a limitation of ideological laws to personal freedom, rather than limiting others freedom, is a much more clean and effective solution.

I look forward to hearing your response, and encourage you to spend some time reading my argument (not because I don't think you will understand it, but because I was forced to use rather long and complicated sentence structures, which makes it irritating to read, and for that I apologize).
Debate Round No. 1
Zanejakobs

Pro

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." This is the text of the first amendment to the United States' constitution. However, recently, the separation of church and state, one of the fundamental building blocks of our nation, has been blurred. Many politicians in the House of Representatives and the Senate have tried, and in some cases succeeded, in passing legislation that supports religious principles. For example, during the recent Supreme Court case, where bans on gay marriage were declared to be unconstitutional, the primary argument against gay marriage was religious. People argued that gays shouldn't be allowed to marry because in the certain interpretations of the Christian bible, being gay is considered a sin. Also, this problem has reared its ugly head in debates on global warming. Certain politicians have argued that since in the Christian bible, the Christian God gives man (extended to mean all humans) domain of the earth to do with it as they desire. Even presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is running on making America a more Christian country, stating that our founding fathers founded the USA as a Christian nation. In reality, they strongly rejected such a notion, as stated in article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli, a treaty signed in the late 1700s, which reads as follows: "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion..." The rest of the article has been omitted, as it is relevant to the treaty of Tripoli, which was signed by the USA and certain pirates. The whole treaty can be found here: http://avalon.law.yale.edu...
My argument is that the first amendment should be expanded to disallow any religious argument from being used to support or oppose any United States legislation. While by no means the prefect amendment, an example of the extension to the amendment could be something along the lines of: "Being that there exists a separation of church and State, Congress shall make no law based with in and of religion."

First off, I'd like to begin my rebuttal by telling you that I am new to Debate .org, and I'm sorry if I accidentally repost my first round argument. Now, onto the debate.

Having read your argument, I think we actually are not far from identifying the common issue. I'm not saying that any law with any link to religion is wrong; far from it. I'm only saying that no law should be able to be passed with religion as the central tenet. For example, let's go back to the climate change argument I used in round one. To expand on it, we'll pretend that a bill is to be introduced to the House of Representatives that would make it illegal for states to use cap-and-trade bills. For context, cap-and-trade bills place a cap on, in this case, carbon emissions, that a company must abide by. Each company is given a certain amount of Carbon Credits based on company size, each of which allow a certain amount of pollution. However, if the company doesn't use all its credits, it can sell them to companies that need more credits to keep up with their pollution levels. Now, as long as the legislators have any good reason behind the law, for example they may believe that such bills harm the economy, my proposed amendment wouldn't apply here. Just because the Christian Bible says that God has given people dominion over the earth doesn't mean that the legislators are using that as the reason to push the bill through. However, if they did use that as their reason, the law would then be unconstitutional. So to generalize, as long as there is any rational reason that is not by its very nature religious, then I have no problem with it.

Now to address the fourth paragraph of your Round One argument. In the first sentence, you say it would be more reasonable to limit any ideological thinking in law when it would interfere with others' freedoms. Here, I don't disagree; however, much like the first amendment there would need to be limitations. Nobody should be able to say that since their religion supports murder, they should be allowed to murder people. That's absurd.

Moving on, the rest of your fourth paragraph, while reasonable on the surface, is really not relevant to the debate. As I said in the first part of my rebuttal, there is a rational reason (actually many reasons) that murder should be a crime. Just because some religions happen to think murder is a bad thing doesn't mean that religion is the only argument against murder.

So in conclusion, I'm not saying that since I don't agree with certain religions, that they should be removed or silenced. Just as it is my right to say that there is no god, it is just as equally your right to say that there is a god, and this is his/her/its word. But that doesn't mean that laws can be passed in a secular nation based on a certain religion without a good non-religious based reason.
hutt4life

Con

Since we both clearly agree on the fundamental issues (that freedom is a good thing, and that the limitations of freedom are to the extent that it would interfere with another's exercise of freedom), it seems the debate can be boiled down to one simple question: is the total excising of religion from any facet of government a neccessary precondition to a liberty-inducing government? Your essentially only response to my points is that there are other, non-religious justifications for something, which means that even if a person supports it religiously, it can be justified from other angles as well. And that is exactly my point. You claim that people reject gay marriage on the basis of religion, but there are non-religious arguments against it as well. I've read secular "studies" (I put it in air quotes because they all have serious flaws with them) that claim gay parents are poorer than straight ones. While not credible, these demonstrate the point that simply because something is supported by religious arguments, does not make it unreasonable.

Heres where you're changing up your points a bit. Your initial argument says, and I quote, "Congress shall make no law based with in and of religion." Now, this implies that they cannot make any law with reference to any belief system. Now, heres where it gets a little tricky, and heres why, irrespective of everything else thats been said, you should reconsider your argument.

We're talking about religion from the perspective of "I think there is a god" to "I don't think there is a god". But how about whats in between? There are reigious facets that exist independent of a deity (Thou shalt not murder, to give an example), which are more philosophical in nature. Am I not allowed to make a justification because of you might have a different ethical philosophy than me? That seems rather absurd, and goes back to the point that you failed to answer, which is that when we begin to limit how we justify things, we take one more step closer to simply saying "You cannot disagree with me".

The question at the end of the debate is NOT whether laws must be made of religious principles or not. Rather, its whether people have the FREEDOM of choice to ARGUE that their religion should be supported. The answer is, and should always be, yes. Whether they are correct in saying that their religion should be followed, is obviously up for debate. But everyone should be permitted to enter the debate however they choose to - whether its through religion, through philosophy, or through pure self reflection.

The congress mandates the separation of church and state - and that is enough. If people make religious arguments, let them! They will, and should be, shut down, like they are in most cases. Are some religious arguments going to pass? Yes! Is that right? No! But will amending the constitution change it? Absolutely not! The constitution STRICTLY forbids it already, yet people are doing it. What makes you think changing the wording now will change anything?

The point I'm trying to make is that in your world, based on your own arguments that I quoted, people wouldn't even be allowed to justify arguments from a religious perspective. In my world, people would be allowed to justify them, even if we then rejected those arguments. The two worlds in this debate are NOT whether one side has a religious government and the other does not, but RATHER it is whether people are allowed to MAKE the arguments they wish to, IRRESPECTIVE of their "correctness". And if we both agree that freedom is valuable, then people should be free to make the arguments they want (again, NOT saying that their arguments are correct or that they should be followed, but rather that they should be ALLOWED to make them).

You say you agree with a lot of what I was saying, but if you truly do agree with the idea that people actually have freedom, and can express themselves, then you must concede that the negative is correct in this issue.

Debate Round No. 2
Zanejakobs

Pro

Zanejakobs forfeited this round.
hutt4life

Con

Given that my opponent has conceded, there really is no other option but to vote for me. To clarify my position one final time, the con is NOT saying that we should make religious laws. the con IS saying that we cannot restrict the right to make arguments - that doesn't mean we have to follow it. You are free to use whatever justifications you want to try and get a law passed - that doesnt mean we SHOULD pass the law. The distinction is clear - in both worlds, we wouldnt have religious laws, but in the pro world, we restrict freedom of speech, while in the con world, people are free to argue their positions how they want. At the end of the day, the con world is more preferable.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Zanejakobs 1 year ago
Zanejakobs
Thanks for accepting, hutt4life! I've read your argument, and am posting my rebuttal now. You have a good argument, and I'll do my best against you--seems like we should have a good debate here!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 1 year ago
dsjpk5
Zanejakobshutt4lifeTied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro ff a round, so conduct to Con.