I have several friends on Facebook who are devout Christians and will occasionally post statuses reflecting such. This one was posted not too long ago, copied verbatim:
I am proud of Gov. Perry in Texas standing up for prayer for our American Leadership. A seven hour praying crowd of 30,000! Wonder what this country would be like if all of the State leaders held prayer like that?
I know what's going to be discussed in regards to this, but I can't help but ask what your opinions are. I firmly believe in separation of church and state, but how can that happen when prayer rallies are being held by politicians?
lmao, Im sorry I shouldnt laugh, but that is really funny. And Sad and Sick ...
@Arcus: I was no longer able to add replies to our continuing discussion.
How the state of Texas decides to pay for emergency services is up to the people of the state of Texas. The host for these events paying a fee for those services is a great idea, but I don't think there's anything wrong with the state providing them, so long as they provide them equally.
The constitution provides the same rights to politicians as it does to us, if he chooses to use them, that's his right. Whether it was wise of him to do so is another argument. We both agree that it wasn't. That doesn't mean it's always foolish for a politician to speak their mind, I'd prefer open discourse from them over anything else.
I was not disagreeing that it's a right. (Though I would prefer to call it a privileged myself.) What I'm trying to get at is pretty much the question originally posted, and everyone insisting that people "should be free to use their rights" doesn't seem to be a very good answer. It seems like every time a discussion comes up regarding constitutional rights Americans always believe their constitution is somehow 'the best in the world' and the privileges provided is 'God given' and 'unimpeachable'. It's like a skipping record and with the current state of affairs thinking new thoughts - instead of insisting on rights - might be a solution. The alternative, which is seeming more and more likely, is social chaos.
As for politicians being honest that is a job requirement. Lying politicians should be impeached while bullshitters should be called out.
I don't know about our constitution being the best, but I am inclined to believe that it is pretty damned good, and that those rights should be unimpeachable. That is my opinion, it may not be representative of Americans as a whole. I believe the amendments allow for far more good than evil, and that those rights should be stood up for.
The original question asks about the separation of church and state, and how that can be maintained when politicians are holding prayer rallies. I don't think those prayer rallies infringe on separation of church and state, unless of course the state is supporting the prayer rally. Elected officials represent their constituents, but they are still individuals and their individual views do not, and should not, have to conform to those of their constituents. A political figures support of a specific religious entity should not be an issue unless it translates into real governmental support of that agency, in the form of laws or funding or special favors or whatever.
Does that happen? Yes it does. Is it a problem? Absolutely. Is this it. Very probably. Did it have to be? No. As discussed earlier he used government resources and possibly government funding to help pull this thing off, and that is a fight worth having.
I doubt social chaos would result from careful observance of the constitution. The problem arises when people decide to only observe a part of it. Like when certain christian groups that certain topics of certain conversations happen to be a part of think that the free speech portion of the first amendment only applies to christians.
I think this is a problem all over the world. Unfortunately it appears to be an American only forum, therein lies the first problem. Some problems need to be tackled globally.
Personally, I think that being confrontational can only have a negative impact on atheists. As long as I can be an atheist, I don't give a flying **** what it says on the currency or if a rabbi opens a session of Congress or if some idiot recites a prayer at an official function.
I'm not advocating laying low. We should say what we think in terms of our views on religion, but as soon as we go to court to keep some 17 year old girl from including some prayer material in her graduation speech (as was in the news a few months ago) or objecting to a creche scene on the lawn of a public school, we are doing what the Tea Party succeeded in doing recently: polarizing everyone involved. And hasn't THAT turned out well?!!!
Where i come from religion became the ultimate power over politics which controls everything in my home country, which is Iraq. After the invasion America gave power to Islamic parties and they gave power to Islamic militias. They forced their religious customs and rituals on society, if they suspect you they just kill you.
What makes things even worse that the Iraqi police and military forces are doing the same. Many times I got troubles at checkpoints just because i don't look religious, for example i was listening to Mozart in my car, i should've known that Mozart is a SIN in Baghdad.
Of course you can't say that you are Atheist there, they will kill you at once. You have to be careful and smart all the time just to survive their religion.
In a way I have elaborated on that subject because you can't imagine the truth there. What i want to say is that separation of politics and religion is something essential for any nation to move on and for society to be civilized and peaceful. Also to show you a simple part of what's happening on the other side of world and how politicians there are making a religious state built with blood while the cradle is still burning.
That is a truly worrying story and I truly hope the next generation will fare better.
May I ask why Mozart is concidered uncouth in Baghdad, and which piece in particular you were listening to? Does it also apply to all classical music of European origin?
Perhaps they have a friendlier attitude against Prokofjev, Tsjajkovskij and Wagner ;)
"I'm sorry america's foreign policy was hijacked by centralized banking in 1913 and the military industrial complex we developed during world-warsI&II."
Welcome to alternative history month...
"Our people were warned about it but have remained easily manipulated and completely sold on american manifest destiny."
Up until around the end of the 19th century manifest destiny was an Imperialist policy. Most Americans today mean it in the terminology of Wilson.
"Our military has been bullying sovereign nations and working with world banking interests to undermine political, cultural and economic stabilities around the world."
And alternative history month continues...
"The method has been the same every time: destabilize, buy out, loan, inflate, repeat.
I believe that a large portion of the american people have finally been able to become driven and educated enough about this to make effective change."
Welcome to Soviet historical revisionism.
"We've done so much irreparable damage as a nation to the world and to ourselves that even if we make immediate changes to our government policies it will take a few generations to effect permanent change."
It usually does. In fact, it will take around 2-3 generations for full effect of today's reforms to have outplayed their effects, which is incidently about 1 lifetime.
"There will be more suffering and ignorance but the artificial nation building is going to stop, the illegal occupations are going to stop and regulations will be reduced enough to allow people to help one another."
Suffering and ignorance will never stop. It will take at least another few hundred years before the US has anything which resembles a "nation". What is the difference between 'illegal' and 'legal' occupations, as per your personal terminology? People are best at helping themselves. Don't see what it has to do with US foreign policy...
"Fiscal necessity has dictated it be true."
And the sky is blue and water wet. It's not exactly a firm argument for or against anything.
"We can no longer afford to continue on as we have."
I think Aristoteles first made this argument, and he was wrong. Still not correct today.
"Sell one aircraft carrier"
Most likely buyer is a more militaristic government than the American one. I'd prefer if you'd scuttle them for artificial reefs and not start arming 3rd parties.
"The possibilities are endless when the american government stops being imperialist douche-bags and lets us effect real positive change in the world."
So you mean pretty much what they have been doing since the end of the indian Wars..?
"I'm an optimist"
That's not optimism. Or realism. You are a pessimist not seeing the forest for all the trees. :-)