Saturday, October 02, 2004

For My religious right wing moral minority morons

This is for all You right wing Moral Minority due gooders.In other words Keep Your god forsaken beliefs to Your selves Thank You.America is a land of diverse beliefs.Get it ,All You right wing Christian morons need to just shut the Hell up!! In the Spirit: Remember the Religious Freedom Act
By the Rev. Harold E. Babcock



It has been well more than 200 years — Jan. 16, 1786 — since the Commonwealth of Virginia adopted its act for Establishing Religious Freedom. Written by Thomas Jefferson, it was later used by James Madison when he framed the so-called "establishment clause" of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The Virginia statute reads, in part, as follows: "We are aware that Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness — Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry — Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly. That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities."

James Madison, who became the floor leader for the statute when it was presented to the Virginia Legislature, even came to the aid of the atheist, contending that freedom of choice included even the right to have no belief in God or religion.

In the early years of our nation, the established churches — in Virginia, the Anglican; in New England, the Congregational — were supported by taxation. If you lived in Massachusetts prior to 1833, you would have been required to pay a tax to support the standing order — most often the Congregational Church — whether you were a Congregationalist or not (and many were not).

The Virginia statute was supported (as Baptists should know) by Baptists in that state who had suffered discrimination before the American Revolution and believed that the separation of church and state was necessary to prevent corruption of either one by the other. Presbyterians (as they should know) argued that the state's role in religion was limited to ensuring equal treatment for all denominations.

For more than 200 years, the rationale behind the Virginia statute has served us well and made the United States a haven for religious freedom. Our country is one of the most religiously diverse in the world.

Lately, however, I have become very concerned by the increasing role of religion (by which is usually meant conservative Protestant Christianity) in American public life and I think you should be concerned, too. As the Virginia statue suggests, this was definitely not the intention of our nation's founders. They believed that while religion was important in forming character and values, it must never be allowed to interfere in the workings of government or the deliberations of the law.

Fortunately, we live in a country where we are not only free to worship as we choose, but where we are allowed to discuss these issues freely. But religious people should always be aware of attempts to bridge the healthy separation of church and state, and to remember the historical precedents for that separation.

We might do worse than to recall these other words from the Virginia statute for establishing religious freedom: " ... That truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them."

Thankfully, we live in a country that is not (yet) dominated by one particular religious point of view, and whose Constitution protects the rights of all religious expression, and even of no religious expression; and where public policy decisions are made on the basis of public reason, not biblical or sectarian imperative.

The adoption of the Virginia statute is worth remembering and celebrating. I couldn't have said it better myself.Amen LOL Peace Greg