October 20, 2010

"Once you understand that to the credentialed-instead-of-educated, the Constitution is a wish-fulfillment device..."

"... rather than, you know, an authoritative text, it all makes sense. And there’s no real need to know or care about the words in the text, since it means whatever you want it to mean at the moment."

Says Glenn Reynolds, linking to my post on Coons, O’Donnell, and the Separation of Church and State.

A word needs to be said about the mocking laughter that instantly erupted from the law students in the audience. Presumably, that sound meant we are smart and you are dumb. Where did they learn to treat a guest at their law school — Widener Law School — with such disrespect? They hooted O'Donnell down, and she never got a chance to explain her point. What does that say about the climate for debate in law schools? Not only did they feel energized to squelch the guest they politically opposed, but they felt sure of their own understanding of the law.

I've been studying law myself since 1978, and I still puzzle over things and try to work my way through problems. If a speaker at my school makes a statement that sounds outlandish to me — me with 32 years of studying law — I may display a puzzled expression or a smile, but I hear the person out and entertain the possibility that he has a point and that even if the point is wrong, I will have learned some new perspective on the ways of being wrong or how another human being's mind works. I try to create that atmosphere in the classroom.

What is the atmosphere at Widener? Is there no intellectual curiosity? No love of debate? No grasp of how complex constitutional law problems can be?

ADDED: Here's the video:

260 comments:

1 – 200 of 260   Newer›   Newest»
Expat(ish) said...

A bunch of liberal entitled law students act rudely? Seriously?

-XC

AJ Lynch said...

Can you share your thoughts on how your students would have reacted?

info said...

Name a school where it is not the case....
Maybe you haven't heard but when conservatives speak violence ensues. Been in the news about a thousand times!

Pat said...

WTF is Widener Law School?

Roger J. said...

Troper York's aphorism is appropriate here re lawyers and journalists.

I am sure this would have never happened at the UW Law school--

Robert Cook said...

I agree. I'm in the camp who thinks Ms. O'Donnell is ill-informed and has no business anywhere near elected office, but as an invited guest and speaker, she should have been heard fully and allowed to explain her view.

For one thing, it's simple courtesy; for another, the more fully someone with a perceived faulty or incorrect view is allowed to explain themselves, the more clearly their errors of logic or ignorance of fact may be revealed to all; and, third, one may be surprised to find the perceived ignorance is not so much ignorance as simply a different interpretation of the data, and an interpretation that, right or wrong, may be valuable to examine.

And sometimes...sometimes...the heretical interpretation of the data may in time come to be accepted as the orthodox view.

info said...

"Ms. O'Donnell is ill-informed and has no business anywhere near elected office,"
Compared to WHAT??? You seen who sits in DC these days? She may be an idiot (I doubt it) but better an R fool than a D.

Freeman Hunt said...

People should come to speak in Arkansas. We are uncommonly polite.

(Except for the treatment of Houston Nutt. I account that to some sort of collective, temporary insanity.)

ndspinelli said...

It's Delaware for chrissake. Statistically, 47% of Delaware residents think they are a neighborhood in Philly.

Scott M said...

I dunno, Althouse...maybe because we live in an era of "gotcha" journalism and sensationalist news cycles? These students (if not the wider developed world) are not given to slow, ponderous, thoughtful considerations of subject matter.

Just look at this or any blog. What is it if not a collection of knee-jerk commentary or, indeed, digital gasps?

Fen said...

What does that say about the climate for debate in law schools?

It says that parents should yank their kids out of Widener Law School and demand a refund. They're being ripped off.

The greatest benefit of Law School is that it reorders your mind, improves your critical thinking skills. These kids, if they ever make it inside a courtroon, are going to have their asses handed to them.

The professors at Widener should be ashamed. They should also be updating their resumes.

k*thy said...

You answered your own question - "me with 32 years of studying law". Who was in the audience? Students? There to learn? This is more about maturity than anything.

roesch-voltaire said...

Look she had plenty of time to respond in the next question period, the laughter came after this exchange:When Coons responded that the First Amendment bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, O’Donnell asked: “You’re telling me that’s in the First Amendment?” The fact that a candidate seriously asked if that was in the first Amendment is what is so startling, and then later when she had to be reminded of what the 14th Amendment covered that seem to confirm her lack of knowledge.

former law student said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GMay said...

Robert Cook,

Even though I disagree with most of your comments, your 9:33 is spot on. Well said.

Now quick, everyone get as much good commentary in before the Destroyer of Threads makes his appearance.

MadisonMan said...

It says that parents should yank their kids out of Widener Law School and demand a refund. They're being ripped off.

Why would parents pay for Law School for their kids?

If my kids want an advanced degree, they can do it the way I did: Work for it.

former law student said...

O'Donnell has a sort of Al Franken problem -- once people know you appeared on MTV as an anti-masturbation advocate, they expect everything else you say will be equally goofy. They're primed to laugh.

Bender said...

What does that say about the climate for debate in law schools?

It says that things like reason have long been expelled from law schools (and the legal profession in general, including, no, especially the courts) in favor of crass politics.

Lucien said...

Playing Devil's Advocate, the problem with saying that the phrase "separation of church and state" is not in the First Amendment, or that it refers to "Congress" and not the "government" is that they are sound bites, not arguments.

If you were to sit down with someone and talk about the Establishment Clause you would quickly get to the point of discussing whether it entails what is known as the separation of church and state. Likewise, if you talked about the difference between government and Congress, you would quickly get to the question of whether "incorporation" applies to the First Amendment (wanna bet on whether O'Donnell thinks it should apply to the Second Amendment?).

The problem is that one suspects that O'Donnell doesn't have real substantive arguments on either issue, and so is resorting to cheap sound bites (which work really well on Bill Maher's show).

Also, the Widener students may have been laughing at someone disputing what "everybody knows" is right because, well, that's how students are, and it's not necessarily partisan.

Robert Cook said...

"She may be an idiot (I doubt it) but better an R fool than a D."

I didn't say or suggest she's an idiot, I just stated my belief that she's ill-informed. As are many who hold elected office, to our detriment. We should be removing the ill-informed from office rather than adding to their ranks.

But then, many Americans are ill-informed, and we get the government we want/deserve.

On what basis do you think that, even if she were an idiot, "better an R fool than a D"?

A fool is a fool and party affiliation does not make one preferable to another.

PatHMV said...

Roesch-Voltaire, if you had bothered to read Prof. Althouse's post on the debate, you would know that you are wrong. Coons did NOT say "that the First Amendment bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion." He said that the First Amendment bars "GOVERNMENT" from making such laws. As Prof. Althouse properly notes, the First Amendment prohibits CONGRESS, not "the government" from making such laws. It is a significant textual difference, which has been the subject of several significant Supreme Court decisions.

lemondog said...

If a speaker at my school makes a statement that sounds outlandish to me — me with 32 years of studying law — I may display a puzzled expression or a smile, but I hear the person out and entertain the possibility that he has a point and that even if the point is wrong, I will have learned some new perspective on the ways of being wrong or how another human being's mind works.

Sorry for being emotional, but I teared up as I read your comment. It is in the spirit of the greatest gift which we as US citizen inherited from those who struggled over writing The Constitution.

Thank you.

Michael said...

I am not a lawyer myself, though I have used a good many in my career. One of the things I hope these students learn is that their clients are not interested in how smart they are, they are only interested in their lawyer getting things done. The second most fun thing in business is to fire a lawyer who thinks that finding the fly shit in the pepper is what he was hired to do.

Big Mike said...

One of Widener's Con Law professors, on national TV, confidently asserted that Article 1 of the Constitution described the executive branch of our government.

With professors like that, there's no way they could know anything.

Fen said...

When Coons responded that the First Amendment bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, O’Donnell asked: “You’re telling me that’s in the First Amendment?” The fact that a candidate seriously asked if that was in the first Amendment is what is so startling

No. Coons said the 1st Ammendment guarantees the separation of church and state.

That you chose to paraphrase, instead of giving the actual quote, says everything about your intellectual integrity re this debate.

/via Wapo:

"Where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?" O'Donnell asked while Democrat Chris Coons, an attorney, sat a few feet away.

