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 Message
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Joe an atheist?
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/13/1996 9:14:00 AM  

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(36 messages)


{original post had no questions}

Exactly. The constitution (this is from memory, so I may get a
word out of place) stipulates "Congress shall make no law respecting
the establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof."
Which means the state should have nothing to say about it one way or
the other. It's a personal matter for each individual. It's a bit of
wisdom that goes back about 2,000 years; "Render unto Caesar that which
is Caesar's; and to god that which is god's."

That the line gets blurred sometimes is really in violation of
what the bible seemed to suggest. The pharisees were synonymous with
hypocrites, they had allied themselves with the government of the time,
and that was their downfall in the final analysis; the state invariably
corrupts religion. The overall sense was to keep away from the
government, to strive for something higher. These days a fair amount
of religion has become mass theater, much in violation of the
suggestion to "go into your closet to pray," and the suggestions that
those who made a show of their beliefs were not exactly role models.

The state should be religion-neutral, neither encouraging nor
discouraging. Sometimes this is unfair to one group or another, but
as long as it does so consistently, not favoring either side, then it's
okay. The best compromise is one in which neither side feels it's
entirely won. (Yes, some of the questions of where and when religious
artifacts can be put up stray into grey areas...but at least the
patriotism of those involved is not usually up for grabs. During one
Presidential election, then Vice-President Bush, on a campaign stop in
Chicago, was asked about his reaction to atheists, and he said, "Well,
that's certainly their choice, though I don't see how anybody could
call them patriots, since this is one nation under god." Substitute
catholics or jews or moslems or japanese or irish for atheists in that
sentence, and you'd have a firestorm that would've brought down the
whole campaign. Here nobody even seemed to notice.)

jms

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