Ron Paul’s Big Religion Problem

Ron Paul doesn’t understand the problem with an official state religion, and by extension, a vital part of our constitution.

He supports public displays of religion:

“In case after case, the Supreme Court has used the infamous ‘Separation of Church and State’ metaphor to uphold court decisions that allow the federal government to intrude upon and deprive citizens of their religious liberty.”

Ron Paul further complained in that speech that the government ought not to be blocked from establishing official prayers in schools and at public events, and promoting the Old Testament as the source of American law in courthouses through the exclusive display of the Ten Commandments. In doing so, Ron Paul sided with radical right wing Christian zealots who seek theocracy, like Judge Roy Moore from Alabama.

Official school prayers and putting the 10 commandments on display at a courthouse are not about individual displays of religious liberty.  That is pure hogwash and he is too smart a man not to know it.  When your school institutes prayer as part of the school day, it endorses religion.  When a court shows the 10 commandments, it is loudly proclaiming a particular code of conduct as the basis for the justice administered within.  No, this debate is about following to the letter and the spirit this line from the constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

This is a clear as day prohibition against officially recognizing religion.  No God Zone observes:

But how well does he know the Constitution? He wrote:

The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion.

Let us put aside for a second his opposition to “rigid separation between church and state” and concentrate, not on Constitutional theory, but on Constitutional facts. Mr. Paul claims that the Constitution is “replete with references to God”. Now replete means abundantly supplied or filled. So if the Constitution is abundantly filled with references to God how many are there? Let’s get precise. How many times is God mentioned in the Constitution?

Zero! And if you don’t believe me you can go check Ron Paul’s own congressional website where he has a copy of the text. Go to the page and read it yourself. It is worth reading now and then. But if you don’t have time do a page search for “God” and see all the abundant references on your own. All zero of them.

Let’s look again at this gem:

The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution

How about the first amendment?

No God Zone wonders what is going on here:

But the fundamentalist Right is busy pushing a revisionist view of American history in order to fit with their theocratic agenda. And apparently Ron Paul is willing to help. But assuming he isn’t then why the lie? Ron Paul has read the Constitution, he brags about his in depth study of the Constitution. He has the Constitution on his website. So why claim that it is filled with references to God when there is not a single mention of God anywhere in the document? He knows better.

Yet let’s turn again to Ron’s own words, as he joins in the fabricated War on Religion crowd:

Through perverse court decisions and years of cultural indoctrination, the elitist, secular Left has managed to convince many in our nation that religion must be driven from public view. The justification is always that someone, somewhere, might possibly be offended or feel uncomfortable living in the midst of a largely Christian society, so all must yield to the fragile sensibilities of the few. The ultimate goal of the anti-religious elites is to transform America into a completely secular nation, a nation that is legally and culturally biased against Christianity.

Liberals are not trying to turn America into a secular nation.  It is one by design.  We are trying to keep religion from becoming the basis for the rule of law in this country.  This was never about “fragile sensibilities” and it is nakedly disingenuous to suggest that it is.  It is about adhering to the constitution and protecting the rights of individuals.  Both points Ron Paul goes to great lengths to identify with, and both points he clearly fails to apply when it comes to religion and the first amendment.

America is not a Christian nation.  It is a nation that provides protections to allow people of any faith and no faith to act freely.  The last thing this country needs is another president who would try and change that.

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57 Responses

  1. You’re an idiot that has been bashing Dr. Paul for a while now. Go fuck yourself, neo con.

  2. Joseph,
    I’ve been looking at Ron Paul critically, yes. Does that discount anything at all I’ve said? Why should it? Can you offer anything, anything at all, to argue against the substance of what I wrote?

    (And what makes me a neo con? Simply opposing Ron Paul? Look around my blog. Does anything I’ve written suggest I am a neo conservative?)

  3. Thanks for this. I am a democrat, soon to be a registered Independent voter, who is FED UP with both parties.

    I like Ron Paul for only one reason. I have listened closely.
    He is the only one I trust to defend the Constitution. His remedy, it seems to me, is to get government off my back and out of my phone, puter, and elsewhere. That is of primary importance to me. I am willing to give him a chance. The other cadidates, except for MAYBE Obama, scare the crap out of me.

    Paul voted against the war. That’s another biggy for me.
    I hear what you are saying, and there is HUGE validity to it. I would be very angry to see him take steps to merge church and state, but I don’t think he will do that.

    I am a follower of Jesus and teach online. My whole life is dedicated to the spiritual growth of me and those that have come to me for help. But, it has nothing to do with churches.

    I am out in the world every day helping people and loving people so I do REJECT the notion that Dems are non spiritual.
    It’s sickening to hear them continue to part the waters that way, just to get elected. And look where it got us.

    So- I do appreciate your post, but I may go with Paul just to undo the last 7 years of Bush. We’ll see what happens after four years.

    I am done with Clintons. With Edwards, With Gore, etc.
    never again.

  4. By the way, it doesn’t help Ron Paul to come on here and post your rage and bad language. It makes you look dangerous. And iif that is a representation of Ron Paul, then maybe I need to look at him more closely.

  5. You’re an idiot and your ‘analysis’ is completely false. You might as well just say the sky is orange.

  6. “America … provides protections to allow people of any faith or no faith to act freely.”

    If you really believed that, you would be supporting Ron Paul.

