Wednesday, July 05, 2006

isn't this reason enough for separation of church and state?

thanks to sarah at 'an american aries' for this story:

A large Delaware school district promoted Christianity so aggressively that a Jewish family felt it necessary to move to Wilmington, two hours away, because they feared retaliation for filing a lawsuit.

[...]

On the evening in August 2004 when the board was to announce its new policy, hundreds of people turned out for the meeting. The Dobrich family and Jane Doe felt intimidated and asked a state trooper to escort them.

The complaint recounts a raucous crowd that applauded the board's opening prayer and then, when sixth-grader Alexander Dobrich stood up to read a statement, yelled at him "take your yarmulke off!" His statement, read by Samantha, confided "I feel bad when kids in my class call me Jew boy."

...A former board member suggested that Mona Dobrich might "disappear" like Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the atheist whose Supreme Court case resulted in ending organized school prayer. She disappeared in 1995 and her dismembered body was found six years later.

The crowd booed an ACLU speaker and told her to "go back up north."

In the days after the meeting the community poured venom on the Dobriches. Callers to the local radio station said the family they should convert or leave the area. Someone called them and said the Ku Klux Klan was nearby.


i am so glad that i live in a nation of religious tolerance.

12 comments:

Sarah said...

Thanks for spotlighting my blog again.

: )

Truth-Pain said...

Although this incident is reprehensible by any interpretation,... I wonder if separation of church and state really does apply here as it refers to the fears of the Founding Fathers.
Religion (rightly or wrongly) was a major influence in the writing of the Federalist Papers and subsequently, The Constitution. Did they intend for us to eliminate complete reflection of our religious ethos in all aspects of Governmental duties? or was it the implicit action of USING religion as a manner of policy formulation that they were against?...
I am still working on that one. This topic is too-highly interpretive.
Great post Sarah,.. nice link Betmo.

DivaJood said...

First 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.

Unless, of course, someone disagrees, or has the wrong color skin, or is perhaps a different religion, or perhaps has no religion at all.

shawn (aka blogstud) said...

Thanks for the post Sarah and betmo. These posts are vital because they remind those of us who value freedom and equality that there is still so much work to be done.

Just like the federal (anti-)marriage amendment reminds us that the battle for equal rights is not limited to race and religion.

When Texas passed its anti-marriage amendment I was crushed. My home state made me a 2nd class citizen. I felt like applying for political asylum in a civilized country....

Yeah, I am a little angry tonight.

T.L. Stanley said...

Question: What does the separation of church and state really mean?
Answer: I don't know anymore.

When a school district in California can teach Islam, but at the same time purge all Christian symbols from school, is this separation of church and state? Or, when the school district in New York can ban all Christian symbols from school but allow Jewish and Muslim symbols to be boldly displayed, is this separation of church and state? Or, when a school allowed Jewish songs to be sung at Christmas but banned traditional Christmas songs, is this separation of church at state?

It appears that separation of church and state really means banning Christian symbols. The public square has become a battleground for this issue. I really don't think the founding fathers intended for Christian symbols and Christmas to be banned from the public square. Historical documents and early American traditions support the idea of public displays of Christian symbols.

Sarah said...

"When a school district in California can teach Islam, but at the same time purge all Christian symbols from school, is this separation of church and state?"

First off, teaching a religion is not a promotion of it. Hanging religious symbols is.

"Or, when the school district in New York can ban all Christian symbols from school but allow Jewish and Muslim symbols to be boldly displayed, is this separation of church and state?"

I don't know what case you are citing, but it sounds like nonsense or completely overblown to me. It sounds like a rambling from John Gibson.

"Or, when a school allowed Jewish songs to be sung at Christmas but banned traditional Christmas songs, is this separation of church at state?"

Same as above. It sounds like something made up for the "war on Christmas." At least these "persecuted" Christians aren't getting run out of town and threatened.

"It appears that separation of church and state really means banning Christian symbols."

Nonsense. What it means is that Christianity cannot be give PRIORITY over other faiths. In most church/state cases, the hanging of Christian imagery usually excludes all other religions. In other words, it's only being done to promote Christian belief.

"I really don't think the founding fathers intended for Christian symbols and Christmas to be banned from the public square."

Probably not, but they didn't mean for Christianity to be a state-sponsored religion either. In fact, the way we celebrate Christmas now didn't even come into vogue until Queen Victoria came around. In pre-colonial days, Christmas was consider a Pagan holiday worthy of shunning.

"Historical documents and early American traditions support the idea of public displays of Christian symbols."

Same goes for displays of mythology from the ancient Romans and Greeks. The concept of democracy comes from these ancient civilizations. There is absolutely nothing in our founding documents that promotes Christianity - as best, it's deism mixed with natural philosophy and the ancient teachings of the Greeks and Romans. Do you know how many goddess statues hang outside of courtrooms? Heck, we're more Pagan than anything else! Those darling Christmas trees are Pagan too.

