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Scalia undermines full Religious Neutrality

bsh1
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1/3/2016 3:09:58 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
According to Scalia, in a recent speech he gave, the government must treat all religious denominations the same, but that is can favor religion over non-religion. Thoughts? Reactions?

[http://news.yahoo.com...]
Live Long and Prosper

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"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

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YYW
Posts: 36,243
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1/3/2016 3:30:08 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 3:09:58 AM, bsh1 wrote:
According to Scalia, in a recent speech he gave, the government must treat all religious denominations the same, but that is can favor religion over non-religion. Thoughts? Reactions?

[http://news.yahoo.com...]

Many atheists argue that the establishment and free exercise clause necessitates that the government purge itself of any religious anything. This is wrong.

It's really as simple as this:

1. No state religion.
2. The government can't prevent people from worshiping according to their beliefs, within reason.

So, the Government can't say "We like Methodists. Methodist Christianity is the religion of America. Oh, and we have issued these decrees of theological truth. Abide by them, or else."

But the government can say "In God We Trust." on the money.
Fly
Posts: 2,042
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1/3/2016 3:39:15 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 3:09:58 AM, bsh1 wrote:
According to Scalia, in a recent speech he gave, the government must treat all religious denominations the same, but that is can favor religion over non-religion. Thoughts? Reactions?

[http://news.yahoo.com...]

Scalia never ceases to amaze, and not in a good way.

If the US government must treat all religions the same, it is doing a pretty poor job of it so far. One just needs to look at the official religious holidays on a calendar to see the major imbalance. Or take a look at the military chaplain program. To be fair, it would be virtually impossible to treat all religions the same unless one ignores them all equally. There are simply too many varieties for them to get equal and fair attention.

If he gave any analysis of the Establishment Clause or the principles of secular government, the article failed to reflect it. I think this is merely a case of Scalia pandering to his audience and gushing his personal views without any fear of legal blowback. What he opines in some speech has no legally binding aspect to it. I have observed that Scalia will speak out of his wazoo for the speech circuit in a way he never would in a court opinion-- and that is saying something.
"You don't have a right to be a jerk."
--Religion Forum's hypocrite extraordinaire serving up lulz
stealspell
Posts: 980
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1/3/2016 3:59:28 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 3:30:08 AM, YYW wrote:
At 1/3/2016 3:09:58 AM, bsh1 wrote:
According to Scalia, in a recent speech he gave, the government must treat all religious denominations the same, but that is can favor religion over non-religion. Thoughts? Reactions?

[http://news.yahoo.com...]

Many atheists argue that the establishment and free exercise clause necessitates that the government purge itself of any religious anything. This is wrong.

It's really as simple as this:

1. No state religion.
2. The government can't prevent people from worshiping according to their beliefs, within reason.

So, the Government can't say "We like Methodists. Methodist Christianity is the religion of America. Oh, and we have issued these decrees of theological truth. Abide by them, or else."

But the government can say "In God We Trust." on the money.

While "In God We Trust" isn't endorsing a specific religion, it is endorsing a kind of religious belief: monotheism. Therefore, the phrase is unconstitutional.
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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1/3/2016 4:00:04 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 3:09:58 AM, bsh1 wrote:
According to Scalia, in a recent speech he gave, the government must treat all religious denominations the same, but that is can favor religion over non-religion. Thoughts? Reactions?

[http://news.yahoo.com...]

I once had to read and analyze a majority opinion he authored, and despite my disagreement with his ideology in general, thought his 'plain-meaning' jurisprudence, as it was described to me, made sense ...that he had such an intelligent and consistent way of thinking. And many of his talks and appearances had confirmed that impression -- he's a very witty and charming speaker.

But then every once in a while comments such as these pop up, I'm reminded of the sheer extremity of his ideology and I just don't know what to think any more. It's as if dwelling underneath his stream of thought is a latent senility that just occasionally protrudes to the surface in sudden and violent mental paroxysms.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
bsh1
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1/3/2016 4:05:35 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 3:30:08 AM, YYW wrote:
But the government can say "In God We Trust." on the money.