Coons responded that O'Donnell's question "reveals her fundamental misunderstanding of what our Constitution is. ... The First Amendment establishes a separation."

She interrupted to say, "The First Amendment does? ... So you're telling me that the separation of church and state, the phrase 'separation of church and state,' is in the First Amendment?"

Scott M said...

once people know you appeared on MTV as an anti-masturbation advocate, they expect everything else you say will be equally goofy. They're primed to laugh.

The anti-masturbation movement doesn't need advocates. It's got marriage and kids.

Bender said...

Moreover, Roesch-Voltaire, if you were at all interested in being honest here (which is clear you are not), especially after the whole out-of-context Shirley Sherrod nonsense, you would quote the entire exchange, where before Coons asserts what is in the First Amendment, O'Donnell asks him to clarify about "separation of church and state."

O’DONNELL: “Let me just clarify, you’re telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?”
COONS: “‘Government shall make no establishment of religion’”
O’DONNELL: “That’s in the First Amendment”

O'Donnell's response, if in fact a question (which is unclear), clearly still is in reference to "separation of church and state." And if it is a statement by her, then it is in reference to Coons' statement, but in contradistinction to the "separation of church and state" phrase.

Is it really too much to ask that you bother to get your facts before you shoot your mouth off Roesch-Voltaire?

Chase said...

Where did they learn to treat a guest at their law school — Widener Law School — with such disrespect?

This is what I admire about you the most Ann.

But let's point out that disrespect is very common among liberals in this country when it comes to speech:
even when they are the speakers, liberals are disrespectful of their interviewers or hearers.

Democrat Coons should have made a statement after the debate about the disrespect shown to O'Connell and inappropriate it was.

Did he? IF so, he has more backbone and integrity than 95% of the liberals and those on the left in this country.

He didn't? Well, no surprise.

Lincolntf said...

Pat said...

WTF is Widener Law School?


Daycare for people who know how to fill out financial aid forms and student loan agreements.

Alex said...

There is no getting around the fact that O'Donnell is a an utter fool. Even the neocon theocrat Michael Medved couldn't defend her yesterday and he's as odious a right-wing psycho talker as there is.

Fen said...

Robert Cook: But then, many Americans are ill-informed,

Yup. I've made $20 at so many dinner parties from rubes who think they can find "separation of church and state" in the Constitution.

The look on thier faces afterwards is worth more than the money they lost to me.

Gwen Ifill, who thinks the Boston Tea Party happened in 1776, is a good example of their type, arrogant in their ignorance.

former law student said...

The anti-masturbation movement doesn't need advocates. It's got marriage and kids.


What does one do between age 11 and marriage?

Alex said...

A word needs to be said about the mocking laughter that instantly erupted from the law students in the audience.

That's all the respect right-wing psycho talkers like Palin, O'Donnel, Bachmann, Angle deserve. They should be ridiculed & mocked back to whichever hole they came from.

Minzo said...

"The anti-masturbation movement doesn't need advocates. It's got marriage and kids."

I'm sure there are plenty of husbands who have to resort to 'aiding and abetting a known felon' a few years into their marriage. O'Donnel many not find many friends there.

Alex said...

FLS - conservatives would have horny boys not touch themselves for 15 years until marriage. After all masturbation will send you straight to hell. I'm serious, these fundies really believe that shit.

E Buzz said...

They're just like the assholes who ripped into Palin yesterday about 1773 while being massively wrong, like Gwen Ifill a freaking PROFESSIONAL JOURNALIST, smart ass smarmy know-it-all dicks.

Michael said...

Alex: What is your take on Al Green, the Democrat running for Senate in South Carolina?

Fen said...

Hey Alex, why don't you simply say they should get back in the kitchen?

And glad to see you're no longer pretending to be a conservative. Did the Soros check bounce?

traditionalguy said...

You are my favorite teacher, Professor. Thanks.

Scott M said...

That's all the respect right-wing psycho talkers like Palin, O'Donnel, Bachmann, Angle deserve. They should be ridiculed & mocked back to whichever hole they came from.

What do left-wing psycho talkers deserve?

edutcher said...

I agree with Insta, the Lefties make it up as they go along and cherry-pick clauses and phrases that can be twisted to mean what they want. He just said it much better.

PS Alex is trying to take the wrong side again, but he does that whichever side he takes.

PPS Cook's disdain for O'D by itself should be sufficient reason to vote for her.

Scott M said...

FLS - conservatives would have horny boys not touch themselves for 15 years until marriage. After all masturbation will send you straight to hell. I'm serious, these fundies really believe that shit.

So...in your mind, conservatives = fundamentalists?

traditionalguy said...

The Law School in question needs to re-name it self as Narrowmindener.

Fen said...

40+ comments and already the Libtards are throwing a temper tantrum.

I can't wait till election day. Who's head do you think will explode first?

Robert Cook said...

"I've made $20 at so many dinner parties from rubes who think they can find 'separation of church and state' in the Constitution."

They're hardly rubes. The concept is there, if not the words...at least, so American jurisprudence has determined.

Minzo said...

"I agree with Insta, the Lefties make it up as they go along and cherry-pick clauses and phrases that can be twisted to mean what they want."

While the right of course would never stoop so low right?

Fen said...

Lucien said Playing Devil's Advocate, the -

Good points.

Now tell us what part of the Constitution prohibits schools from teaching about God.

Alex said...

I think the Democrats can get their fat out of the fryer if they nationalize this election as protecting the Republic from right-wing psycho-talker theocrat buffoons like Christine O'Donnell and Sarah Palin.

Fen said...

Robert: They're hardly rubes. The concept is there, if not the words

No Robert, they think the words are actually there. Hence the bet that "you can't find the phrase in the Constitution".

traditionalguy said...

Will there be a national time of mourning declared by the Obamunist when his Redistribution Revolution joins the dust heap of history?

Fen said...

Alex: I think the Democrats can get their fat out of the fryer if they nationalize this election as protecting the Republic from right-wing psycho-talker theocrat buffoons like Christine O'Donnell and Sarah Palin

Good plan. You should really push that.

Don't forget to add the "barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen" portion to your Party platform.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

O’Donnell asked: “You’re telling me that’s in the First Amendment?” The fact that a candidate seriously asked if that was in the first Amendment is what is so startling

This stupidity reminds me of the scene in Cousin Vinnie, where the young kid says, incredulously...."I shot the clerk????". Later it is quoted as a statment of fact and as a confession from the transcript...."I SHOT the clerk."

O'Donnell was clearly saying incredulously that she couldn't believe that Coons thought that those words are actually in the First Ammendment.

The fact that you have to spell out this stupid shit to the stupid shits on the left is just tiresome.

Alex said...

tradguy - since the GOP wants to make these theocrats front & center, the Obamunists will remain in power. The Glenn Beck types obviously prefer GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD to good economics and smaller government. I know this because he's defending O'Donnell right now and saying evolution is something that belongs to racist eugenicists.

Fen said...

/bump

Now tell us what part of the Constitution prohibits schools from teaching about God.

(anyone can play)

Alex said...

What do most of the right-wing psycho talkers have in common? Yeah they can't stop saying GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD. The American people are SICK of your Jesus.

Scott M said...

Will there be a national time of mourning declared by the Obamunist when his Redistribution Revolution joins the dust heap of history?

Probably not. The first thing that will happen is that he will leave the country on a diplomatic trip a la Clinton in '94. It remains to be seen if the press with treat him the same way especially given the greater gravity of the problems facing the nation. Frankly, I assume he'll do one term and then go build houses for Habitat For Humanity and write pro-Palestinian books.

LarsPorsena said...

""I've made $20 at so many dinner parties from rubes who think they can find 'separation of church and state' in the Constitution."

I do the same thing with the "right to privacy" but only for $1.00

roesch-voltaire said...

If you go further into the interview Coons uses the words separation and then establishment to explain the "First Amendment" We can parse words and make reference to Jefferson's letter where he mention "separation of church and state," but I think Coon's later explanation is close enough, and given that O'Donnell had to be reminded what the 14th Amendment stood for, I think I can safely say she has little understanding or our constitution. I notice that none of her defenders touch upon those facts.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

They're hardly rubes. The concept is there, if not the words...at least, so American jurisprudence has determined.

