PC on Ron Paul

January 10th, 2012 at 3:12 pm by David Farrar

blogs:

is not a libertarian. He

  • rejects the Jeffersonian principle of a “wall of separation” between religion and government;
  • is anti-immigration (“to the right of most Republicans” says Vodka Pundit Steve Green);
  • is anti-abortion (Paul describes “the rights of unborn people” [sic] as “the greatest moral issue of our time,” and “abortion on demand” as “the ultimate State tyranny”);
  • “plays footsie” with racists and kooks;
  • is a hypocritical supporter of pork-barrel earmarks for his own congressional district;
  • is opposed to free-trade agreements (like NAFTA); and
  • is appallingly “blame-America-first” on  foreign policy.

I don’t count his writings of 20 years ago too much against him, or even his foreign policy. I even understand his earmark rationale. And even libertarians disagree on abortion. The lack of commitment to religion and state being separate, the opposition to immigration and opposition to free trade agreements (he says note pure enough, but perfect is the enemy of good) is what I regard as the biggest marks against him.

PC says:

In short, then, and to repeat, he is not a libertarian: he is a “states-rights” religious conservative, with all the intellectual confusion that implies …

That he can masquerade as a friend to freedom at all demonstrates how far the intellectual battle for freedom still needs to travel.

Because the harsh fact about Ron Paul is that on the few occasions he takes off the tinfoil hat and talks Austrian he’s damn good. But when he’s wearing the tinfoil headwear, as he does the rest of the time, he’s rotten.

He is damn good on most economic issues. He is not a viable candidate for President in 2012 though, at the age of 77. I think it is good he flies the flag on many issues.

I was chatting to someone today about how it would be fun if the Republicans had no one get a majority and it was a brokered convention!

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107 Responses to “PC on Ron Paul”

  1. ephemera (557 comments) says:

    This entire primary season has become an epic circus. And we’ve yet to get to the presdential election, after which the Republicans will almost certainly form a circular firing squad.

    I don’t agree with GOP politics, but they really ought to be a more credible opposition to Obama.

    I encourage anyone who is right-leaning to read this (lengthy) article – from the perspective of a former GOP staffer, which explains why the Republicans are “no longer the GOP your father voted for.”

    http://www.truth-out.org/goodbye-all-reflections-gop-operative-who-left-cult/1314907779

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  2. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    I don’t find Ron Paul “damn good” on economic issues. I don’t get the fascination with “hard money”, as if it is somehow a magic force to protect citizens against a crazy government and their printing press. Clearly it can’t be this magic force if it is possible for governments to simply do away with the gold standard and institute fiat currency. There is no magic bullet to protect us from bad government we just have to be cautious and keep a look out for when someone wants to print money to fund structural deficits.

    In any case, while a gold standard may restrict inflation, if trade increases faster than the money supply then we would have no means to stop deflation and reduced liquidity.

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  3. GPT1 (2,122 comments) says:

    I had a run in with a self proclaimed Ron Paul supporter (well joined in with one) which went something along the lines of:
    “States should run schools”
    “Why”
    “It’s in the constitution”
    “Where?”
    “My mates and I are going to show you all the constitution you need from the barrels of our guns”

    I am yet to be convinced that this is not Ron Paul’s target audience.

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  4. BlairM (2,362 comments) says:

    ephemera – why would I ever want to read an article on truth-out.org?!

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  5. ephemera (557 comments) says:

    I’ve never read any other article on the site. It’s a well written article which tallies with what we know.

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  6. Angus (536 comments) says:

    What level of ideological purity would be required from a politician to ever satisfy these Libz ? Perhaps only the old Russian cougar herself.

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  7. James Stephenson (2,223 comments) says:

    I couldn’t vote for anyone who’s intellectual response to the evidence for evolution is “my head hurts, god dunnit”.

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  8. ZenTiger (435 comments) says:

    @Angus – now you are mixing religion with politics. She is like a god to them :-)

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  9. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:


    What level of ideological purity would be required from a politician to ever satisfy these Libz ? Perhaps only the old Russian cougar herself.

    Hallowed be thy name.

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  10. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    Ron Paul has never been an electable presidential candidate – but then it’s not clear who on the Right would be.

    It seems like they will opt for Romney out of a lack of a suitable alternative. Romney will face the same challenges that John Key did (being a multimillionaire candidate at a time when poverty and inequality are hot issues) but with none of the advantages that Key had (incumbency, a personality).

    I’m expecting John Kerry all over again – the boring compromise candidate that doesn’t inspire people and ends up getting crushed by the incumbent.

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  11. Jimbob (641 comments) says:

    The word behind the scenes in the financial community is that late in the piece Michael Bloomberg will put his hand up and walk straight into position of the GOP candidate. He will certainly give Obama the sh*ts.

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  12. Dazzaman (1,144 comments) says:

    The first 3 are fantastic, the territory of us true Conservatives there….interesting you should bring up the fact that it was Jefferson who first coined the phrase “wall of separation….”, though it’s certainly not a principle supported by the American Constitution.

    Who in their right mind would be a libertarian anyway? The realm of grown geeks, drips and excusers.

    Ron Paul is none of those, just an isolationist dreamer with racist/conspiracy theory undertones.

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  13. CrazyIvan (90 comments) says:

    Interesting debate on Fox Report last night that Ron Paul knows that he’s not going to secure the nomination, but is continuing to get input to the party platform and that he may be laying the groundwork for his son in 2016.

    This really is the poorest Republican field I’ve seen in years. Apart from Paul, there’s an ex-governor who lost to McCain four years ago, a former senator who would have been rolled by the Tea Party in a primary in 2010 had he not been beaten by 17% in 2006, a former Speaker with ethics violations once employed by Freddie Mac as a “historian” and who likes to sit on couches with Nancy Pelosi and a Texas governor who started great but self-combusted in the debates. And Jon Huntsman…

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  14. simonway (387 comments) says:

    He is damn good on most economic issues.

    Are you a goldbug, DPF? Are you in favour of abolishing central banking?

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  15. Manolo (14,018 comments) says:

    I’m expecting John Kerry all over again – the boring compromise candidate that doesn’t inspire people and ends up getting crushed by the incumbent.

    Wishful thinking.
    The GOP will unite and given the anti-Obama sentiment among the middle class, it’s possible the Messiah could get the boot in November.

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  16. scrubone (3,103 comments) says:

    rejects the Jeffersonian principle of a “wall of separation” between religion and government;

    Um, don’t you mean separation of church and state?

    And in his famous letter, he was telling a group of non-conformists that he would not assist them in removing the church from (their) state, meaning he was restricting the state, not the church.

    Most people don’t realise that most of the american states *had* “state religions”, the only reason the federal government didn’t have one was because they couldn’t agree on which one to use.

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  17. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    Dazzaman (787) Says:
    January 10th, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    The first 3 are fantastic, the territory of us true Conservatives there….interesting you should bring up the fact that it was Jefferson who first coined the phrase “wall of separation….”, though it’s certainly not a principle supported by the American Constitution.

    The establishment clause means little if governments can promote or endorse religion for if they do so then they have established state religion whether or not it is referred to as such in name. Moreover, trying to say it’s okay if they don’t endorse a particular sect doesn’t change the fact that they have established state religion, even if only in a generic sense.

    The 1st amendment is designed to prevent religious discrimination and persecution and it achieves that by making the state secular. Any watering down of that separation undermines the intention of the 1st amendment and is why the courts read the establishment clause as prohibiting any promotion, endorsement or funding of religious activities or institutions.

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  18. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    scrubone (1,016) Says:
    January 10th, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Most people don’t realise that most of the american states *had* “state religions”, the only reason the federal government didn’t have one was because they couldn’t agree on which one to use.

