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Cafe Discussion - Separation of Church and State

The first amendment to the US Constitution says that people have freedom of religion and that the government shall not establish any particular religion. To some this entails an absolute separation of church and state, but some have taken this to mean that people can be exempt from certain laws on religious grounds. The Supreme Court recently used this line of reasoning to exempt certain corporations from the health care contraceptives coverage mandate. There are many similar related questions as well, such as whether cities can hold public prayers for a specific religion, whether the Ten Commandments and/or crosses can be displayed on public property, and whether the word "God" should be in the pledge of allegiance recited by school children. There is much to talk about here.

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  • Deb

    Correction, Josh: 1970's was considered We generation, via Coke commercial/song, "We'd Like to teach the World to Sing". Hence the, "We" moniker. Simply a way of separating ourselves from 60's generation/movement back then.

    July 13, 2014

    • Josh

      And that is why I recall it so fondly. The 80s killed it. However, that was no different from the 60s ideal of changing the world to the 70s recognition that that idea didn't work so every decade has it's reckoning point.

      July 14, 2014

    • James

      The song was "I'd like to teach the world to sing."

      August 14, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I just ran across this interesting piece related to this subject. Thought you might like to read it!

    http://www.alternet.org/story/153727/5_founding_fathers_whose_skepticism_about_christianity_would_make_them_unelectable_today

    1 · July 27, 2014

  • Deb

    Yeah, think war combined w/lack of troop support when they arrived home (from Vietnam) were definitely factors. Guess 1 reason why separation church & state seems hypocritical. Even nowadays, Josh: Those individuals w/such lofty, Sunday Church beliefs. Yet, in spite of God/constitutionally driven, "beliefs" in say, as example, prayer in schools? People continue fighting/dying via wars & here we are, ignoring the grotesque, proverbial, elephant in the room: Prayer, Wars, memorials = American pride in consumption of material wants vs. needs? Not meaning to sound preachy, but what flagging waving, old glory is there in that?

    July 15, 2014

  • Deb

    Had fiancé via 60's....passed away, 01.12.03. & wondered, via # of trips to Mather: Did Dan die from alcoholism or Vietnam War, Josh?

    July 15, 2014

    • Josh

      Not sure if you are asking me about my thoughts on his death or my own experience. I'll take a guess on the former. Probably a combo as one created the other. Likely what made it worse is that that was the first war where the American people got so screwed up as to blame the GIs for fighting a war they were ordered to fight. The lack of support when they returned was horrifying then and contributed to so much PTSD, suicide and alcoholism. I saw friends of older siblings come home with missing teeth (VC rifle butt) while others survived campgrounds overrun by VC as seen in Platoon. Others nearly lost their lives on ships in the South China Sea. All recovered well somehow. I still remember burning draft cards that my older brother received weekly. He came within a week of being shipped out. That caused me to delay registering when it was my turn until the very last day.

      July 15, 2014

  • Deb

    Informed my sister once (h.s. 67' graduate) her generation may have rang in civil rights, but 70's implemented it....music groups/variety speaks volumes. So in agreement w/your synopsis, Josh: "Every decade has it's reckoning pt."

    July 14, 2014

    • Josh

      I felt sorry for my sister's generation (HS '68). They fought and sometimes died for a belief they thought should be implemented (I still think it should be for we would be better off) but we couldn't figure out how to marry it to our business culture). On the other hand, seen from the WW2 generation pov, I can see what created the chaos. The vets died for a cause and then built up a country in celebration of their victory only to find their children reject the results. In a sense, not a lot different from the debates that led to our civil war. The basic question of what type of country do we want was at the center of each of those transformative moments.

      July 14, 2014

  • Deb

    True to an extent, Josh. No reflection on Craig D., but have witnessed youth being shortchanged, real time. What those of us, like moi, need to keep in mind? We all made mistakes & a right of passage 4 every generation.....course, "We" generation was the best......Saturday Night Fever, a true classic.....Gone w/The Wind movie pales...zzzzz......lol.

    July 13, 2014

    • Josh

      I will respectfully disagree on the movies. Fever was ok and fun, especially the ending, but GWTW blew it away once you learn the history that created the original novel. If you ever have a chance to see the director's cut of Apocalypse Now, do it. It makes the version released in '79 pale in comparison. It makes the movie 3.5 hours long but well worth it. Oddly enough, do the same with Training Day (Denzel's Oscar winning role). The director took out a 5 minute section of the film that would have added a whole other layer to his character but pulled it to make the plot simpler.

      July 14, 2014

  • Deb

    Right on the mark, James.

    July 14, 2014

  • Deb

    Craig D. commented, "Yet, I still hold out hope 4 humanity." If u had attended Pt. Reyes Hike yesterday, would witness humanity is alive/well via our youth. So kind, helpful.....fact is, curmudgeon in our group was the problem. Guess being part of his, "Me generation" went to his head. Translation: All have to face age someday. Any rate, no fears: Youth is more together/level-headed than credited 4, Craig.

