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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Poll Results on Second Clause of First Amendment

Last week's Dakota Voice poll question is now closed. The question was submitted by Dr. Theo, by the way.

The First Amendment of the Constitution addresses Religion and government, with the first clause declaring that Congress shall enact no law "respecting an establishment of religion." The second clause declares what?

The vast majority of respondents got it right. Here are the answers and how they broke down:

Bans prayer in schools (5%)
Prohibits the display of religious symbols on public property (0%)
Prohibits the use religious references in official documents (5%)
Prohibits government from interfering in religious expression (85%)
Guarantees that churches will be exempt from taxes (3%)

Thanks to Dr. Theo, and to all who participated!

This week's poll has now been posted in the upper right corner of Dakota Voice:
What percentage of abortions in SD in 2007 were because "The mother did not desire to have the child"?

- 1.7%
- 33.5%
- 83.2%
- 5.2%

Hint: the answer can be found at the South Dakota Department of Health under the Statistics menu item, Vital Statistics section.


12 comments:

Anonymous said...

If only there were a clause prohibiting religious expression from interfering with government.

Bob Ellis said...

Is government so fragile that it can't withstand a little religious expression from the citizens it ostensibly exists to serve? That's a pretty pathetic government, if that's the case.

It's pretty obvious when one takes the time to examine history and the Founders that they established our government as they did (with freedom of religious expression without an official state religion or church) because they were very wise.


And they also understood the vital need for religion and morality to guide and be the conscience of a society:

The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were…the general principles of Christianity. – John Adams

Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion whose morality is so sublime and pure…are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments. – Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence

Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters. – Benjamin Franklin

Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens. – Daniel Webster

Sensible of the importance of Christian piety and virtue to the order and happiness of a state, I cannot but earnestly commend to you every measure for their support and encouragement – John Hancock

The law…dictated by God Himself is, of course, superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times. No human laws are of any validity if contrary to this. – Alexander Hamilton, signer of the Constitution

The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained. – George Washington’s Inaugural Address

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. – John Adams

Let it never be forgotten that there can be no genuine freedom where there is no morality, and no sound morality where there is no religion…Hesitate not a moment to believe that the man who labors to destroy these two great pillars of human happiness…is neither a good patriot nor a good man. – Jeremiah Smith, Revolutionary soldier, judge, U.S. Congressman, Governor of New Hampshire

Religion and morality…are necessary to good government, good order and good laws, for “when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice” – William Paterson, signer of the Constitution, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs whether any free government can be permanent where the public worship of God and the support of religion constitute no part of the policy or duty of the state in any assignable shape. – Joseph Story, U.S. Supreme Court Judge, Father of American Jurisprudence

Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers. - John Jay, first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. Religion and virtue are the only foundations…of republicanism and of all free governments. – John Adams

The Holy Scriptures…can alone secure to society, order and peace, and to our courts of justice and constitutions of government, purity, stability, and usefulness. In vain, without the Bible, we increase penal laws and draw entrenchments around our institutions. Bibles are strong entrenchments. Where they abound, men cannot pursue wicked courses. – James McHenry, signer of the Constitution, Secretary of War

Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society – George Washington

Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is divine. – James Wilson, signer of the Constitution, U.S. Supreme Court Judge

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness. – George Washington’s Presidential Farewell Address

While the people are virtuous, they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader. – Samuel Adams

No country on earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed it would be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass. – George Washington (how deeply sad that we have betrayed Washington’s confidence)

It should therefore be among the first objects of those who wish well to the national prosperity to encourage and support the principles of religion and morality. – Abraham Baldwin, signer of the Constitution

The practice of morality being necessary for the well-being of society…We all agree in the obligation of the moral precepts of Jesus and nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in His discourses. – Thomas Jefferson

Christianity to which the sword and the fagot [burning stake or hot branding iron] are unknown—general tolerant Christianity is the law of the land. – Daniel Webstser

Righteousness alone can exalt them [America] as a nation…The great pillars of all government and of social life: I mean virtue, morality and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible. – Patrick Henry.

When a citizen gives his suffrage [vote] to a man of known immorality he abuses his trust [civic responsibility]; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor; he betrays the interest of his country. – Noah Webster

I believe that religion is the only solid base of morals and that morals are the only possible support of free governments. Therefore education should teach the precepts of religion and the duties of man toward God. – Gouverneur Morris, penman and signer of the Constitution

Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country…God grant that in America true religion and civil liberty may be inseparable and that the unjust attempts to destroy one may in the issue tend to the support and establishment of both. – John Witherspoon, signer of the Declaration


Thank God America has not historically been one of the Godless empires we've seen around the world where human beings are nothing but objects to be stepped on by the powerful, but has rather been built on the recognition that humans are created in the image of God, and thus possess innate dignity and sanctity.

Anonymous said...

Is your faith so fragile that it can't withstand a little government intervention? Of course not, but even if it were, that shouldn't matter.

