Author Topic: Separation of Church and State  (Read 25078 times)

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Richard Myers

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #40 on: December 31, 2007, 01:49:38 PM »
God would have "moral" laws in our societies.  Brother Arnold says yes, to the state legislating in outward compliance to the last six commandments. This would include legislation regarding making adultery illegal.  Is this correct Brother Arnold?  Do you want legislation banning adultery(real, not imagined)? We seem to be moving away from your strict "libertarian" stance?

If we are talking ONLY about the outward physical acts of adultery, then the state can legislate that. BUT, its basis for doing so must be limited to preventing the coerced participation of any of the (at least) three participants in this crime: 1) husband, 2) wife, 3) 3rd party. The state must protect each one of these parties from unwilling participation in the adultery.

But if everyone is willing, then the state has no right to prevent it.

There is also a huge caveat to consider. Let's say the wife doesn't like the husband committing adultery with the 3rd party because it sets a bad example for the children, and keeps him from doing what he needs to do as a father. The state must be careful not to legislate based on the obviously moral implications of the matter. Being a bad father is not necessarily something we want the state to judge. If it did, many pastors and elders would be guilty, as they already are before God. Moreover, the time will come when leading your family against the current of Sunday-keeping will be considered bad parenting.

Brother Arnold, does this mean that we must not legislate against murder if we believe it to be a "moral" imperative?  I know some who think we ought to murder babies minutes before they are born if they are "defective".  You seem to want to abolish "moral" law because it has it foundation in Scripture? 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

asygo

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #41 on: December 31, 2007, 02:34:31 PM »
Brother Arnold, does this mean that we must not legislate against murder if we believe it to be a "moral" imperative?  I know some who think we ought to murder babies minutes before they are born if they are "defective".  You seem to want to abolish "moral" law because it has it foundation in Scripture?

No. Instead, I believe the inverse: We must not use a "moral" imperative as justification for human legislation. I want to abolish the concept that we can use Scripture (whether Christian or Muslim or whoever's scripture) as the basis for human legislation. Go ahead and legislate against murder, but keep your morality to yourself. If you want to spread morality, do it at church, not the capitol and not the courts.
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Arnold M. Sy Go
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Dora

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #42 on: December 31, 2007, 03:49:47 PM »
Although this may seem a bit off the subject, I see a connection with the issue as to whether or not we should have prayer in public schools. 

In elementary school, I went to a small public school, where we had the Bible read, and were expected to have a Bible text memorized every Monday morning.  In more recent years there has been so much said everywhere, (pro and con) about Bible reading and prayer in school, I have often thought about my experiences in grade school.

 And, I was wondering, suppose we had started a new school year, and "Ms Doe" turned out to not believe as a Christian, but as a Buddist, or something very different.  Would my parents have wanted me to go there then?  Would I have wanted to go there, if I had been expected to kneel at some kind of shrine to pray? Or whatever else that might have been required in a different religion in a totally different way?

Again, we do need to be careful what we try to legislate.  That very legislation we thought we wanted may come back to bite us.
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Richard Myers

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #43 on: December 31, 2007, 10:24:20 PM »
While I understand the concern, I do not understand the opposition to moral laws based upon the last six commandments. I guess if we follow the argument you present Brother Arnold, we could not say that America was created a Protestant nation?
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asygo

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #44 on: January 01, 2008, 01:34:07 AM »
While I understand the concern, I do not understand the opposition to moral laws based upon the last six commandments.

Because they are commandments from God, which must be kept out of the state's jurisdiction. If you tear down the wall to allow God's commandments, there will be no wall to keep us safe from Allah's commandments, or Satan's commandments.

It's OK to have laws that match the commandments, and even laws that are morally sound. But such considerations and factors must be kept separate from the state's decision-making process. That is the foundation of the separation of church and state.

I guess if we follow the argument you present Brother Arnold, we could not say that America was created a Protestant nation?

It certainly is Protestant. But we need to keep clear what we are protesting about.

