Meri, your position is if ANY law is democratically passed then it cannot be said that the law in question is an example of a religion being forced on anyone. Correct?
My position is that no one in this country is forced to follow any religion. Any law that is passed in this country can be challenged if someone believes the State is forcing a religion on them. No religion in this country has the power to pass laws forcing people to follow that religion. A religious group, just like any lobbyist, has the right to try and have Congress pass a law that favors their perspective. Individual people who follow a religion have a right to vote for a law (Proposition) or a person of their choice that they feel will further their own point of view. One citizen, one vote.
Once a law is passed, the people still have the right to challenge or reverse it if enough feel strongly about this. It is the way our democracy (republic) works.
My position is basic US civics. It is my position whether the topic is environment, pharmaceuticals, or religion.
This is full of contradictions. The state cannot force people to follow a religion. That means the state also cannot force people to follow PARTS of the religion. Evangelicals figured out how to force parts of their religion by enacting laws, derived from religious reasoning. You cant say the state has no power to force people to practice a religion, and then defend religiously reasoned laws enacted by state representatives of religious majorities.
I think that detail eludes Meri. A while ago, I posted an example of this. If the people of Dearborn decided to pass a law saying that women must wear a head covering when outside their home. If the law passes, according to Meri that would not be an example of Islam being foisted upon non-Muslims. Non-Muslims would not be forced into believing in Allah. It’s just a headscarf. And if people object, they can just wait for the next legislative opportunity to try and reverse the law. In the meantime, the women are wearing the headscarves.
I realize I have created a case unlikely to ever occur here in the US. But it does display Meri’s logic.
She might argue that the law would be repealed on constitutional grounds. Fine. In the meantime, women are wearing headscarves.
Meri originally felt there was no reason for atheists to worry about religion. This shows a case against that.
No one in America would present, let alone pass a law, requiring women dress in a certain way. First, that would be sexist and would fail on that objection alone. Second, no one can force a religious practice on another, so Constitutionally, it would never make the ballot. Reality, not pie-in-the-sky helps advance a discussion.
Therefore an illogical scenario cannot advance what you call “Meri’s logic.” Look again. Meri’s logic is all about bringing reality back into the discussion.
So let’s talk reality by looking at West Point. West Point was one example from several years ago Alex presented earlier in the thread. There are a couple of cases from that time period which may be of interest. In one, a cadet was expelled from West Point during his third year for plagiarism. He was called to an officer’s office and was required to say the Cadet’s prayer. (See link if you wish to read the prayer)
The cadet filed suit over all charges and then also claimed the West Point officer had broken the Establishment clause when forcing him to recite the prayer in his office. The court ruled against the cadet on all issues. On the prayer issue, it was noted that having been made to say the prayer aloud once was not forcing a religion upon the cadet. (Reading the prayer may give an understanding of why the officer issued this particular order to the cadet.) The Court noted that had the cadet not been expelled, and then made to recite the prayer every day, then there might be a reasonable complaint which would involve the Establishment clause. However, there was no reason to assume, that had the cadet remained, the officer would have required him to say the cadet’s prayer every day. Here is the ruling for those interested:
The other 2012 case was that of a cadet who would not be commissioned (due to health reasons of clinical anxiety and depression). This cadet announced he was dropping out of West Point before graduation citing his reason for doing so was that the school was “too religious”. He did not care for the amount of prayer that went on. (Prayer, which by the way is voluntary, not required.) This young man was not the only atheist at West Point at the time, just one who had problems with even voluntary prayer happening around him.
What do you think of this verse in the Cadet Prayer:
Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong and never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won.
Question: Should someone who is praying voluntarily be forced to stop as soon as an atheist announces his/her presence? Is the harder right about eliminating even voluntary prayer, and is the whole to be won no prayer anywhere an atheist may be present?
Its been barely over years since religions did force religious practices on everyone - marriage being between one man and one woman. Yes the courts did eventually and correctly strike down the gay marriage bans across the country but those laws were passed. And they were done so with huge church and religious support. The mormon church was one of the biggest financial backers of prop 8 in California which banned gay marriage.
The reality is that people are concerned enough about religion to keep it out of government as a Constitutional requirement. Atheists are right to care.
Do you remember that this all started when gays were trying to get the government to recognize that tax, state, and health laws were discriminatory against gay couples? A lot of us were trying to get the government to recognize civil unions and fix all the laws that discriminated against gay couples. Naturally, we could not get government to budge. Interesting, is it not, that when the gay community stopped fighting the government and began fighting religion over the definition of marriage, government suddenly became very cooperative.
Clearly I used an extreme example to make a point. If people vote in the headscarf, who are you to deny it? Would you take away their vote?
Wrong person to ask as I have several head scarfs I enjoy wearing. In addition have you seen the ridiculous laws Californians passed concerning grocery bags and keeping a large gas tax increase? A head scarf would be the least of my annoyances when it comes laws people decide to pass.
You are very adept at avoiding the discussion.
It depends on why such a law was passed, wouldn’t it?
Plastic grocery bags harm the environment. Large gas tax - trying to force people to give up their cars. Serious, I admit.
But what reason would there be for passing a head scarf law? To shame women - “Oh, your heads must be covered.” Making women second class citizens because the heads of men don’t have to be covered.
If such a law were passed it would be for religious reasons, and then I think it would be something you’d have to worry about much more than those other laws.
I know. Caring for our environment is so ridiculous.
Why should every one else like head scarfs because you do? At least the gas tax and grocery bag laws serve a useful purpose.
So your an advocate of separate but equal. How very 1950’s anti black of you. How well did that work out then and how shameful is it to look back on that separate but equal policies.
The feelings of Christians and their desire to protect the word “marriage” is more important than the rights of gay people.
That’s not interesting because that is not what happened.
My point is that such a law would not be passed, the Constitution protects against it. Now, if people want to talk about what could happen if the Constitution gets overthrown, that would concern me. One recent example are those who propose changing the make-up of the Senate to make population a factor…which might give California twelve senators while states like Vermont and Wyoming would have one.
Or, to keep the focus on religion, we might discuss the very real issue of Senators Mazie Hirono and Kamala Harris protesting the suitability of a federal judge simply because he belongs to a charitable Catholic organization (The Knights of Columbus). Doesn’t this rub right up against violating the Constitution as well?
I am not going to argue about scarfs any more than I would argue about, “But WHAT would we do if the sun rises in the west tomorrow morning.” Waste of time. Present real issues–which you did, Alex, when your brought up West Point.
Isn’t that exactly what happened. But how do you see what happened?
Do you believe abortion is Constitutional?
Yes, we have a Supreme Court to provide a check and balance. It doesn’t follow that no unconstitutional laws ever make their way into society.