    No, the federal government never had a national religion because the 1st amendment always applied to it. The words are quite clear, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. How you interpret this to mean “They just couldn’t decide which religion to choose” is beyond me.

    The 1st amendment was adopted because Baptists were in a position of influence and James Madison wanted the constitution ratified and in order to do so had to convince the Baptists that a new Church of England wouldn’t be created for the United States.

    The 1st amendment was applied to the states after the adoption of the 14th amendment which extended the Bill of Rights to cover state governments.

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  19. Fletch (6,479 comments) says:

    more on Separation of Church and State here –

    http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=123

    As has been pointed out before, the “separation of Church and State” means almost exactly the opposite now of what it originally meant in the U.S. The link above explains it very well.

    Since this was Jefferson’s view concerning religious expression, in his short and polite reply to the Danbury Baptists on January 1, 1802, he assured them that they need not fear; that the free exercise of religion would never be interfered with by the federal government. As he explained:

    Gentlemen, – The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association give me the highest satisfaction. . . . Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of government reach actions only and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties. I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association assurances of my high respect and esteem. [9]

    Jefferson’s reference to “natural rights” invoked an important legal phrase which was part of the rhetoric of that day and which reaffirmed his belief that religious liberties were inalienable rights. While the phrase “natural rights” communicated much to people then, to most citizens today those words mean little.

    By definition, “natural rights” included “that which the Books of the Law and the Gospel do contain.” [10] That is, “natural rights” incorporated what God Himself had guaranteed to man in the Scriptures. Thus, when Jefferson assured the Baptists that by following their “natural rights” they would violate no social duty, he was affirming to them that the free exercise of religion was their inalienable God-given right and therefore was protected from federal regulation or interference.

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  20. big bruv (14,116 comments) says:

    Manolo

    I wish you were right about your predictions of Obama being rolled but I just cannot see it.

    Romney will turn off many swing voters with his religious bullshit, he will also not inspire anybody the same way that Obama did last time around.

    Those who cannot bring themselves to vote for Obama will just stay at home, like it or not Obama has another four year term in the bag already.

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  21. Kimble (4,442 comments) says:

    Those who cannot bring themselves to vote for Obama will just stay at home, like it or not Obama has another four year term in the bag already.

    Maybe. I cant see the people who voted for “change” voting to change again. Romney is a twat (likes to fire people, WTF?). But you never know with swing voters.

    Ron Paul would at least make the debates interesting, and the major networks would finally have to admit the man actually exists.

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  22. Fletch (6,479 comments) says:

    From the same article I linked to above (just because I think it explains it better)

    Jefferson believed that God, not government, was the Author and Source of our rights and that the government, therefore, was to be prevented from interference with those rights. Very simply, the “fence” of the Webster letter and the “wall” of the Danbury letter were not to limit religious activities in public; rather they were to limit the power of the government to prohibit or interfere with those expressions.

    We can see the opposite happening today, with Govt sticking their nose into religious things – barring the Ten Commandments in class, crosses in schools, nativity scenes, the word “Christmas”, trying to change swearing on the Bible, and many other things. This explicitly goes against the “separation of Church and State”, in that the Govt is supposed to be forbidden from interfering with these religious things.

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  23. dog_eat_dog (788 comments) says:

    So removing one religion’s monopolistic presence in state affairs is infringing the separation of church and state…..

    Lay off the frankincense, Fletch.

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  24. Gulag1917 (976 comments) says:

    On balance Ron Paul is good

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  25. Dazzaman (1,144 comments) says:

    …for if they do so then they have established state religion…

    No Weihana, there is no “establishment” neither is there any endorsement. What there is is the intention of the framers, which is to NOT favour a denomination over and above any other thus leading to the same situation which was prevalent in Great Britain….cronyism, and at worst persecution of non-state sanctioned denominations.

    The stifling of free and open practice of, or even endorsement of religion within govt/state entities was not the intention of the Constitutions writers…..as nearly 150 years, up until the last few decades, of religious soaked public endorsement proves.

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  26. Scott Chris (6,176 comments) says:

    Peter Cresswell says:- “Ron Paul rejects the Jeffersonian principle of a “wall of separation” between religion and government”

    No, he merely endorses the right of religious people to practice their religion openly which is enshrined in the 1st Amendment.

    >> “is anti-immigration”

    Yes and no. He wants to keep illegals out to protect US citizens’ rights with better border fences etc, and doesn’t want to pay the for the upkeep of resident illegals, but at the same time he doesn’t require employers to not employ illegals.

    >> “is anti-abortion”

    Yes. He considers an unborn fetus to be human, and as humans they have human rights.

    >>“plays footsie” with racists and kooks.

    Yup. Don’t they all.

    >> “is a hypocritical supporter of pork-barrel earmarks for his own congressional district”

    Political pragmatism.

    >> “is opposed to free-trade agreements”

    But he’s pro free trade. He sees NAFTA and the WHO as trade management organizations.

    >> ““blame-America-first” on foreign policy.”

    Oh rubbish. He simply advocates a more enlightened approach which would be more effective in protecting US citizens.

    In other words he is a Libertarian.

    He’s also a climate change denier which is a big black mark against him imo, but he has a lot of good ideas as well which shouldn’t be ignored. And he seems trustworthy. A very rare quality in a politician.

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  27. scrubone (3,103 comments) says:

    No, the federal government never had a national religion because the 1st amendment always applied to it. The words are quite clear, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. How you interpret this to mean “They just couldn’t decide which religion to choose” is beyond me.

    *facepalm*

    So what you’re saying is that, while they were discussing the issues that lead to the 1st amendment, someone said “but that’s illegal under the 1st amendment”.

    I assume that was Dr Who, but he’s usually not listed as one of the founding fathers.

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  28. scrubone (3,103 comments) says:

    If you think the rep’s canditates are unelectable, remember the top 3 last time:

    * a guy who cheated on his wife during her cancer treatment, and spent $400 on haircuts while running a poverty campaign
    * wife of the previous president who had carpet-bagged her way into a senate seat
    * a guy with 2 years of experience in national politics, and no other experience worth a damn, from a state co corrupt that his senate seat was auctioned off after he won.

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  29. Kimble (4,442 comments) says:

    barring the Ten Commandments in class

    In public schools. Private schools can have them.

    crosses in schools

    In public schools. Private schools can have them.

    nativity scenes

    On government property. Fine on private property.

    the word “Christmas”

    Not sure that this is true. The “Happy Holidays” thing seems more corporate than government.

    trying to change swearing on the Bible

    Something which only makes sense for Christians. Why should a nations judicial system require oaths to be taken on a religious text? And how could that nation then not be fairly accused of endorsing that religion over others?

    This explicitly goes against the “separation of Church and State”, in that the Govt is supposed to be forbidden from interfering with these religious things.

    They are preventing the tacit establishment of a state religion. In that way they are interfering in religion, by standing in its way.

    “And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors.”

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  30. Kimble (4,442 comments) says:

    Got to like this Jefferson chap,

    If we did a good act merely from love of God and a belief that it is pleasing to Him, whence arises the morality of the Atheist? …Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God.

    The part after the ellipse is what escapes modern theists, who routinely deny either the virtue or the atheism of atheists.

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  31. scrubone (3,103 comments) says:

    The part after the ellipse is what escapes modern theists, who routinely deny either the virtue or the atheism of atheists.

    You should read the whole thing.

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  32. Kimble (4,442 comments) says:

    You mean that bit at the start beginning with “If”?

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  33. Gulag1917 (976 comments) says:

    Ron Paul for all his flaws is a hero http://www.ronpaul.com/ and http://www.ronpaul2012.com/

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  34. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    FFS, the GOP are a fucked up outfit. Even Paul looks like a moderate rightie compared to Santorum.