We protest against the church's propensity to use the state's power to coerce the masses to follow its dictates. Protestantism is the freedom of each person to follow the dictates of his own conscience, not that of someone else. We are most definitely a Protestant nation, and I want to keep it that way.
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Richard Myers

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #45 on: January 01, 2008, 10:12:22 AM »
A Protestant is a Christian, not a Muslim. Is (was) America a Christian Protestant nation?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

asygo

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #46 on: January 01, 2008, 02:17:04 PM »
A Protestant is a Christian, not a Muslim. Is (was) America a Christian Protestant nation?

The US has its roots in Christianity, but Protestantism encompasses much more than religious freedom for only Christians.

Quote
Among the Christian exiles who first fled to America and sought an asylum from royal oppression and priestly intolerance were many who determined to establish a government upon the broad foundation of civil and religious liberty. Their views found place in the Declaration of Independence, which sets forth the great truth that "all men are created equal" and endowed with the inalienable right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." And the Constitution guarantees to the people the right of self-government, providing that representatives elected by the popular vote shall enact and administer the laws. Freedom of religious faith was also granted, every man being permitted to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience. Republicanism and Protestantism became the fundamental principles of the nation. These principles are the secret of its power and prosperity. The oppressed and downtrodden throughout Christendom have turned to this land with interest and hope. Millions have sought its shores, and the United States has risen to a place among the most powerful nations of the earth. {GC 441.1}

Supporters of religious liberty are against persecution, not just being persecuted. The right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" is not restricted by "as long as you do what I think is best."
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asygo

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #47 on: January 01, 2008, 02:19:53 PM »
Quote
Whenever the church has obtained secular power, she has employed it to punish dissent from her doctrines. Protestant churches that have followed in the steps of Rome by forming alliance with worldly powers have manifested a similar desire to restrict liberty of conscience. {GC 443.3}

The "image to the beast" represents that form of apostate Protestantism which will be developed when the Protestant churches shall seek the aid of the civil power for the enforcement of their dogmas. {GC 445.2}

Being a Protestant does not give anyone the authority to tell everyone else what to do.
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Arnold M. Sy Go
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Richard Myers

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #48 on: January 17, 2008, 09:38:46 PM »
Brother Arnold, there are some of other faiths reading what is being posted here. It is important we get this right for them as well as for ourselves and God. The immorality that has come into America has come as the result of a number of failures in our society. The educational system has lately been teaching little children that homosexuality is normal. And some have even been encouraging young people to follow this abomination.

Now, you say that I have no right to object. That I have not right to demand laws to protect children from this abuse. Your argument rises to the principle that because my objections are based on Biblical morality, it is a violation of the Protestant ethic. My dear brother, even if one hates God and has no faith in the Bible, it does not change the fact that the only morality that there is, is that morality which has it foundation in God, the God of our faith.

Our church was instructed to do all we could to seek that there would be laws against the manufacture and sale of alcohol. All that you have argued since posting in this topic is in direct contradiction to that counsel. The legislation is moral in that it is Biblical. It is immoral to manufacture and sell alcohol that lives might be ruined. But, you desire to allow man to destroy himself and others by saying we have no right to restrict his liberty of conscience. You go too far in your ideas of what it means to have "liberty". You have joined with the immoral ones who oppose morality at every step and use your arguments to do so. It has resulted in much pain and suffering and has brought our society to a level similar to what the world was just prior to the great flood. If we do not oppose open immorality we will reap what we have sown.

Having taken a strong stand against immorality, I am just as strongly opposed to those who would attempt to impose on anyone, religious laws that have to do with our relationship with God. Let the first four commandments remain strictly separated from the state. Here is where there is to be an impassible wall between church and state. The state is to keep her hands off of the church. We understand prophecy. We know the end of the story. We know that the apostate  church will turn to the state to enforce a national Sunday law that is contrary to the law of God. This is to be our concern. We need not oppose morality in order to oppose the state restricting religious liberty. There is a big difference.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

asygo

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #49 on: January 18, 2008, 08:58:52 AM »
Bro Richard,

After all this time, you still do not know me. I said you have no right to object against immorality? I said you have no right to protect children? A review of what I actually wrote is in order.

On the contrary, my fight against immorality is on much stronger footing than yours. I fight against it by working with men and women of faith, not politicians. I fight it through the only channel equipped to defeat it - the church. That's because I know that if politicians get it in their minds that they have a say in morality, all sorts of immorality will follow. I don't want to open those floodgates.