Nope. They are probably ignorant rubes who have a so called college education.

The words are not there. Period.

You can penumbra and intuit all you want.

The Constitution does NOT state "separation of church and state".

Period. Facts are facts, no matter how much you want it to be something else.

Fen said...

Will there be a national time of mourning declared by the Obamunist when his Redistribution Revolution joins the dust heap of history?

Yes. The MSM will call it "The Day America Reverted to Racism"

Wait and see. I'm not joking.

DADvocate said...

Is there no intellectual curiosity?

Obviously not.

Lefties believe they have all the answers. When you have all the answers, what need is there for intellectual curiosity? Their only task is to rid the world of those who disagree with them. Some try to construct intellectual sounding arguments to support their postion, but that's not intellectual curiosity either because they've started with their conclusion.

Alex said...

DBQ - always a defender of the faith for the theocrat wing of Althouse hillbillies.

Lincolntf said...

Fortunately the spasm of national self-loathing that produced the Obama Presidency also seems to have acted as a purgative. People aren't willing to sit dumbly by as politicians tell them that the Founding principles are no longer applicable.

Scott M said...

The American people are SICK of your Jesus.

The shark has been jumped. You just relegated yourself to /ignore not because of the anti-Christian sentiment, but from your frank exclusion of reality. Cheers.

Fen said...

Now tell us what part of the Constitution prohibits schools from teaching about God. And why.

Robert? Robert? Robert?

Roesch? Roesch? Roesch?

Lars? Lars? Lars?

Bueller?

chr1 said...

As Althouse points out, this is a matter of deep debate.

I would just offer those who are somewhere in the middle to not jump into bed too quickly with the "secular republic" crowd and the "science as fact" crowd for obvious reasons. It's been a long trend in our society away from religion any where near the public square. What is it being replaced with?

Such crowds have just as many plans for you as any true believer does. Behind the science are ideals, visions and designs for the role of government, taxes, schools and your freedoms. And of course, human nature.

They have their moral oughts and you're along for the ride.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

DBQ - the only ones who agree with you are your fellow theocrats. The rest of the country *knows* that the 1st Amendment means a WALL of separation. But keep pounded that meme that there is no wall - it sure is working for you!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

DBQ - always a defender of the faith for the theocrat wing of Althouse hillbillies.

:-D

Nope, just the defender of FACTS.

Point out to me where, anywhere, in the Constitution or the First Amendment it states "separation of church and state".

You can't.

BTW: since I deal in facts, I am basically Agnostic about God. We'll find out whether there is a God soon enough, but it will be after the fact (death) and probably no way to communicate our discovery. So therefore, there is no reason to worry about it now. Just live a good life and don't do harm.....hedging my bet.

Alex said...

Limbaugh Defends ODonnell Separation of Church and State not in the Constutition

by SchoolyT:

What the so called Constitutional law types on the right don't seem to get is that, when the issues regarding the interpretation of the Constitution have been considered, it is the case law that has decided it. If they have a problem with case law interpretation precedent, they could have Congress attempt to pass a Constitutional amendment clarifying the matter or try to re-argue the case in the courts in hopes of a different outcome. Otherwise, case law precedent is the law of the land and relies on a power defined in the Constitution.

That just annihilates conservatives.

Alex said...

Ritmo doesn't even need to show up today. I've done his work.

Fen said...

Nope. I don't feel annihilated.

In fact, I'm still laughing at you Alex for dodging the question:

"what part of the Constitution prohibits schools from teaching about God?"

MadisonMan said...

Yes. The MSM will call it "The Day America Reverted to Racism"

Wait and see. I'm not joking.

I had this discussion with ElCubanitoKC two year ago. (here) I've yet to see reports of votes against Obama legislation arising because of racism.

Alex said...

God is dead. How does that make you fundies feel when I say that?

Alex said...

Fen - public schools are prohibited from proselytize any religion. They are free to have courses on World Religion as a matter of fact. Of course the way I would teach such a course would be to emphasize that religionists historically were savages.

Maguro said...

@Alex - Plessy v. Ferguson was established case law at one time, too.

Fen said...

Alex: God is dead. How does that make you fundies feel when I say that?

I don't think there are any "fundies" here at Althouse.

Alex: Fen - public schools are prohibited from proselytize any religion.

On what authority? I've asked you: what part of the Constitution prohibits schools from teaching about God? And you've failed to respond.

Swing and a miss. Count is 0-1.

Take another swing at it. Or throw another ad hom tantrum at your imaginary Althousian Fundies...

former law student said...

"what part of the Constitution prohibits schools from teaching about God?"

The same part that prohibits the government from censoring your keyboarded remarks.

Fen said...

You can't find it either, huh FLS?

You're a former law student and you cant cite the part of the Constitution that prohibits schools from teaching about God.

Did you happen to attend Widener Law School?

Paddy O said...

Gott ist tot?

How does that make you fundies feel when I say that?

Like your theological awareness is stuck in the middle of last century.

Assuming, of course, that it's that far advanced and not stuck way back at Nietzsche.

Anita said...

Maybe you haven't heard but when conservatives speak violence ensues. Been in the news about a thousand times!


Well, those arrogant, ignorant, leftists with their overweaning sense of entitlement will get theirs at graduation.

No job, huge law school and undergrad debts.

And no end in sight for high unemployment in this country thanks to the policies of the arrogant, ignorant leftist with the overweaning sense of entitlement they helped elect president.

Mick said...

Law schools turn out "lawyers" who know nothing of the Constitution, nor do they care. The Constitution sets specific limits on the power of Government, and since the government is mostly made up of power hungry lawyers, they prefer to make it vague so as to make it what they want.
Even Althouse (and Reynolds for that matter) have turned a blind eye to the USC w/ regard to Presidential eligibility. "It's not important" they say, or "it distracts from the Conservative message", or "it makes us look bad", all because they are afraid of the "birther" epithet. I really can't believe that they are that clueless to the meaning of "Natural Born Citizen" (those born in the US of 2 US Citizen parents) or the rationale behind it. They are "law profs" after all aren't they?

TerriW said...

God is dead. How does that make you fundies feel when I say that?

Back in the early Pleistocene era, I had a Philosophy 101 class that ran Monday nights from 6-10pm. One night, around 9:45, our prof busted out the Nietzsche "God is dead" on us and no one blinked an eye.

So she said, more emphatically, "God is DEAD!"

Not a peep.

She started getting upset, "What is WRONG with you people?! I just said God is dead and you have no reaction?"

Hey, 3 and 3/4 hours into a class on a Monday night, you have to be a little more controversial than "God is dead" -- even in Minnesota.

Michael said...

Alex: That God is dead comment was supposed to shock? Dude, you are in high school and yet are thirty years behind in your "thinking?" Stay off wiki and stay on your meds.

DADvocate said...

Ritmo doesn't even need to show up today.

Your insult to Ritmo is the worst of your posts today.

Michael said...

TerriW: They pull that in sixth grade these days, thus the comment by Alex.

Ann Althouse said...

"WTF is Widener Law School?"

A better question is how much money would you need to donate to the University of Wisconsin Law School to get us to rename it the [Your Name Here] Law School? I'm serious! We will do it!

Ann Althouse said...

Also for sale: naming the law school building, which is now just called the "law school building." You can get that at a lower price.

Come on, rich people! Show the love!

former law student said...

You're a former law student and you cant cite the part of the Constitution that prohibits schools from teaching about God.

The framers would have had to see into the future for that. Back then, most schools (for boys anyway) were taught by ministers. If God was part of the curriculum the federal government would have obviously been barred from prohibiting this free exercise of religion.

Roger J. said...

Re Alex: George Bernard Shaw's aphorism comes to mind.

Fen said...

FLS takes another wild swing. Count is now 0-2...

William said...

