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December 06, 2007


t, you're not alone on this

Julie and all, let me pose this philosphical question.

If someone complains about "fundies" being intolerant of other's views, but then that person is intolerant of "fundies" because of their intolerance then aren't both being intolerant?

Just a question.


I am not sure it works quite that way. I am an atheist, but I have no problem with religious people of all stripes exercising their rights to believe and worship as they choose. I do not accept their "right" to impose those beliefs on others in society who do not share them. Does that make me intolerant of their beliefs?

Separation of Church and State is no where to be found in the Constitution. The only place you can find it is in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists explaining:

"make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.

Most intelligent people can conclude that he was referring to the fact that England essentially had a national religion and forced participation in this religion, which is why our founding fathers came to America and fought the Revolutionary War. He was not against faith in politics. He was against establishing a national religion. Furthermore, he goes on to say that there should be no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, which is what the Atheists, Agnostics and extreme liberals are continuously trying to do!

Our founding fathers speak of God in the U.S. Constitution, see as follows:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The 10 Commandments were everywhere and still are in a lot of public buildings. Who do you think put them there? Our founding fathers.

Take a walking tour of Washington D.C. and see for yourself.

Washington Monument
- Monument cornerstone
- Free Press Methodist Episcopal Church Memorial Plaque
- Prayer and Psalm inscriptions
- Laus Deo

The Jefferson Memorial
- Quotes and reference to God

"My views...are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from the anti-Christian system inputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions."
---April 21st, 1802, Letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush

The Lincoln Memorial
- The Gettysburg Address
- Lincoln's second inaugural address
- "I have a dream" inscription

The Capitol Building
- Capitol Rotunda paintings
- Replica of the Magna Carta in the Rotunda
- House and Senate Chamber inscriptions
- Opening Pledge of Allegiance in House/Senate sessions

The Supreme Court
- Multiple images of the Ten Commandments
- Statue of Mohammed
- Opening session traditions

The Libray of Congress
- Statue of Moses holding the Ten Commandments
- Lord Tennyson phrase
- Gutenberg Bible

The Ronald Reagan Building
- "Liberty of Worship" statue

The White House
- Seasonal decorations
- President Adam's prayer mantle

The World War II Memorial

The FDR Memorial

The Arlington National Cemetery

I am so sorry to tell you that our founding fathers were men of faith. If you want to try and tell me that they were deists, then I will provide you as many quotes as you want where they speak of Jesus Christ in high regard, which would make them Christians.

People, wake up and start being honest with yourselves. There is no conspiracy here. This country was founded by men who believed in God and worshiped in public government buildings.

Take a moment and come to terms with all of this!

I have to agree to a point Branden.

I think it really depends on what we choose to not tolerate. One of my dearest friends in the world is actually a fundamentalist preacher.

No one really understands how that is possible for either of us and we disagree strongly on many issues, BUT we have so much respect for each other that it allows for debate and growth (for both of us). We also have shared MANY a laugh at reactions of people when they find out we are friends!

I for one will never be one to tolerate injustices, in the name of a faith or a political party etc.

So I think we have to accept that is a gray line and not so black and white.

Does that make sense?


I think perhaps Thomas you are trying to share that the Bill of Rights says each person can practice the religion (or not) of their choice.

No one is denying that. The issue is are you as willing to support a Satanist? and do you know they do not worship satan?

Or are you comfy cozy with giving a Muslim equal time and opportunity to place their words and beliefs next to those that choose to believe in Christianity?

What about the right of a Jehovah Witness to not be compelled to salute the flag and recite a pledge in school?

Or those of us that do not believe in Jesus to practice our spirituality, with respect to our values?

Tolerance has many shades.


I believe that God has given all human beings free will to make their own choices and decisions. However, in his word (The Bible) he explains that sinful decisions do have consequences.

With that being said, I do not push my beliefs onto others. I share my beliefs and encourage research on the subject, but do not act holier than thou towards anyone.

I want to know what faith the candidates who are running for office follow and if their beliefs are in line with mine. I have to take them at their word (besides researching their history).

