An argument about the first amendment of the US constitution

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An argument about the first amendment of the US constitution

Postby DjVortex » Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:59 am

This is probably not a new argument, but it was new to me:

I read somewhere the argument that the first amendment of the US constitution only limits congress from establishing or endorsing a religion, but not the individual states (as they are not explicitly mentioned). In other words, as long as congress does not pass any law endorsing a religion, the individual states can, basically, be as theocratic as they like, and this is still fully constitutional.

The only response I could give to this was something along the lines of "way to obey the letter of the law rather than its spirit".

What is your opinion about this?
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1st Amendment applies to Congress and states

Postby dobbie » Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:11 pm

byDiVortex
I read somewhere the argument that the first amendment of the US constitution only limits congress from establishing or endorsing a religion, but not the individual states (as they are not explicitly mentioned).


I'm anything but a history expert but I understand that, as far as the states acting to establish religion for themselves goes, a general prohibition against it was enacted on a Constitutional level in stages. One recent stage was the following one (from the web):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Establishment_Clause
In the twentieth century, the Supreme Court more closely scrutinized government activity involving religious institutions. In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Supreme Court upheld a New Jersey statute funding student transportation to schools, whether parochial or not. Justice Hugo Black held,

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
."
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Re: 1st Amendment applies to Congress and states

Postby DukeTwicep » Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:58 pm

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."

Whoah, does that mean like.. no person in a position in the federal government or a state can participate? Or how does that regulate people's, in these official positions, participation in religious org. or grp. affairs? To me it sounds like people in these positions can't further any religious agenda with the help of their position, and they cannot affect people's attitudes toward any religion in any way using their position.
If my understanding is correct, then Bush and all other sons of bitches should be put in jail.
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