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Supersquatch

Persecution of Atheists in Kentucky

43 posts in this topic

I would rather have a bullet placed in to my skull than being forced to believe a fictitious being.

No one can force you to believe any such thing. Are you saying you would rather be shot than lie and say you believed when you didnt?

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Does american money still have "In god we trust" printed on it? If so it is hard to understand the consternation in putting a similarly worded plaque outside buildings devoted to america's security. There is no single more powerful force for american power and security than its monetary system. I wonder what would happen if someone made, and passed off as legitimate, coins etc without that slogan on them. More than a years gaol, i suspect.

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Sheri

Thank you for the kind words. Glad you liked it.

Happy Solstice to you and yours as well.

Mr Walker

Does american money still have "In god we trust" printed on it?

Yes.

If so it is hard to understand the consternation in putting a similarly worded plaque outside buildings devoted to america's security.

Without stipulating that the wording is "similar," Congress, and Congress alone, has the black-letter Constitutional authority to coin money (of the kind which bears the motto). Congress, then, gets to say what the money looks like. For any court to intrude on the specifically granted authority of another branch of government would provoke a Constituional crisis. It would be a Constitutional crisis.

Reviewing how some Kentucky state bureaucrat decorates his office presents no such Constitutional problem. But even if the coins said "In Almighty God we trust," no court would touch it.

I wonder what would happen if someone made, and passed off as legitimate, coins etc without that slogan on them. More than a years gaol, i suspect.

Oddly, there is no law against the making. In fact, people make simulated coins all the time, for museum displays and so on. There are standards for making them discernably (though not necessarily visibly) different from the genuine article. Omitting the motto would probably suffice (for a recent enough coin, of course, and except for the St Gaudens coins which didn't have the motto - which did, in fact, cause the legislative branch to assert its powers against the executive branch, as well they might have.)

The passing off of anything other than legal tender as legal tender is a crime, period. However, there is no law against barter. Presumably the point of your hypothetical bit of political theater is to promote some lesson, so subterfuge wouldn't be an element. If I knowing accept your quarter-substitute at face value, then that's none of the law's concern.

Don't take any wooden nickels, Mr Walker.

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Sheri

Thank you for the kind words. Glad you liked it.

Happy Solstice to you and yours as well.

Mr Walker

Yes.

Without stipulating that the wording is "similar," Congress, and Congress alone, has the black-letter Constitutional authority to coin money (of the kind which bears the motto). Congress, then, gets to say what the money looks like. For any court to intrude on the specifically granted authority of another branch of government would provoke a Constituional crisis. It would be a Constitutional crisis.

Reviewing how some Kentucky state bureaucrat decorates his office presents no such Constitutional problem. But even if the coins said "In Almighty God we trust," no court would touch it.

Oddly, there is no law against the making. In fact, people make simulated coins all the time, for museum displays and so on. There are standards for making them discernably (though not necessarily visibly) different from the genuine article. Omitting the motto would probably suffice (for a recent enough coin, of course, and except for the St Gaudens coins which didn't have the motto - which did, in fact, cause the legislative branch to assert its powers against the executive branch, as well they might have.)

The passing off of anything other than legal tender as legal tender is a crime, period. However, there is no law against barter. Presumably the point of your hypothetical bit of political theater is to promote some lesson, so subterfuge wouldn't be an element. If I knowing accept your quarter-substitute at face value, then that's none of the law's concern.

Don't take any wooden nickels, Mr Walker.

I wont. We dont have nickels and dimes in oz, so no point any way.

yes I appreciate that the counterfeiting of legitimate money is the crime. My point was, perhaps, how a system like the american one lends itself to silly inconsistencies, which may be only glaringly obvious to an outsider. A dollar coin or note can have "In god we trust" on it, in fact must have to be real but a govt building designed to underpin the security of the state ( just as money does) can not. Of course at the moment the plaques are still constitutional until ruled against but the whole scenario tends to ridicule the nature of the governance of america in regard to trying to separate what is state and what is faith.

While the courts will probably do a competent job of sorting it out, they should never have to in the first place. There should be room for religious belief within the state itslef and its apparatus just as there is in a country like Australia. Australia has almost identical words in its constitution regarding the separation of religion and state, but none of the hassles or division that occurs in America. Rather than divide state from religion we include all beliefs (and non beliefs) into our laws and governance. As i believe the original american constitution was designed to do. It was designed to prevent a state religion but not (if that was the people's wish) a religious state or a state which embraced religious faiths. it was NOT designed to protectnon believers from religion or belief. That concept was probably not even thoguht of at the time the constitution was written althiugh ir did arise a little later i the french revolution and in the constitution pf the first repuiblic.

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My point was, perhaps, how a system like the american one lends itself to silly inconsistencies, which may be only glaringly obvious to an outsider.

Or, demosntrates a reasonable adherence to the rule of law which might be misunderstood by an outsider who, perhaps, fields a sketchy knowledge of our law.