    Since you seen to be intent on distorting Paul’s position, we can only conclude that your real intent is prohibit people of faith from acting freely. I suspect you want to take over more and more of people’s lives and declare God off limits in those arenas.

    One example in your rhetoric is the conflation of nation with government. A nation is a communitiy, and whether it is Christian or not depends on emergent features. You have no say. The use of “nation” is an excuse to control people’s lives.

    The first amendment is a constraint on the federal government, not a constraint on individuals. It was never intended to force government to be antireligion.

    Let’s look at the liberty situation if you got your way. I would be forbidden to take my bible to the IRS office, to the public park, or even into jail. People will declare many philosophies to be religions and many books will be declare religious books. You might be happy to constrain my ability so say how my public service is motivated, but it will hurt when people use your draconian rules on you.

    It is interesting that you mention schools and public events. Those have nothing to do with the federal government. The notion of “public accomodation” is invented by those like you who want to control other people. The government school movement (and laws to force children to attend only government schools) was primarily an antireligion movement.

    If you don’t like religion in a building you are in, you should leave the building. This is probably an arena you should not be trying to control. I find repulsive the notion of “Oh, no, there’s a Christian and an athiest in the same room! The Christian has to leave!” If a restaurant owner has religious slogans on the menu, you can go someplace else if you don’t like it. To claim that the restaurant is government because the doors are open is ridiculous. If a religious song is sung at a baseball game, you are free to leave. You cannot claim that just because some government subsidised the game, that you get to control people.

    I encourage you to change and go for freedom. There is much more to life than controlling other people.

  7. silvermoon22,
    Its very understandable to be fed up with the actions of both parties.

    Given his stance on religion and state, I don’t see how he is worthy of trust with regards to defending the constitution. Here is one example where he would instead weaken it.
    Obama is a very interesting candidate, and I plan on turning a critical eye on him next.

    My question to you is what makes you think he wouldn’t merge Church and State? If his words and his actions say he will, why believe otherwise? He seems to be providing a set of contradicting statements, and you are stuck choosing which to believe. Why not question the validity of the source itself? (Or at the very least, identify the contradiction to him and see how he responds. If he clearly says “I was wrong on separation of church and state, and will uphold the constitution”, then hurrah and excitement! If he says “The constitution does not provide a rigid separation, and there is no contradiction”, then he’s just piling on more bs).

    Gore would be pretty awesome. Ever since he crawled into that political cocoon, he’s been one hell of an advocate.

    And I agree with your sentiment on Joseph’s comment.

    tsoldrin,
    Try backing up your statements.

    Scott,
    It is because I believe that I am calling out Ron Pauls position on Church and state. Quoting him in bulk is about as far from distortion as you can get. I want people of faith to act freely. Merging church and state would allow that for some, and deny it for the rest.

    The description of the US as a “Christian Nation” is a tool by the radical right to move us towards official recognition of Christianity as the American religion, and all the laws that would usher in. That is why I singled out that particular phrase as false.

    There is nothing in what I am advocating that prevents you, as an individual, from taking your bible with you. That’s fine. What is not fine is if you, as a jailor, required all the inmates to listen to you read from the bible every morning. Or if you, as an IRS agent, had quotes from the bible relating to money on your wall. What if the IRS used the “render unto Caesar” quote to biblically justify the collection of any and all taxes? The problem is not individuals expressing their faith. It is officials and institutions making faith official.

    There were a lot of reasons behind efforts to create a public education system, and I won’t go into them here, although that would be a very interesting topic to explore.

    This is a very transparent strawman. No one who advocates separation of church and state is saying you can’t have people of different faiths in the same room. That is ridiculous. What we are saying is that just because there are more Christians, doesn’t mean they get to impose their beliefs on everyone else. The closest you get to this is the Republicans who protested the Hindu prayer in Congress. With a united Church and State, the protesters wouldn’t have been the ones thrown out of the room.

    Merging Church and State will result in more control, not more freedom.

    It is absolutely unconstitutional.

  8. The author of the above article misses Ron Paul’s whole point – that the constitution does not allow for federal interference in state level education, that the FEDERAL courts have ignored the constitution when they have ruled on what should be STATE issues and have used the “separation of church and state” metaphor as a scapegoat. Ron Paul calls for eliminating the FEDERAL Department of Education to save taxpayer money, while allowing the states to retain their departments of education and for decisions regarding education be made on a local level as federal beaurcrats have no business constitutionally, let alone any way of having any knowledge of what is best for a school district in, say, Iowa.

    Ron Paul’s POINT is that the FEDERAL guv should not be involved in school prayer decisions – that it should be made on the LOCAL level. Ron Paul has NOT made a stance supporting school prayer one way or the other. He JUST says it should be made on a local level – NOT by the Feds.

    Since Ron Paul adheres to the constitution, a quote from a proposed bill by Ron Paul:

    “Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit individual or group prayer in public schools or other public institutions. No person shall be required by the United States or by any State to participate in prayer. Neither the United States nor any State shall compose the words of any prayer to be said in public schools.” H.J.RES.52 (2001), H.J.RES.66 (1999), S.J.RES. 1, H.J.RES.12, H. J. RES. 108, & H. J. RES. 55

    SO, Ron Paul does not prohibit school prayer per the constituion, BUT he also says schools CAN’T require prayer or compose words of prayer. Once again, Ron Paul sticks to the constitution. Thus, he takes NO position EXCEPT to allow the STATES to decide per their constitutions and for the the Fed to stay out of it.