In the Darwin vs intelligent design debate, I would be on the side of the Darwinists. However, it should be noted that the long arc of Darwinism includes the eungenics movement and forced sterilizations. The case law was approved by Oliver Wendell Holmes. A certain smount of skepticism about the vainglory of scientific opinions is in order and is nowhere taught in schools.....Ms. O'Donnell seemed well spoken, modest, and polite. She came off well.

paul a'barge said...

We have a lot of problems these days. At the top of every list are lawyers.

edutcher said...

The Constitution didn't prohibit the teaching of religion in public schools until Earl Warren's Court said so. If another Court does a Brown vs Board on his Plessy vs Ferguson, we go back to the way it was for over a century and a half.

Cook is also wrong when he says the concept of separation is there. Jefferson was ambassador to France at the time of the writing of the Constitution and I don't believe there is a word in the original document on the subject. The First Amendment only addresses one relatively specific issue of religion - an establishment, which is a particular type of law setting a state religion. It does not forbid the inclusion of religion in public life, as 175 years of American history can attest.

As Ann quotes Insta, "there’s no real need to know or care about the words in the text, since it means whatever you want it to mean at the moment.", this only became an issue when the ACLU and the other small c communists wanted to drive religion from public life as part of a general move toward destroying the family unit in this country.

former law student said...

FLS takes another wild swing.

Where does it say in the Constitution that I can broadcast porn?

Triangle Man said...

me with 32 years of studying law — I may display a puzzled expression or a smile, but I hear the person out and entertain the possibility that he has a point and that even if the point is wrong,

This would seem to reflect maturity, something students lack. Have you always responded this way? Was there a time when you would have simply dismissed an idea as "absurd"?

Bruce Hayden said...

Law schools turn out "lawyers" who know nothing of the Constitution, nor do they care. The Constitution sets specific limits on the power of Government, and since the government is mostly made up of power hungry lawyers, they prefer to make it vague so as to make it what they want.

I would respectfully disagree. Lawyers do have to know what is in the Constitution to pass the bar, and almost invariably take a couple classes in there (and, hence Prof. Althouse's employment).

The problem, if there is one, is that while they start with the actual wording, they go onto how those words have been interpreted over the last 200 or so years. And, this means that law school is slanted towards a more living Constitution versus strict textualist point of view.

This is, unfortunately necessary. It is fine to argue that the right to privacy was discovered in the penumbras and emanations of the Constitution, and therefore is not supported textually. But the reality is that that isn't what lawyers need to know. Rather, what most of them need to know is what the Constitution means right now in the courts in this country, and, most particularly, in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Think of law school as a trade school (and, yes, so is medical school, for the doctors out there). The why is interesting, but most of the time, not essential. What is is what is most important, not why it is.

traditionalguy said...

The Rush Limbaugh Memorial Law School has a ring to it. If he cannot buy into the NFL, maybe he can send his wealth your way.

JAY said...

That's all the respect right-wing psycho talkers like Palin, O'Donnel, Bachmann, Angle deserve. They should be ridiculed & mocked back to whichever hole they came from.


As opposed to you, silly, ignorant leftist, who should be able to spout lies and insults non-stop.

Right?

JAY said...

Alex said...
God is dead. How does that make you fundies feel when I say that?

10/20/10 10:20 AM


It is quite endearing as nobody can get offended by the continued ignorance you display.

JAY said...

Alex said...
I think the Democrats can get their fat out of the fryer if they nationalize this election as protecting the Republic from right-wing psycho-talker theocrat buffoons like Christine O'Donnell and Sarah Palin.

10/20/10 10:03 AM


Of course you do since Palin isn't running for office.

Wow, are you going to be a basket case on November 3rd...

MadisonMan said...

Also for sale: naming the law school building, which is now just called the "law school building." You can get that at a lower price.

Why aren't they selling non-naming rights, like Dean Knetter did in the Business School?

MadisonMan said...

That is, you give money and the school promises not to name the Business school after anything or anyone. Something like that.

ricpic said...

You answered your own question - "me with studying 32 years of law" . Who was in the audience? Students? There to learn? This is more about maturity than anything.

I agree with k*thy. Considering that most human brains don't begin to gell until the mid-30's it would be asking a bit much of this early twentysomething audience to exhibit a critical distance from the conservative dumb liberal smart sea in which they have been immersed. And that's not to say that their education at Widener is without value. Who knows how many of them will begin to "get" the constitution as they age? And what an advantage they will have over the rest of us understanding the wisdom of a document they have acquired detailed knowledge of...thanks to Widener.

JAY said...

Alex said...
DBQ - the only ones who agree with you are your fellow theocrats. The rest of the country *knows* that the 1st Amendment means a WALL of separation. But keep pounded that meme that there is no wall - it sure is working for you!

10/20/10 10:14 AM


Hysterical.

yeah, some "wall" here huh:

WASHINGTON — President Obama sought Wednesday to reframe the health care debate as “a core ethical and moral obligation,” imploring a coalition of religious leaders to help promote the plan to lower costs and expand insurance coverage for all Americans.


“I know there’s been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are frankly bearing false witness,” Mr. Obama told a multidenominational group of pastors, rabbis and other religious leaders who support his goal to remake the nation’s health care system.


Oh, and here is Obama invoking biblical themes:

Obama said that many were "bearing false witness" and took a shot at his opposition calling the pushback to date: "fabrications that have been put out there in order to discourage people from meeting what I consider to be a core ethical and moral obligation: that is that we look out for one another, that I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper. In the wealthiest nation on earth right now, we are neglecting to live up to that call.



You were outraged by that, right?

Right, clown?

Milwaukie guy said...

Sometimes I believe people think that since Thomas Jefferson wrote the Constitution, his letter to Danbury Baptist is kind of an additional clause.

wv: scrett: The actual authors of the Constitution is a huge scrett.[?]

Mick said...

Bruce Hayden said,

"The problem, if there is one, is that while they start with the actual wording, they go onto how those words have been interpreted over the last 200 or so years. And, this means that law school is slanted towards a more living Constitution versus strict textualist point of view."


And the more they "interpret" the PLAIN meaning of the words to mean something different from intention it becomes more and more a game of "post office".
The framers by and large saw religion as an important moral glue, and never intended it to be "separate" from government, only for it not to be SPONSORED by government.
Your Machiavellian Relativist argument is the reason that we as a country have strayed so far from the USC, to our detriment.

JAY said...

Here is the Washington Post report of the exchange:

She interrupted to say, "The First Amendment does? ... So you're telling me that the separation of church and state, the phrase 'separation of church and state,' is in the First Amendment?"


Of course these "intelligent" leftist screech like hyenas...

Mick said...

Jay said,

"Of course these "intelligent" leftist screech like hyenas..."

Because they are desperately looking for the "gotcha" moment.

Kirk Parker said...

FLS,

The ninth and tenth amendments, duh!

But I'll go easy on you: since that's a completely different question, not something you were actually asked, we'll rule that a foul ball and you can keep swinging.

Robert Cook said...

"Cook is also wrong when he says the concept of separation is there."

I said the concept is there...at least as determined by established American jurisprudence.

What is the "plain meaning" of "...Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...?"

You might assume your interpretation to be both "plain" and "obvious," while another may have a wholly different view.

David said...

Milwaukie guy said...
"Sometimes I believe people think that since Thomas Jefferson wrote the Constitution, his letter to Danbury Baptist is kind of an additional clause."

Jefferson was in France when the First Amendment was being drafted, discussed and ratified.

His political letter to the Danbury Baptists was written more than a decade later, when Jefferson had been elected President.

Two days after Jefferson wrote that letter, he conspicuously attended church services in the House of Representatives. Those services continued throughout his presidency, and Jefferson attended regularly.

traditionalguy said...

Just in from the SCOTUS. The Big 10now really means the Big 12. Unless my opinion is equally valid, and then the Big SEC rules over all. That's not the Securities and exchange commission either, all you Yanquis.

AllenS said...

fls,

Where in the Constitution does it say you have to quit beating your wife?

former law student said...

in the Constitution does it say you have to quit beating your wife?

Made me think: Someone on that MTV show should have responded to O'Donnell: "Not until they pry it from my cold, dead, hand."

El Pollo Real said...

What is the "plain meaning" of "...Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...?

To my ear it says Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion.

