How did America get to be so religious?

 
Airy Spirit
 
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Airy Spirit
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16 January 2010 23:05
 

America started off with a separation of church and state, in fact, at the time, in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was the only country which had a separation of church and state. 

So how did it get to be so religious?

 
mpbrockman
 
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mpbrockman
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17 January 2010 07:06
 

The simplest answer is - we always have been. Many of our settlers were from the religious fringes of Europe (Puritans, Anabaptists and the like). We managed to grow some of our own weirdness as well (Shakers, Mormons et al).

Church/state separation was fine (heck, loved) by these groups because it gave them freedom to follow their own lights, but it only made sense while a certain balance of power was in play. Now that evangelical xtianity has reached a point where it thinks it owns all the patents and can afford to behave in a unilateral manner. Church/state separation has become an obstacle to be removed, rather than the protection it was originally designed to be.

The old saw about the Puritans coming to this country in search of greater religious restrictions than were available elsewhere at the time isn’t all that far off the mark. The issue now, though, is one of balance.

 
 
 
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Starfire
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17 January 2010 09:32
 

Mpbrockman is right about us Americans. We have always been religious. Our traditional, legal separation of church and state was not added to the Constitution by popular demand. It was the brain-child of the men in the colonial oligarchy who were the first leaders of the new United States. And church/state separation was an add-on. It is part of the first amendment to the Constitution.

Today the first ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights because they were ratified as a package deal and contain many of the best-known provisions of our legal system.

Yes, I favor the strict separation of church and state, but I understand where the religious objections to it originate.

 
 
Airy Spirit
 
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17 January 2010 17:16
 
Starfire - 17 January 2010 02:32 PM

Mpbrockman is right about us Americans. We have always been religious. Our traditional, legal separation of church and state was not added to the Constitution by popular demand. It was the brain-child of the men in the colonial oligarchy who were the first leaders of the new United States. And church/state separation was an add-on. It is part of the first amendment to the Constitution.

Today the first ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights because they were ratified as a package deal and contain many of the best-known provisions of our legal system.

Yes, I favor the strict separation of church and state, but I understand where the religious objections to it originate.

So would you say that openly non-religious people were treated differently and in a worse way than religious people?

 
Keep The Reason
 
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Keep The Reason
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18 January 2010 09:08
 

There’s been a strong argument made that countries that have a state religion actually weakens religious strength because nowadays it’s seen as yet another defunct government institution.

Meanwhile, in America, with the separation, religions have had a free capitalist market reign, and compete against one another so well that everyone seems to belong to one religion or another.

Ironic.  It may be that separation of church and state is not the right formula to successfully break down religious influence.

 
 
mpbrockman
 
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mpbrockman
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18 January 2010 13:44
 
Keep The Reason - 18 January 2010 02:08 PM

Ironic.  It may be that separation of church and state is not the right formula to successfully break down religious influence.

Quite, but what troubles me about this is it leaves open the door to state-sponsored religious violence. At the extremes, people like you and me could have our gonads removed in front of cheering throngs.

 
 
Airy Spirit
 
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18 January 2010 14:24
 
Keep The Reason - 18 January 2010 02:08 PM

There’s been a strong argument made that countries that have a state religion actually weakens religious strength because nowadays it’s seen as yet another defunct government institution.

Meanwhile, in America, with the separation, religions have had a free capitalist market reign, and compete against one another so well that everyone seems to belong to one religion or another.

Ironic.  It may be that separation of church and state is not the right formula to successfully break down religious influence.

Australia has separation of church and state, and Australia is one of the most secular countries in the world.

 
mpbrockman
 
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mpbrockman
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18 January 2010 21:10
 
Airy Spirit - 18 January 2010 07:24 PM

Australia has separation of church and state, and Australia is one of the most secular countries in the world.

They got the criminals, we got the religious fringe. Make of that what you will - but the basic lesson might be something like this: those who hunt game on the King’s land make better neighbors than Huguenots.

 
 
 
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mk10108
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17 March 2010 01:58
 

Maintaining separation is easy.  While in Northwest GA, sitting in a dinner, religious fellow said we should have the ten commandments posted in every public building.  I replied being a democracy one should be careful what one wish for…and asked how would the commandments look next to the Koran and the Torah? 

Nothing but the sound of silence was the reply.

 
 
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rab
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19 March 2010 18:34
 
mk10108 - 17 March 2010 05:58 AM

Maintaining separation is easy.  While in Northwest GA, sitting in a dinner, religious fellow said we should have the ten commandments posted in every public building.  I replied being a democracy one should be careful what one wish for…and asked how would the commandments look next to the Koran and the Torah? 

Nothing but the sound of silence was the reply.

In that silence, the religious right plots its next move. They are pushing for a Christian theocracy. One way they do it is pass resolutions in D.C. declaring Christianity’s influence on American history. They also pass such resolutions in states. See my most recent posting in this forum and see what I mean. They want to post the 10 Commandments but fight against recognition of other religions.

 
 
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McKinnon
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27 December 2010 06:09
 

maybe it’s got something to do with a lot of the social work being left to church groups rather than the government, as would be the case in a welfare state


All that do-gooding is a PR boon for churches who want to offer themselves up as the cornerstone of compassion and brotherhood in society, not to mention a great recruitment to tool to guilt people into joining up after they’ve been fed, clothed or employed through the (strings attached) assistance provided to them by the congregation. What dupe wouldn’t look favorably on an organization which raised the money for their father’s life saving operation?

It’s also been a great way for Christians to justify their religion’s existence- if you can’t defend it on the basis of the claims it makes about the universe then you can always defend it on the basis of the charity work it carries out.

More government oriented social spending is a good way to stop these predatory types from taking advantage.

[ Edited: 27 December 2010 06:13 by McKinnon]
 
 
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rabbit
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28 November 2011 06:58
 

More government oriented social spending is a good way to stop these predatory types from taking advantage.

Exactly.  That’s why the goal of the xian fundies since Reagan was in office has been to erode funding for public education, arts, and social welfare.  Next thing you know, our tax money is going toward ‘faith-based initiatives’ and religious school tuition vouchers.  I feel like i’m paying someone to hunt me down and shoot me.