    “Separation of Church and State” is generally discussed as political and legal principle derived from the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Thus, it is FEDERAL law and the federal constitution provides for no power to supervise state level education.

    However, if a state constitution provides for separation of church and state, then there is no school prayer in that state. On the other hand, if another state consitution does not provide for separation of church and state, then it up for the state to decide if school prayer is allowed.

    Note in the above proposed bill Ron Paul refers to the “United Sates” throughout the bill – the FEDERAL government. He is just using the bill to reinforce the federal constitution and the author of the above article has miscontrued Ron Paul’s position based on his or her own misguided interpretation without understanding Ron Paul’s constituional and states rights position on the issues.

  9. Plenty of states had ‘state religions’ well into the 1800s, so to argue that it’s un-Constitutiontal is absurd or ignorant to the point of absurd.

    As ideologies are just armed religions in our current society, the larger issue is clearly the separation of State and School.

  10. Ok, as a citizen you have every right to display your religious beliefs. The problem is if a public official uses taxpayer money to do so. If it is using taxpayers money, then it is NOT ok. If you as a person want to setup some religious thing with your own money, then you have that right.

    I hope you can see the difference.

    As for state rights, ONLY those powers not given to congress are passed down to the states. There are some limits on what state government is allowed to do. The 1st amendment overrides any state law. Unconstitutional laws are passed all the time, but it doesn’t make them right, nor does it mean it shouldn’t be fixed.

  11. As a Ron Paul supporter, I (of course) firmly disagree with the conclusions you’ve come to. Namely that Ron Paul will somehow merge the “church” (which doesn’t exist, or at least to which he is not a member if you’re meaning Catholic Church) and the State. Ron Paul is the only credible candidate who will decrease the power and scope of the federal state to the point where it would accomplish nothing to merge it with church in any case. I think that is the goal we should strive for. Unfortunately, the democratic party / “liberal” agenda is to create a large state, which can then, surprise surprise, be abused by those who gain control over it. I’ll ask you, if you elect a democratic atheist this time around, and everything goes peachy keen, what then when another Bush wolf-in-sheeps clothing gains control of it again? And it will happen. History shows that most, if not all, politicians are corrupt from the get-go. When I heard Ron Paul speak in 2002 I was flabbergasted that a “politician” could actually not be full of shit. Since that time I have preached his name everywhere I go.

    We would be a lot better off with a whole government full of his clones, whatever you may perceive his flaws to be. You can trust he would never use the government to crush the individual, and that is paramount.

  12. Andy,
    It looks like Ron Paul misses Ron Paul’s whole point. Where in his article does he mention this is about states rights? Why do States Rights trump individual rights? If I have a right in Virginia, why shouldn’t I have it in Maryland?

    Ron Paul’s proposed bill is a profound example of why he fundamentally does not understand the problem with official school prayer. When “the weird kid” goes outside the classroom while everyone “normal” prays to Jesus, you may not be forcing that child to pray, but you are certainly infringing on his rights.

    If there is school prayer, the school may not require prayer of each individual student, but it requires that school time be devoted to prayer. Why should it be?

    In the above proposed bill, yes, he is making this an argument about “states rights”. Just as he does when opposing the civil rights act. That doesn’t make it right.

    C Bowen,
    If the president violates the constitution by usurping the power of congress, the mere act itself doesn’t erase the violation. The constitution was ammended to state that there should *not* be a “state religion”. The fact that some states had one anyway does not in any way negate constutional law.

    See badmedia’s comment for further elucidation.

    You make no case for why separation of state and school is “the larger issue”, or why it is even desirable. Why is it? What makes you say ideaologies are “armed religions”?

    badmedia,
    Right on, and huge thanks for helping to clear this up!

    Bret,
    Why do you firmly disagree in the face of credible evidence?
    I can understand rooting for Ron Paul, but having faith in any political candidate is more than confusing.

    According to some of his supporters, what Ron Paul wants to do is allow state governments to merge with the church. (And by merge with the church, I mean officially recognize some particular religion, and use it as a basis for the law).

    A state with the proper checks and balances is a good thing. I am not for uneccessarily large government, but provided everything is built correctly, I am not afraid of government because of its size.

    Ron Paul would never use the federal government to crush the individual. He would be perfectly happy allowing state governments to do so. And that, when it comes down to it, is one of the fundamental problems with Ron Paul. He would destroy any sense of national freedom for limited freedom depending on which state you happen to be in.

  13. Ron Paul always talks of shrinking the government and I have yet to hear him suggest that government should be theocratic. It is an absurd idea that he would. I have forgiven him for being religious because he clearly wants me to have the freedom to ignore his religion as he will be free to ignore my militant agnosticism.

    He is against Roe vs. Wade but he favors turning the issue over to the states. This is a step away from centralized federal decision-making over women’s bodies. It moves the decision incrementally toward the individual, where it belongs.

    He is for eliminating entirely the role of the federal government in education.

    The most important point is that he wants, as president, to NOT DEAL with such issues. That bodes well for other moral / religious issues.

    I have watched Ron Paul for 20 years. He is a good man who wants to leave me free. He deserves better than the desparate distorted nonsense of this article.

  14. John,
    If he’d just leave everything up to the states, then how does that guarantee the “freedom to ignore his religion”? It would depend on the state you live in, wouldn’t it?