    Even Bill O’Reilly thinks Santorum is too right wing! Jeez!

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  35. scrubone (3,103 comments) says:

    Uh, the fact that there’s a blog out there spreading rabid hatred of someone proves very little.

    The fact that you linked to it proves something about you though.

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  36. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Ron Paul understands that the War on Terror perpetuates the motive behind the terror, which was always a response to US terror, anyway.

    But hey! DPF says Paul is “damned good on most economic issues.” !!

    Really, like get rid of the Fed? Bye bye our Reserve Bank!

    Get rid of the Dept of Education…ah. I guess DPF would love that.

    Get rid of the EPA…who gives a fuck about the environment anyway, especially if the money is in destroying it.

    Get rid of…damn, forgot the others…oops.

    HOWEVER

    Bring all US troops home…yay, go Paul go!

    Thousands of lives saved every month of the year!

    Good boy.

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  37. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Toads right though…Santorum is scum, an authoritarian religious busybody liar and therefore by default has no business trying to become POTUS.

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  38. scrubone (3,103 comments) says:

    If you have case, make it.

    I was foolish enough to believe that that’s what toad was doing and clicked the link.

    My mistake.

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  39. scrubone (3,103 comments) says:

    authoritarian: wants to pass a law over my dead body
    religious: not godless like me
    busybody: politician, see also “authoritarian”
    liar: …!

    I’m really not seeing your case :)

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  40. Richard (29 comments) says:

    Ron Paul. Libertarian.

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  41. V (742 comments) says:

    Clearly Ron Paul is not a Libertarian, – he’s actually able to sell his ideas.

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  42. Yoza (1,903 comments) says:

    You have to wonder why the GOP are bothering at all as Obama seems to be doing a good job of fronting their agenda for them. As odious as some of Ron Paul’s beliefs appear to the more enlightened among us, he does understand that US’s aggressively militant foreign policy is at best self destructive and at worst criminal and that supporting Israel unconditionally is one of the greatest diplomatic disasters of the late twentieth century.

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  43. Ross Nixon (559 comments) says:

    Unfortunately Ron Paul will not win the nomination.
    The leftist media and the rigged voting will see to that. But if that is not enough, he will meet with an unfortunate ACCIDENT.

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  44. mavxp (490 comments) says:

    The Economist seems to suggest John Huntsman, is a more authentic “conservative+small government” Republican than Paul,
    but has been sidelined as a traitor for his service as US Ambassador to China in the Obama Administration.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/01/republican-nomination-2

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  45. travellerev (148 comments) says:

    If a year ago anyone would have told me I’d one day be defending Ron Paul I would have declared that person to be an utter nutter but there you go.

    There are many ideas Ron Paul has I don’t agree with. I am in favour of free choice with regards to abortion but I also think it is and should be a hard choice to make for any woman, with or without a partner. Not because society makes it hard for her but because ending a pregnancy is ending a life in the making after all.

    I am for a social contract between government and its people and for healthcare as a public service to name a few but…

    Ron Paul is ready to take on the privately owned Federal reserve and the international finance crime families. He is for returning to the constitution, taking the usurbed powers such as the right to declare war away from the back to where they belong; the representatives of the people and ending the financialy crippling wars caused by the military industrial complex.

    If I lived in the States he would have my vote.

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  46. Camryn (543 comments) says:

    Kimble at 7:33: Romney did not say he liked firing *people*. The quote was about firing service providers e.g. your insurer. He has been selectively quoted to make it sound like he was talking about people.

    Weihana at 7:15: 1st amendment did not apply in the period between the establishment of the constitution and when it was amended. Therefore, it is false to say that the 1st amendment has always applied. (edit: scrubone said it better)

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  47. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    Fletch (2,284) Says:
    January 10th, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    more on Separation of Church and State here –

    No mention of the 14th amendment which renders the entire opinion pointless and out of context. It is largely true what is said, but the 14th amendment extends individual rights guaranteed in the constitution to the states and without addressing this point the article fails to make its case.

    The argument that the establishment clause shouldn’t be incorporated, under the 14th amendment, is based on the spurious notion that the establishment clause does not concern individual rights. Yet it was quite clear that the establishment of a national religion would threaten the “natural rights” of, among others, the Baptists. It is illogical and absurd to argue that the establishment of a national religion threatens individual rights but the establishment of a state religion does not. Hence why the courts have incorporated the establishment clause notwithstanding the objections of religious conservatives hell bent on shoving their religion down the throats of everyone else.


    “The meaning and scope of the First Amendment, preventing establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, in the light of its history and the evils it was designed forever to suppress, have been several times elaborated by the decisions of this Court prior to the application of the First Amendment to the states by the Fourteenth. [Footnote 21] The broad meaning given the Amendment by these earlier cases has been accepted by this Court in its decisions concerning an individual’s religious freedom rendered since the Fourteenth Amendment was interpreted to make the prohibitions of the First applicable to state action abridging religious freedom. [Footnote 22] There is every reason to give the same application and broad interpretation to the “establishment of religion” clause. The interrelation of these complementary clauses was well summarized in a statement of the Court of Appeals of South Carolina, [Footnote 23] quoted with approval by this Court in Watson v. Jones, 13 Wall. 679, 80 U. S. 730:

    “The structure of our government has, for the preservation of civil liberty, rescued the temporal institutions from religious interference. On the other hand, it has secured religious liberty from the invasion of the civil authority.”

    The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment means at least this: neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups, and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect “a wall of separation between church and State.” Reynolds v. United States, supra, at 98 U. S. 164.”

    http://supreme.justia.com/us/330/1/case.html

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  48. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    Interesting to see how much attention we pay to the US position on the separation of Church and State, while the gradual introduction of a State Endorsed religion in New Zealand (and one which imposed this set of religious beliefs on all citizens through legislation and regulation) goes largely unnoticed and is certainly seldom raised as an election issue.

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  49. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    # Fletch (2,284) Says:
    January 10th, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    From the same article I linked to above (just because I think it explains it better)

    Jefferson believed that God, not government, was the Author and Source of our rights and that the government, therefore, was to be prevented from interference with those rights. Very simply, the “fence” of the Webster letter and the “wall” of the Danbury letter were not to limit religious activities in public; rather they were to limit the power of the government to prohibit or interfere with those expressions.

    We can see the opposite happening today, with Govt sticking their nose into religious things – barring the Ten Commandments in class, crosses in schools, nativity scenes, the word “Christmas”, trying to change swearing on the Bible, and many other things. This explicitly goes against the “separation of Church and State”, in that the Govt is supposed to be forbidden from interfering with these religious things.

    That is ridiculous Fletch as the things you mention, which have been banned, constitute government action, therefore they constitute the government “interfering” with religious activities. There is a world of difference between an individual doing those things and having state government promote it. It is absurd to try and argue that the state government promoting religious activities does not constitute government “interference” in religion. And given that it does constitute interference in religious activities it is prohibited by the 1st amendment which has been incorporated under the 14th.

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  50. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    # Dazzaman (788) Says:
    January 10th, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    …for if they do so then they have established state religion…

    No Weihana, there is no “establishment” neither is there any endorsement. What there is is the intention of the framers, which is to NOT favour a denomination over and above any other thus leading to the same situation which was prevalent in Great Britain….cronyism, and at worst persecution of non-state sanctioned denominations.

    The stifling of free and open practice of, or even endorsement of religion within govt/state entities was not the intention of the Constitutions writers…..as nearly 150 years, up until the last few decades, of religious soaked public endorsement proves.

    It is irrelevant that the 1st amendment initially only applied to the federal government. The 14th amendment requires that such rights be extended to the states. The authors of the establishment clause intended a wall of seperation between church and the federal government. This wall of seperation is extended to the states by virtue of the 14th amendment.