I would not vote for anyone who does not believe in God (The Holy Trinity).

I celebrate Christmas and I welcome others who are not Christians to celebrate their religious holidays. I have good friends who are Jewish. I think people should respect the traditions of people who are different than them.

However, there are people who want to see God removed from public life and are using Separation of Church and State to do so. This makes no sense if they would only research Thomas Jefferson and the message behind the letter to the Danbury Baptists.

I do not agree with homosexuality, but I will not ask two men or two women to stop holding hands because it offends me to see it. I will not ask a Jew or Muslim to remove their head gear because it offends me. I respect free will. However, it seems as though people want to remove God from everything public when this country was founded on his principles because it offends them.

People should not be allowed to remove God from public buildings when he was obviously placed there by the founding fathers who formed this country and our constitution. If you do not believe in God, just ignore it. No-one is forcing you to say God in the Pledge of Allegiance. Don't ask for it to be removed, simply insert another word and go about your business.

No matter how hard we try we will not please everyone. Understanding this principle, I am a firm believer in not altering and/or changing history for the sake of political correctness.

Leave God alone. Let Him stay in our public buildings and in our public life. I promise you, He won't hurt anyone by being there.

OMFG [smacks palm against forehead in exasperation].

Irwin - let me address your point. As an evangelical, I am "commissioned by God to go and spread the Good News." That is my job as a Christian. Now, some evangelicals take this in such a way that is divisive and hurtful (ala Brian Fischer in some cases), which I believe is contrary to the Word (the Bible). However, if someone that doesn't subscribe to my beliefs wishes to impose a restriction on my ability to practice my beliefs (which is inherently proselytistic) in the name of "religious tolerance", then that would be fundamentally contradictory to my beliefs and thus unequivocally intolerant. I could go a lot deeper than this, but I don't believe this is the forum to do it. I’d be happy to answer questions on an individual basis, if you’d like.

t, thank you for your thoughtful post on a topic that - much as Reggie and many others would like it - is NOT going to go away. Religion is indeed a deep part of the American experience.

As for me, I am bowing to the mystery - and I am happy to abide the beliefs of my fellow travelers, as long as they are respectful of others' beliefs as well.

But granted, that's where things get muddy. Thomas points out that he can abide same-gender couples holding hands in public or a Muslim woman wearing a scarf. That stuff is easy.

Can we all agree that there ought to be a law against taking someone's life? I think we can. Can we agree when that person is a tiny embryo that would not survive on its own? Clearly, we cannot. Fundamentalist Christians say abortion is wrong, and I agree with them. But they also say it's wrong for a woman to take birth control pills - which obviously weren't an option in Biblical times - to avoid getting pregnant and thus avoid abortion. Apparently, their next fight will be to make it harder for women to leave abusive marriages. Fundamentalism is incompatible with feminism. If you believe that women ought to have equal rights with men, period, you cannot be a fundamentalist.

Branden, I guess this is a long-winded way of answering your question. As a Unitarian Universalist who believes there are many paths to the holy, and that heaven and hell are right here on earth and of OUR making, I am tolerant of a wide range of religious beliefs. I especially prize people who act on their beliefs, not to strip rights from others but to lift up people who are hurt. I become intolerant when people ignore Jesus' calls to welcome the stranger and feed the poor, instead choosing to focus their faith on changing people who don't fit their narrow view of how God wants us to be.

I believe the Bible offers us a lot of wisdom. I become intolerant when people use a 2,000-year-old text - written by numerous authors and with many contradictions - to legislate how we live in 2007. But rather than attempt to silence them, I will simply continue to profess my hopeful and inclusive faith and encourage others to do the same. I believe the light of hope will finally overcome the forces of fear.

Click my name for the full version of the Statesman article (t posted an earlier excerpt) with a very interesting quote from Dennis Mansfield on Fischer's funding predicament.

I'll end this with one more thought: the Founding Fathers viewed neither black people nor women nor Native Americans as full partners in the American experience. Over time, we have remedied that - or we've made a great deal of progress, anyway. So while they had great wisdom, our founders didn't get everything right. It's up to us to continue to make the world work for everyone.

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