This debate reminds me of debating the meaning of "Happiness" in the other founding documents. I'm convinced that Jefferson meant something closer to happenstance, rather than material gain and gratification.

Big Mike said...

@Milwaukie guy, Thomas Jefferson authored the Declaration of Independence. The primary author of the Constitution was his good buddy, James Madison.

However there is no question where Jefferson would have come out on separation of church and state if you read the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom drafted by him in 1777 and enacted in 1786 (one year before the Consitutional Convention in Philadelphia).

The key clause is "... to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical." Very true. Very, very true.

traditionalguy said...

All in a day's confusion over Christianity. The Amendment has never said anything for or against any religious faith, except that its exercise Shall not be denied under actions by the US Government's new Congress. The Amendment also stops that same Congress from creating a State Church in which being a member wins favors or avoids penalties. End of story. The sudden 1962 finding that any mention of a religious faith in a public owned place is suddenly made illegal is preposterous.

El Pollo Real said...

The key clause is "... to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical." Very true. Very, very true.

When does idOlatry cross the line and become religion?

Scott M said...

When does idOlatry cross the line and become religion?

When the object in question is purchased at an Apple store.

Alex said...

The sudden 1962 finding that any mention of a religious faith in a public owned place is suddenly made illegal is preposterous.

That ruling reflected where America was in 1962. Americans are even more secular now then 48 years ago. We don't tolerate religious expression in public places because we know the horrors that it brought in the past.

Viva La Atheism!

Robert Cook said...

"To my ear it says Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion."

That's a tautology. What does it mean?

"This debate reminds me of debating the meaning of 'Happiness' in the other founding documents. I'm convinced that Jefferson meant something closer to happenstance, rather than material gain and gratification."

This makes no sense. "Happenstance" means "a chance happening or event."

I don't think "pursuit of happiness" meant pursuit of gain, necessarily, but the pursuit of that life best suited to onself, according to one's own principles, standards and goals...a life of one's own choosing.

Milwaukee said...

I once had the privilege of observing a superior teacher working with a group of struggling 2nd graders on identifying coins. One young many said "Pennies are the same on both sides." Instead of scolding, she asked him what he meant. He said "Pennies are brown on both sides." He nailed the most distinguishing characteristic of a penny. (Most standardized tests are not in color, so his excellent insight is wasted on 2nd grade test takers.) We need to listen to what people say and what they mean.

My impression is that the government isn't to force a religion on us. But those that wrote the Declaration of Independence think we have "inalienable rights endowed by our Creator". That sounds really religious to me. If we don't have those rights, then we have nothing.

traditionalguy said...

Alex...No restriction is made upon public place practice or promotion of any pagan Religious doctrines, such as meditation, yoga, witchcraft and Freudian psychiatry. Only the Judeo-Christian view of a God judging sin and righteousness is excluded with a vengeance. What Would States Do is the answer that we are effectively forbidden to hear. Why?

El Pollo Real said...

That's a tautology. What does it mean?

Think of visible light refracted through a prism into its rainbow components. Congress shall make no law favoring any particular color light. It doesn't mean we should shut the light off.

buster said...

From a post by Jim Lindgren at the Volokh Conspiracy:

6. The phrase “Separation of Church and State,” as Philip Hamburger establishes in his classic book on the subject, is not in the language of the first amendment, was not favored by any influential framer at the time of the first amendment, and was not its purpose.

7. The first mainstream figures to favor separation after the first amendment was adopted were Jefferson supporters in the 1800 election, who were trying to silence Northern clergy critical of the immoral Jeffersonian slaveholders in the South.

8. After the Civil War, liberal Republicans proposed a constitutional amendment to add separation of church and state to the US Constitution by amendment, since it was not already there. After that effort failed, influential people began arguing that it was (magically) in the first amendment.

9. In the last part of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, nativists (including the KKK) popularized separation as an American constitutional principle, eventually leading to a near consensus supporting some form of separation.

10. Separation was a crucial part of the KKK’s jurisprudential agenda. It was included in the Klansman’s Creed (or was it the Klansman’s Kreed?). Before he joined the Court, Justice Black was head of new members for the largest Klan cell in the South. New members of the KKK had to pledge their allegiance to the “eternal separation of Church and State.” In 1947, Black was the author of Everson, the first Supreme Court case to hold that the first amendment’s establishment clause requires separation of church & state. The suit in Everson was brought by an organization that at various times had ties to the KKK.

Alex said...

tradguy - I'm sure that public Christian expression is allowed in Bible Belt country to your heart's content. But people in say Manhattan are atheist, hedonist, yoga-lovers and prefer that. Why do you hate diversity?

Maguro said...

That ruling reflected where America was in 1962. Americans are even more secular now then 48 years ago. We don't tolerate religious expression in public places because we know the horrors that it brought in the past.

Viva La Atheism
!

But what about the horrors that atheism brought in the past?

Vicioussss said...

I'm pretty horrified now.

Thanks, atheism!

Robert Cook said...

"Think of visible light refracted through a prism into its rainbow components. Congress shall make no law favoring any particular color light. It doesn't mean we should shut the light off."

That's your interpetation; the words themselves are nonspecific enough that others can draw different meaning from them.

Let's assume you're on the right track. What does it mean for Congress to make no law favoring any specific color light? How would that be accomplished?

Just to offer one example: one might say that in order not to favor Chritianity (Red) over Judaism (Blue) or Hinduism (Green) or Islam (Yellow), no state agencies, such as schools, will conduct Christian religious services or have students recite Christian prayers, as this would give state imprimatur to one religious doctrine over all others. By including the religious dogma of one faith and excluding all others, the state is, informally, at least, promoting--establishing--Christianity as the favored, or even "state" religion.

Or, one could have the students partcipate in religious exercises and recite holy scripture from all religions.

But this would be impractical, for the time it would take up, and it would still be discriminatory, favoring, as it does, religion over non-religion. Thus, atheists would be set apart from believers.

In short, the "wall" so despised by many (but not all) Christians is not discriminatory toward them but is intended to arrest discrimination against any others or to prevent the imposition of religious ideas in children whose families do not want such indoctrination of their kids.

If the time comes when practitioners of other religions outnumber Christians in America, you can be sure those Christians will have born again experiences as regards the efficacy of the wall of separation to protect them from religious discrimination or their kids from being proselytized into other faiths.

Robert Cook said...

"But what about the horrors that atheism brought in the past?"

Such as...?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The key clause is "... to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical." Very true. Very, very true.


So then, would this apply to Obama using Air Force One, my tax money, to galavant all over the US for no legitimate governmenat purpose other than to campaign for Democrats against Republicans?

Hmmmm?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@roesch-voltaire:

We can parse words and make reference to Jefferson's letter where he mention "separation of church and state,"

1) Jefferson didn't write the First Amendment, or any other.

2) In 1791 Congress rejected amendments that would have prevented states from establishing churches.

3) There were established state churches until about 1840.

4) If O'Donnell had said judicial review isn't in the Constitution--which it isn't--would you quote Jefferson's letters on how terrible judicial review is?

JAY said...

We don't tolerate religious expression in public places because we know the horrors that it brought in the past.

Hysterical.

You couldn't name 2.

The ignorance displayed by the leftists here is simply staggering.

Staggering.

JAY said...

nd make reference to Jefferson's letter where he mention "separation of church and state,"


Um, and?

You have no point.

Again, the ignorance is staggering.

George said...

---The key clause is "... to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical." Very true. Very, very true--

Hmmm.. that sounds just like making a law regarding a tax supported, legal 'establishment of religion' which is the wording voted on when the Ammendments were ratified. It doesn't sound like 'wall of separation' which was quoted in a footnote in the 1950's.

JAY said...

By including the religious dogma of one faith and excluding all others, the state is, informally, at least, promoting--establishing--Christianity as the favored, or even "state" religion.

Um, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but the concept of having rights endowed by a creator isn't exactly favored by a lot of religions.

Your ignorance is simply off the charts.

jr565 said...

info wrote:
Name a school where it is not the case....
Maybe you haven't heard but when conservatives speak violence ensues. Been in the news about a thousand times!