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  51. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    # scrubone (1,022) Says:
    January 10th, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    No, the federal government never had a national religion because the 1st amendment always applied to it. The words are quite clear, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. How you interpret this to mean “They just couldn’t decide which religion to choose” is beyond me.

    *facepalm*

    So what you’re saying is that, while they were discussing the issues that lead to the 1st amendment, someone said “but that’s illegal under the 1st amendment”.

    I assume that was Dr Who, but he’s usually not listed as one of the founding fathers.

    Hilarious. But no that is not what I meant. What I meant was that the 1st amendment prohibited the federal government from establishing a state religion and that it was enacted not because they just couldn’t choose which national religion they wanted, but because they recognized the evils that inevitably followed from establishing a national religion.

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  52. Fletch (6,479 comments) says:

    Sorry, but again this “wall of separation” is being taken out of context.
    It has always been understood one way until being perverted only recently. eg –

    Earlier courts long understood Jefferson’s intent. In fact, when Jefferson’s letter was invoked by the Supreme Court (only twice prior to the 1947 Everson case – the Reynolds v. United States case in 1878), unlike today’s Courts which publish only his eight-word separation phrase, that earlier Court published Jefferson’s entire letter and then concluded:

    Coming as this does from an acknowledged leader of the advocates of the measure, it [Jefferson’s letter] may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the Amendment thus secured. Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere [religious] opinion, but was left free to reach actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order. (emphasis added) [12]

    That Court then succinctly summarized Jefferson’s intent for “separation of church and state”:

    [T]he rightful purposes of civil government are for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order. In th[is] . . . is found the true distinction between what properly belongs to the church and what to the State. [13]

    With this even the Baptists had agreed; for while wanting to see the government prohibited from interfering with or limiting religious activities, they also had declared it a legitimate function of government “to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor.”

    That Court, therefore, and others (for example, Commonwealth v. Nesbit and Lindenmuller v. The People), identified actions into which – if perpetrated in the name of religion – the government did have legitimate reason to intrude. Those activities included human sacrifice, polygamy, bigamy, concubinage, incest, infanticide, parricide, advocation and promotion of immorality, etc.

    Such acts, even if perpetrated in the name of religion, would be stopped by the government since, as the Court had explained, they were “subversive of good order” and were “overt acts against peace.” However, the government was never to interfere with traditional religious practices outlined in “the Books of the Law and the Gospel” – whether public prayer, the use of the Scriptures, public acknowledgements of God, etc.

    Therefore, if Jefferson’s letter is to be used today, let its context be clearly given – as in previous years. Furthermore, earlier Courts had always viewed Jefferson’s Danbury letter for just what it was: a personal, private letter to a specific group. There is probably no other instance in America’s history where words spoken by a single individual in a private letter – words clearly divorced from their context – have become the sole authorization for a national policy. Finally, Jefferson’s Danbury letter should never be invoked as a stand-alone document. A proper analysis of Jefferson’s views must include his numerous other statements on the First Amendment.

    For example, in addition to his other statements previously noted, Jefferson also declared that the “power to prescribe any religious exercise. . . . must rest with the States” (emphasis added). Nevertheless, the federal courts ignore this succinct declaration and choose rather to misuse his separation phrase to strike down scores of State laws which encourage or facilitate public religious expressions. Such rulings against State laws are a direct violation of the words and intent of the very one from whom the courts claim to derive their policy.

    To me, it’s clear what was meant. The “wall” mentioned (expressed in a private letter, no less) was meant as a barrier to the Government interfering, not as a barrier to Government being influenced by religious ideas, or people who follow religious ideas. In short, it does NOT mean that religious ideas or ideals be totally separate from the things of Government, or that Government has the right to take down crosses in schools in a country that was founded on the very religion that the cross represents.

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  53. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    # Kimble (2,903) Says:
    January 10th, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Got to like this Jefferson chap,

    If we did a good act merely from love of God and a belief that it is pleasing to Him, whence arises the morality of the Atheist? …Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God.

    The part after the ellipse is what escapes modern theists, who routinely deny either the virtue or the atheism of atheists.

    I find it interesting how theists believe that basing their morality on “God” somehow gives their sense of morality a firmer and more reliable foundation than secular ethics.

    God is either imaginary (my opinion) or at least something for which no credible evidence exists to demonstrate its existence. Theists believe in his existence on faith, i.e. without evidence. Thus their belief is not based on reason but is arbitrary and in all likelihood is a consequence of the nation in which they were born which happens to endorse a particular religion over the religion followed in other countries.

    In my view ethics based on reason, experience and objective standards is far more reliable and dependable than ethics based on arbitrary belief in a book which happens, by chance, to be considered gospel by the society in which one happened to be born.

    However, in defense of theists the reality is that their ethics too are largely based on reason, experience and objective standards also. The “god said so” justification came after the rules were invented by primitive peoples as experience taught them which rules of conduct produced the type of society they wanted to live in. Problem with some religious people though is that they are unable to update those rules as society evolves to become more enlightened. They can’t update because in their mind God is perfect and so his rules, as written in their holy book, must also be perfect. Such is the danger of religious belief and their blind adherance to ethical standards which may or may not have merit.

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  54. Fletch (6,479 comments) says:

    I find it interesting how theists believe that basing their morality on “God” somehow gives their sense of morality a firmer and more reliable foundation than secular ethics.

    God is either imaginary (my opinion) or at least something for which no credible evidence exists to demonstrate its existence. Theists believe in his existence on faith, i.e. without evidence. Thus their belief is not based on reason but is arbitrary and in all likelihood is a consequence of the nation in which they were born which happens to endorse a particular religion over the religion followed in other countries.

    Actually, my ideas of ethics are based on the Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ – an actual historical figure whose existence is proven and whose teachings have been passed down in the same Bible.

    In my view ethics based on reason, experience and objective standards is far more reliable and dependable than ethics based on arbitrary belief in a book which happens, by chance, to be considered gospel by the society in which one happened to be born.

    You have no ground for any ethics then. Agreement of opinion is nothing more than an ad populum fallacy. Any ‘yardstick’ you may have for morality is subjective and therefore can’t be considered to be a yardstick, which is an objective standard.

    Without divine authority, we have no logical basis for the promotion of any value system, no matter what we think of that system. I’m not so much concerned with the definition of ‘good’ as I am with an objective standard. The standard of morality cannot have an objective reality without divine authority.

    If there is no God, then no man is in a position to force his opinion of morality upon another. One man’s subjective view of morality is equal to another man’s equally subjective view of morality. Thus, there is no reason to believe in any morality just because another man tells you that it is good.

    It would take an authority that was above having only a subjective view of morality to legislate that morality. God’s view of morality is objective, not subjective.

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  55. mikenmild (11,567 comments) says:

    Owen McShane @11.11am
    To which religion are you referring?

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  56. Scott Chris (6,176 comments) says:

    Weihana says:- “but because they recognized the evils that inevitably followed from establishing a national religion.”

    Yes I agree, but I wouldn’t use the word “evils” because it is morally loaded. I’d have substituted “evils that inevitably followed” with “the conflict that would inevitably arise”

    Some interesting excerpts from the excellent Wikipedia article on the First Amendment:

    >> “Originally, the First Amendment applied only to the federal government. A number of the states effectively had established churches when the First Amendment was ratified, with some remaining into the early nineteenth century.”

    >> “It had been long established in the decisions of the Supreme Court, beginning with Reynolds v. United States from 1879, when the Court reviewed the history of the early Republic in deciding the extent of the liberties of Mormons.”

    >> “Justice Hugo Black adopted Jefferson’s words in the voice of the Court, and concluded that “government must be neutral among religions and nonreligion: it cannot promote, endorse, or fund religion or religious institutions.””