The Constitution is the document we should be worried about upholding. If we were a "Christian" nation, we wouldn't even have a First Amendment, because it would be breaking at least two of the Ten Commandments. If the Founders were so intend on us being all Christian, you'd think they would have put it in the Constitution. Besides, if you read The Bible, Jesus was very vocal about people who prayed in public or tried to mix Christianity into earthly affairs.

Anyway, we live in different times now. We have a greater diversity of citizens than in the 18th century. Times change, and the Constitution was crafted in such a way so that it could apply to any generation.

Speaking of historical documents, have you ever read the Treaty of Tripoli?

Pagan America

Little-Known U.S. Document

The Religious Right's Phony War on Christmas

Sarah said...

By the way, everybody should visit this website. It puts all the myths pushed by the religious Right to absolute shame - some people actually do their homework!

The Constitutional Principle

I cannot forget the best link of all:

Quotations that Support the Separation of Church and State

"The clergy, by getting themselves established by law and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man." (Thomas Jefferson, as quoted by Saul K. Padover in Thomas Jefferson on Democracy, New York, 1946, p. 165, according to Albert Menendez and Edd Doerr, compilers, The Great Quotations on Religious Liberty, Long Beach, CA: Centerline Press, 1991, p. 48.)

"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."
James Madison

G_in_AL said...

Betmo:

I have a question about the post you quoted though:

towards the end it says:

The crowd booed an ACLU speaker and told her to "go back up north."

In the days after the meeting the community poured venom on the Dobriches. Callers to the local radio station said the family they should convert or leave the area. Someone called them and said the Ku Klux Klan was nearby.




But the opening part of the post says it's in a small community in Delaware!. Why the heck would they yell out "go back up North!" to people in Delaware? That's pretty close to as far North as you can go isn't it? And I wasn’t aware the Klan was openly operating that far North either?

I think the author of this may have elaborated a bit on this article to give it a bit more punch.

And by the way, no true Christian finds anything like this even remotely acceptable. Not even the Pat Robertson’s of the world think this is ok, so please, I'm asking you not to use this as the paint for Christianity's picture here.

G_in_AL said...

Sara:

I know I'm cherry picking here, but your statment:

First off, teaching a religion is not a promotion of it. Hanging religious symbols is.

Can I infer then you support creationism in school alongside evolution? Or is that a contradiction you've posted to try and refute Stanly?

betmo said...

g- perhaps you are right or perhaps there is a northern part of delaware as there is in most states- i simply don't know. i am anti religion period. if people want to be 'religious,' hey that's fine- keep it to themselves. faith and religion should be between you and whoever it is you believe in. don't force your beliefs on others- whether it be christianity, islam, judaism, buddhism, hinduism, etc., etc. don't be putting it in public schools or governmental institutions, or public domains. keep it in your homes, synogogues, temples, private schools, etc. the folks in this story mirror the folks in a recent story from florida- so maybe the author took it from that- i don't know. those folks were against muslim folks. and as for the klan- it isn't just a southern thing- they are everywhere.

G_in_AL said...

Betmo:

I'm going to link this post in relation to another post about Biden I just did... lol, in humor though, dont worry.

On the other note:
Christianity promotes that you share what you have learned and/or know with those who dont. However, to assume that someone trying to inform you of their beliefs and what they think you should know is "pushing it on you", then you should pick up your crusade against all of advertising, all of marketing, and heck, all of the atheists too.

Just as much as you are upset with religious leaders trying to implant their faith structure into an official governmental capacity, the anti-religion crusade to push all things faith based out of the public eye is the same crime they claim to combat.

In other words... you publicly fighting against public religious aknowledgment in any official capacity is essentially you trying to push YOUR belief structure onto others... yes?

Same game by a different color does not make one right and the other wrong... just with different goals in mind.

I'm a full fledged beliver in Christ, have been for around 2 years now. Do you feel that I'm a bigot or trying to "push my faith" on anyone? Heck, it wouldnt work anyway.

An old church saying is:
"You can drag 'em into the church, but you've gotta love 'em into the Kingdom".

It means that we can force folks into the Church game all day, they did that in England for a long time. But to actually save anyone, you've got to get them to accept it on their own.

betmo said...

g- i don't think that you ever tried to convert me or anyone else- and that is fine. i hear what you are saying and believe it or not i agree. i just feel that lately these overzealous folks have been puching for prayer in schools, creationsiam/ID in schools, nativity scenes and nothing else on government domains,.... you get the point. i have coexisted with so-called religious folk my whole life- heck i used to believe in god myself. i know that you are supposed to 'spread the good news' and that is fine as long as you don't try to convert me. christians especially are overzealous in their desire to convert and evangelicals are the worst. most folks go to church occasionally or every sunday and try their best to live right.(no pun intended) they share their faith as an extension of themselves and don't try to beat you into submission. i think that my reaction to this religion fiasco is because or the hard push to make this a christian nation. it isn't. we have millions of people in this country of different faiths and just because christian folks happen to have a majority- doesn't mean that they get to ram their religion down the rest of our throats. that is why there is a constitution. keep the religion where it belongs is all i am saying. it does not belong in tax payer funded avenues.