So true. Whenever a conservative speaks, you can be sure there is a menagerie of liberal interest groups, often wearing literal tin foil hats, or costumes, there to scream them down. And if you think back to the 60's, when we had the age of aquarius it was the same way.
The libs then had no problem taking over campuses, throwing bottles at cops, calling cops pigs, saying LBJ "how many kids did you kill today", etc.
The left, largely is incapable of acting with any civility. I realize that truth and justice are on their side (sarc) but why do they have to be such snotty shits about it? Especially since at least half are acting under the assumption that there is no moral universe (ie, they're humanists and/or materialists) who fight against christian legislated morality. Yet at the same time are adamant that their side is right and the other side is evil. All it is them acting out of pique because mommy didn't buy them the toy they wanted.
Waaah! Why are they so convinced that others need to act morally, and why are they willing to confront them on said evils if there really is no such thing, other than that which exists in their minds. If that's all it is, then liberals are simply having temper tantrums because they can't get everyone in the world to think and act like a liberal BECAUSE THEY SAY SO.
Stupid liberals. Learn to act properly in society, and stop being little babies.

JAY said...

The key clause is "... to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical."

Er, like national health care?

How about Medicaid which is nothing but a fraud machine?

Midnight basketball?

Headstart?

all useless...

Robert Cook said...

"Er, like national health care?"

How is national health care an opinion or set of beliefs?

"How about Medicaid which is nothing but a fraud machine?"

For unscrupulous doctors, yes. However, most seniors in this country would not dream of eliminating Medicare, anymore than you would dream of shutting down the interstate highway system because they're paid for by our taxes.

El Pollo Real said...

But what about the horrors that atheism brought in the past?"

Such as...?


I'd suggest you start with the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, but I suspect that communism with a big "C" is a shibboleth for you.

Maguro said...

"But what about the horrors that atheism brought in the past?"

Such as...
?

Such as the gulags, the Cultural Revolution and the killing fields.

Robert Cook said...

"Um, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but the concept of having rights endowed by a creator isn't exactly favored by a lot of religions."

Um, I hate to point out to you that this is simply a poetic way of saying: all human beings come into this world in the same way, (and the unstated corollary, will all go out the same) and should expect as human beings to enjoy fair and just treatment, to be equal to all others before the law.

The framers of the Constitution were literate men and did not assume their every turn of phrase would be read literally by those tone deaf to rhetoric.

Fen said...

"But what about the horrors that atheism brought in the past?"

Robert Cook: Such as...?

Just because you're atheist doesn't mean you don't have a spiritual appetite. And athists tend to displace that energy into worshiping things like Humanism, AGW and Obama.

Or the State, as another poster pointed out re communism.

El Pollo Real said...

If the time comes when practitioners of other religions outnumber Christians in America, you can be sure those Christians will have born again experiences as regards the efficacy of the wall of separation to protect them from religious discrimination or their kids from being proselytized into other faiths.

One could say the same about language and custom: Spanish versus English for example. Shall Congress make no law respecting the establishment of language?

In the end, wombs win over tombs.

That is another reason why unfettered abortion is so evil. But your heros, the Soviets, believed in it.

I apologize in advance for veering of topic.

El Pollo Real said...

Fen wrote that atheists tend to displace that energy into worshiping things like Humanism, AGW and Obama.

I'd have said "dissipate that energy" instead of "displace that energy" but that's JMO.

wv "everpolo" LOL

Fen said...

I'd rather people worhsip some imaginary Greater Power than Stalin, Che, Themselves, etc

Much less dangerous

Robert Cook said...

"Such as the gulags, the Cultural Revolution and the killing fields."

What makes you think those evils were the result of atheism, rather than serving the political or strategic goals of their authors? That is, how can you know that millions were imprisoned or murdered due to some sort of "atheistic" beliefs on the part of the tyrants, rather than being a means to impose order and obedience on the disorderly masses? How can you know such crimes were not simply aspects of the psychopathic personalities heading up the respective governments?

Fen said...

I'd have said "dissipate that energy" instead of "displace that energy" but that's JMO.

Yah, I'm not liking either word. Neither is precise enough for what I mena, but I'm tired today and out of coffee.

jr565 said...

Alex wrote:
I know this because he's defending O'Donnell right now and saying evolution is something that belongs to racist eugenicists.

the fact of the matter is, Darwinism IS the precursor the eugenescist movment. And in fact, the nazis got much of their "science" from Darwinism. THey practiced darwinism to a tee. They want to keep the race strong. Survival of the fittest. Remove the weaker species, or weaker races so they don't dilute the stronger race. Jews, having a long pedigree of being the scapegoat in Europe were that vermin that needed to be removed, so as to maintain and strengthen the Teutonic race.
And eugenics wast totally darwinistic as well. When Oliver holmes sterilized Buck he was basing his decision on eugenics which was largely the sister of Darwinism. Carrie Buck was simply a moron. her mother was a moron, and she would only produce moron kids. So three generations of imbeciles was enough. you don't want inferiors like her poisoning the gene pool.

Fen said...

Well Robert, if thats your excuse, apply to it religious leaders as well.

Robert Cook said...

"I'd rather people worhsip some imaginary Greater Power than Stalin, Che, Themselves, etc

Much less dangerous."


This is why in theocracies heretics must never fear being burned at the stake or broken on the wheel or stoned for adultery, yes?

exhelodrvr1 said...

"The greatest benefit of Law School is that it reorders your mind, improves your critical thinking skills."

Apparently the proof of that isn't in the pudding.

Scott M said...

@Robert

I think it's more apt to say that those horrors occurred under leadership that viewed religion as an "opiate for the masses" instead of something real. Seams like a small leap to make from that to atheism, but I'll grant you the semantics.

El Pollo Real said...

Robert Cook wrote: What makes you think those evils were the result of atheism, rather than serving the political or strategic goals of their authors?

I suppose you believe that true communism remains to be tried.

traditionalguy said...

Alex...I agree with you. All expressions are legal in a public place. So someone please stop the ACLU and its favorite Federal Judges from excluding the Bible Belt old time favorites. Like "Repent or Crack Emcee will find you", and "Jesus Saves-Jews Invest". None of that really offends anyone at all.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@jr565:

And in fact, the nazis got much of their "science" from Darwinism. THey practiced darwinism to a tee. They want to keep the race strong. Survival of the fittest. Remove the weaker species, or weaker races so they don't dilute the stronger race.

You don't know much about Darwin or Nazis, just repeating creationist lies.

First, Hitler in Mein Kampf explicitly rejected that one species could evolve into another, and explicitly accepted that humans are made in God's image.

Second, Darwin's books were burned by Nazis.

Third, eugenics was advocated by Plato and practiced by Sparta, as well as every dog, horse, and cattle breeder, thousands of years before Darwin.

Fourth, there's nothing in the science of biology that gives weeding out the "unfit" a moral imperative, or even gives an objective standard of what "unfit" means.

It's not that you don't believe in evolution that pisses me off; you have to lie about it.

Fen said...

Robert Cook: This is why in communist regimes heretics must never fear [pick your henious punishment] for speaking against the State, yes?

/fixed

JAY said...

However, most seniors in this country would not dream of eliminating Medicare,

You can't read.

I said Medicaid.

Further, what "most seniors" want isn't necessarily right, is it?

Fen said...

Just for the record Robert Cook, aren't you our resident Socialist? Or was it Communist? I forgot, so my examples were not deliberately intended to pick on your Sacred Cow.

Fen said...

You can go back to worshipping Che as your God now, Athiest.

JAY said...

How is national health care an opinion or set of beliefs?

Huh?

Believing that health care is a right or that even the federal government can or should provide health care is a clearly identifiable opinion.

You are demonstrating yourself to be a clown here.

jr565 said...

Alex wrote:
tradguy - I'm sure that public Christian expression is allowed in Bible Belt country to your heart's content. But people in say Manhattan are atheist, hedonist, yoga-lovers and prefer that. Why do you hate diversity?


