I'll start off by saying I'm a christian. But our government is supposed to have a 'seperation of church and state'. Just think of both sides. How would you feel if this was a islamic country and a judge had excerpts of the koran up in his courtroom?
Alright, well I am one of the people that are glad that they locked it away. I hope this view I am expressing won't brew too much controversy, but it probably will.
Basically, it comes down to the fact that I don't think people should be forced to have something shoved in their face without asking for it. I had to put up with saying the Pledge of Allegiance throughout elementary school, even though I didn't want to. One time I didn't, and I got sent to the principal's office and then got detention.
I was raised as a Catholic, and have never aligned with anything it really stands for. I went through all of the motions, including Confirmation, but just so it would make my parents happy; not just so it would make me happy. I do know that I was the only person in my Confirmation class to take my own name as my Confirmation name. (Too bad I didn't know then that you don't need to take a confirmation name at all, as it's just customary to take one). Oh, and by the way, I had the highest average throughout my CCD classes, as ironic as that is.
Anyways, back to the monument...
I think a lot of the founding fathers would share my views on the issue. I mean, Thomas Jefferson himself wrote "Thomas Jefferson's Bible" as he didn't agree with the Holy Bible or organized religion in general. Here's an excerpt: "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." I could quote several other things by him, as well as Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, etc., but in the interest of space, will refrain.
So, in summary, I think it's good that it's locked away. Not for my behalf, but for the behalf of the children in this world that are spoonfed that they must "believe" or else they are wrong. I mean, I know my kids won't be forced to follow whatever my religious path is. If they choose to follow Christianity, then that is their choice. If they choose to worship rocks, then that is their choice just the same. I think that practically forcing children to follow the common path is stifling their freedoms. If they choose the common path by themselves, then that is one thing, but nobody should be forced to be something he/she isn't.
Ok, that is all.
PS: I'm not a God-hater, mostly due to the fact that I don't care either way if He exists or not. If he does exist, I see him as a scientist looking through a microscope at a slide, observing what is going on. I seriously doubt he needs the ego boost that prayer and worship all give Him. If he does need the worship, then he's just an asshole with a dire need of having his ego fulfilled.
PSPS: I'm sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings here. Everyone on this forum is great and I love this place. I don't want to be persecuted just because my beliefs are "different." I accept each and every person's religious beliefs, and think they should respect my beliefs just the same.
DS, I hesitate to think about what our society would be like if we held every aspect of our lives to your "shoved down my throat" standard. It seems like a little bit of a stretch to me to say that the Ten Commandments meets that standard. I mean, for god's sake, what would you use to describe the Jehovah's Witness that knocks on you door, as that is 1000 times more intrusive. If we viewed everything this way, I think our society would have ten times the number of lawsuits we have now.
As for the founding fathers, Jefferson was one man. Admittedly, many of them were Deists. However, one only has to look at the Ten Commandments on the Supreme Court chambers to see that these men certainly did not view this as a violation of the First Amendment. Undoubtedly, the Supreme Court does not want to touch this, because it will be hard for ultra-liberals like Ginsburg and Souter to justify ruling the Ten Commandments unConstitutional, when those Commandments are merely a matter of feet away from them.
Religion has a certain utility to society, regardless of whether or not God actually exists. Many atheists even acknowledge this. It is only the most bitter of atheists, who likely had bad experiences with religion early in life, that bring these lawsuits. For starters, think of the hospitals and charitable associations that have been founded by religious organizations. I know of no such organizations that has ever been founded by an atheist group.
More importantly, there are two concepts rooted in the acknowledgement of a supreme God that are fundamental to a free republic. First, in a free society, you sacrifice some security. The alternative is a police state. What I'm saying is that people have to generally do the right thing when no one is looking, because usually no one will be looking. It is beneficial that a large percentage of the population believes that there are eternal consequences to their actions. I'm not saying that the majority of us are Christians, but most people do believe that they will be judged based on their conduct in life. Second, in the Declaration of Independence, it is stated that all men have inalienable rights given to them by their Creator. What this is saying is that we have a natural right to think as we please, do as we please, etc. to a degree that does not harm others or society. If you take this away, then where do our rights decend from? That's right--the government--and what the government grants, out of the genorosity of its heart, it can take away at will, without any special moral justification.
