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[Fwd: RE: "One Nation Indivisible" Campaign Update]

From: Jim M.
Sent on: Monday, June 14, 2010 7:46 PM
Everyone,
 
I'm busy with a lot going on as we approach the launch of the billboards.  I'll send a separate email to cover all that later.  In this one I just want to focus on the website and the material below.
 
I'm still not finished with the website, but I have added a lot of content this weekend (including the material below).  I will likely polish, add, remove, and shift around that content on the site before I'm done, but now would be a good time to take a look at it and give me some feedback [I will be adding more groups, more sponsors (hopefully), press releases, a map of NC where the billboards are going up, and media contact information]. 
 
Anyone that would like me to change the blurb I have for your group on the Members page should let me know ASAP.
 
I will need everyone to send me their contact information for the press releases: an email address and a phone number.  I might recommend you set up a gmail account through Google if you don't want to use an email address you already have. 
 
Below is a background overview of the issues involved.  It will probably be helpful to at least read it over before dealing with the press.  I've added links at the bottom of each section if you want to find out more, but the overview at the top of each section may be sufficient.  If anyone has any criticism about this material, or if anyone notices any errors or omissions I've made, let me know. 
 
This information is also on the site on the Resources page, if you would rather read it there (or if you are having trouble with the links rendering in the email). 
 
The site address once again is NCSecular.org.
 
- Joseph
 

U.S. Pledge of Allegiance

Overview:

The original Pledge, as written by Baptist minister Francis Bellamy in 1892, read:

"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

At a National Flag Conference in 1924, the leadership of the American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution changed the words "my Flag" to "the Flag of the United States of America."

From 1924 through 1954, the Pledge read:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands; one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
In 1954, during the McCarthy era and Cold War "red scare" of communism, a bill was passed by Congress, and was signed into law, adding the words "under God" to the Pledge:

The Pledge currently reads:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands; one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Thus, a secular and all-inclusive Pledge was replaced by a religious and exclusive Pledge, dividing the "indivisible" and not providing "justice for all."

For more information, visit the following links:

History of the Pledge

Controversy about the Pledge

Circuit court decision, reactions, etc.

Appeal to the Supreme Court [masked]

Pledging Allegiance to God

Restore the Pledge


U.S. National Motto

Overview:

On July 4, 1776, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson were appointed by Congress to prepare a design for the Great Seal of the United States. Although this first design was rejected, the motto it contained-"E Pluribus Unum"-was retained in the final design that was approved in 1782. As a result, "E Pluribus Unum" (Out of Many, One) became our de facto National Motto.

During the Civil War Era, eleven Protestant denominations began a campaign to add references to God to the U.S. Constitution and other federal documents. Their efforts resulted in the phrase "In God We Trust" being added to some Union coins. Later, President Theodore Roosevelt expressed his disapproval, writing: "...it seems to me eminently unwise to cheapen such a motto by use on coins, just as it would be to cheapen it by use on postage stamps, or in advertisements." He thought it came "dangerously close to sacrilege."

In 1956, again during the McCarthy era and Cold War "red scare" of communism, Congress passed a joint resolution making "In God We Trust" our National Motto.

Thus, our secular and all-inclusive Motto was superseded by a religious and exclusive Motto.

For more information, visit the following links:

History of the National Mottos

E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One)

In God We Trust


N.C. Constitution

Overview:

In the last election, Cecil Bothwell, a duly elected Asheville City Councilman, had his right to hold office challenged because of the N.C. Constitution's religious restriction against anyone that doesn��t believe in a monotheistic God.

North Carolina has had three Constitutions in its history: the Constitution of 1776, the Constitution of 1868, and the Constitution of 1971. Each constitution after the first has carried over--or modified--some aspects of earlier constitutions, but all have included some religious restriction to hold state office. Initially, any non-Protestant was excluded from office. This was later modified to excluding any non-Christian. The current N.C. Constitution excludes anyone that doesn't believe in a monotheistic God. While the trend seems to be toward increased inclusion, it remains in conflict with the U.S. Constitution.

United States Constitution prohibits the use of any religious test for Federal office. In 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment extended this prohibition to the States.

In 1961, the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously that such restrictions constituted a religious test incompatible with First and Fourteenth Amendment protections (see: Torcaso v. Watkins) and are therefore unenforceable.

Nevertheless, North Carolina (and six other states: Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas) retain restrictive religious requirements in their Bill of Rights, Declaration of Rights, or in their constitutions.

In North Carolina, this requirement can be found in the body of the state constitution (see: Article VI, Sec. 8. Disqualification for office), which disqualifies "any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God." This is listed first, even above anyone convicted of a felony or anyone who has committed treason.

For more information, visit the following links:

N.C. Constitution - transcript

Article VI - Suffrage and Eligibility to Office (see Sec. 8. Disqualifications for office.)

State Constitutions And Religious Bigotry

Attack On North Carolina Candidate Focuses Attention On State Constitutional Bans On Nonbelievers In Public Office

Lawsuit threatened over atheist councilman

Religious discrimination built into the Constitutions of seven U.S. states

Constitutions of Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee & Texas


U.S. Constitution

Overview:

From 1775 through 1781, the Second Continental Congress functioned as our de facto national government without a Constitution. In 1781, the first Constitution of the United States of America, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, were ratified. From[masked] the Congress of the Confederation operated as our national government.

In 1788, the Articles of Confederation were superseded by the ratification of a new United States Constitution. Significantly, this Constitution did not establish religion, something no government had ever done in the past.

In 1791, the Bill of Rights was adopted as the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution (The First Amendment reads in part: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...").

In 1797 the Treaty of Tripoli was ratified (Article 11 of the Treaty reads in part: "...the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..."). Article VI, Sect.2 of the Constitution states that "all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land." The Treaty was ratified unanimously and the full text was published in The Philadelphia Gazette on June 17th, 1797, without any record of any public objection.

In 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted. It made the Bill of Rights applicable to the states.

For more information, visit the following links:

The U.S. Constitution - transcript

The Bill of Rights - transcript

Treaty of Tripoli - transcript (see Article 11)

Treaty of Tripoli

Little-Known U.S. Document Signed by President Adams Proclaims America's Government Is Secular


Separation of Church and State

Overview:

Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom in Virginia (which the First Amendment is partially based), wrote that the First Amendment erected a "wall of separation between church and state."

Later, quoting himself from an earlier letter, he would write:

"Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the 'wall of separation between church and state,' therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society."

James Madison, sometimes called the "Father of the Constitution," explained that by doing this they hoped to "keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries."

Madison, who was also primarily responsible for pushing the Bill of Rights through Congress, expressed his interpretation of the First Amendment as a "perfect" separation - between Church and State, commenting that: "The civil government ... functions with complete success ... by the total separation of the Church from the State," and "I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."

It was Madison who also warned:

"Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history."

He was evidently right to be worried.

For more information, visit the following links:

The Separation of Church and State - introduction

U.S. Supreme Court Decisions

Is America a Christian Nation?

Quotations that Support the Separation of State and Church

James Madison on Separation of Church and State

Church-State Separation - Issues

Church-State Separation - Other Historical Documents

Americans United for the Separation of Church & State


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