But you're not really for diversity either are you, considering you want to shut up any one who might utter a christian sentiment in public?
In the bible belt country, i'll bet you'll find some atheists and hedonists and maybe even some yoga classes and in most cases they are not in fact shouted down. It's too bad that in the interst of diversity you are more close minded than the bible belt you accuse of close mindedness.

JAY said...

The key clause is "... to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical."

Yes, kind of like this:

Federal spending this year amounts to $3.453 trillion. To put this in context, consider the fact that total federal debt did not reach that level until 1995.

Further, Obama has added almost 3 trillion to the federal debt and 14.9 million are unemployed.

That is tyrannical.

dacama1 said...

A 4th tier POS law school. Most of those grads with be unemployed for the few years..Hope they have a lot of fun.

JAY said...

all human beings come into this world in the same way, (and the unstated corollary, will all go out the same) and should expect as human beings to enjoy fair and just treatment, to be equal to all others before the law.

Um, I hate to point it out to you, but equal treatment before the law isn't exactly popular in most religions.

You're now 0-2, and your ignorance is still staggering.

Keep your head in the sand, it is the only way you can stick to your silly world views...

Robert Cook said...

"I think it's more apt to say that those horrors occurred under leadership that viewed religion as an 'opiate for the masses' instead of something real."

I'd say tyrannies that are religious in nature use religion to impose on the populace strict order, obedience, and conformity to state doctrine, which is in such cases congruent with religious doctrine.

In non-religious tyrannies, I suggest religion is eschewed, even outlawed, less because of any rabid atheism of the tyrants than to insure the populace's loyalties adhere only to the state, to remove any possibility of divided loyalties. Such states cannot abide a populace who have faith in or allegiance to a divine being or spiritual realm as this represents repudiation of the primacy of the state.

For practical reasons, it simply will not do to allow Roman citizens to revere Christ over Caesar.

JAY said...

What makes you think those evils were the result of atheism, rather than serving the political or strategic goals of their authors?

Wow, I mean wow.

Here is a hint: they were amoral.

Head, meet sand.

Stay ignorant, it is the only way you could possibly get through the day.

Scott M said...

Believing that health care is a right or that even the federal government can or should provide health care is a clearly identifiable opinion.

I've often wondered how someone can claim an inalienable human right that requires the direct labor of another person in order to complete that right.

Robert Cook said...

"Just for the record Robert Cook, aren't you our resident Socialist? Or was it Communist? I forgot, so my examples were not deliberately intended to pick on your Sacred Cow."

I have never stated that I am either.

Robert Cook said...

"Wow, I mean wow.

Here is a hint: they were amoral."


How do you know this? Moral people can be every bit as monstrous as amoral people. Often worse, as they tell themselves their crimes are in service of their morals.

That aside, why do you assume religious people must be moral, or cannot be amoral? Why do you assume atheists must be amoral, or cannot be moral?

El Pollo Real said...

I have never stated that I am either.

We know thee by thine fruits.

roesch-voltaire said...

I mentioned Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist to suggest that the notion of separation between church and state, although not explicitly in the constitution, was an Enlightenment attitude of the time, I am also aware that it was the Everson Vs Board of Education case of 1947 where Justice Black wrote the majority opinion that the First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state.I am also aware that the Dover case ruled the teaching of ID in a science class in not appropriate. I would have expected candidates for the Senate to focus the discussion on these matters, rather than what took place. Further, in general I think this separation has help up because we are a diverse society that wants to follow our own conscience in matters of faith, and not because atheist think God is dead.

Michael said...

Robert Cook: You wrote "This is why in theocracies heretics must never fear being burned at the stake or broken on the wheel or stoned for adultery, yes?"

I cannot think of a theocracy that has massacred 100 million people whereas I can think of three secular regimes that have snuffed that many souls, each. It is clever to insinuate that each system is capable of equivalent evil, but I believe the historical facts suggest otherwise. Yes?

GMay said...

Michael,

A post like that should leave a mark, but will sadly only elicit the crickets.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@roesch-voltaire:

Move those goalposts! In 1791 established state churches WERE Constitutional, agreed to be so by the very people who wrote and adopted the Constitution.

You never voted for it. You were born under it. They voted for it.

Quoting 1 guy's opinion, who was far from representative in religious matters, against the PRACTICE of hundreds of thousands of Americans just doesn't cut it.

You can't rewrite history just because it's not as simple as you'd like it to be. 18th century America wasn't composed of Paine, Voltaire, and Jefferson--they might be heroes of yours, they certainly are mine, but those men were outliers. We're not arguing about the philosophy of secular government, we're arguing about what laws were understood to mean by the people who wrote, adopted, and lived under those laws.

It is unconstitutional to teach creationism in science class, but it was not always.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"How about Medicaid which is nothing but a fraud machine?"

For unscrupulous doctors, yes. However, most seniors in this country would not dream of eliminating Medicare,

Medicaid and Medicare are not the same things.

MEDCAID is a welfare program for the indigent (poor) and is widely used by illegals. There are no premiums for Medicaid is a free program paid for by the taxes from working citizens.


MEDICARE is a program that people paid into through payroll taxes and get Part A for free if they have paid in enough quarters (40) They then pay a monthly premium for Part B. approx $96.40 per month per person.

Medicare is not a FREE program. People have paid for it throughout their lifetimes through payroll deductions and continue to pay for it even when not working any longer

There is no comparison.

Robert Cook said...

"It is clever to insinuate that each system is capable of equivalent evil, but I believe the historical facts suggest otherwise."

I am unprepared at present to discuss the historical record on this point, but I did not intend so much to insinuate that secular and non-secular systems are capable of equivalent evils--though I do believe this is so, (for why would it be otherwise, humans being humans, after all?)--so much as to refute the idea that worshiping a supernatural being or dogma (over men or political ideologies) inoculates individuals or societies against the potential for evil which can arise in secular societies.

I'll point out as well that the greater numbers of massacred human beings in modern times is probably more a function of the greater killing technologies available to us today--as well as the greater numbers of humans available to kill--than to the nature of those doing the killing. We've industrialized and made more efficient not just our means of manufacture, distribution and sale of goods but also our means of murder.

former law student said...

I've often wondered how someone can claim an inalienable human right that requires the direct labor of another person in order to complete that right.


I, too, deplore the chickenhawks who enjoy the rights secured by the sacrifice of millions of others who served in the military over the years.

Robert Cook said...

DBQ,

I stand corrected...I missed the reference as being to Medicaid. I'm aware of it and know what it is and I know the difference between Medicaid and Medicare..and I support Medicaid wholeheartedly. I have known and know now people who have had to rely on it and I think it's wonderful that people with no resources can find some means to have their medical needs met, however meagerly.

As for fraud, I'm sure there is some, but then there is fraud everywhere in all economic strata. As a rule, the wealthier the thieves, the greater their thieving, as witness the criminals in the boardrooms on Wall Street. Once these visitors of misery upon human beings have been been prosecuted and punished for their crimes, I think then we can worry about the dregs who manage to take more than their fair share of the crumbs that are made available to them.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Medicare is not a FREE program. People have paid for it throughout their lifetimes through payroll deductions and continue to pay for it even when not working any longer

There is no comparison.


Actually, since the money you take out of Medicare has no proportion to what you paid in, it's a transfer payment like Social Security. Yeah, there is a comparison. You can't opt out and the benefits paid out today are paid according to the taxes paid in today and the government can change the rules at any time.

Real insurance is profitable. Real insurance is voluntary.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@FLS:

I, too, deplore the chickenhawks who enjoy the rights secured by the sacrifice of millions of others who served in the military over the years.

Yes, I'm sure you saw a lot of combat and are enjoying no rights that you did not personally go out and earn.

Why don't you go crack a genetics textbook instead of wasting your time here?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Actually, since the money you take out of Medicare has no proportion to what you paid in

That is a specious statement. (look it up)

1. It depends on who you are as to how much you take out versus how much you put in. How long did you work? What was your income?

There is no cap on payroll on medicare. You can't opt out. Your employer can't opt out either.

2. If you are not very ill or use little medical care, then the amount you pay in and STILL have to pay in may be much more than what you get out in the form of services.