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

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  57. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    Fletch,

    To me, it’s clear what was meant. The “wall” mentioned (expressed in a private letter, no less) was meant as a barrier to the Government interfering, not as a barrier to Government being influenced by religious ideas, or people who follow religious ideas. In short, it does NOT mean that religious ideas or ideals be totally separate from the things of Government, or that Government has the right to take down crosses in schools in a country that was founded on the very religion that the cross represents.

    The current reading of the 1st amendment does not prohibit religion influencing government it merely requires that any law passed have a secular purpose and that its primary effect not be to promote or inhibit religion. Public schools promoting religion violates this requirement. Religion is a matter between you and your imaginary God. Do what you will with your own time and with your own resources, but the 1st amendment says that you should not have the government promote it on your behalf using my taxes.

    Moreover, the United States was not founded on religion, it was founded on discontent with being taxed by Britain. The 1st amendment, among other rights, was adopted only four years after the constitution so it is disingenuous to suggest that the US was founded as a religious nation. Religious liberty and secularism were clearly ideals that existed from the start though it is fair to say that these ideals were not consistently applied until the 1st amendment was incorporated under the 14th amendment. But to say that such a state of affairs means the 1st amendment is not supposed to apply to the states is kinda like saying that “all men are created equal” doesn’t apply to black people because slavery persisted for another century afterwards.


    A large proportion of the early settlers of this country came here from Europe to escape the bondage of laws which compelled them to support and attend government-favored churches. The centuries immediately before and contemporaneous with the colonization of America had been filled with turmoil, civil strife and persecutions, generated in large part by established sects determined to maintain their absolute political and religious supremacy. With the power of government supporting them, at various times and places, Catholics had persecuted Protestants, Protestants had persecuted Catholics, Protestant sects had persecuted other Protestant sects, Catholics of one shade of belief had persecuted Catholics of another shade of belief, and all of these had from time to time persecuted Jews. In efforts to force loyalty to whatever religious group happened to be on top and in league with the government of a particular time and place, men and women had been fined, cast in jail, cruelly tortured, and killed. Among the offenses for which these punishments had been inflicted were such things as speaking disrespectfully of the views of ministers of government-established churches, non-attendance at those churches, expressions of nonbelief in their doctrines, and failure to pay taxes and tithes to support them. [Footnote 5]

    These practices of the old world were transplanted to, and began to thrive in, the soil of the new America. The very charters granted by the English Crown to the individuals and companies designated to make the laws which would control the destinies of the colonials authorized these individuals and companies to erect religious establishments which all, whether believers or nonbelievers, would be required to support and attend. [Footnote 6] An exercise of this authority was accompanied by a repetition of many of the old-world practices and persecutions. Catholics found themselves hounded and proscribed because of their faith; Quakers who followed their conscience went to jail; Baptists were peculiarly obnoxious to certain dominant Protestant sects; men and women of varied faiths who happened to be in a minority in a particular locality were persecuted because they steadfastly persisted in worshipping God only as their own consciences dictated. [Footnote 7] And all of these dissenters were compelled to pay tithes and taxes [Footnote 8] to support government-sponsored churches whose ministers preached inflammatory sermons designed to strengthen and consolidate the established faith by generating a burning hatred against dissenters.

    These practices became so commonplace as to shock the freedom-loving colonials into a feeling of abhorrence. [Footnote 9] The imposition of taxes to pay ministers’ salaries and to build and maintain churches and church property aroused their indignation. [Footnote 10] It was these feelings which found expression in the First Amendment. No one locality and no one group throughout the Colonies can rightly be given entire credit for having aroused the sentiment that culminated in adoption of the Bill of Rights’ provisions embracing religious liberty. But Virginia, where the established church had achieved a dominant influence in political affairs and where many excesses attracted wide public attention, provided a great stimulus and able leadership for the movement. The people there, as elsewhere, reached the conviction that individual religious liberty could be achieved best under a government which was stripped of all power to tax, to support, or otherwise to assist any or all religions, or to interfere with the beliefs of any religious individual or group.

    The movement toward this end reached its dramatic climax in Virginia in 1785-86 when the Virginia legislative body was about to renew Virginia’s tax levy for the support of the established church. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison led the fight against this tax. Madison wrote his great Memorial and Remonstrance against the law. [Footnote 11] In it, he eloquently argued that a true religion did not need the support of law; that no person, either believer or nonbeliever, should be taxed to support a religious institution of any kind; that the best interest of a society required that the minds of men always be wholly free, and that cruel persecutions were the inevitable result of government-established religions.

    http://supreme.justia.com/us/330/1/case.html

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  58. eszett (2,426 comments) says:

    Really, Fletch? You cannot tell good from bad without consulting your imaginary friend? How sad.

    So is God’s view on morality is objective?

    Definition of objective:

    1. existing independently of perception or an individual’s conceptions.
    2. undistorted by emotion or personal bias

    Hence morality is something independant from God.

    The age old question:

    Is something moral because God commands it or does God command it because it’s moral?

    You can’t have it both ways.

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  59. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    Fletch (2,286) Says:
    January 11th, 2012 at 11:59 am

    You have no ground for any ethics then. Agreement of opinion is nothing more than an ad populum fallacy. Any ‘yardstick’ you may have for morality is subjective and therefore can’t be considered to be a yardstick, which is an objective standard.

    Without divine authority, we have no logical basis for the promotion of any value system, no matter what we think of that system. I’m not so much concerned with the definition of ‘good’ as I am with an objective standard. The standard of morality cannot have an objective reality without divine authority.

    If there is no God, then no man is in a position to force his opinion of morality upon another. One man’s subjective view of morality is equal to another man’s equally subjective view of morality. Thus, there is no reason to believe in any morality just because another man tells you that it is good.

    It would take an authority that was above having only a subjective view of morality to legislate that morality. God’s view of morality is objective, not subjective.

    Not so. :)

    I accept that moral values, or “yardsticks”, such as “life” and “liberty”, are subjective. However, a secular ethics can be considered objective in terms of the relationship between principles of action, i.e. rules governing our behaviour, and whether or not in reality those rules uphold the moral values chosen by man.

    Such an ethical system is objective because although man chooses what he values and his goals in life, reality dictates that in order to achieve those values and goals man must abide by a rational code of ethics which will in reality achieve what is intended. If he does not then nature will take its course.

    I do not agree that “divine authority” provides a logical basis for morality. That which does not appear to exist, and is only assumed to exist on the basis of faith, does not provide a logical basis for morality. Even if he does exist, the rules such an entity devised are not known to you, you merely think you know them based on your faith in a book. Arguing this as a logical basis for morality is no more reasonable than arguing that voices in my head are messages from God and therefore give a logical basis for my morality.

    The set of ideas for which one can have faith in are infinite. Therefore there is no logical reason to choose your fairy tales over that of any other religion, or non-religion.

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  60. Fletch (6,479 comments) says:

    Is something moral because God commands it or does God command it because it’s moral?

    eszett, it is the former, something is moral because God commands it. God is not only Love (with a capital L) He is Justice (with a capital J).

    The morals of men change. God is unchangeable. Human morals change over time, and not only over time; they change from culture to culture. The Mayans believed in child sacrifice. They believed it was morally right.

    I’m sure Hitler believed that what he was doing was right. And what if he had won the war? And imposed his Aryan theology on the whole world. Killed anyone who did not subscribe to his world view, and let’s say eventually the whole world becomes Aryan, and that becomes the new “Moral”. is it really though? As I said, might does not make right, nor does agreement of opinion.

    Abortion used to be seen my men as immoral and illegal. Now it is legal. Slavery used to be seen as legal, now it is not.
    Was humanity wrong in the past about those things, or are they right now? And why? Perhaps we are wrong now and they were right.