Can the government discriminate against atheists?
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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YYW
Posts: 36,243
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1/3/2016 4:21:57 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 4:05:35 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 1/3/2016 3:30:08 AM, YYW wrote:
But the government can say "In God We Trust." on the money.

Can the government discriminate against atheists?

That's a really vague question, and it depends on what you mean by "discriminate." Can the government impose facially neutral laws that subject atheists to the same standards as religious people? Yes. Can the government throw people in jail *because* they are atheists? No.

You've got to be more specific when you're asking a question, though, especially like that, because the term "discriminate" is just so broad.
YYW
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1/3/2016 4:24:35 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 3:59:28 AM, stealspell wrote:
At 1/3/2016 3:30:08 AM, YYW wrote:
At 1/3/2016 3:09:58 AM, bsh1 wrote:
According to Scalia, in a recent speech he gave, the government must treat all religious denominations the same, but that is can favor religion over non-religion. Thoughts? Reactions?

[http://news.yahoo.com...]

Many atheists argue that the establishment and free exercise clause necessitates that the government purge itself of any religious anything. This is wrong.

It's really as simple as this:

1. No state religion.
2. The government can't prevent people from worshiping according to their beliefs, within reason.

So, the Government can't say "We like Methodists. Methodist Christianity is the religion of America. Oh, and we have issued these decrees of theological truth. Abide by them, or else."

But the government can say "In God We Trust." on the money.

While "In God We Trust" isn't endorsing a specific religion, it is endorsing a kind of religious belief: monotheism. Therefore, the phrase is unconstitutional.

That argument's been tested, and consistently rejected by courts.

Aside from being plainly stupid, there is a difference between endorsing "kinds" of religions, and "religions themselves." (The former is broader than the latter, and the 1st amendment applies only to the latter.)
bsh1
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1/3/2016 4:26:01 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 4:21:57 AM, YYW wrote:
At 1/3/2016 4:05:35 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 1/3/2016 3:30:08 AM, YYW wrote:
But the government can say "In God We Trust." on the money.

Can the government discriminate against atheists?

That's a really vague question, and it depends on what you mean by "discriminate." Can the government impose facially neutral laws that subject atheists to the same standards as religious people? Yes. Can the government throw people in jail *because* they are atheists? No.

You've got to be more specific when you're asking a question, though, especially like that, because the term "discriminate" is just so broad.

I think that the point of my question is fairly clear, and I think the above is just a lot of equivocating. But, to clarify, can the government discriminate against atheists any more than it could do re: a religious group?
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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YYW
Posts: 36,243
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1/3/2016 4:29:39 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 3:39:15 AM, Fly wrote:
At 1/3/2016 3:09:58 AM, bsh1 wrote:
According to Scalia, in a recent speech he gave, the government must treat all religious denominations the same, but that is can favor religion over non-religion. Thoughts? Reactions?

[http://news.yahoo.com...]

Scalia never ceases to amaze, and not in a good way.

If the US government must treat all religions the same, it is doing a pretty poor job of it so far.

The point is that the government may not restrict any one religion more than another; but the government can restrict some religious acts (e.g. sacrificing animals, taking illegal drugs, honor killings, etc.). So, you're already missing the point of what Scalia was saying.

One just needs to look at the official religious holidays on a calendar to see the major imbalance.