It has nothing to do with fragility. People should be able to believe what they want. And likewise, the government should be able to function without being swayed and corrupted by religious fanaticism. Is it too much to ask that our politicians start saying, "The facts indicate that we should go to war" rather than "God told me that we should go to war"?

By the way, how DO you come back with such a long list of quotations so quickly? :-)

Dakota Voice said...

Government has no right or place interfering with faith; why do you think the Founders specifically barred that in the First Amendment?

You seem to lack the same fundamental understanding of the nature of our Constitution and government that is common among many liberals. The Constitution restrains government not individuals, because the Founders were wise enough to understand that the more powerful a government becomes, the more it tends to quash freedom and oppress the people it should be serving.

You said "And likewise, the government should be able to function without being swayed and corrupted by religious fanaticism" Please go back and read those statements from the Founders again, and perhaps yet another time. I think there's something great there that you're missing; if you'd caught it, you wouldn't have made that statement.

I came back quickly with that long list of quotations because I've had discussions almost exactly like this countless times in the past few years, and have them handy to illustrate the fallacy of the lie that America was intended to be a secular state, sanitized of religious influence.

shaky jake said...

Obanonamous 9:10PM -- You libs always deal in the "fonlys". That's your main problem. You steep yourselves in fiction to the point of being unable to recognize reality.

Arthur said...

Atheists and Humanists practice their own religions. They worship themselves, money, materialism and fame. They practice demoralization and unaccountability. Yet, they still cannot prove that God does not exist, or that God did not create everything. It truly doesn't matter whether God created us from dust, primordial goo, or evolved us from apes. This is why God gave us the Cliff Notes of creation in Genesis. He probably did not intend us to use science to mess with nuclear physics, cloning, or abortion, or to find where life came from. He intended us to use science to improve our lives on Earth and to bring us closer to him. We shouldn't even be exploring space and other planets until we learn to stop destroying the earth. All of the advertising, politics, legislation, science, and even moneys spent on promoting or denying God's existence simply does not matter, because God can take care of himself. What matters is, despite whether or not you believe in God, the demoralization of the world. The fall of Rome was due to its demoralization, its focus on self-worship, wealth, materialism, fame, etc. Despite whether you feel that God exists or not, stop wasting your time, money and resources to try and prove and advertise your positions. Instead, you should be investing in good works that will improve humanity, and not destroy it. Let's focus on cures for cancer, stopping the drug trade, eliminating alcoholism, improving education, balancing our country, state and local budgets, eliminating unemployment, reducing the reliance on insurance, the costs of basic survival, and removing the control that the wealthy and the media have over our lives. We should all improve on caring for each other, instead of always drawing lines, taking sides, and eventually resorting to fighting and violence. Peace, caring for and loving each other, and protecting the earth should be our goals, and with faith, God can take care of everything else.

Dr. Theo said...

Arthur said: "We shouldn't even be exploring space and other planets until we learn to stop destroying the earth."

I am not that convinced that we are destroying earth, but I'll grant that we could do better in using God's gifts wisely.

The main reason for space exploration is to find evidence that refutes God's Word, specifically Genesis. Trillions of dollars are spent by the nations of the world trying to find supportive evidences of the "Big Bang" and/or biological evolution. I agree that this is mostly a waste of time and money, although some great technology has benefited the world from efforts in manned space travel.

Currently there is a third Mars Rover Expedition that has failed again to find evidence of life (i.e., evolution) on our red neighbor. NASA already has another mission in the works to try yet another time to find evidence of life on Mars sometime in the ancient past. The cost of this effort is projected to be 2.3 billion, but if other missions are representative, we can expect the bill to top 5 billion by the time it is completed.

I am all for scientific study for the sake of expanding our knowledge, but when so-called scientists design their experiments (and spend tax-payer’s money) with an outcome already determined, that seems to me an illegitimate exercise, and as we have seen, a negative finding will never be accepted. Until they find what they are looking for, or the money runs out, they will launch yet another over-priced mission, and another looking for what apparently doesn't exist. But the finding of even the weakest of evidence suggesting some kind of ancient life would be worth all the billions spent just because it would be , supposedly, a fatal blow to creationists.

In fact, for me, it would be no such thing. My reading of the Bible does not exclude the possibility of some life forms on other celestial bodies. I rather doubt that we'll ever find conclusive evidence of it, but doing so wouldn't change my faith at all.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Theo, what if the onset of God's creation is just what we happen to call the Big Bang? What if the process of evolution is his way of creating organisms?

Dr. Theo said...

Anon.9:50, if that is what the objective evidence was pointing to, I wouldn't have as much to argue about. But that is not the case. The "Big Bang" was hypothesized as an alternative to creation by those who wish to reject creation a priori, i.e., before the facts.

The same with evolution. For example, I accept completely the proven adaptations of creatures, or what is called micro-evolution. The facts clearly show that there is incredible capacity for adaptive changes within a species or genus. The evidence indicates that this adaptive capacity is due to genetic information within the species and is not due to mutations. God created many of His creatures with the ability to adapt to changing conditions. All the evidence supports that contention and those that deny it are closing their minds to the facts.

