Texas passes law on abortion, limits to six weeks to get it done

I had to run a check on that news site there, cake.

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Now, I’m not into smashing post due to source alone, but I do have a few questions, starting with, who this “we?”

I’m with the Satanists lots of times. They almost always do things like applying to put up Satanic statues where governments place religious monuments, forcing them to back down from the church-state separation violation unless they are willing to provide equal access. They’ve gone past what I would support here though. If they really do anything Satanic, let me know. Most I’ve heard speak don’t claim to really believe it except in a vague libertarian-like sense.

I agree about Salon, but what about America Action News?

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You’re right that I think these are libertarian minded folks who don’t believe in Satanism. However, as an agnostic libertarian, I’ll also say that I think they fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the First Amendment. They’ve certainly utilized the liberal (i.e., non-textualist and non-originalist) constitutional reasoning of SCOTUS decisions to their ends, though.

Could you explain that a little if you get a chance? I’m interested.

At a high level, I don’t think that a textual reading of the Constitution (First Amendment) supports not allowing governments to engage in religious displays. Certainly the majority of founders and state governments didn’t think so as the historical record demonstrates (the originalist argument); they did it all the time without question. It was meant as a differentiator from England and other European countries which had established specific religions and banned or persecuted offshoots as heretical.

The modern version of separation of church and state (not in the First Amendment) is even more attenuated from original intent as the First Amendment was meant only to apply to the Federal government. The application of the First Amendment to state and local government only began in earnest in the 1920s-30s with application of the First Amendment through the 14th Amendment through the 4th Amendment. Even after that legal jujitsu, it still took many decades for SCOTUS to view simple displays of religion as violative of this newly created restriction.


Would that include allowing certain displays while disallowing other ones?

Taking a look at Everson v. Board of Education.

Absolutely. There is no chance that in early America a court would have prohibited a government from displaying a religious statue because it disallowed a statue of satan (for example).

If the federal government disallowed legitimate (I know this is a biased qualifier) religious displays, I think that would run afoul of the first amendment as originally intended or written.

That is where much of the modern problems originated. I doubt if the state were reimbursing school transport to Protestant schools we would be stuck with such bad reasoning.

Whether or not the U.S Constitution should be interpreted as restricting the federal and/or state governments from religious displays is one question. Another question is whether anyone, religious or not, should want to support such displays. Take, for instance, the official U.S motto: “In God We Trust.” It seems to me that the “We” in this motto must refer to either the totality of U.S citizens as individuals, or to the U.S people as an abstraction from that totality, or both. In the first case the motto would either be claiming as a statement of fact that every American trusts in God (no atheists in the U.S, no homosexuals in Iran) or implying that Americans who do not trust in God in some sense don’t count as Americans. In the second case, the motto would be stating that the U.S, as a people, trust in God, and implying that “trust in God” is a fundamental value of the U.S people and fundamental to their self-identity as a people and their representation of themselves as a people to the world. The implication of this motto is therefore that an atheist’s values and beliefs (and possibly the atheist him or herself) are anti-American because they are inconsistent with a fundamental value of the U.S people.

In addition to its original reference to the federation of the states “E pluribus unum” had come to acquire the deeper symbolism of an ideal of a nation made great through immigration and through the harmonious coexistence of diverse individuals and cultures as one people. From the inclusive and profound “E pluribus unum” to the divisive and fatuous “In God We Trust”: what a falling off was there!

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So you believe that, under the First Amendment, a government in America can pick and choose which religions are legitimate and which religions can be banned from public property?

A real travesty. The work of far lesser men. I never understand how anyone is comfortable with a lie (as you outline above) as a motto.

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Under current SCOTUS rulings or how it was originally enacted and intended? If the latter, the answer is obviously yes. If the former, it would depend: you wouldn’t be able to choose a religion to ban, but you could ban a practice that was essential for a religion if it was generally applicable to the population as a whole (and met some other qualifiers).

Well, I don’t think it was seen as a lie at the various times in America’s history when it was promoted. It was used primarily as a unifying message of the correctness of America’s foundational beliefs in times of national crises. I think it was first used officially at the time of the Revolution. It was written in the Star Spangled Banner in the war of 1812, when we were still not secure in our status as a country. It was introduced into some coin in the Civil War and adopted for all currency in the time of the Cold War.

I agree with you that this motto implies that trust in God is “correct” and a “foundational belief” of the nation. It is not a harmless form of deistic window-dressing. By proclaiming “In God We Trust” on the currency, public buildings, and in schools, the government inculcates in children and in the public in general that what we, as Americans, do, is trust in God. Interpretations of the Constitution aside, this is an egregious breach of any common-sense, contemporary understanding of the separation of church and state.

“In God We Trust” was made the official motto of the U.S in 1956. Adopted towards the end of the period of McCarthyism, it indeed attempted to send a “unifying” message: the American people, as God-trusters, unified against the atheistic values of the Soviets. What then of the all the non-God-trusting Americans who found (and find) themselves on the wrong side of this dividing line? The atheists (including many of the nation’s elite scientists)? Those desists and theists who might reject the idea of divine providence? Those agnostics, Buddhists, and polytheists who might also reject the idea of trusting in God? The motto, taken literally, states that the concept of a non-God-trusting American is an oxymoron. What the motto implies, at the minimum, is a fundamental inconsistency between non-God-trusting and basic American values. Unlike “E pluribus unum,” “In God We Trust” is not a motto around which all Americans can rally, but rather one that denigrates millions of Americans by claiming that their strongly held views are inconsistent with the ideals of U.S nationhood.

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I doesn’t imply that trust in God is a foundational belief of the nation. It is a foundational belief of the nation. Check the Declaration of Independence and the writings of our founders.

There was a time in my life where that view was certainly closer to my current one, which is more of “who gives a crap?” Ultimately I find the argument puerile and petty. America was founded on the belief of inalienable rights derived from God and limiting the power of the federal government to infringe upon those rights. At a time when the existence of these rights is being questioned more than at any time in America’s history, I find it hard to get worked up about the fact that our founders or the people in our government believe in a sky fairy and profess so in a national motto.

But not our ultimate founding document, the Constitution.

I agree with you about a lot here, but it’s important not to overstate things either. Who knows what the future will bring and how much relevance beliefs on the matter will have? The Constitution founds the country on an entirely secular basis, and even the Declaration is deliberately vague on the subject.

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God can mean anything to anyone. One man’s god may be himself, another man’s God may not exist, and another man’s God may be the sun, but the motto still holds true for all of them.

Seems a wise choice to me.

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In that case it’s not anything, much less a god, and suggesting trust in it is nonsensical. For atheists and some others, it’s not a suitable motto :man_shrugging: It’s not really hard to come up with one that does not outright exclude people, if you’re going to have one. As noted, we had a perfectly good one.

Think outside the box. In those cases it means “Trust no one”.