There is no requirement that all holidays be observed, or that none be observed. There are plenty of Atheists who celebrate Christmas, as well... meaning that Christmas, for example, (an initially Christian holiday) has cultural significance beyond its religious origins. If it's your proposal that the US must purge itself of all things which are derived of religious origin, then we're going to have to redo the calendar, abandon like every Western name ever, abolish the institution of marriage, abolish banking, abolish like nearly every farming practice, etc. I mean the list just goes on and on, which is why arguments which ring to the general tune that "freedom of religion means freedom from religion" generally tend to be disregarded even by the most left-wing judges.
YYW
Posts: 36,243
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1/3/2016 4:31:33 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 4:26:01 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 1/3/2016 4:21:57 AM, YYW wrote:
At 1/3/2016 4:05:35 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 1/3/2016 3:30:08 AM, YYW wrote:
But the government can say "In God We Trust." on the money.

Can the government discriminate against atheists?

That's a really vague question, and it depends on what you mean by "discriminate." Can the government impose facially neutral laws that subject atheists to the same standards as religious people? Yes. Can the government throw people in jail *because* they are atheists? No.

You've got to be more specific when you're asking a question, though, especially like that, because the term "discriminate" is just so broad.

I think that the point of my question is fairly clear, and I think the above is just a lot of equivocating.

Would you let me to explain why you're wrong?

But, to clarify, can the government discriminate against atheists any more than it could do re: a religious group?

Again, it depends on what you mean by "discriminate."
bsh1
Posts: 27,503
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1/3/2016 4:32:54 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 4:31:33 AM, YYW wrote:
At 1/3/2016 4:26:01 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 1/3/2016 4:21:57 AM, YYW wrote:
At 1/3/2016 4:05:35 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 1/3/2016 3:30:08 AM, YYW wrote:
But the government can say "In God We Trust." on the money.

Can the government discriminate against atheists?

That's a really vague question, and it depends on what you mean by "discriminate." Can the government impose facially neutral laws that subject atheists to the same standards as religious people? Yes. Can the government throw people in jail *because* they are atheists? No.

You've got to be more specific when you're asking a question, though, especially like that, because the term "discriminate" is just so broad.

I think that the point of my question is fairly clear, and I think the above is just a lot of equivocating.

Would you let me to explain why you're wrong?

Not really. I am not really interested in continuing the discussion.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
TBR
Posts: 9,991
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1/3/2016 4:44:42 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 3:30:08 AM, YYW wrote:
At 1/3/2016 3:09:58 AM, bsh1 wrote:
According to Scalia, in a recent speech he gave, the government must treat all religious denominations the same, but that is can favor religion over non-religion. Thoughts? Reactions?

[http://news.yahoo.com...]

Many atheists argue that the establishment and free exercise clause necessitates that the government purge itself of any religious anything. This is wrong.

It's really as simple as this:

1. No state religion.
2. The government can't prevent people from worshiping according to their beliefs, within reason.

So, the Government can't say "We like Methodists. Methodist Christianity is the religion of America. Oh, and we have issued these decrees of theological truth. Abide by them, or else."

But the government can say "In God We Trust." on the money.

There is also nothing saying it must favor religiosity. The constitution limits the scope, but makes no mention of promulgating anything.
YYW
Posts: 36,243
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1/3/2016 4:48:47 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 4:45:53 AM, TBR wrote:
In other words "can favor" is not a good argument for "should favor"

You're talking about a different issue. The OP is wrong because it conflates religious neutrality with religious abstention. Neutrality is not abstention, and atheism is not a religion so it's kind of absurd for atheists to be concerned about "religious discrimination." You can't be forced to worship, sure, but no one is going to force you to worship. At the same time, you're not being forced to subscribe to religious beliefs incongruent with yours by, for example, references to God on the money, because you don't have religious beliefs.
TBR
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1/3/2016 5:00:13 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 4:48:47 AM, YYW wrote:
At 1/3/2016 4:45:53 AM, TBR wrote:
In other words "can favor" is not a good argument for "should favor"

You're talking about a different issue. The OP is wrong because it conflates religious neutrality with religious abstention. Neutrality is not abstention, and atheism is not a religion so it's kind of absurd for atheists to be concerned about "religious discrimination." You can't be forced to worship, sure, but no one is going to force you to worship. At the same time, you're not being forced to subscribe to religious beliefs incongruent with yours by, for example, references to God on the money, because you don't have religious beliefs.

