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The scariest moment of the debate last night came when Paul Ryan made one of his few honest statements of the evening.  Ryan said that he cannot separate his personal religion from his guidance on policy.  In short, he thinks that his personal beliefs should be yours, and if he is in a position to enforce that upon the rest of it, he will do his level best to do so and not blink (even though he blinks less than one of those night creatures with bugaboo eyes you always see photos of in National Geographic peering over a log at night).  Well, Mr. Ryan, you should read the basis for the language in the Constitution, which is the often quoted bill introduced and eventually passed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in Virginia, and a precursor to the language in the Constitution.  It is NOT freedom of religion, it is freedom FROM religion, and that, you self righteous career politician, is what guides policy, not your personal brand of religion.  Biden had the right answer, and you got it dead wrong. Read a little Jefferson and educate yourself before you think you can use your religion to force policy on me.

SECTION I. Well aware that

 the opinions and belief of men depend not on their own will, but follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to their minds;

 that Almighty God hath created the mind free, and manifested his supreme will that free it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint;

 that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments, or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do, but to extend it by its influence on reason alone;

 that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as
ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men,
have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own
opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as
such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and
maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and
through all time:  

 That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness; and is withdrawing from the ministry those temporary rewards, which proceeding from an approbation of their personal
conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labours
for the instruction of mankind;

 that our civil rights have no dependance on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry; that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing, with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though indeed these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way;

 that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor
under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude
his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or
propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a
dangerous falacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because
he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule
of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own;

 that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally,

 that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself; that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate; errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them.

SECT. II.  WE, the General Assembly of Virginia, do enact that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

SECT. III.  AND though we well know that this Assembly, elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies, constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.

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Comment Preferences

  •  More BS From Lyin Ryan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ryan said that he cannot separate his personal religion from his guidance on policy.
    Oh, so when is he going to bring his policies into line with Catholic teaching on social justice?

    On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

    by stevemb on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 09:50:52 AM PDT

  •  I remember concern that JFK would be (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, BlackSheep1

    unduly influenced by his religion and his assurances that his faith would not influence his decisions.  Since then we have seen overtly religious men hold the office, such as Carter and GWB, and not so overtly religious types such as LBJ, Nixon or Reagan who were more theological pragmatists.

    Carter is the only modern example of a POTUS who allowed his religion to inform his decisions and was the better for it.  GWB is the example of someone who used his religious faith to accomplish secular goals to the detriment of the country

  •  so, if he believes a devil worshiping (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    type could force baby sacrificing on the public because it's his belief? or if a Mormon gets elected, he can force retroactive baptism on him?
    boy, that's pretty radical

  •  I agree with your take on Jefferson, and I (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, brook

    appreciate the quotes.
    One thing I would cauthion atheists on this site about is making a distinction about "Freedom of religion." and "Freedom from religion."
    They're both the same.
    Atheists in America have common cause with believers of all stripes of Christianity as well as every other religion in ensuring that America remains a secular state.

    There is an authoritarian (I'd say fascist) political movement that has hijacked and leveraged Christian belief for politcal power. They represent a threat to the 1st amendment and the secular foundation of our government.
    They threaten freedom from religion as welll as the freedom of religion of all believers.
    They also threaten the rights of women and minorities.

    We can only defeat this movement by unity and solidarity in our common cause.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 10:21:28 AM PDT

  •  It is both. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Jefferson believed others had the right to practice a religion of their choosing, but had no right to impose that religion on others. Therefore, elected officials must separate their religious doctrines from from any public policy they choose to enact, and that will force others to abide by; Separation of Church and State.
    If a candidate for public office can't separate his/her views in this manner, they shouldn't run. I suspect the reason for their run for office in the first place is to do just that, impose their religous beliefs on others.
    Their religion tells them abortion is wrong. They want to impose that belief on others through public policy. The Right to Choose is not a mandatory action. It is not being imposed on anyone by the government whose religion says it is wrong. DON'T HAVE AN ABORTION IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE IN IT.
    What is with this "If I don't want it, then nobody gets to want it" mentality? Christian Fundamentalism teaches that those of another religion are commiting a sin and going to hell (First Commandment). It is not that big of a leap from saying abortion must be outlawed because it is against our religious beliefs to saying other religions must be outlawed because they too violate our religious beliefs. The First Amendment protects us from this madness.

    The Republican Party has been taken over by the corporatists and christian fundamentalists. The corporatists will force you into poverty, and the christian fundamentalists will force you to live under biblical law; daily gruel and scripture for all.

    by glb3 on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 10:31:01 AM PDT

  •  I've never understood... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brook, shaharazade

    the Religious Right's incessant attack on abortion. Isn't it curious that their own "founding document", the Ten Comandments, doesn't mention it. They would argue that "Thou Shall Not Kill" addresses this issue. I'm sure that their unscientific "life begins at conception" arguement is an attempt to link the two together.
    These same religious zealots have no problem sending a military around the world killing others, including innocent civilians. Some of those innocent civilians were pregnant. DO YOU CARE ABOUT THOSE FETUSES?

    Now go out and do some real cleaning up of society; Keep Holy the Sabbath (4th commandment). All you preachers working the collection plate 24/7 need to take a day off. You're going to hell.

    The Republican Party has been taken over by the corporatists and christian fundamentalists. The corporatists will force you into poverty, and the christian fundamentalists will force you to live under biblical law; daily gruel and scripture for all.

    by glb3 on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 11:13:22 AM PDT

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