    Again, majority rule is an ad populum fallacy; so is rule by force, because might does not make right. When we throw a person in jail because he has robbed a house, he is being imprisoned because of another man’s opinion that stealing is wrong. Once again, the opinion in question concerns a subjective reality and is, therefore, purely subjective and a matter of preference. Our entire justice system becomes illusory.

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  61. Fletch (6,479 comments) says:

    Weihana, as far as Christianity and the Bible go; Jesus confirmed his Authority by the miracles he did, not least by rising from the dead. He proved it. There are witnesses, and those testimonies have come down to us through the ages. I believe the truth of them. Perhaps you do not care enough to look into the veracity of the claims of the Christian religion. But the truth is there for those who search.

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  62. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    Fletch,

    Do I need to point out the obvious? That YOU weren’t around 2000 years ago, that YOU did not witness these supposed miracles, that YOU do not know these supposed witnesses, that YOU are not able to question these witnesses, that YOU are not able to verify their claims etc.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and fairy tales passed down through the ages does not constitute such evidence.

    Innocent men have been executed on more credible evidence than you have for your religion.

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  63. Fletch (6,479 comments) says:

    Weihana, YOU did not know Caeser either, and he was never videoed or photographed, yet you believe the written claims of witnesses.
    Unfortunately, there was no video then. Witness accounts are all we have for these and other historical events.
    For example, in John 19, a witness watches the crucifixion and the blood and water flowing from Jesus’ side, and he says,

    The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.

    That was all we had to go on in those days; the testimony of those who were there, saw, and passed it on.

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  64. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    Fletch,

    Indeed I didn’t know Caeser, but the actions attributed to him are not extraordinary as compared to what you believe Jesus did. Nothing Caeser supposedly did required the suspension of the known laws of the Universe.

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  65. Fletch (6,479 comments) says:

    Weihana, and yet Christians even today believe miracles occur. People being miraculously healed and other events where the laws of the universe are suspended. You may pooh-pooh the idea, but they do occur. Ian Wishart devoted an article in Investigate one year to various miracles, one of them even taking place at Starship Children’s Hospital.

    Some people though, even if a miracle occurred to them, will try and explain it away. If God appeared to you personally, I’m sure you’d try and explain it away?

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  66. Bob R (1,386 comments) says:

    ***» is anti-immigration (“to the right of most Republicans” says Vodka Pundit Steve Green);***

    No he isn’t. He actually favours amnesty for illegals!

    In any case, low skill immigration from Mexico is a disaster for the US. The subsequent generations do not perform as well as the average european american and the US will lose economic competitiveness as a result. This is already a major problem in California.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112167023

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  67. LabourDoesntWork (291 comments) says:

    “Anti-immigration”? What does open borders have to do with Libertarianism? Sounds like one-worlderism; certainly it shows no regard for the US Constitution, national borders, the interests of US citizens over and above non-Americans, or for the respect Ron Paul has for limited, lawful immigration.
    PC might care to read this. (From a fellow libertarian.)
    http://voxday.blogspot.com/2012/01/cost-of-immigration.html

    Also: predicating a libertarian position on a pro-abortion stance preassumes the non-personhood of the unborn. For the libertarian who does not hold to that, a pro-life position is the only one that upholds the most fundamental right: that of life. Btw Roe v Wade is the “ultimate State tyranny” because it invented a right to abortion that wasn’t in the Constitution (based on “penumbras and emanations” – see Griswold v. Connecticut for the Constitution-shredding precedent) and overturned all 50 states’ laws on the issue.

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  68. LabourDoesntWork (291 comments) says:

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and fairy tales passed down through the ages does not constitute such evidence.

    I think you just “begged the question” twice in one sentence. Wanna go for three?

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  69. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    # Fletch (2,290) Says:
    January 11th, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Weihana, and yet Christians even today believe miracles occur. People being miraculously healed and other events where the laws of the universe are suspended. You may pooh-pooh the idea, but they do occur. Ian Wishart devoted an article in Investigate one year to various miracles, one of them even taking place at Starship Children’s Hospital.

    Some people though, even if a miracle occurred to them, will try and explain it away. If God appeared to you personally, I’m sure you’d try and explain it away?

    Show me proof of a person miraculously having an amputated limb grow back. Unfortunately I suspect God hates amputees.

    You’re right, I do pooh-pooh the idea because it is stupid. If God wished to prove his existence to me I would expect him to do something godly. The clouds would part and a light would shine and a giant would descend from the heavens. Surely he wouldn’t appear in a piece of toast or a shadow on a wall or anything of the sort that usually serves as “proof” in the eyes of believers.

    People see what they want to see. They are religious, they pray, their sick loved one gets better… it’s a miracle! Medical science can’t yet explain so many things about how things work and mystics latch on to the unknown as if just because something can’t quite be explained that it must be God. This logic is so utterly ridiculous it is a wonder how anyone possessing more than two brain cells could possibly entertain it.

    I am open minded and if God demonstrated his existence to me I wouldn’t deny it. But alas he hasn’t and I don’t believe he has revealed himself to anyone else either. People claiming they have are usually just trying to run a scam and part naive people from the cash in their wallet. If he exists he certainly does not reveal himself and to think that he acts to save your own loved one from a terrible illness while he stands idly by as millions of people die all over the world is an indicator of extreme arrogance. It’s typical of people who think they are just sooo special and important that god acts for them but not for others.

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  70. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    Weihana…

    I am open minded and if God demonstrated his existence to me I wouldn’t deny it.

    On what physical basis (ie, physicality – dimension, motion, momentum, energy, etc,…) is your being open minded about it that you based that on? If you eliminate all those physical observables then sorry, your being open minded is no more than wishful thinking.

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  71. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    Falafulu Fisi,

    I cannot make sense of your question.

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  72. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    Even after your edit I don’t understand the question.

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  73. Fletch (6,479 comments) says:

    Weihana, I think he is asking what criteria you would need in order to believe. eg, what manifestation would be enough that you would not deem it simply a scientific curiosity or a naturally explained occurance.

    As for miracles, have you heard of the Miracle of the Holy Fire? It takes place every year in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the place where Jesus has supposed to have died. It has taken place every year since the forth century.

    “I enter the tomb and kneel in holy fear in front of the place where Christ lay after His death and where He rose again from the dead… (narrates Orthodox Patriarch Diodor – ed.). I find my way through the darkness towards the inner chamber in which I fall on my knees. Here I say certain prayers that have been handed down to us through the centuries and, having said them, I wait. Sometimes I may wait a few minutes, but normally the miracle happens immediately after I have said the prayers. From the core of the very stone on which Jesus lay an indefinable light pours forth. It usually has a blue tint, but the colour may change and take many different hues. It cannot be described in human terms. The light rises out of the stone as mist may rise out of a lake — it almost looks as if the stone is covered by a moist cloud, but it is light. This light each year behaves differently. Sometimes it covers just the stone, while other times it gives light to the whole sepulchre, so that people who stand outside the tomb and look into it will see it filled with light. The light does not burn — I have never had my beard burnt in all the sixteen years I have been Patriarch in Jerusalem and have received the Holy Fire. The light is of a different consistency than normal fire that burns in an oil lamp… At a certain point the light rises and forms a column in which the fire is of a different nature, so that I am able to light my candles from it. When I thus have received the flame on my candles, I go out and give the fire first to the Armenian Patriarch and then to the Coptic. Hereafter I give the flame to all people present in the Church.”

    While the patriarch is inside the chapel kneeling in front of the stone, there is darkness but far from silence outside. One hears a rather loud mumbling, and the atmosphere is very tense. When the Patriarch comes out with the two candles lit and shining brightly in the darkness, a roar of jubilee resounds in the Church.[2]

    http://www.holyfire.org/eng/

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  74. Scott Chris (6,176 comments) says:

    Weihana says:- “I am open minded and if God demonstrated his existence to me I wouldn’t deny it.”