I don't disagree.

Several random thoughts on the subject.

It bugs me from time to time that "in God we trust is on money. Like say, when I was 16, and again at 23. Being an atheists, a very small minority, it is tough some times, and it makes sense to lash out a bit. However, this is our money. It has impact on the world. It is American advertising. Let me explain a bit further by way of an anecdote.

My step-bother has passed the 100 countries mark in his travels. He spends time in countries I would rather piss on, but... Whatever. Point is, he says that he has spend American dollars in every country he has visited. He told me a story of giving a boat guy in Indonesia (I think) American dollars. He smiled, and took it without hesitation.

Now, if we took our cue from New Hampshire, and had "Live Free or Die" on our money, it would be a real statement! It would be something all Americans would love to think they stand for (if they do or not). On a side rambling note, I think NH just got the request messed-up. They were asked for a motto, and everyone showed-up with nice stuff, they had this slip of paper with "LIVE FREE OR DIE!". It might have even had "MOTHER FU*KERS!", and they scratched it out, but now I digress. Where was I?
YYW
Posts: 36,243
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1/3/2016 5:03:54 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 5:00:13 AM, TBR wrote:
At 1/3/2016 4:48:47 AM, YYW wrote:
At 1/3/2016 4:45:53 AM, TBR wrote:
In other words "can favor" is not a good argument for "should favor"

You're talking about a different issue. The OP is wrong because it conflates religious neutrality with religious abstention. Neutrality is not abstention, and atheism is not a religion so it's kind of absurd for atheists to be concerned about "religious discrimination." You can't be forced to worship, sure, but no one is going to force you to worship. At the same time, you're not being forced to subscribe to religious beliefs incongruent with yours by, for example, references to God on the money, because you don't have religious beliefs.

I don't disagree.

Several random thoughts on the subject.

It bugs me from time to time that "in God we trust is on money. Like say, when I was 16, and again at 23. Being an atheists, a very small minority, it is tough some times, and it makes sense to lash out a bit. However, this is our money. It has impact on the world. It is American advertising. Let me explain a bit further by way of an anecdote.

My step-bother has passed the 100 countries mark in his travels. He spends time in countries I would rather piss on, but... Whatever. Point is, he says that he has spend American dollars in every country he has visited. He told me a story of giving a boat guy in Indonesia (I think) American dollars. He smiled, and took it without hesitation.

Now, if we took our cue from New Hampshire, and had "Live Free or Die" on our money, it would be a real statement! It would be something all Americans would love to think they stand for (if they do or not). On a side rambling note, I think NH just got the request messed-up. They were asked for a motto, and everyone showed-up with nice stuff, they had this slip of paper with "LIVE FREE OR DIE!". It might have even had "MOTHER FU*KERS!", and they scratched it out, but now I digress. Where was I?

I would be ok with "Live free or die." but I also have no problem with "In God We Trust." either... nor should atheists.

Your god is whatever you worship. Maybe you worship power. Maybe you worship money, sex or drugs. Maybe you worship the country, or the culture, or secular ideals.

This I'm sure seems like semantics, but your god is nothing more than what you submit to, and every man submits to something.
TBR
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1/3/2016 5:10:47 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 5:03:54 AM, YYW wrote:
At 1/3/2016 5:00:13 AM, TBR wrote:
At 1/3/2016 4:48:47 AM, YYW wrote:
At 1/3/2016 4:45:53 AM, TBR wrote:
In other words "can favor" is not a good argument for "should favor"

You're talking about a different issue. The OP is wrong because it conflates religious neutrality with religious abstention. Neutrality is not abstention, and atheism is not a religion so it's kind of absurd for atheists to be concerned about "religious discrimination." You can't be forced to worship, sure, but no one is going to force you to worship. At the same time, you're not being forced to subscribe to religious beliefs incongruent with yours by, for example, references to God on the money, because you don't have religious beliefs.

