Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My question for Doug Indeap

Attorney and atheist Doug Indeap has posted some thoughtful comments defending the "wall of separation between church and state" as a valid constitutional principle.

I disagree, as you might surmise.

Here's my question for Doug:

Is it unconstitutional for the President to invoke God in an official capacity (e.g. "God Bless America, "Please pray for our troops", "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right..."


Do these Presidential invocations violate the Constitution?

21 comments:

  1. This blog is starting to sound like a broken record asking the same questions and making the same assertions over and over. I guess that’s what happens when you only have a couple of arrows in your quiver.

    -KW

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  2. Anon is right. Dr. Egnor, you are going in circles. It seems pointless to continue.

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  3. KW and Iko:

    You don't understand. This blog isn't about ideas or debate or anything like that. Egnor is too incompetent and divorced from reality for those sorts of things.

    This blog is about Egnor smearing clown makeup on his face and jumping up and down in a desperate attempt to get attention.

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  4. How about an answer to my question?

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  5. Do these Presidential invocations violate the Constitution?

    No, because the link I gave says:

    The Supreme Court has also held that the nation's "institutions presuppose a Supreme Being" ...

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  6. Dr. Egnor's question has left the anti-God brigade stuttering incoherently, and so they respond with zingers like "This blog is starting to sound like a broken record asking the same questions and making the same assertions over and over." and "This blog is about Egnor smearing clown makeup on his face and jumping up and down in a desperate attempt to get attention."

    How about just answering the question? Then Dr. Egnor can respond to your objection with an actual constitutional argument. But for people who don't have the truth on their side, that's a scary thought.

    Here's the bottom line: the constitution of the United States is intended to guarantee our rights. One very angry section of the populace has seized on a particular clause, misinterpreted it, and turned it into a weapon against the people it was supposed to protect. This was done in bad faith.

    Joey

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  7. Pepe,

    Your argument doesn't really hold up as a defense of religious sentiment, because the same courts have opined that:

    "These acts of "ceremonial deism" are "protected from Establishment Clause scrutiny chiefly because they have lost through rote repetition any significant religious content."

    In other words, in order to become acceptable, they have to be leached of any religious meaning at all. Which answer's Egnor's question as well - so long as the reference is because of its rote and banal usage, then it can pass muster.

    I'm sure the fact that religious statements bled dry of their religious meaning can be used this way is of great comfort to the religious.

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  8. @Joey:

    Exactly. Thanks.

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  9. @anon:

    ["These acts of "ceremonial deism" are "protected from Establishment Clause scrutiny chiefly because they have lost through rote repetition any significant religious content."]

    You can't "invoke" a deistic God.Deism is the belief that God got things started and no longer intercedes ih human affairs.

    Invoking God's help is denial of deism.It is invocation of a living active God, who cares about human affairs and intercedes in them. And it is perfectly constitutional for a government to do so, because it does not establish a national church.

    Goodness gracious you atheists are stupid. Don't you even see that 'invocation of a deistic God' is an oxymoron?

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  10. @anon:

    [- so long as the reference is because of its rote and banal usage, then it can pass muster.]

    Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address references God and the Bible repeatedly, quotes the Bible, and is a profound reflection on God and the Civil War.

    Could you please point out the "rote and banal" part of Lincoln's speech?

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  11. President Abraham Lincoln was not a Christian but an atheist or at best a deist, so pretty much all of what he said about the babble was rote and banal.

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  12. @anon
    Your argument doesn't really hold up...

    It's not my answer, it's the The Supreme Court answer, so quibble with them.

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  13. Pepe:

    And I cited the rest of the argument that the court made that eviscerates your claim.

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  14. Goodness gracious you atheists are stupid.

    Says the man who doesn't understand that he's calling what the courts have said about the "ceremonial deism" that is allowed to get through the Establishment Clause.

    You see, this:

    "These acts of "ceremonial deism" are "protected from Establishment Clause scrutiny chiefly because they have lost through rote repetition any significant religious content."

    Is the opinion of the Courts as to what is allowed. It isn't the "opinion of atheists". It is the opinion of the people who determine what it is that the Establishment Clause means.

    And you, my clown-faced Egnor, are too dim-witted to notice that.

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  15. @anon:

    I'm saying you and the courts are idiots. You can't ask a deist God to bless America, or protect our soldiers, or do anything. A deistic God is disengaged. That's what deism means, pinhead.

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  16. That's the point pinhead. Ceremonial deism is allowed under the Establishment Clause because all religious meaning has been removed from it.

    The fact that you don't understand that this absolutely destroys your fantasy version of the Establishment Clause is why you are nothing more than a clown.

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  17. Things aren't what they used to be, Dr. Egnor? Welcome to the brave new world.

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  18. I'd like to violate your mom's constitution..

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  19. That's it? Rather than the "detailed reply" you earlier said those comments warranted, you instead simply ask a question?

    As noted in my earlier comments, Wake Forest University published a short, objective Q&A primer on the current law of separation of church and state–as applied by the courts rather than as caricatured in the blogosphere. It addresses the subject of your question. http://tiny.cc/6nnnx

    The constitutional separation of church and state does not prevent citizens from making decisions based on principles derived from their religions. Moreover, the religious beliefs of government officials naturally may inform their decisions on policies. The principle, in this context, merely constrains government officials not to make decisions with the predominant purpose or primary effect of advancing religion; in other words, the predominant purpose and primary effect must be nonreligious or secular in nature. A decision coinciding with religious views is not invalid for that reason as long as it has a secular purpose and effect.

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  20. @Doug:

    Not to worry. I've got more in the queue.

    I want your answer, not a pamphlet from Wake Forest.

    Do presidential invocations of God violate the First Amendment?

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