    I don’t see why taking the federal government out of education is a good thing. But that is a separate issue. The point is, Ron Paul has clearly taken a stance against the first amendment prohibition against establishing religion. There is nothing distorted, desperate, or nonsensical about reading Ron Paul’s words for what they say (and not what you want them to say).

  15. “The point is, Ron Paul has clearly taken a stance against the first amendment prohibition against establishing religion. ”

    That is simply untrue and unprovable.

  16. I disagree with you when you say this country is a secular nation by design. That’s where you are incorrect. It is a secular GOVERNMENT. The nation was, and always has been, Christian in flavor. I agree with Ron Paul’s conclusion that there are many who would love to purge religion out of us and replace it with state-worship. This has been, in fact, one of the products of the 9/11 event – this sort of obsessive, “support the troops” i.e. “support the State in all it does” mentality.

    My mother is a “raving atheist” … but to me, this is an identical position to those who would institute a theocracy. Whether it is Stalin or whether it is Pat Robertson, neither is appropriate. It is clear that neither are present in Ron Paul, as well.

  17. To Quote Ron Paul:

    With the start of high school football season in the 14th Congressional District, many of my constituents are upset by the fact that a long-held tradition has been taken from them by the federal courts.

    This tradition, of course, is a simple, non-proselytizing prayer said shortly before the kick-off.

    Many of the people who attend the games and who are now aghast at this federal intrusion have called my office seeking information. They are upset — and rightly so — that the utterance of a simple prayer can be prohibited, despite lip service paid to “freedom of speech.” After all, they argue, doesn’t the US Constitution’s First Amendment strictly prohibit the federal government from interfering in the “free exercise” of religious beliefs?

    Of course it does. For much of our history, we had a more proper understanding of the correct balances in regards to the Constitution. After all, the First Amendment begins with a very important phrase, “Congress shall make no laws….” This phrase was always understood to mean that while the federal government could not create federal laws restricting religion, or use federal monies to give preference to one religious order over another, it specifically does not apply to the state and local governments. In other words, under a correct reading of the Constitution, a state or local government can allow — or prohibit — religious expression in public places.

    Yet the Constitution is also very clear in prohibiting the federal government from being involved in a lot of activities, including education. Under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, any power not specifically granted to the federal government is reserved to the states and people. Oddly, education is one such power.

    And what power it is.

    The ability to influence young minds is a tremendous power and awesome responsibility. Our founding fathers correctly denied the federal government this power. They wisely recognized that the people given charge with influencing the education of children should be those who are closest to the children — parents, the community and the state.

    Yet today we have casually accepted the notion of federal involvement in education, despite plummeting test sores and increasing violence — both of which coincide with the increase in federal intrusion. As federal involvement has increased, so has the quality of education and safety declined. In fact, the Princeton Review — the organization that oversees the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) — said the current generation of high school seniors is less educated than their parents. A most disturbing trend.

    What the Princeton Review did not mention, though, is even more significant. The most striking difference in education between these two generations has been that the parents of today’s teens went through schools that had little or no federal government oversight, while their children’s are replete with it.

    Because so few have been willing to criticize the increasing reach into the classroom by Washington, DC, bureaucrats, it is in many ways disingenuous to criticize this latest move. If one is willing to let the federal government dictate education policy in the classroom, social policy in the cafeteria, then intervention at the gridiron should be unsurprising.

    Until we expel the federal government from our schools, we can only expect them to continue to bully their desires onto the students and community, despite firmly held local beliefs and traditions.

    But because Texans take their high school football — and everything associated with it — very seriously, perhaps the federal government has finally pushed too far. Hopefully, federal bureaucrats will be soon find themselves as unwelcome in Texas schools as they have attempted to make God.

    http://www.ronpaullibrary.org/document.php?id=113

  18. I’m an atheist leaning agnostic and it’s clear to me that Ron Paul’s Reading of the constitution is correct on this issue.

    As has been pointed out, there were official state religions at the time the constitution was written.

    “The First Amendment to the US Constitution explicitly forbids the U.S. federal government from enacting any law respecting a religious establishment, and thus forbids either designating an official church for the United States, or interfering with State and local official churches — which were common when the First Amendment was enacted. It did not prevent state governments from establishing official churches. Connecticut continued to do so until it replaced its colonial Charter with the Connecticut Constitution of 1818; Massachusetts did not disestablish its official church until 1833, more than forty years after the ratification of the First Amendment; and local official establishments of religion persisted even later.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_religion

    I think the world would be a better place if there was no organized religion, however your “spirit of the constitution” argument simply does not hold water when you look at historical fact.

  19. I agree with this 100%.

    And I’ve been a Ron Paul fanatic for years now.

    I don’t want my tax dollars being spent on any celebrations, not just religious, either.

    It’s only the Christians that have a “prayer in school” thing. Maybe if we tell them that it’s the only thing that keeps the dirty pagans or Muslims or Hindus or Wiccans or out they’ll finally get it.

    John said Pauls stance on abortion rights “… moves the decision incrementally toward the individual, where it belongs.”

    Allowing prayer in school and the 10 Commandments in the Courthouse moves the decision incrementally to the state, where it does not belong.

  20. PS: The Ron Paul “leave it up to the States dosn’t apply here, because this is a Constitutional issue.

  21. The right way to go about this though is not to criticize a logical, strict, reading which Paul is doing. If you can read “congress shall make no law” scoff at someone who claims the removal of federal authority, then you’re being dishonest because you put your agenda first, and the rule of law 2nd.