I don't disagree.

Several random thoughts on the subject.

It bugs me from time to time that "in God we trust is on money. Like say, when I was 16, and again at 23. Being an atheists, a very small minority, it is tough some times, and it makes sense to lash out a bit. However, this is our money. It has impact on the world. It is American advertising. Let me explain a bit further by way of an anecdote.

My step-bother has passed the 100 countries mark in his travels. He spends time in countries I would rather piss on, but... Whatever. Point is, he says that he has spend American dollars in every country he has visited. He told me a story of giving a boat guy in Indonesia (I think) American dollars. He smiled, and took it without hesitation.

Now, if we took our cue from New Hampshire, and had "Live Free or Die" on our money, it would be a real statement! It would be something all Americans would love to think they stand for (if they do or not). On a side rambling note, I think NH just got the request messed-up. They were asked for a motto, and everyone showed-up with nice stuff, they had this slip of paper with "LIVE FREE OR DIE!". It might have even had "MOTHER FU*KERS!", and they scratched it out, but now I digress. Where was I?

I would be ok with "Live free or die." but I also have no problem with "In God We Trust." either... nor should atheists.

Your god is whatever you worship. Maybe you worship power. Maybe you worship money, sex or drugs. Maybe you worship the country, or the culture, or secular ideals.

This I'm sure seems like semantics, but your god is nothing more than what you submit to, and every man submits to something.

God, in the normal usage, has special meaning, otherwise we would say "In whatever higher power you personally think is important - we trust" on our bills, but that wouldn't be very pithy, and would fu*k with the size of wallets. "Live free or die" would be some bada$$ American in your face stuff though.
stealspell
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1/3/2016 6:20:45 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 4:24:35 AM, YYW wrote:
At 1/3/2016 3:59:28 AM, stealspell wrote:
At 1/3/2016 3:30:08 AM, YYW wrote:
At 1/3/2016 3:09:58 AM, bsh1 wrote:
According to Scalia, in a recent speech he gave, the government must treat all religious denominations the same, but that is can favor religion over non-religion. Thoughts? Reactions?

[http://news.yahoo.com...]

Many atheists argue that the establishment and free exercise clause necessitates that the government purge itself of any religious anything. This is wrong.

It's really as simple as this:

1. No state religion.
2. The government can't prevent people from worshiping according to their beliefs, within reason.

So, the Government can't say "We like Methodists. Methodist Christianity is the religion of America. Oh, and we have issued these decrees of theological truth. Abide by them, or else."

But the government can say "In God We Trust." on the money.

While "In God We Trust" isn't endorsing a specific religion, it is endorsing a kind of religious belief: monotheism. Therefore, the phrase is unconstitutional.

That argument's been tested, and consistently rejected by courts.

Which cases are you referring to?

Aside from being plainly stupid, there is a difference between endorsing "kinds" of religions, and "religions themselves." (The former is broader than the latter, and the 1st amendment applies only to the latter.)

What exactly is plainly stupid about it? There are non-monotheistic religions. Secondly, and most importantly, many Christians actually use the phrase "In God We Trust" as evidence of the "fact" that the US is a Christian nation, which is most certainly isn't. It's a pretty ludicrous thing to have on money anyway. Frankly, I think Jesus would find it offensive since, you know, he said "Go, sell whatever you own, give to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven" Pretty much a big middle finger to Jesus, if you think about it.
tejretics
Posts: 6,080
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1/3/2016 10:57:52 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
@YYW

I don't understand what your position is. Should a government be able to favor a religious person over an atheist only because the former is religious (and for no other reason)?
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
tejretics
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1/3/2016 10:58:56 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 4:48:47 AM, YYW wrote:
At 1/3/2016 4:45:53 AM, TBR wrote:
In other words "can favor" is not a good argument for "should favor"

You're talking about a different issue. The OP is wrong because it conflates religious neutrality with religious abstention. Neutrality is not abstention, and atheism is not a religion so it's kind of absurd for atheists to be concerned about "religious discrimination." You can't be forced to worship, sure, but no one is going to force you to worship. At the same time, you're not being forced to subscribe to religious beliefs incongruent with yours by, for example, references to God on the money, because you don't have religious beliefs.