May I ask you, Anonymous, if the Big Bang hypothesis required the violation of known laws of physics (we're talking science here), such as the conservation of mass and energy, the conservation of motion, the universal law of gravity, and the first second and third laws of thermodynamics, all of which happens to be the case, might you entertain the possibility of a supernatural cause?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Theo,

So you dislike the Big Bang theory because of the anti-creation rationale of its proponents? Does that matter? Does the intent of a theorist influence the factual conclusions reached by his theory?

And of course I would consider a supernatural cause. But whether that cause is a god, aliens, or something none of us has even imagined yet is simply impossible to know. You seem quite convinced it's God, but do you believe that because you've disproved every single alternative and God is the only logical, testable, verifiable explanation, or because you just want to believe it? In other words, is it science or wishful thinking?

Here's another theory to consider: maybe we were all created by beings living on some distant planet who are vastly superior to us in every way? If we took a native of Papua New Guinea and placed him in the middle of Times Square, do you think he would consider all those flashing lights and electronic billboards to be natural or supernatural? If you gave him a portable television, don't you think he would believe it was just a tiny world where people are trapped behind a little glass window? Now imagine if some civilization elsewhere in the universe had created us, the world, and everything in it. To them, it all has a scientific and natural explanation. But we would be far too ignorant and primitive to understand that, so we'd just attribute it to some supernatural cause.

Or another theory: perhaps our universe is like a giant sphere. Starting at one point, the universe expands and expands, until it reaches a diameter and begins to contract. Maybe the terminus of that contraction is a massive black hole, and on the other side of that black hole another universe is "born," to continue the cycle of expansion and contraction; when the shift occurs, maybe what one might see on the other end could be described as some kind of "big bang." And maybe this process has no beginning (try as we might, we really have no concept of eternity, either before or after life) and will continue indefinitely. For all we know, the universe we live in right now could just be #1,999,999,999,999 of an unending series, and the one appearing at the other end of our black hole will be #2,000,000,000,000, where another race of beings will ponder, as we do now, the origins of their existence.

In order to believe based on the facts that God is the ONLY explanation, mustn't you first disprove possibilities like these? How would you go about doing that?

Dr. Theo said...

These are interesting theories to be sure, Anonymous, but they lack a critical element and that is supporting evidence. The Judeo-Christian Bible provides abundant information, biological, geological, archeological and historical all of which is consistent with what we observe. This is before we even get to the many prophesies in the Bible that have come to pass exactly as foretold. And unlike Nostradamus and others these were very specific predictions written down hundreds of years before they happened. Most important to my faith, and something I am sure you will ridicule, is the power of the Holy Spirit that guides and instructs believers. Upon receiving Jesus as my Lord, I gained insights that had escaped me the first half-century of my existence. I finally understood what Jesus meant when He said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."

"So you dislike the Big Bang theory because of the anti-creation rationale of its proponents?"

You missed my point entirely, Anonymous. Let me try another approach. There is a current popular hypothesis that there are an infinite number of universes (or a "multiverse"), each of which may have different physical laws. Mind you, we have zero evidence for this but it is all the rage with some philosophers and scientists. Why are they so enthralled with what is nothing more than fantastical speculation? Because they are coming to the realization that the known laws of the universe are as if they were specifically designed to support life on this tiny speck of rock we call earth. The speed of light, Planck's constant, the distances between the planets, the intensity of the sun, the force of gravity, etc., etc, are exactly right and if any one of these multiple variables were off a tiny fraction, life, and indeed the universe could not exist. Also, chance occurrence of life and evolution of life would be of infinitesimally remote probabilities. But if we postulate an infinite number of universes with infinite variability of physical laws, well then, the incredible unlikelihood of this universe and life in it becomes a near certainty among the infinite possibilities. This theory then becomes an easy out for those wishing to deny a Creator. This, like the Big Bang, is a just-so story without scientific evidence, but appeals to those eager to answer life's tough questions without having to contemplate a God who will one day call them to account.
G.K. Chesterton said is succinctly: "When a Man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything."

Dr. Theo said...

I am sorry, Anonymous; I neglected to address your final question:
"In order to believe based on the facts that God is the ONLY explanation, mustn't you first disprove possibilities like these? How would you go about doing that?"

The philosophy of science according to Karl Popper can never prove a negative. I may insist that a ball thrown into the air doesn't always come down. You would likely protest that I am completely nuts and set out to prove me wrong. You set up an experiment in which you toss a ball into the air and ask me to observe its behavior and whether it falls back to earth. After a thousand tosses, or a million if you prefer, you maintain that you have indeed proven me wrong. But have you? Perhaps only the millionth +1 or the trillionth or the trillion trillionth toss results is an unexpected outcome. No matter how many times you repeat the experiment, you cannot prove me wrong. Truth, on the other hand, or at least a very close approximation of truth, can be proven. Your belief that the ball will always fall after being tossed into the air can be proven to be true. A hundred tosses should be quite enough. The preponderance of the evidence supports your belief.

 
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