    Hmm, well, it depends what you are expecting (or not) to see. What if ‘everything’ is God?

    Omnipresent, self aware, intelligent, interventionist, possibly infinite, unfathomable.

    Ticks all the boxes. Hi Weihana. I’m God. So are you :mrgreen:

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

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  75. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    Fletch (2,291) Says:
    January 11th, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Weihana, I think he is asking what criteria you would need in order to believe. eg, what manifestation would be enough that you would not deem it simply a scientific curiosity or a naturally explained occurance.

    That would be like asking what is sufficient to convict someone of murder. Sufficiency of evidence to prove something, other than a formal proof, is very much dependent upon the specific thing being considered. For instance, if there’s a flying spaghetti monster in space somewhere then I would expect to see such a monster, made of spaghetti, doing the things he is claimed to do.

    The problem I suppose with many conceptions of “God” is that it is defined in a nonsensical and meaningless way. For instance, people talk of God as infinite etc. So I suppose in that case the “manifestation” would have to be of someone infinite though this hardly makes any sense.


    As for miracles, have you heard of the Miracle of the Holy Fire? It takes place every year in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the place where Jesus has supposed to have died. It has taken place every year since the forth century.

    Looks like a fraud to me.

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  76. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    Scott Chris,


    Hmm, well, it depends what you are expecting (or not) to see. What if ‘everything’ is God?

    That to me just sounds like someone has a fascination with the word “God” and that if we define something observable as “God” then somehow the word “God” has meaning. But to me, even if we call everything “God”, things still behave as they behaved before. Light still acts like light even though we now define it as a part of “God”. Essentially the term “God” in that sense confers no new meaning or knowledge and is superfluous to requirements.

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  77. Scott Chris (6,176 comments) says:

    Weihana says:- “things still behave as they behaved before”

    Quite so. Still, as far as fitting a non anthropic description for what God might be, the universe really does fit the bill.

    And if it helps me come to terms with my existential angst, then I will continue to draw comfort from calling everything God.

    Otherwise life is meaningless. You may be familiar with the Anthropic Principle:

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

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  78. chiz (1,164 comments) says:

    Fletch:Actually, my ideas of ethics are based on the Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ – an actual historical figure whose existence is proven and whose teachings have been passed down in the same Bible.

    Nope. There is still no credible extrabiblical evidence that the Jesus of the Bible ever existed. We do on the other hand have evidence, from christian sources ironically, that the large parts of the New Testament were made up.

    There are witnesses, and those testimonies have come down to us through the ages. I believe the truth of them

    Those testamonies also blatantly contradict each other and themselves.

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  79. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    Weihana, I’m close minded about existence of God, simply because it is not a physical entity characterized by physical observables as I listed in my previous message. The notion of God has no dimension (ie, it’s purported to have zero or infinite length/area/volume, etc,…). It exists at all places at all time. It is here and there simultaneously. Events at A and B are instantaneous (in religious language), which is means that causation is out the window. Effects dont seem to have causes.

    I’m open minded about Global Warming since it is a physical process (energy, momentum, conservation, blah, blah, blah,…). However, I can’t be open minded about existence of God, since it is not physical. It only exists in our cognition but not outside as in physical world independent of our consciousness. So, this is why I quizzed you in your keeness to be open minded about the existence of an entity that has no physicality at all. In other words, I’m suggesting that you should be closed minded, because entity as God proposed by its believers is physically untestable. How are you going to setup a physical apparatus to conduct experiment to detect God? Doe he (God) have weight, if so, then how heavy? Does it have a length/area/volume? If so, how tall is God, or how wide or how big is its frame? A physical apparatus is there to measure those physical relational concepts & physical attributes of real objects, but it can’t quantify or measure the non-physicality of such entity as God because there is no known physicality of it at all.

    The only equipment to test God is via prayer and the proponents will say that God told them to relay messages to you saying that he loves you. That’s it. The apparatus is a human and not some sophisticated electronic machine.

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  80. scrubone (3,103 comments) says:

    What I meant was that the 1st amendment prohibited the federal government from establishing a state religion and that it was enacted not because they just couldn’t choose which national religion they wanted, but because they recognized the evils that inevitably followed from establishing a national religion.

    Yes, that’s the commonly believed fairy tale.

    What I, and others here, are telling you is that is demonstrably not true due to the fact that many of the colonies *already* had national religions. Remember, originally the 13 colonies were self governing. The original model of the federal government was that states had the power.

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  81. Fletch (6,479 comments) says:

    Looks like a fraud to me.

    Check out the many videos and photos on the link there tho. The fire does not damage believers when they hold it to their faces, hair, necks, hands etc…

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  82. Fletch (6,479 comments) says:

    chiz, there is no self-respecting historian or archaeologist worth their salt who will tell you that Jesus did not exist. Even if they do not believe He was God, they at least believe that he existed. I don’t believe that you have honestly looked into the matter. You are parroting some Atheist shibboleth.

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  83. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    I said:
    Interesting to see how much attention we pay to the US position on the separation of Church and State, while the gradual introduction of a State Endorsed religion in New Zealand (and one which imposed this set of religious beliefs on all citizens through legislation and regulation) goes largely unnoticed and is certainly seldom raised as an election issue.

    mikenmild (2,817) Says:
    January 11th, 2012 at 12:07 pm
    Owen McShane @11.11am
    To which religion are you referring?

    The animist Pacific Religion which is written into all our legislation – and especially the RMA Plans which talk about “the Maori view of the World”. IF you want to register a new chemical for use in NZ one has to ensure it does not interfere with the Life Force or Mauri of the soil, water and air. How can any scientist give that assurance when science has long proven there is no life force?

    This set of religious beliefs is disguised as “culture” and worse we are consistently told “Maori believe ….” whereas the Maori I know reject this either because they object in principle (like saying “Irish are Catholics”) or because they are Christians (Ratana, Mormon or whatever)

    How does this slip by. Imagine if a district Plan said “Pakeha believe in ……” and rattled of Genesis or whatever.,

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  84. eszett (2,426 comments) says:

    eszett, it is the former, something is moral because God commands it.

    So it’s completely arbitrary, He could have made up anything. He could have said Slavery is good and Paedophilia is a virtue. And you’d be buying slaves and screwing children.

    God is not only Love (with a capital L) He is Justice (with a capital J).

    Now you are just making stuff up. What does that even mean? It’s completely nonsensical.

    The morals of men change. God is unchangeable.

    How so? As you claimed Gods morals are subjective, so he can change them any time as he wishes

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  85. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    Falafulu Fisi (1,628) Says:
    January 11th, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I see your point. If it is non physical then it is nonsensical and untestable. I would also say that it must not exist since existence is physical.

    But despite the non-physical attributes given to “God” I wonder if there could exist an entity that is physical and which does god-like things such as create universes, make rules for sentient beings to follow etc. Of course any theory of God is meaningless unless one can come up with a way to objectively test the theory that doesn’t involve prayer, supposed miracles and other such nonsense. Yet again I’m left with the question of what would it take to convince me of a God if any physical manifestation could simply be attributed to other natural causes (fraud, tricks, hallucinations etc.).

    I suppose what I am open minded about is that there are things I don’t know and that I am willing to consider any intelligible argument that could convince me of the possibility of a God and evidence which might demonstrate his existence.

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  86. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    Fletch (2,294) Says:
    January 11th, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Looks like a fraud to me.

    Check out the many videos and photos on the link there tho.

    What could this prove? Should I provide you a video of David Copperfield flying through the air? Does this convince you that some people can fly?