But doesn't that mean you're forced to subscribe to a religious belief you lack? (Not necessarily the references to God on money, just the general point.)
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
tejretics
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1/3/2016 11:01:54 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
The government shouldn't favor religion over non-religion, unless the point is really irrelevant (for instance, the reference to God in money isn't really something that needs to be stopped, since it doesn't pose any actual harm). Preferably it should abstain from matters of religion if they aren't required to maximize benefit to the whole population.

YYW, I agree that atheism isn't a religious group, but the government should abstain from belief systems because they're irrelevant to legislation.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
YYW
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1/3/2016 2:50:54 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 11:01:54 AM, tejretics wrote:
The government shouldn't favor religion over non-religion, unless the point is really irrelevant (for instance, the reference to God in money isn't really something that needs to be stopped, since it doesn't pose any actual harm). Preferably it should abstain from matters of religion if they aren't required to maximize benefit to the whole population.

YYW, I agree that atheism isn't a religious group, but the government should abstain from belief systems because they're irrelevant to legislation.

People are overreacting to what Scalia said, which, really, isn't that surprising coming from him. No one is saying that atheists should be marginalized, not even Scalia. No one is saying that atheists are going to be discriminated against.

The problem is that there are a whole lot of atheists out there who cry foul at things like references to God on the money, which serve to highlight the ridiculousness of the "freedom from religion" movement.
YYW
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1/3/2016 2:58:01 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
The bigger picture here is this:

Scalia's point was that the government doesn't have to treat Atheism with the same level of seriousness that it treats religion, because (obviously) the absence of religious beliefs does not imply religious beliefs which warrant constitutional protection.

People who are aghast at Scalia's statement should bear that in mind, and what he said is correct. It's not "ideological." It's a textual interpretation of the first amendment, and the correct one.

A whole bunch of people have certain ideas that the first amendment means that the government has to be "religiously neutral" where "neutrality" means "abrogating all references to religious anything." This is mainly what Scalia was speaking about, and he was --correctly-- highlighting that view's absurdity, because, as Scalia correctly indicated, that view has no support in the United States Constitution, our country's history and tradition, or any law in this country.

In fact, quite the opposite is true, which is why, consistent with Scalia's indications, the view that it is necessary to treat atheism with the same level of religious protection as we might protect, for example, the free exercise of Christianity or Islam, is nonsense.
YYW
Posts: 36,243
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1/3/2016 3:13:06 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 10:57:52 AM, tejretics wrote:
@YYW

I don't understand what your position is. Should a government be able to favor a religious person over an atheist only because the former is religious (and for no other reason)?

That's totally missing the point, and not what Scalia was talking about. I know it's what the OP suggested (which is why that's sort of the narrative theme of this discussion), but it's wrong. But the reactionary response to Scalia's comments is to believe that Scalia is talking about marginalizing atheism, which is just wrong.

First, the fact that one kind of constitutional protection extends to one group of people who practice a religion does not mean that the same protections not being extended to those who abstain from religious practice are in any way "marginalized" or "discriminated" against. This is because constitutional protection between varying groups does not exist in a zero-sum dynamic (meaning that benefit to one is not harm to the other). Scalia was not talking about how the government is going to benefit religious people and harm non-religious people. He was talking about what the constitution says, and that's it. The fact that religions get constitutional protection for their practice and atheism does not is because (unsurprisingly), religious practice is a constitutionally protected religious activity, afforded such protections by the first amendment, whereas atheism is not religion.