    July 13, 2014

    • Josh

      Well Deb, youth have always been that way as their natural idealism has yet to find adult reality. The real hope is that they retain their current idealism through those 'adult' years.

      1 · July 13, 2014

    • James

      I have seen so many wonderful things from today's youth. Every generation has its winners and its losers. I have faith that the future of our world is in good hands!

      July 13, 2014

  • Josh

    Payamdeh, for some real laughs, you need to read the commentary on the Altruism discussion some weeks back. Talk about comedy!

    2 · July 13, 2014

  • Derek M.

    This group is full of well-informed, considerate, & passionately intelligent people. You couldn't ask for much more from a philosophy group.

    3 · July 13, 2014

  • Craig D.

    OK, that meet-up was much fun, many new faces/minds, thank you all, please come back. There was agreement on parts of the big picture ... not so much on the details.
    My view is - teach the kids. (education is a huge part of the answer. Remembering that a little bit of knowledge is not good enough) Just as you and I grew up influenced by what we were taught at school, learned at home, heard from friends - and we are now the voters, bloggers, attending meet up groups and Town Hall meetings ... so the next generation will be. Change happened slowly in the past, but the pace is increasing exponentially.
    Yes, there will still be the issue of WHAT to teach the kids. Yet, I still hold out hope for humanity.

    2 · July 12, 2014

  • Josh

    To Kam, Joe and Payamdeh, thank you for bringing your spice, personality and above all, fierce intelligence to the group. It was a pleasure meeting all three of you (if I have met you before please forgive the early senility) and thoroughly enjoying hearing your highly qualified opinions. Keep it up and see you next time!

    3 · July 12, 2014

    • Craig D.

      The rest of us appreciate your participation, insights, and observations as well!

      2 · July 12, 2014

    • Payandeh

      Thank you so much for welcoming me into your group. I absolutely LOVED our discussion. I think I am going to learn a lot from each and every one of you. See y'all in 2 weeks!

      2 · July 13, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry I missed the talk, but I was busy going to Folsom State Prison.

    ;->

    Well, I went by there.

    Actually, I took a 30 mile bike ride up the American River to Folsom Lake. (As my mother's a big Johnny Cash fan, I looked up the prison afterwords and found that it's across the river from where I was riding.) I also rode 30 miles back. And saw a brush fire, on the return trip. :-(

    Anyway, being a free man, I'm somewhat sad to say that I'm leaving Sacramento tomorrow, for a new project in Monterey. I expected to stay longer, but while my involvement in the project has been good, we all agree that it would be better for everyone involved if we swapped me with one of our people who happens to live in Folsom city. He wants to do this local job, and I'd rather do the Monterey job. Everyone wins.

    But I will miss your group. You do a pretty good discussion.

    1 · July 12, 2014

    • Brandon N.

      Hi Jeff, well it was good meeting you and I wish you well in your new job in Monterey. I also went for a bike ride but after the meeting (yes, in very hot afternoon)

      1 · July 12, 2014

    • Craig D.

      Yes Jeff. It was a joy hear your thoughts, and we hope to meet up in another life!

      July 12, 2014

  • Josh

    Great time!

    July 12, 2014

  • Rainer M

    The idea of separation of Church and state is the most horrible abomination in the entire creation. Even the suggestion will enrage the kind creator and force him to exact bloody revenge (such as an earthquake in Japan, the rape and murder of women in Somalia, or the rise of gasoline prices in Australia).
    The creator gave free will to humans to enable to make the only one correct decision: total submission to the will of the creator.
    All the intelligent designer ever wanted was the opportunity to rule supremely like a god.

    July 11, 2014

    • Rainer M

      A separation of Church and state derails and frustrates God's desire to be the sole decision maker in all matters.
      God thinks it imperative that all secular power is to be surrendered to his handpicked humans that have a superhuman status among the mortals: the clergy men.
      The clergy men are inspired with God's infinite wisdom, they are practically infallible.
      Embracing, adopting, and loving a religious dictatorship is the best system imaginable because it comes closest to the proverbial kingdom of God on earth.
      I pray that every person in our group will see everything my way; I'll bring along conversion kits that make believing in my premises much easier.

      1 · July 11, 2014

    • Josh

      You're right Rainer, you are just as funny writing as in person but I will still take your deadpan humor in person. Still kills me every time. And I like gifts at 10a Saturday morning so please bring the pain sticks, I mean conversation kits. I look forward to them.

      1 · July 12, 2014

  • Josh

    Will
    Miss you deb

    July 11, 2014

  • Josh

    Well a run is better than nothing. Lmao. It was just sitting there. :)

    July 11, 2014

  • Deb

    Hiking trip tomorrow, so cannot attend.....happy to see u have a female state attorney on board......give u a run 4 your money, discussion-wise.

    July 11, 2014

  • Susan H.

    I'll be a bit late - have an appointment, and am not sure how long it will take.

    July 9, 2014

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