    At the same time, I agree with the agenda in many ways. But the right answer to close the loophole and amend the constitution, not just to read it in a way that suits our interests.

    But is it only religion we should fear in public schools? Isn’t any faith based fervent belief dangerous? What’s my recourse if I feel my child is being indoctrinated into radical environmentalism? That’s as much faith as any religion.

    Is a teacher preaching communism or socialism any less dangerous than one teaching theocracy? Not to me. Are my “rights” to protect my child from this belief system any different than one based on religion?

    The point is that we all have beliefs. Even the athiest can’t disprove the existence of god, so that is based in faith as well. Only the person who says “maybe there is, maybe there isn’t” can claim a belief without the crutch of faith.

    Trying to shelter children from the world is foolish. I disagree with prayer via intercom but some want to go to far. To have a “full seperation” you would have to even oppose a group like Fellowship for Christian Athletes from using school grounds to meet. Electricity costs tax dollars, and they’ll probably have to turn the lights on.

    So for hardline seperation advocates, where do you draw the line? Do the FCA kids have any less right to retrieving their tax dollars than a non-religious group?

  22. John,
    Actually it is easily provable. He supports courts displaying the commandments. He supports prayer in public school. Both reflect an establishment of religion by the state.

    bret,
    Good distinction. It is a secular government by design.
    Also, good point on the flavor of the nation.
    I don’t think there are many who want to purge religion in favor of state worship. Not at all. I do think there are a number of people who want to conflat religious worship and the state.
    Your point on the obsessive “support the troops/state” mentality is very well taken. I don’t see this as competing to replace religion, but to exist alongside it.
    I think Ron Paul actually does lean towards Robertson. I could see him being perfectly fine with an official state religion (so long as it was at the state level).

    Andy,
    I think the school sport prayer is ridiculous, but I don’t see a problem unless the entire team has to take time to do it, regardless of the composition of its members. Individuals praying during game time is fine.
    I guess you could say in this case I am for individual rights, but against the right of a group to require an activity over the rights of a dissenting individual. You might not require everyone to pray, but you always require everyone to create space for prayer.

    Andrew,
    Your historical fact lacks analysis and a sense of progress. On the first, just because individual states held established religions, does not mean they were right to do so. Second, even if they could, why go against the flow of history (where such establishments were dropped) and the clear spirit of the law, and regress to a time when church and state were united?

    Alexia,
    Right on!

    Zack,
    What loophole do you want to close? As far as the consitutional issue of state vs federal power, that is not something I scoff at, it is something I want to look into. What I am highly critical of is the ethical issue of leaving rights up to the state alone, and removing protection of rights from the federal level.

    “Radical environmentalist”? Seriously? The question of objectionable beliefs being taught in school is a sensitive one. However state endorsement of political theories isn’t restricted as state endorsement of religion is. So although from the perspective of “I don’t like this belief” it might seem similar, from the perspective of “this isn’t constitutional” it is an entirely different question.

    So the point of “we all have beliefs” doesn’t really apply, nor is this about sheltering children “from the world”. Its about keeping church and state separate.

  23. Quote: “If he’d just leave everything up to the states, then how does that guarantee the “freedom to ignore his religion”? It would depend on the state you live in, wouldn’t it?”

    Yes, and it is up to the People of that state to make any amendments to their state Constituion or repeal any of the state laws that they do not agree with… done through their state government officials… NOT the Federal Government. If a state law violates the Constitution of the United States, it is up to the People of that state to have it repealed through the Supreme Court. People of each state need to take a stand for themselves and their rights given to them by the US Constitution. In turn, it is the Federal Government’s responsibility to ensure that the US Constitution is being upheld.

    Upon taking office, every government official swears to uphold the US Constitution. Lately though, it seems that people who represent us in the Federal Government simply regard our US Constitution as “…just a G*d*mn piece of paper…”. When a government official is more swayed by special interests (be it their own personal interests or that of special interest groups), it begins to fail at its job. Regardless of what office an official holds, their first and foremost job is to uphold the US Constitution. Out of ANY of the political candidates, Democrat, Republican, Independent, whatever, Ron Paul is the ONLY person that I feel has placed upholding the US Constitution as his primary job.

  24. One more thought… the US Constitution is so important to me in regards to politics because it is what separates us from the rest of the world. The freedoms we take for granted on a daily basis are possible because of our US Constitution. It is the only thing keeping us from becoming a police state. But we are slowly allowing corrupt politicians to remove our freedoms one by one because we got scared over 9/11. We are so busy worrying about watching American Idol and other frivalous daily routines (at least in the big picture) that we have become complacent to let our governments (state and Federal) go unchecked. Yes, we complain about things, but how many of us really do anything to change it. How many of us really know what the US Constitution says much less our state Constitutions? Bottom line, unless we protect the US Constitution, we are a doomed country.

  25. […] Richardson, of course, is not as good as Paul on issues of foreign policy, taxes and spending, or the Drug War (Richardson did sign a medical marijuana bill into law in New Mexico, though). But to most libertarians, Richardson’s stances on abortion, gay rights, and immigration are more libertarian than Paul’s, and Richardson is unquestionably the best candidate on church/state separation (Dr. Paul falsely claims there’s “no basis” for the separation of church and state). […]

  26. I enjoy it when the followers of St. Paul crawl out of the woodwork and post their vicious attacks on anyone who questions the man. If you trace them to their own websites you see how insane they really are. One offers links to sites that have hundreds of articles on the “conspiracy” to take over the world. Sane? I don’t think so.