Second, the fact that atheism doesn't get religious protections does not mean that atheism is without constitutional protection. Atheism, not a religious perspective so much as a political one, is political speech protected by the first amendment. So, what that means is that atheists can sleep soundly knowing that "the gubbment" is not going to be silencing any atheists, ever. Because Atheism falls more into the category of political speech, than anything else; that means that the government can't silence people who are atheists from doing their atheist things (whatever that is... usually it's about b!tching about the money, or something equally trivial), and that's fine.

Third, the whole point of what Scalia was talking about is more illustrative of what the government must do with respect to religion, and implicitly in contrast to political speech. The government can't establish a state religion, but it doesn't have to pretend like religion doesn't exist. So, that rebuts the assertion made by many atheists that the first amendment requires totalizing separation between church and state to the irrational extent that the government must "stick its head in the sand" forgoing any consciousness of religion.

What Scalia said only appears to be controversial if you don't know anything about constitutional law, and political speech. The tendency is to jump to conclusions like "Scalia said [X, Y, or Z]?!?!?!?!?! *GHASP!* We must jump into action to fight this totalitarianism!1!!!!!!@!@!@#!@#$#" ......which is kind of silly. The fact that the establishment and free exercise clauses do not protect atheism does not mean that nothing in the constitution does, because, unsurprisingly, the constitution does more than just talk about the limits of government involvement in religion.
TBR
Posts: 9,991
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1/3/2016 5:12:36 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 3:13:06 PM, YYW wrote:
At 1/3/2016 10:57:52 AM, tejretics wrote:
@YYW

I don't understand what your position is. Should a government be able to favor a religious person over an atheist only because the former is religious (and for no other reason)?

That's totally missing the point, and not what Scalia was talking about. I know it's what the OP suggested (which is why that's sort of the narrative theme of this discussion), but it's wrong. But the reactionary response to Scalia's comments is to believe that Scalia is talking about marginalizing atheism, which is just wrong.

First, the fact that one kind of constitutional protection extends to one group of people who practice a religion does not mean that the same protections not being extended to those who abstain from religious practice are in any way "marginalized" or "discriminated" against. This is because constitutional protection between varying groups does not exist in a zero-sum dynamic (meaning that benefit to one is not harm to the other). Scalia was not talking about how the government is going to benefit religious people and harm non-religious people. He was talking about what the constitution says, and that's it. The fact that religions get constitutional protection for their practice and atheism does not is because (unsurprisingly), religious practice is a constitutionally protected religious activity, afforded such protections by the first amendment, whereas atheism is not religion.

Second, the fact that atheism doesn't get religious protections does not mean that atheism is without constitutional protection. Atheism, not a religious perspective so much as a political one, is political speech protected by the first amendment. So, what that means is that atheists can sleep soundly knowing that "the gubbment" is not going to be silencing any atheists, ever. Because Atheism falls more into the category of political speech, than anything else; that means that the government can't silence people who are atheists from doing their atheist things (whatever that is... usually it's about b!tching about the money, or something equally trivial), and that's fine.

Third, the whole point of what Scalia was talking about is more illustrative of what the government must do with respect to religion, and implicitly in contrast to political speech. The government can't establish a state religion, but it doesn't have to pretend like religion doesn't exist. So, that rebuts the assertion made by many atheists that the first amendment requires totalizing separation between church and state to the irrational extent that the government must "stick its head in the sand" forgoing any consciousness of religion.

What Scalia said only appears to be controversial if you don't know anything about constitutional law, and political speech. The tendency is to jump to conclusions like "Scalia said [X, Y, or Z]?!?!?!?!?! *GHASP!* We must jump into action to fight this totalitarianism!1!!!!!!@!@!@#!@#$#" ......which is kind of silly. The fact that the establishment and free exercise clauses do not protect atheism does not mean that nothing in the constitution does, because, unsurprisingly, the constitution does more than just talk about the limits of government involvement in religion.