    If there really was something to this “miracle” then what’s with the smoke and mirrors? Why not have competent, renowned scientists test the miracle? Or will God get scared and run away when any objective observer shows up?

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  87. Scott Chris (6,176 comments) says:

    Weihana says:- “must not exist since existence is physical.”

    That is an erroneous assumption. A thought exists, but it is not physical.

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  88. eszett (2,426 comments) says:

    Scott,

    How come? How do you know that?
    A thought is very much physical. There is evidence of it.

    There is absolutely no evidence that it is not physical.

    The assumption is yours and errorneous to boot

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  89. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    # scrubone (1,023) Says:
    January 11th, 2012 at 6:28 pm


    What I, and others here, are telling you is that is demonstrably not true due to the fact that many of the colonies *already* had national religions. Remember, originally the 13 colonies were self governing. The original model of the federal government was that states had the power.

    True they already had national religions which caused the kind of things that the Supreme Court mentioned:


    “The centuries immediately before and contemporaneous with the colonization of America had been filled with turmoil, civil strife and persecutions, generated in large part by established sects determined to maintain their absolute political and religious supremacy. With the power of government supporting them, at various times and places, Catholics had persecuted Protestants, Protestants had persecuted Catholics, Protestant sects had persecuted other Protestant sects, Catholics of one shade of belief had persecuted Catholics of another shade of belief, and all of these had from time to time persecuted Jews. In efforts to force loyalty to whatever religious group happened to be on top and in league with the government of a particular time and place, men and women had been fined, cast in jail, cruelly tortured, and killed.”

    So yes the colonies were founded as religious nations. But the creation of the United States and the adoption of the constitution and bill of rights was a turning point where more sensible ideals gained the ascendancy.

    I don’t see how it can be argued that the 1st amendment was designed to protect the state-sanctioned religious intolerance and persecution that already existed even if, at the time, its provisions were not extended to regulate state governments.

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  90. Scott Chris (6,176 comments) says:

    Well eszett, here’s how I see it. A physical entity is something that can be described by the theories of classical mechanics, or quantum mechanics, and experimented upon with physical instruments.

    Certainly you can detect electrical impulses in the brain, but the thought itself is purely abstract and subjective. And you have to say, a thought appears to exist by consensus.

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  91. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    Scott Chris,

    I agree with eszett, thoughts are very much physical. They exist in the brain and can be manipulated by physical means.

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  92. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    Scott Chris,

    I consider that the electrical impulses and the thought are the same thing. If those impulses are changed by drugs, magnetic fields, physical impacts, then the thought changes. At the extreme a brain can be completely destroyed thereby destroying the thoughts within it.

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  93. Scott Chris (6,176 comments) says:

    Weihana, what is the substance of a thought?

    Put it this way. Picture a naked lady. Does she have substance?

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  94. Manolo (14,018 comments) says:

    Picture a naked lady. Does she have substance?

    Plenty. If Polly(wog) is the lady (sorry for the stretch), there will be 150 kilos of hefty substance.

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  95. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    Scott Chris,

    A thought is made up of whatever the brain is composed of. I don’t know exactly how all of this works but it is evident that thoughts have physical origins of some sort.

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  96. Scott Chris (6,176 comments) says:

    Weihana says: – “physical origins”

    That much I agree with, but it contradicts your original assertion. Really, it’s a very old Platonic argument:

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

    One major difference between the physical and the metaphysical worlds is the degree of subjectivity.

    But nothing is as simple as it seems. Even the penultimate sentence in this post.

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  97. Weihana (4,583 comments) says:

    Scott Chris,

    :)

    What I should have said is that I consider thoughts and their physical origins to be the same thing. So they don’t really originate from something physical, rather the brain and the thoughts in it are the same physical object.

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  98. chiz (1,164 comments) says:

    Fletch:chiz, there is no self-respecting historian or archaeologist worth their salt who will tell you that Jesus did not exist. Even if they do not believe He was God, they at least believe that he existed. I don’t believe that you have honestly looked into the matter. You are parroting some Atheist shibboleth.

    The best that can be said is that there might have been a teacher or wise man or political revolutionary called Jesus. That’s as far as the evidence goes. There is no evidence that conclusively shows he exists. And there is none that supports the biblical claims about him working miracles or coming back to life etc.

    And yes, unlike you, I have looked into the matter. Try reading some real historians or archeologists not some christian pseudoscholars.

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  99. chiz (1,164 comments) says:

    Weihana:Yet again I’m left with the question of what would it take to convince me of a God if any physical manifestation could simply be attributed to other natural causes (fraud, tricks, hallucinations etc.).

    You also need to consider the possibility that some other religion might be true. If God appears in front in you and talks to you it could be (a) true, (b) a hallucination, (c) Loki, trying to deceive you and thereby deprive Odin of a another follower, etc.

    Basically it isn’t possible for there to be empirical evidence in support of any one religion in particular since there is always at least one other system of religious belief that could also explain that evidence.

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  100. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    So, once again let’s talk about any theoretical unresolvable issue rather than the reality that New Zealand now has a State Endorsed religion being use to restrain our freedoms and rights.
    I suppose it is easier because we cannot be expected to have personal responsibility for what happened in the US in Jeffersonian days while facing up to real-politic in New Zealand requires some measure of personal responsibility which we tend to avoid like the plague.

    And don’t blame regular Maori. They are as angry as anyone.

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  101. mikenmild (11,567 comments) says:

    It would be helpful to cite some examples of state-endorsed religion in NZ and how that is affecting freedoms. Links would be good.

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  102. Kimble (4,442 comments) says:

    I do not understand how theists can write out any sentence that says “things are moral because God said so” and another that says “morality is objective” and not implode with nonsensicalness.

    Take everything the Christian has to believe in order for their god to exist and replace every reference to God with Chuck Norris to really appreciate what a joke the religion is.

    It works the other way too,
    God can divide by zero.
    Gods tears can cure amputees, unfortunately he never cries.
    God doesnt do push ups, he makes the world do push downs.

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  103. Kimble (4,442 comments) says:

    You would think that some reference to this would be found outside the Bible,

    The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

    This is in their book.

    When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

    Surely?

    You dont have to be gullible to be a Christian… actually, I think you do.

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  104. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    milkenmild

    When did you last read a District Plan. or the co Management Plan for the Waikato River, or the HASNO Act.
    Why has our clinical trial business virtually died out. Have a look at the Testing regime?

    Did you not notice the Taniwha problem on SH1?

    And the new one in front of the proposed rail tunnel?

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  105. mikenmild (11,567 comments) says:

    Yes Owen, but you were talking about state endorsement of a religion. I think there is a distinction, and an important, one between that and acknowledgment of cultural perspectives.

    I was interested in your comment about district plans though, so looked at Lower Hutt’s (my home town). It has a cha[pter on ‘Resource Management and the Tanagata Whenua of Lower Hutt. I don’t take anything in that to be a religios endorsement – again, there is acknowledgement of the importance of culturals beliefs to Maori.

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  106. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    So when does a cultural belief become a religious belief.
    IF you are asked to consult with Iwi to ensure your proposed medicine does not affect the Mauri of the land water and air or challenge what evidence can you provide about the effect of the “life force”. Anyhow what offends so many Maori I know is that these chapters assume that all Maori share the one set of beliefs. And that is pure racism.
    As John Tamihere has pointed out. Do we assume all Scots are Presbytarian?

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  107. mikenmild (11,567 comments) says:

    Owen
    A religious belief is a cultural belief.

    Your original point was that about “the US position on the separation of Church and State” and the “gradual introduction of a State Endorsed religion in New Zealand”.

    We don’t really have the same constitutional position as the US re church and state. While there is no established religion, neither do we have the same explicit prohibitions as apply in America.

    I’m not worried about the validity of cultural beliefs provided that they do no harm.

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