First Amendment fair and balanced

This is a discussion on First Amendment fair and balanced within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; This post should be viewed as a Constitutional issue and not as a religious issue. Is the following story a First Amendment violation? In my ...

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Thread: First Amendment fair and balanced

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    Senior Member Array Sig35seven's Avatar
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    First Amendment fair and balanced

    This post should be viewed as a Constitutional issue and not as a religious issue.

    Is the following story a First Amendment violation? In my opinion...No, but getting dangerously close to the edge.

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

    The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment has been interpreted by the Supreme Court as erecting a wall of separation between church and state.

    The remarks from the newly elected Ala. Gov. Robert Bently certainly raise the question whether he would govern in a fair and balanced manor towards non-Christians. Simply declaring your a Christian is not a problem but a Governor suggesting that he would like you to become Christian is where the water gets muddy.

    "Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother," Bentley said Monday, his inauguration day.

    "It sounded like Bentley was using the office of governor to advocate for Christian conversion." "If he does so, he is dancing dangerously close to a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which forbids government from promoting the establishment of any religion,"

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_alabam...nor_christians
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    Distinguished Member Array phreddy's Avatar
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    Being he is a governor, I think he would be within the bounds of the US constitition. I don't know about his state's constitution. The US constitution fobids the US government from establishing a religion, it does not necessarily have the same ban on state governments. Massachusetts had an established state religion for many years.

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    The Supreme Court, in 1947, ruled that the incorparation through the 14th Amendment of the "Establishment Clause" of the 1A precluded state and local governments from establishing a State religion, or from supporting one religion over another (the Free Exercise Clause had been rulled "incorporated" in 1940). This hasn't been without controversy, but it is the law of the land: no government, not just the Federal government, can establish a "state" religion, promote one religion over another, or prevent the free exercise of anyone from practicing the religion of their choice.

    Justice Hugo Black, in a decision relating to funding school buses to religions and parochial schools, said this:


    The "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the federal government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect "a wall of separation between church and State."
    It is glaringly obvious that the Governor is prefering one religion over another, and is influencing people to attend one church over another. He hasn't proposed passing any laws (yet), but these comments were and are WAY out of line.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Distinguished Member Array phreddy's Avatar
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    Looks like I am about 60 years behind the times.

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    Actually, phreddy, the 14th Amendment (which includes the basis for the incorporation of the Bill of Rights and other protections into state and local laws) was ratified in 1868. It took, however, until the 1940s for the Supreme Court to make a definitive ruling on the 1A, and there is still substantial controversy about certain aspects of incorporation. :)
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Has NOTHING TO DO WITH GUNS.

    It is interesting, it is worthy of discussion, but it seems to me the post violates the intentions Sixto has repeatedly stated regarding the posting of stuff with is news worthy but not DC relevant.

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    It is in "off topic," isn't it? As in, off of the topic of guns?
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Distinguished Member Array phreddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    Actually, phreddy, the 14th Amendment (which includes the basis for the incorporation of the Bill of Rights and other protections into state and local laws) was ratified in 1868. It took, however, until the 1940s for the Supreme Court to make a definitive ruling on the 1A, and there is still substantial controversy about certain aspects of incorporation. :)
    Thanks for the info. I am familiar with the 14th, but I never read that the total 1st amendment had been incorporated.

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    Senior Member Array Sig35seven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    Has NOTHING TO DO WITH GUNS.

    It is interesting, it is worthy of discussion, but it seems to me the post violates the intentions Sixto has repeatedly stated regarding the posting of stuff with is news worthy but not DC relevant.
    Interesting...there are so many other off topic posts that have nothing to do with guns yet you find this one a violation of forum rules.

    The forum rules state:

    "The Member "Off Topic" forum is where our members can post almost anything, as long as it does not violate DefensiveCarry.com community standards. If you have comments or questions that are off topic or don't fit into any other forum, this is the place."


    It also states in the forum rules...

    "The First Amendment is greatly respected here"

    Since this is an issue directly concerning the First Amendment I thought it was a VERY fitting to post to discuss.
    "Confidence is food for the wise man but liquor for the fool"

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    Distinguished Member Array jumpwing's Avatar
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    It's important to note that the motivation behind "establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" was the Church of England; i.e., the Catholic church. Christianity has so many subsects and divisions within it (covering an impressive spectrum of interpretations) that promotion of it in general is an extremely watered-down attempt at establishing religion, if at all. The government is prohibited from establishing a religion; but there is nothing to prohibit verbally promoting one and I see no problem with an elected official openly declaring his own religious affiliation. It's better than a candidate going to a radical hate-spewing "church" for 20 years and then attempting to downplay it when his "pastor" ends up in the news.
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    Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion.... Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa.
    Again from Justice Black's majority opinion... It is clear that the new Guv is exerting influence from a position of political power. He blatantly told those that are not of his faith that they are "not his brothers and sisters," during his INAUGURATION speech. This is about as clear a case of "official influence" as I have seen from a modern public official.

    As an aside, the CoE is at best a Reformed Catholic church (leaning strongly in many respects towards protestantism), and is not a part of the Roman Catholic church...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jumpwing View Post
    The government is prohibited from establishing a religion; but there is nothing to prohibit verbally promoting one and I see no problem with an elected official openly declaring his own religious affiliation.
    The problem is he was doing more than just "declaring his religion." he was showing a preference for a religion and trying to influence people to join his preferred religion. There is a huge difference. I'd bet you'd have a different opinion if a Governor of the Muslim faith made a statement like that.
    "Confidence is food for the wise man but liquor for the fool"

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    Abso-freaking-lutely with OP and OPFOR here. This guy probably didn't mean to but he essentially made a veiled threat against anyone who doesn't practice HIS religion that they should expect to be treated differently unless they convert. His statement as an official representative of the state at an official state event makes this an egregious error on his part.

    He deserves to be chastised for his hubris.
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    Distinguished Member Array phreddy's Avatar
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    From reading the article, it appears that this was in a speech to a church group after the official inauguration. The details are spread out through the article, but they are there.

    Speaking at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church after the official inaugural ceremony, Bentley told the crowd that he considered anyone who believed in Jesus to be his brothers and sisters regardless of color, but anyone who isn't a Christian doesn't have that same relationship to him.
    He was worn in and gave his inauguration speech at the state capital. This article was written in a way to confuse the two speeches.
    Last edited by phreddy; January 19th, 2011 at 03:31 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Ah, thank you for the clarification, phreddy. That does, somewhat, mitigate the statements. It still, IMO, does not make them RIGHT, but understanding his audience (and that he was not at the official ceremony) does shed a slightly more favorable light on the situation. I still think an apology and a reigning in of his religious fervor - at least in public - is in order.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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