Well, Scalia is an a$$, that is undisputable. Scalia is a religious f**kstick, that is undisputable. It is also undisputable that government does (and can) favor religion over nonreligion. Tax exemption etc. What many atheists, myself included, get bothered about is the subtext is that religion is "better" and should be favored.

I know we covered this should/can thing, but this is just another place for me to call Scalia a fu*kstick, and any chance I get to do that, I feel compelled by my higher power to do so.
Fly
Posts: 2,042
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1/3/2016 5:25:59 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 4:29:39 AM, YYW wrote:
At 1/3/2016 3:39:15 AM, Fly wrote:
At 1/3/2016 3:09:58 AM, bsh1 wrote:
According to Scalia, in a recent speech he gave, the government must treat all religious denominations the same, but that is can favor religion over non-religion. Thoughts? Reactions?

[http://news.yahoo.com...]

Scalia never ceases to amaze, and not in a good way.

If the US government must treat all religions the same, it is doing a pretty poor job of it so far.

The point is that the government may not restrict any one religion more than another; but the government can restrict some religious acts (e.g. sacrificing animals, taking illegal drugs, honor killings, etc.). So, you're already missing the point of what Scalia was saying.

One just needs to look at the official religious holidays on a calendar to see the major imbalance.

There is no requirement that all holidays be observed, or that none be observed. There are plenty of Atheists who celebrate Christmas, as well... meaning that Christmas, for example, (an initially Christian holiday) has cultural significance beyond its religious origins. If it's your proposal that the US must purge itself of all things which are derived of religious origin, then we're going to have to redo the calendar, abandon like every Western name ever, abolish the institution of marriage, abolish banking, abolish like nearly every farming practice, etc. I mean the list just goes on and on, which is why arguments which ring to the general tune that "freedom of religion means freedom from religion" generally tend to be disregarded even by the most left-wing judges.

Yes, I know about all of that, and consequently none of it contradicts what I wrote. I have to mention that it is a bit slippery of you to omit the second half of my paragraph, as it serves to contextualize the part you are "rebutting." Had you quoted my words in context, your response would appear rather pointless and self-indulgent, so no mystery as to why you omitted the rest of my words.

And I get Scalia's point just fine. Rather you miss my point, which is fine as far as it goes, as I didn't specifically address my post to you.
"You don't have a right to be a jerk."
--Religion Forum's hypocrite extraordinaire serving up lulz
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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1/3/2016 5:46:19 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 5:12:36 PM, TBR wrote:

Well, Scalia is an a$$, that is undisputable. Scalia is a religious f**kstick, that is undisputable. It is also undisputable that government does (and can) favor religion over nonreligion. Tax exemption etc. What many atheists, myself included, get bothered about is the subtext is that religion is "better" and should be favored.

I know we covered this should/can thing, but this is just another place for me to call Scalia a fu*kstick, and any chance I get to do that, I feel compelled by my higher power to do so.

The problem with Scalia is that he purports an objectivity that just doesn't obtain in his arguments,.... he seems just unaware of when and how his personal preferences/ideology travesty the law.

Anyone that gives any informed consideration to the purpose of keeping the government religiously impartial understands that the distinction between religion and irreligion is arbitrary in the Twenty-First Century .... atheism is really not to be confused with some absent-minded agnosticism or religious indifference. It has evolved, in many respects, to adopt the likeness of a positive 'faith' defined against the others. The vulnerabilities (to persecution, marginalization etc.) so clearly and obviously cross-apply.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,242
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1/3/2016 11:46:49 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 4:00:04 AM, 000ike wrote:
At 1/3/2016 3:09:58 AM, bsh1 wrote:
It's as if dwelling underneath his stream of thought is a latent senility that just occasionally protrudes to the surface in sudden and violent mental paroxysms.

This gave me a good laugh.