    Now lets get to the core rebuttal by the blind followers of St. Paul — that the Constitution indeed only separate church and state at the federal level. While there are reasons to show this was not the case prior the 14th Amendment it was debateable. But it hasn’t been debateable for since the end of the Civil War and the passing of the 14th Amendment. The entire bill of rights applies to the states as well as to the federal government. They are intentionally avoiding the 14th Amendment. Surely a supposed constitutional scholar like Paul would know about the 14th Amendment. Or maybe the “banking” conspiracy that Paul believes controls the world is behind that too.

    So it is not absurd to argue that the separation of church and state. It was only after the 14th Amendment that the question as to whether it applied to the states was settled.

    Also note that to argue for state’s rights is to argue they trump individual rights. That is a conservative position NOT a libertarian one. Another commenter from the Paulians pretends Paul has never voted for federal restrictions on abortion, prefering to keep it in the hands of the states. In fact he did vote in favor of federal restrictions on partial birth aboritons. That was a FEDERAL law he voted for stripping the right of the states to make that decision.

    As a born-again fundamentalist Baptist Paul wants state control over prayer in the schools because it is the only way he thinks he can get it back.

  27. 23. Vance,
    Why should it be up to the states?
    The people have taken a stand as One Nation.
    Why rip that away so a few states can have a free for all with our rights?

    24. Vance,
    What keeps us from becoming a police state is us, the people. The constitution, while valuable and unique, at the end of the day is just paper. We are the political reality, and as we let things like habeus corpus and property rights slip away, it will come to be a toothless piece of paper. So in this sense, I believe we agree utterly. We may differ on Ron Paul, but in the end we both want to protect the constitution. We differ in how we see that working out.

    26. Godless
    Not all of his supporters are blind or vicious.
    Many are quite fleet of word and sharp of mind.
    (But yes, some of them are definitely substituting attacks for substance).

    Your point on the 14th is incredibly well taken.
    Very revealing point on the “partial-birth” law!

    All in all, hot damn, thanks for the backup!

  28. Hi Fitness,

    Just came over from my site when a commenter mentioned this thread.

    II think you’ve really hit the nail on the head with your analysis of Ron Paul’s position on church/state separation as well as state’s rights.

    Very well-done piece.

  29. Your historical fact lacks analysis and a sense of progress. On the first, just because individual states held established religions, does not mean they were right to do so.

    I wasn’t judging right or wrong – I was observing facts. You wrote “How about the first amendment?” and I proved that it did not have a rigid notion of the separation of church and state.

    Second, even if they could, why go against the flow of history (where such establishments were dropped) and the clear spirit of the law, and regress to a time when church and state were united?

    How could it have been the clear spirit of the law if it was designed to allow states to have official churches?

    Again, I would AGREE with you that our country would be better off without any references to God – anywhere. But this issue is certainly not enough for me to drop my support for Ron Paul because I understand and respect his position.

  30. Brent,
    Thanks!

    Andrew,
    Good point. I should have seen this. At the State level, it is mix of the 14th ammendment, the 1st, and judicial interpretation that separates Church and State.

    I’d go further and argue that the first by itself should be sufficient.

    I’d have to think a bit more about the “spirit of the law” aspect of this. After all, what point is there to saying “the federal government cannot take these rights from you, but the states can?”. Yes, it checks federal power, but rights are rights. They should apply everywhere.

  31. Are you going to cite any of your sources or do you normally post opinions that you want ignored?

    I think i know why. If you don’t cite sources then its much easier to take quotes out of context. hmmmmmm.

  32. scourge99,

    What on earth are you talking about? I posted a source to all of my quotes.

  33. Regarding school prayer, is it still the “one nation under god” line that has everyones panties in a bunch? Get over it you short sighted pricks! The definition of the word “god” is not what you think. It is a very broad and general term. Just because “god” is the word used means nothing to promote or discredit a religious overtone or affiliation. By definition the word god constitutes oversight in whatever belief you may or may not have in whatever religion you may believe in. Just as sure as atheism is a religion then god is a representative of all religions. Taken out of context god is still god. How can it come to this. Putting the word “god” into a sentence or paragraph does not indicate religious doctrine. When a person reaching orgasm screams “oh god” does that automatically make it preaching? One nation under god does not implicate religion or prayer it only acknowledges that all this universe was created by something/someone (whatever) so awesome that we could not possibly begin to comprehend it. That’s all. (As if that weren’t enough). Look up the meaning of the word god and tell me where it says that it applies to any particular religion. I will mail you a quarter.

  34. Michael D,

    The definition of the word “god” is not what you think. It is a very broad and general term. Just because “god” is the word used means nothing to promote or discredit a religious overtone or affiliation.

    Wow. Are you trying to say “God” doesn’t have a religious overtone? I’ve seen some rhetorical yoga before, but damn!

    Look up the meaning of the word god and tell me where it says that it applies to any particular religion. I will mail you a quarter.

    . A whole quarter? Gee golly Michael! That’s enough to buy a fountain drink and a slice of apple pie down at the local cafe! Oh boy!

    For the record atheism is not a religion.

  35. That’s exactly what I’m saying. Whatever your god may be, it is the pinnacle of your belief not the religion itself. God is the omnipotence of your spirituality, without spirit god is meaningless.
    Here’s two definitions of “religion” that shows that again I am right where you say I’m wrong.