Let politicians make laws to protect us, to keep us safe. That can even include restrictions on alcohol. But don't let them touch morality; you will be sorry if you do.
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Arnold M. Sy Go
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JimB

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #50 on: January 18, 2008, 10:15:04 AM »
Let politicians make laws to protect us, to keep us safe. That can even include restrictions on alcohol. But don't let them touch morality; you will be sorry if you do.

But restrictions on alcohol is dealing with morality. The idea that you can't legislate morality is faulty one. That shalt not murder or steal is a moral law and laws put into place by governments that reflect it are also moral.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

asygo

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #51 on: January 18, 2008, 11:33:32 AM »
But restrictions on alcohol is dealing with morality.

No. That is faulty logic.

Morality deals with alcohol; that is true. But it does not necessarily follow from it that alcohol deals with morality. The inverse does not necessarily follow from a statement. As the SOP says, we should always use sound arguments. And this is not a sound argument.

As an example of an amoral argument against alcohol, we can say that drunks are more likely to cause bodily harm to others. Cold, hard statistics can show you that.

The idea that you can't legislate morality is faulty one.

Only if you don't believe that morality happens only in the character. If you think that morality can be achieved by controlling one's bodily actions, then you will conclude that morality can be legislated. But I don't, so I don't.
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asygo

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #52 on: January 18, 2008, 11:37:56 AM »
But restrictions on alcohol is dealing with morality.

Have you ever taken Nyquil, which is 25% alcohol? Does that mean that those who drink Nyquil are all immoral? I don't believe that.

If you agree with me on that, then you also agree that what goes into your mouth is not what makes you immoral. Therefore what you are really trying to legislate is not what goes into the mouth, but the motivations behind it.
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Arnold M. Sy Go
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Dora

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #53 on: January 18, 2008, 12:27:05 PM »
With all that is going on in the US today, this subject seems especially important.  I was trying with my husband, to sort this out today at lunch, telling him briefly what is on here, and stating my stand on it.

I hate, truly hate the immoral acts we are speaking of on here. The 10 commandments address all of them, yet not even all of the last six commandments can be legislated. Is not homosexuality a form of adultry, for homosexuals cannot be married, in God's sight. Yet imagine it being illegal to be homosexual, and if you know someone who is, should we report them to the police? And on hetrosexual adultry, what about if we see Mrs ___ dining in a little hideaway with Mr.___, should we call the police?  And, even more, there is a lovely lady walking down the street, and you see Mr.___gazing a bit more intensely at her than you think he should.  Maybe he is coveting her!  Should we call 911? What if I gossip about my neighbor?  Maybe I can be brought to court for slander, but most times, that is not the case. 

Suppose our children do not contact us for weeks or months?  That would be really sad, and certainly would not be keeping the 5th commandment, but should it be labeled a crime?  Yes, I know that under certain circumstances neglect can be a crime, if there is bodily harm because of it...but now I am only talking about emotional hurt.

What about if I am "lusting" after my neighbor's house, or her car, etc?  Unless I steal it, or kill to try to get it, am I doing something illegal?

I think what I have been trying to say on here is simply this.....we have laws in place to protect us against thieves and murderers, (and yes, those crimes include a number of other actions that can hurt us, and we do have laws for them, too.) Let me say I do appreciate very much that we have those laws, and people to help protect us.

 What else in the 10 commandments are we willing to allow the government to pass or enforce legislation on in our everyday lives?  The early Puritans in Salem went on "Witch Hunts" and burned supposed (or real) witches at the stake.  Now, they bring in millions with their books and movies. What should we do with that?

Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote a book, supposedly portraying what happened to anyone who had a child "out of wedlock."  Hester Prine wore a Scarlet A for the rest of her life.  Yet, we have about 5 children in our church with mothers who have never been married.  What should we do about them?  Should we call the government?  We could go on and on....

Personally, I believe the government is as close in our lives at this point in time as we need.  One day soon, when the 4th commandment is made of "no effect," and we are told we must worship on Sunday, or be imprisoned or killed, we will see how we did not need an overabundance of monitoring from the government.