In addition, the coverage under Medicare part A and even with Part B is paltry. The benefits run out in a very very short time if you have a serious illness

There are deductibles and caps. For instance it only covers a lifetime of 190 days for stays in the hospital and each stay must be over 72 hours to be covered.

If you aren't in critical care or just need to be in the hospital for a short while: "The coverage is limited to a maximum of 100 days in a benefit period. The first 20 days are paid in full, and the remaining 80 days will require a co-payment"

Medicare really sucks for the money you have to put into it for what you get in services. Plus, once you are of Medicare age, regular insurance companies won't cover you (there are some special circumstances but rare) so your GOOD coverage gets canceled.

Making a blanket statement about Medicare and Medicare recipients, as you did is not only specious, it is dumb.

Milwaukie guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Milwaukie guy said...

I'm an atheist of the Presbyterian variety [God's actual religion, no foolin']. And I will fight for the right of Christians and others for full access to the public square and for the full rights of religion enshrined in the first amendment.

Freedom to believe and not. Fully. No state church of any kind, even AGW.

wv: unimili: localvore multi-grain pasta, I can get it in the PDX, yah.

El Pollo Real said...

Robert Cook wrote: For practical reasons, it simply will not do to allow Roman citizens to revere Christ over Caesar.

You reminded me of what Nazi judge Roland Friesler told Helmuth James von Moltke at the latter's trial in 1945:
"Only in one respect are we and Christianity alike: we demand the whole man!"

wv = "everpolo" again!

Gabriel Hanna said...

@DBQ

Making a blanket statement about Medicare and Medicare recipients, as you did is not only specious, it is dumb.

Medicare is a transfer payment, whether or not it sucks.

And I never said one word in moral reproach of those who receive Medicare or contribute to it.

It's a government program that pays today's medical bills with today's taxes. That is a fact.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Medicare is a transfer payment, whether or not it sucks.

Is regular health insurance a transfer payment as well?

I suppose you could say it is to the extent that the premiums paid by the healthy people go towards claims made by the unhealthy if the balance of premiums paid is outweighed by benefits taken.

When I (I'm not old enough so this is hypothetical) am paying premiums and my benefits are less than the premiums I have paid over my lifetime and am forced to continue to pay after age 65, is that a transfer from myself to me?

I thought the definition of transfer would be taking from one person and giving to another.

This would be true of Medicaid. Not so much for MediCARE.

SH said...

Lucien said...

"If you were to sit down with someone and talk about the Establishment Clause you would quickly get to the point of discussing whether it entails what is known as the separation of church and state."

and her / the point is that this is a leftist / progressive doctrine coming out of the courts... not what is in the constitution itself. It is simply a particular political movement's 'living' interpretation of the constitution... the kind of thing tea partiers want to push back on (interpreting the constitution to mean whatever you want vs. what it says and/or its intent).

JAY said...

As for fraud, I'm sure there is some, but then there is fraud everywhere in all economic strata. As a rule, the wealthier the thieves,

Hysterical.

First, there is estimated $30 billion per year in Medicaid/Medicare fraud taking place.

That isn't "some" that is a lot.

Further, as to your "rule" we see yet again how staggering your ignorance is.

You have no proof, data, or facts to support that idiotic assertion.

JAY said...

Once these visitors of misery upon human beings have been been prosecuted and punished for their crimes, I think then we can worry about the dregs who manage to take more than their fair share of the crumbs that are made available to them.

Well, except nobody put you in charge, and you're a socialist.

Further, these "criminals on wall street" have the rather unfortunate labeling despite being convicted of no crimes.

Funny that, huh?

Oh, but here is a fun trip down memory lane:

hese two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

Don't worry, I realize you're not smart or informed enough to understand how federal policy led to the mortgage meltdown which fueled the recession.

JAY said...

I, too, deplore the chickenhawks who enjoy the rights secured by the sacrifice of millions of others who served in the military over the years.

You've never been in the military, and therefore are a hypocrite for even trying to bring this up.

jr565 said...

Former Law student wrote:
I, too, deplore the chickenhawks who enjoy the rights secured by the sacrifice of millions of others who served in the military over the years.

Chicken hawks like the ones saying Iraq was a diversion from the real war on terror, but who didn't actually enlist when Obama escalated in Afhganistan?
Those chicken hawks?

collegebound said...

I think what this thread needs is a copy of the 1st Amendment:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Now what that tells me, is that Congress shall not make any law in favor of or against any religion(s).
That's a very general term and would include prayer in school or teaching of religious documents (talking about public school only).

Gabriel Hanna said...

@DBQ:

This would be true of Medicaid. Not so much for MediCARE.

This is getting to be a sideshow.

If I want my life insured for twice as much, I will pay more in premiums than someone who wants half as much. If I am a smoker, I will pay more to reflect my higher risk.

MediCARE doesn't have any of that. People who pay MORE don't get more, only people who pay LONGER.

A guy who pays into Medicare for 10 years on a $20,000 salary gets the same benefits as a guy who pays in for 10 years on a $100,000 salary, even though the $100,000 put more money in.

A guy who smokes 4 packs a day pays the same as a guy who doesn't. It's not like normal insurance.

And it pays today's benefits with today's taxes, which normal insurance doesn't do. Which is my Medicare spends more than it takes in. See a life insurance do that and see how long it lasts.

Just because it's a transfer payment doesn't make it bad. Just because it's good doesn't mean it's not a transfer payment. Just like Social Security.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

This is getting to be a sideshow.

@ Gabriel

True. Our discussion is irrelevant to the thread. Sorry.

collegebound said...

JAY said: "You couldn't name 2." (about massacres caused by religion)

1. St. Bartholomew's Day massacre where French Catholics massacred the Protestants in Paris

2. "the troubles", against Catholics in Ireland

3. Persecution of Catholics in the Roman Empire

4. Ever heard of the Holocaust? I'll grant you it wasn't directly dictated by religion, but the fact is, if you were Jewish you died.

jr565 said...

Regarding Nazis and Darwin, I had a long post that somehow vanished in the ether, and don't want to repeat it.
Suffice it to say, that if you don't know the degree to which Darwinism and Eugenics (sister movements) influwnced the Nazis then you simply don't know history (Gabriel Hana).
Whether the nazis believed that we evolved from the sea or from other species is immaterial to the idea that the Nazis believed in survival of the fittest and the struggle for the race of man to evolve. Which required that the stronger race destroy the weaker ones, which otherwise might contaminate the stronger ones.
Hitler wrote this:
‘If I can accept a divine Commandment, it’s this one: “Thou shalt preserve the species.” The life of the individual must not be set at too high a price. If the individual were important in the eyes of nature, nature would take care to preserve him. Amongst the millions of eggs a fly lays, very few are hatched out — and yet the race of flies thrives.

Notice that he is in fact basing his worldview on scientific grounds (at the time) and darwinism.
Darwin devalued human life by saying they were no better than animals. Darwin devalued the human soul. There isn't one. Darwin believed in human inequality (since evolution requires variation) and that there were more and less evolved races. Europeans of course were the most evolved, and aborigines were on the lower end of the spectrum. In fact, the lower species were closer to primates than the higher ones.
Darwin also beleived that mans various races were in a struggle for survival:
"[a]t some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races."


Who are these savage races?
Again from Hitler:
‘The Germans were the higher race, destined for a glorious evolutionary future. For this reason it was essential that the Jews should be segregated, otherwise mixed marriages would take place. Were this to happen, all nature’s efforts “to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being may thus be rendered futile”

Evolution, evolution evolution. That is Darwinism all the way.
Darwin also influenced the eugenecists of his day, not just the nazis. But the nazis whole heartedly accepted the "science" of eugenics and applied it to their extermination of the Jews, just as modern progressives used eugenics to say sterilize Carrie Buck on the grounds that "three genereations of imbeciles was enough".

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

the fact of the matter is, Darwinism IS the precursor the eugenescist movment.

The fact of the matter is life is the precursor to death.

Sex is the precursor to birth.

Whatever.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Darwin didn't have anything to do with subjective hierarchies like "better" or religious talk of "souls". He was not addressing these things. You read this into him because you are fixated by those things, even though they had nothing to do with what Darwin had to say.

Get a grip, man.

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