    “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects”

    “to acquire a deep conviction of the validity of religious beliefs and practices.”

    For the record, the mind is like a parachute, it only works when it is open…..

  36. “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects”

    What set of beliefs and practices do atheists share?

    “to acquire a deep conviction of the validity of religious beliefs and practices.

    Again, what beliefs and practices are we talking about here?

    You’ve called your argument correct while showing it to be wrong.

    As for “God” not having a religious overtone, that is just plain nutsy. If God is the pinnacle of one’s religious beliefs, then it is certainly religious in nature. It is absolutely religious in perception.

  37. The specific beliefs and practices of atheists share is not believing in a superior being (collectively), which constitutes a religion by definition.
    You can do something religiously and it is not a religion. God is in the eye of the beholder. I believe my god is nature. There is no religious overtone in my belief. It is a practical observation that the supreme being in my existence is nature. Because I have believed this religiously it makes it my religion. It doesn’t make my god relative to a religious overtone other than the fact that I have believed it religiously.
    That probably didn’t clear it up for you.

  38. Michael D,
    That one shared belief does not meet the definition for a religion. The one you gave.

    You can do something religiously and it is not a religion.

    Come on. That’s a figure of speech.

    There is no religious overtone in my belief. It is a practical observation that the supreme being in my existence is nature.

    Simply saying “it is not religious” doesn’t make it so.

  39. Conversely, simply saying it is religious, does not make it so.

    Saying something is or isn’t something else is a game and it’s called politics and there are no winners. The truth is self evident to the ones that are willing to accept it.

    Some call it amnesty and others swear it’s not.
    Some say it’s affirmative action others say it’s discrimination.
    Some say it’s nation building others say it’s an invasion.

    Really the list goes on and on and the sad thing to me is that party affiliation seems to be the deciding factor as to whether it’s called a potato or a potato. That is sad because nothing will ever become resolute with this approach. Liberals vs. Republicans. I don’t know or care who is gonna win because the losers are always the citizens.

  40. Fitness, your example of his public displays are quite sneaky.
    Ron Paul has worked to hobble the freedom of religion, claiming that there should be no separation of Church and State in American government. In a speech in 2002 explaining his introduction of legislation that would forbid American federal district courts and federal claims courts from hearing cases in which citizens claim to have had their religious freedom violated, Representative Paul complained,

    “In case after case, the Supreme Court has used the infamous ‘Separation of Church and State’ metaphor to uphold court decisions that allow the federal government to intrude upon and deprive citizens of their religious liberty.”

    How can there be a separation of the church and the state where as “congress shall make no laws” if the courts are to hear cases involving church and state? That is moronic to say that Paul is a bad guy on this one as well. How do you separate it? Use some deductive reasoning here.

    Lets say I have a problem with my religious right guaranteed by the constitution (and the constitution says there is a separation there). How do we proceed at that point???

  41. Michael D,

    Conversely, simply saying it is religious, does not make it so.

    (I think you meant saying it is not religious.)Yes, simply pointing out something doesn’t make it a certain way. Suchness is suchness, as some might say. With regards to atheism? Not a religion. I’ll go into a bit more depth later with some manner of proof.

    As for the legislation on preventing courts from hearing cases of religious freedom violations, bravo to Ron Paul for his stance on that. Ron Paul isn’t always a bad guy, and this is a good example of where he shines.

    But on other issues of church and state, he does not. In fact, he is actively part of the problem. Certainly by attacking, falsely, the basis of that separation (as detailed above in my post).

  42. To all the RP doubters. We will convert all of you soon. Feel the power of the dark side. 🙂 jk

    But seriously, I’m still standing by RP for the message. I hope he is the least of all the evils. So far he is in my eyes and I hope that all of you will come to the conclusion that he will surely bring change to Washington if NOTHING else.

    Of all the other candidates I’m looking for a reason to vote Edwards because of this site (my mother supports him as well) but I’m coming up short. He just seems to be the “same old political wind blew me this way” guy. Trial cour lawyers have always been (scum) bad. Perhaps I will see something I missed before the primaries. At this point I’m liking the maverick stance so it’s RP or MG. lol?

  43. Michael D,
    The dark side has a great dental plan… ironically?

    He has several messages. His overall message on church and state is that there is no separation, nor should there be. I do not accept that.

    That is a huge compliment sir, thanks. His response when the fundies went after the bloggers he hired onto his campaign, and his stances on Iran, Iraq, Health Care, torture, poverty etc, all show he is far from the same old same old politician.

    Besides, some trial lawyers are awesome! A civil action? Lawyers are like guns. They can be used for good or evil, but we probably don’t need semi-automatic lawyers on the streets. Edwards made his career fighting for the little guy. As far as lawyers go, he’s a good man.

    The maverick appeal is pretty tempting in general. I don’t think anyone is really looking at Gravel (are they?). Kucinich is great, I could support him too.

  44. Most people, I fear, are at the mercy of the media when it comes to looking at candidates.

    (I would not be surprised if there are very few people that know anything much about a non-top-tier candidate.)

    That’s what I hear when any media outlet reports on any candidate. It’s like top tier or bust. Sad, very very sad.

    Gravel seems to me to be more “common folk” than the rest. Like the old grandfather that can do anything by willing it and getting it done. Seems isn’t is, so he’s not perfect by any stretch, but then who is but the divine? I guess it’s more window shopping than looking after all.