Many things are possible, Mr Walker.

We seem to have a disagreement about the facts in the Kentucky. The sign in question does not say "In God we trust." I doubt a court would order that a sign bearing the motto of the United States be removed from a government building.

Of course at the moment the plaques are still constitutional until ruled against

Not in United States law. If something is unconstitutional, then it is unconstitutional back to its inception, or the adoption of the constitutional provision it violates, whichever is later.

The provision in question is the Fourteenth Amendment, which was adopted long after the French Revolution. The First Amendment was drafted only with respect to the federal government. When the rights in question were extended to state activities, after the Civil War, a whole new range of possible disputes was created.

Kentucky could indeed have jailed atheists for their impiety before the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment (except for provisions in its own constitution, maybe). It certainly could have posted the sign that actually concerns us here (we know that because the complaint has already been through the Kentucky courts).

The law allows all the religious expression you could want, Mr Walker, including access to the public square. You just can't send me the bill, or use a building that taxes built for the permanent display of a doctrinal tract.

Edited by eight bits

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This is a joke, there is no way this can be a law, or if it is, a useless one LOL.

peace

mark

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Or, demosntrates a reasonable adherence to the rule of law which might be misunderstood by an outsider who, perhaps, fields a sketchy knowledge of our law.

Many things are possible, Mr Walker.

We seem to have a disagreement about the facts in the Kentucky. The sign in question does not say "In God we trust." I doubt a court would order that a sign bearing the motto of the United States be removed from a government building.

Not in United States law. If something is unconstitutional, then it is unconstitutional back to its inception, or the adoption of the constitutional provision it violates, whichever is later.

The provision in question is the Fourteenth Amendment, which was adopted long after the French Revolution. The First Amendment was drafted only with respect to the federal government. When the rights in question were extended to state activities, after the Civil War, a whole new range of possible disputes was created.

Kentucky could indeed have jailed atheists for their impiety before the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment (except for provisions in its own constitution, maybe). It certainly could have posted the sign that actually concerns us here (we know that because the complaint has already been through the Kentucky courts).

The law allows all the religious expression you could want, Mr Walker, including access to the public square. You just can't send me the bill, or use a building that taxes built for the permanent display of a doctrinal tract.

I appreciat it might be law That fdoes not make it sensible or good law. And i guess american law can be differnt to uk derived law but generally laws have to be tested by case and precedent to make an individual case Ie the constituionalityof anything would have tot be tested in a case to establish its validity or not.

But in general terms can the govt, state or federal, fund chapels or chaplains, of any faith, in state or federally funded; schools, hospitals or other institutions? Can anyone in such an institution say a public prayer in any faith, for the health or well being of a member. Eg could a school principal say a prayer for a student who was gravely ill, or for protection of all students over the holidays/ Could a politicain make a public prayer for another member of their parliament. If not then,rather than protect the rights of all citizens, the law is discriminating against a majority of them.

What happens when churches and state jointly fund schools, aged care/retirement homes, employment or welfare offices, or hospitals or even universities? Does the public funding preclude religious imagery, plaques, religious practices, or prayers in those institutions? Does it prevent a basically religious institution from exercising any form of religiousity in its constitution, mission statement, or practical care because of some state funding?

In Australia the reverse occurs. The expression of all religious/spiritual beliefs and practices, including non belief, is protected by law and so is the free expression of any religion, including in any govt institution. We have had people from many different faiths, including a number of non christians; speak, give seminars, say prayers, etc. at our govt. school, in assemblies, meetings, forums and drama/music productions, for example. A parent may withdraw a student from any such activity.

As a consequence, we have almost none of the secular/religious deep divisions which seem to be deeply embedded in American culture and law.

The issue of taxation is a furphy. I pay about $20000 dollars a year tax. Most of it is probably either wasted or goes to causes i disapprove of, but that is the taxation system we have, organised by a govt we elected. If people can argue to withdraw taxes when the govt funds things they disapprove of, the whole edifice would collapse.

Edited by Mr Walker

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And i guess american law can be differnt to uk derived law but generally laws have to be tested by case and precedent to make an individual case Ie the constituionalityof anything would have tot be tested in a case to establish its validity or not.

The very idea of "Constitution" is different in the UK and the US. Putting aside the blood and treasure Americans spent long ago to reject the UK's "Constitution," a written constitution (what the US has) is an ontological object, not a concept. Litigation plays a role in both systems, and perhaps it is fair to say that in the UK, that role is closer to determination of what the Costitution "is" and will be thereafter. In the American system, litigation is more like the means by which readers learn more about what is, and always has been since the adoption of a provision, the meaning of the provision.

There is a different psychology at work here, and a different anthropology as well. Fortunately, the case before us is fairly simple: Kentucky cannot lawfully offer doctrinal instruction in its lawmakers' religion at taxpayer expense. Although all cases add something to our knowledge, this case can only add a little bit to what is already known about this kind of activity, since parallel controversies have already been litigated.