A great deal of what you said is practically perfectly valid, and as such, I can agree with a lot that you say. I know that the monument's presence wouldn't be quite as substantial as a Jehovah witness knocking on the door, but it is hard to ignore. The monument wasn't some tiny thing that could be looked over as you enter the building. I mean, the thing is 2.5 tons and all. I guess it is relevant to have, seeing as our law system is based off of Judeo-Christian ideals. But, even if this is the case, I see it is as being just as bad as the whole "place your right hand on the Bible and swear to tell the truth" deal. I mean, can't you just promise to tell the truth when you testify, without God being involved? Does swearing to God mean that you are more likely to tell the truth than somebody who just swears to tell the truth, without swearing to his Creator?
Yes, I agree it's dumb to dub it as unconstitutional and have lawsuits and all of that other garbage, but I think that people should exercise good judgment and realize the consequences of their actions. I'd have no problem if there was a "Commandments of How to be a Good Person" monument with maybe four commandments of:
Just when you throw in all of the God stuff, you are sure to offend not only non-believers, but people of a different religion. So I think that it should have been thought ahead that people would take offense over this.
Then again, I guess every pro will have its con and most every statement said will offend somebody.
As for your hospital example, that is very true and yes, I admit there is a place for religion with doing philanthropic things. However, I think that the same philanthropic things would still be done without religion being around. I mean, people aren't purely evil by their nature. By our nature, we live much like animals because we are animals. We can express love and hate just the same. This world wouldn't be a festering wasteland if religion was never invented. If I happen to be wrong about this, then I see the fact that relious groups must start hospitals, etc. is because they want to appear "good". In that case, it comes down to a positive public image, not genuine good will.
And for the last paragraph...
Yes, I think that a lot of people have to believe that they will suffer severely if they don't live good lives. I mean, their God does love them and all, yet he'll let them burn if they don't live to his standards. So yes, it is important to threaten the weak-minded with eternal damnation to keep them in line. And yes, I have no problem if that's what it takes to keep the sheep in line.
But you certainly don't need religion to keep everything in check. You do need societal constraints though. I mean, I know for a fact that I would be much more likely to do bad things if there wasn't a jail system. People will think twice about doing something if it might land them in jail. I think that is what keeps a lot of people in line. I'm personally more concerned with immediate consequences for my actions, as compared to something which may or may not come to pass when I'm dead.
As for inalienable rights given by the Creator, I don't really buy that bit. I think as I do and act as I do because I want to, not because I got a non-transferrable permission slip from God. And yes, the goverment can give and take away. But at least in this country, the government is supposed to be by and for the people. So if the government goes way out of line, there's more than enough of us to clean up their mess like we have in the past. So all in all, I think God is irrelevant in this equation. After all, the Declaration of Independence was written by human hands, not the hand of God. Then again, it can be argued that man created God, but that is another story for another day.
Anyways, I believe I live a good life. In fact, most of my friends say I am the most genuine person they know. And I know for a fact that I live a "better" life than most of them. I have committed less sins than most of them, even though I don't believe in sins. It is easy to be a good person in life if you just live as a human being, and stop worrying about what some guy upstairs is going to do with you if you don't do what he says.
I guess a lot of what I have to say here is blasphemous and probably seems way out of line. And I realize this debate could go on forever, so I don't think I'll keep trying to counterargue. I think both sides bring up good points, and a lot of it comes down to individual perceptions and ideals.
Now it's time to get to something that really matters, and that is Penis Enlargement.
I just heard the sound byte on Howard Stern this morning...
"Don't take our God!" or something like that? I believe all people should be free to speak their mind and have their beliefs and all, but if these backwards idiots actually read their Bibles, they'd realize that they were worshipping idols.
"God" is not a bible, or a monument, or a thing. People are morons. Church and State are not seperated ENOUGH in this country. It'd be a scary world of mob mentality if the two became one. Fuck religion. It's for the weak. Fucking sheep. Go ahead and be led...