  45. Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m an atheist who is completely non-threatened by Ron Paul’s separation issues. I feel he wants education to be run at a much more local level and feels that if the community wishes to implement prayer than it is their choice.

  46. Gary Walker,
    I’m less than convinced by the helpful “I’m an xyz and I don’t mind if Ron Paul tramples my rights”. That doesn’t mean you speak for everyone.

    But Ron Paul believes Church and State should be united. Just at the State level, not the Federal. So how far can that go while you remain comfortable? Endorsing the ten commandments on a court building and school prayer? Local evangelical clubs at elementary school? Creationism being taught alongside evolution? Flat earth geography being taught? Laws against fornication and sodomy?

    What if a community chooses to pass a law that infringes on the rights of a minority? What do minority rights count for?

  47. “What if a community chooses to pass a law that infringes on the rights of a minority? What do minority rights count for?”

    Isn’t that what the Supreme court is for? To check up on the states laws?

  48. Michael D,
    You should check out xn’s comment. Essentially Ron Paul proposed a bill that would prohibit the Supreme Court from doing so in cases involving religion.

  49. Ok I read xn’s comment and here’s what I think.
    First off, I wish I were as succinct as xn in my correspondence.

    Second, if xn didn’t make it clear to you that he (Dr. Paul) goes above and beyond any other politician’s attempt to be within the confines of his authority and oath then let me make it clear (hopefully) now. THERE ARE LEGAL CONSTRAINTS (CONSTITUTIONALITY) TO MAKING LAWS!

    Third, I think that if he were running as a democrat you’d already have a tattoo of him on your arm, but because he isn’t in your party you defame him whenever/where ever possible.

    Fittness,
    You are intellectual enough to realize that ALL politicians swear an oath and have limited powers but you refuse to accept it. Filtering everything with a liberal bias is not fair as it puts party lines above the common good. I have attempted to make this point repeatedly with you but it always results in a derogatory perception on your part. ie; racist, homophobe, xenophobe, trampling rights etc. etc..

    “What keeps us from becoming a police state is us, the people. The constitution, while valuable and unique, at the end of the day is just paper”. How very Bush of you……

    On a different subject, how do I get the cool highlight of quotes you guys use???

  50. Here are Ron Paul’s words from his “War on Religion” writing: “The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers.”

    Here are Thomas Jefferson’s words as President of the US in a letter to the Danbury Baptists (1802) regarding the 1st amendment: “………BUILDING A WALL OF SEPARATION BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE.” (capital letters added for emphasis).

    Ron Paul is not a libertarian when it comes to religion. He openly advocates a Christian only government, yet does not think he is stepping on the 1st amendment or challenging our liberal democracy. Read his “War on Religion” document.

  51. Scott wrote:
    “I would be forbidden to take my bible to the IRS office, to the public park, or even into jail.”

    Scott, the separation of church and state is exactly what allows you to carry your Bible on government property. The separation of church and state forbids the government from stopping you.

    Once we give up the separation of church and state, we give the government the power to ban Bibles, to ban prayer, to ban church membership.

  52. “yet does not think he is stepping on the 1st amendment or challenging our liberal democracy.”

    Firstly, get it right, it’s a constitutional republic not a liberal democracy. Democracies are a bad thing on the whole as mob rule is a bad thing.

    Second, separating church from state is a moot point with all the connotations of religious imagery throughout our governmental facilities is it not?

    Third, if there is a “true” separation of church and state, then yes perk23 Ron Paul is totally correct in his assessment, there is truly no basis for it in either case. Read it as it was meant to be not how you guess it may be. A true separation would not allow the two to mingle. By writing about the separation you have negated the separation by mingling the two.

  53. kestrella and perk23, right on.

    Michael D,
    If you don’t like mob rule, you don’t trust the people.

    The existence of religious imagery does not validate the unification of church and state. It may be an aspect of church and state improperly mixing in some cases (10 commandments & court) or simply inspiration in others.

    Ron Paul is false in his assessment that there is no basis. Try the first amendment! Try the reams of communication back and forth amongst the founding fathers about the necessity of separating church and state!

    Finally simply writing about two topics does not unify them. How would it?

  54. “Finally simply writing about two topics does not unify them. How would it?”

    Dan do you not proclaim to be Buddhist? In the spirit of zen I ask why can’t you understand my simple premise? To clarify (Having no way as your way), at the risk of circular thinking, even that parenthetical concept is counter intuitive as it indicates a way. Get it? That’s how it would unify.

  55. I, like you, am unsure of Paul’s intent with the “replete with references to god” statement.

    I do know that there is also only one instance of the word freedom in the constitution (a document that exists solely for that concept). Additionally, that one instance refers to thought not physicality. What could that mean?

  56. Michael D,
    Heh. No, I’m not a Buddhist. But in the sense that two thoughts exist in mind, they could be said to be united in that they are both perceived. Or in that they are both “thought”. Of course, ripping out the distinctions of the relative would utterly negate any meaningful conversation about said distinctions.

    But your premise is ridiculous at face value. For example, if I discuss the act of eating donuts and watching a friend drive a van into a telephone pole, the act of discussing these two experiences does in and of itself unify them to mean the same thing.

    His intent is apparently to unify Church and State.

    The word liberty crops up a few key times, as does the word free.

  57. Well the government certainly takes liberties with our freedoms I’ll give you that one.

    As far as ridiculousness, I’d refer you to your donut/telephone analogy over the church/state analogy any day but both are ridiculous mergers.

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