But in general terms can the govt, state or federal, fund chapels or chaplains, of any faith, in state or federally funded; schools, hospitals or other institutions?

Yes, to a certain extent. On this subject of religion, the Constitution gives the governments a dual mandate of incompatible character: not to establish religion, but not to interfere with its free expression, either.

A prisoner or a member of the military necessarily gives up some liberties, but not all. If these people are to retain their free expression rights, then the government (it would seem) must become involved in providing them the means to exercise those rights. Schools and hospitals present problems of their own, and what the government can or must do in those situations depends on the particulars of the situation.

I would need more information to discuss your hypotheticals, and to be frank, real life provides enough juicy fleshed-out controversies in this area that I'd rather spend my energy on the ones that actually come up. For example, the disposition of this topic's case turns on the particulars of the wording of the sign. What some people would call a "small" change in the text would have turned the situation 180 degrees, from impermissible religious imposition to fully permissible speech.

Of course, you know much more than I ever will about the Australian situation, and I thank you for telling me more about it. To the extent a comparison with the United States reveals "divisions" in this area in the the US, I think that those might more fairly be described as the tensions which are inevitable in a numerous and diverse people, everyone of whom is free to be emphatically expressive in an area where human beings have always had strong opinions, heavy emotional investment, and limited patience with competing points of view.

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26170.jpg

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There actually is no penalty for not acknowledging the role of God.

Not now. History has shown that penalties are often the next step when seemingly harmless and innocuous laws are passed but are not followed. That's why legislation like this needs to be stopped before it becomes harmful.

[edit]

Also if I read this right, the person responsible for posting it can lose their job if he or she refuses. The legislation makes it this person's duty to follow this law.

Edited by scowl

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Laws like this is why I love and hate humans equally; we're nuts as a species but it brings me so much entertainment so I can't be totally p***ed of with these rednecks.

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scowl

Not now. History has shown that penalties are often the next step when seemingly harmless and innocuous laws are passed but are not followed. That's why legislation like this needs to be stopped before it becomes harmful.

Unsure where you're going with that. A legislative finding has no penalty for violating it because no thought, word or deed whatsoever "violates" a finding. There is no first step for a next step to follow. State penalties for physically possible irreligion are prohibited by the Fourteenth Amendment, a situation likely to persist. Of course, come the Constitutional Convention, all bets are off.

If by proposing that dubious findings be "stopped," you meant that the Kentucky electorate might profitably be offered reasoned advice about choosing more discerning representatives, then I'm all for it.

Also if I read this right, the person responsible for posting it can lose their job if he or she refuses. The legislation makes it this person's duty to follow this law.

The legislature doesn't usually have hiring and firing authority over executive branch personnel. The matter is speculative, since the incumbent didn't refuse. Odds are there won't be a sign when the next director takes over, IMO.

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The legislature doesn't usually have hiring and firing authority over executive branch personnel. The matter is speculative, since the incumbent didn't refuse. Odds are there won't be a sign when the next director takes over, IMO.

Not following their duties as specified by the law is grounds for dismissal. By law, it is their duty to hang this sign.

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Not following their duties as specified by the law is grounds for dismissal. By law, it is their duty to hang this sign.

You seem very attached to this hypothetical. I don't see how a suit could arise except that the imaginary director believed there was a legal defect in his or her statutory responsibility. If so, then the imaginary director would presumably assert that the matter is expected to be before the courts, and thereby defer his or her compliance until the possible defect is fully resolved.

As it happened, the real guy saved a step and hung the sign, as he was paid to do. That's not so bad, either. Now, the federal court can concentrate on whether the sign stays or goes. Simple is good.

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You seem very attached to this hypothetical.

What hypothetical? If a government employee must do something to comply with the law, they do it or they get fired.

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What hypothetical? If a government employee must do something to comply with the law, they do it or they get fired.

As I said, realistically, the case arises only if the director thinks that the statute is defective. If so, then deferring compliance pending litigation may well stay any personnel action. Thus, it is possible (even likely) for a government employee not to do something which they "must do ... to comply with the law" but not to be fired.

I may have mentioned that the actual director hung the sign. The director who didn't hang the sign is not the actual director. In a word, the director who didn't hang the sign is hypothetical.

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In the 21st century that is truly mind-boggling and shocking.

It's not that mind boggling and shocking to me. I unfortunately live in Kentucky atm... <_< (Hope to change that soon...)

The absence of being a Christian in this state as not only frowned upon but dangerous. I don't have to worry about that personally since I follow the teachings of Christ by choice, but the same kind of extremist views and actions are politically as well, and I did have a reason to worry about that. I was actually afraid to put up any political signs endorsing Obama for fear my property would be vandalized... It's THAT serious down here...

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