I was a little peeved by the benediction during today's Inauguration Ceremony for Barack Obama. Private prayer (though still unhelpful) is fine; but government-organized prayer is just wrong. I hope that in my lifetime this goes away as a standard for these types of events. 

"One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." 

Thoughts?

Tags: and, church, inauguration, pledge, prayer, public, religion, state

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I wouldn't hold my breath. The Supremes have already ruled on the matter. It's paradoxical: they can't teach religion in public schools (which is good) but it's okay to pray at government functions. I wonder how many are actually praying rather than wondering how long it will last, where he got that great suit, whether she knows what her hairdo looks like from behind, why doesn't that bitch shut her kids up, etc.

The Supremes have already ruled on the matter.

This is one of my favorite examples of a religious partisan on the Supreme Court using pretzel-like logic to ignore a clear violation of the constitution:

"Finally, we have noted that government cannot be completely prohibited from recognizing in its public actions the religious beliefs and practices of the American people as an aspect of our national history and culture. While I remain uncertain about these questions, I would suggest that such practices as the designation of "In God We Trust" as our national motto, or the references to God contained in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag can best be understood, in Dean Rostow's apt phrase, as a form a "ceremonial deism," protected from Establishment Clause scrutiny chiefly because they have lost through rote repetition any significant religious content. Moreover, these references are uniquely suited to serve such wholly secular purposes as solemnizing public occasions, or inspiring commitment to meet some national challenge in a manner that simply could not be fully served in our culture if government were limited to purely nonreligious phrases. The practices by which the government has long acknowledged religion are therefore probably necessary to serve certain secular functions, and that necessity, coupled with their long history, gives those practices an essentially secular meaning." - Justice William Brennan, 1984, Lynch v. Donnelly

This is how the Supreme Court squares the circle. According to Justice Brennan:

  • Through sheer repetition nobody thinks God means God. Thus God has a secular meaning. (Justice Brennan did not elaborate on what that meaning might be.)
  • References to God are wholly necessary for secular government functions. 
  • References to God are protected from Constitutional scrutiny.    

That last one is the crown jewel of idiocy. It boggles the mind. The primary function of the Supreme Court is the application of constitutional scrutiny. Brennan openly refuses to perform this function where references to God are concerned. God is so essential, secular, and non-religious that no scrutiny is needed.

Thus the Supreme Kangaroo has ruled. But that doesn't mean the ruling can't be challenged and overturned, although I grant it won't happen in the court of Chief Kangaroo Justice Roberts.

That also doesn't mean the practice must be made illegal in order to stop it. What if the United States is 60% non-religious by 2100? Prayer is a useful political tool. Once it becomes a political liability they'll stop exploiting it.

The Supreme Court argument is absurd. It does not satisfactorily address, imo, "Congress shall make NO law respecting the establishment of religion." "In god we trust" clearly establishes government preference/endorsement of monotheism over polytheism and non-theism.  The national motto is not "in gods we trust" and it is not "in no gods we trust." To me, "in god we trust" is not only unconstitutional, it is embarrasing - it translates to "we trust in an imaginary being."  "E pluribus unum" was far better.

Be careful about reading our preferred meaning into the word "respecting".

It has the dated, or formal, meaning "with reference or regard to."

Join that with the fact that before the post-Civil War 14th Amendment, the Constitution applied to the Federal government only.

The originalists on the Court read the establishment clause as saying the national legislature  shall make make no law interfering with, or trying to disestablish, churches established by state and local governments.

See Akhil Reed Amar's 1998 The Bill of Rights, page 32. Amar was then a law professor at Yale.

"ceremonial deism"

So then why recognize a deity that 'created the universe, then walked away, taking a permanent vacation'?

So does this give the federal government a secular 'pope' like position, speaking for 'God', with no direct authorization given by the invisiable guy in the sky? I get the feeling of a childish pretend type of ceremonial process, that keeps the true-believers happy, and the more practical folks with a tool for social control.

a...pretend type of ceremonial process, that keeps the true-believers happy, and the more practical folks with a tool for social control.

Bingo! How many neoconservatives do you think are "true believers" and how many do you think truly believe that religion is a great political tool? They don't care about God, gays, or abortion so much as they care about getting enough of the poor and the middle class fired up on 'culture wars' issues so that those voters will elect a representative whose fiscal policy actually harms them. It's pretty ruthless and it's worked for a long time.  You have to give them that.

I have more than once thought, that if I play the game really well, I could have people give me money just for 'believing their crap'. As a contractor, I noticed a tendency for customers to talk about their politics or religious positions during my job. If I were to challendge them on some of the more odd positions, it was clear that the knife edge of acceptance with kick in, and they would cut me off.

Over time I found ways to appear to either agree or fail to show interest. My worst experiences were during jobs where we needed to work together. Hyper-theists can be some really ugly work partners when it comes to ideas, ways of doing things, sources of knowledge, and power gaming.

One Muslum I worked with for a while would not allow me to whisle at the job site or listen to music. I finally told him to mind is own business, if he wanted me to work for him, he needed to not forget what country he is in! His country of origin Tunisia, has recently had a cultural revolution, maybe they have lossened  up a little?  

 

Hah.  Because the phrase no longer has significance it can be left alone.

Of course it clearly does have significance to the millions of fucktards who scream bloody murder if you talk about removing it.

He swears to uphold our secular, godless Constitution by swearing an oath on a Bible and a "so help me god?" They use our taxpayer money to promote their particular versions of monotheism/Judeo-Christianity? The inauguration was more like a church service.  As such, I found it very disappointing.

It really bothers me how many references there were to an imaginary being. I wish there were some FSM banners flying and displayed on national television. I wish just one announcer/reporter asked, "I wonder to which god he is referring?" And followed it with, "because that character in the Bible sure is horrific, as is most of the book itself."

Imagine yourself at the bank....

"Do you swear to uphold your duties to pay down this mortgage, so help you God"

I am 100% in agreement with your opinion, Arianne.  While I was exhilarated by President Obama’s progressive compassion, I had to cringe whenever another member of the clergy or a craven politician got up and attributed America’s greatness (such as it is) - past, present, and future - to some phantasmagorical magic white man in the sky.  At one point, I was moved to speculate what it would be like if one of these hypocrites decided, instead of thanking God for all His blessings, decided instead to curse Him ( or Her, or It)  for all the misery He (or She or It) visits upon humanity. 

    

I wondered why this didn't occur during the Great Recession or any number of natural disasters. Perhaps social stigma keeps these thoughts private.

I remember asking God, "why" several times. That was near enough to blasphemy, questioning God's plan. But never did I have the hutspa to curse at him while a Christian.

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