That is my belief about it, I hope I have hurt no one's feelings, that is certainly not my intent.
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JimB

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #54 on: January 18, 2008, 12:40:04 PM »
I'm not sure what to tell you brother Arnold. Mrs. White made it clear that the church members at the time should vote for the prohibition of alcohol. She even said that if they had to, to vote for the prohibition on the Sabbath.
 
It is true that man can only restrict behaviors. And it's also true that bad behavior comes from the heart and that only God can deal with the heart. However, until all are converted I want laws in place that restrict the behaviors of the unconverted. Without them we'd have anarchy. Whether or not you wish to label these behaviors as "moral" or "immoral" that is up to you.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

JimB

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #55 on: January 18, 2008, 01:31:48 PM »
There use to be laws on the books in most states that made committing adultery, sex outside of marriage, and having children out of wedlock illegal. Our society today would be in a much better situation if these laws had been enforced and kept on the books. Even today Mrs. White has made it very clear that a big reason why our society is so bad off is because the laws are not enforced. Murderers and rapists are only given jail and then let free. Stealing unless it's really big is usually just a slap on the hand and a "warning" not to do it again. Justice has fallen and we are reaping the rewards.
 

By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

asygo

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #56 on: January 18, 2008, 01:43:19 PM »
However, until all are converted I want laws in place that restrict the behaviors of the unconverted. Without them we'd have anarchy.

Do you know how it feels to write pages upon pages of stuff, and still be ignored? I do. I know it very well, and it is very frustrating. Let me try to be heard, since you guys are not hearing me.


I HAVE NO PROBLEMS RESTRICTING BEHAVIORS FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROTECTING PEOPLE FROM THOSE WHO WOULD HURT THEM.

Feel free to disagree with me. But at least disagree with what I'm actually saying, not some straw man.

But never confuse behavior management with morality. That's why are children are so messed up - because parents think managing behavior is all it takes to be Christian.

When you say that you want to legislate morality, yet refuse to punish all adultery (including wandering eyes) with death (which is God's prescribed penalty), then you are being arbitrary and hypocritical. Half obedience is disobedience.

If you really want to achieve morality, then you had better condemn ALL sin, and punish all sin with DEATH. That's what I am pushing for. Are you ready for that? If not, then don't even claim to be legislating morality, because you are not.
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asygo

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #57 on: January 18, 2008, 01:47:17 PM »
There use to be laws on the books in most states that made committing adultery

Including looking at someone lustfully? That is the standard of morality. You want the govt to uphold that standard?
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Dora

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #58 on: January 18, 2008, 01:55:26 PM »
Yes!  We have voted twice in this county not to have alcohol legalized at public dining places, nor the public sale of it in places such as liquor stores.  We should vote against it!

I, too, Brother Jim, agree that I "want laws in place that restrict the behaviors of the unconverted. Without them we'd have anarchy."  But, again, I feel that can only be "up to a point" as mentioned above, that the behaviors of the unconverted can be restricted.  But, I explained my thoughts on that in my post above.

As to how the behaviors are labeled, we know it is sin, and it is when someone's sins are infringing on our rights, or rights of others, they should be restricted.  The point I wanted to bring out is that we can get the government involved so much in our personal lives, we will perhaps be having problems sooner than we would have otherwise.  We are told not to hurry these things.

JimB, I just now read your last post before sending mine...maybe our laws should be stiffer, I can't answer that, but I just do not want any tampering with the constitution to bring this about....but, we know it is coming, anyway.  Daniel 11:40-45, GC 579.  And, GC294,295 and 442 speaks about the Declaration of Independence.




    





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JimB

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #59 on: January 18, 2008, 01:56:23 PM »
Brother Arnold, I can not restate the law exactly. All I know is that there use be laws on the books against adultery. A very well known person in my state was recently prosecuted under this law.

Yes, I realize that my above statement missed the point you are trying to make. No... I'm not looking for thought police. 90% of the people in our country would be in jail. I would still call murdering someone an immoral behavior. I think our disagreement is semantics and definitions. You don't want to call man-made laws moral laws because they don't address the sin sick heart. Do man made laws against murder address heart? Of course not. I don't think anyone here believes that they do. But I'd still call a law against murder a moral law. Thus legislating morality.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}