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Ch. 8: Religious Expression and Political Life

#37: April - June 2007 (Non-Fiction)
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Chris OConnor

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Ch. 8: Religious Expression and Political Life

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Chapter 8: Religious Expression and Political LifeThis thread is for discussing Chapter 8: Religious Expression and Political Life. Use this chapter thread or create your own threads. The choice is yours. Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 4/12/07 10:40 am
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LanDroid

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Theocracy unimaginable?

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Quote:Given the diversity of religious beliefs and organizations in the United States, the presence of significant numbers of nonbelievers and nonpracticing religionists, and the firmly established constitutional underpinnings for the separation of church and state, it is difficult to imagine any circumstances in which our nation would become a theocratic state.p. 133, paperbackAgree???
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George Ricker

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Re: Theocracy unimaginable?

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I think Haiman is probably right that it's difficult to imagine a formal theocracy emerging in the United States. However, it is far from impossible to imagine a religiously controlled state, one which adorns itself in the trappings of religion and promotes a specific religion over all the rest and religion in general over non-religion. It's not hard to imagine a society in which threats and thuggery await any who dare to question religious orthodoxy or condemn its excesses. It's not hard to imagine a nation in which professions of religious piety are demanded of politicians, and those who refuse to make them need not apply, in the overwhelming majority of cases. It's not at all difficult to imagine a society in which -- on far too many issues -- the virtues of faith are extolled and the value of reason abandoned. That's the America I live in today, and I don't find it at all difficult to imagine. I find it disturbing and potentially dangerous.George http://www.godlessinamerica.com"Godlessness is not about denying the existence of nonsensical beings. It is the starting point for living life without them."Godless in America by George A. RickerEdited by: garicker  at: 7/5/07 7:35 am
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Re: Theocracy unimaginable?

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LanDroid: Agree???LanDroid, when I reread that quote the other day it struck me. I don't remember it from the last time I read this book, but these days it seems particularly poignant. George eloquently raises the once unimaginables that now seem acutely possible, if not already a reality. It seems almost probable that the U.S. could become a "theocratic state" in that religion is valued over non-religion, and where non-believers' political and legal power and representation no longer exists. Perhaps I am particularly jaded from this current administration and its SCOTUS appointments, but, as George noted, recent practices are both "disturbing and potentially dangerous." I think it is important to note that though the founding fathers were keen to keep the states from sliding into the theocracy they witnessed and experienced in Europe, they also made particular note of a state that values religion over non-religion. It wasn't just a state-endorsed brand of religion they hoped to keep from infecting the federal government, it was religion in general.Side note: I do intend to make a post about this chapter. In fact, I think it one of the most important chapters in the book. I just haven't finished reading all the caselaw that Haiman notes. I'm sorry I've slacked off in the past couple weeks, real life (good real life) has interfered. Even if this book topic gets dropped down to the archives before I have a chance to write, I'll still be adding something to this chapter thread, at least. So check back and keep posting if you want. In the meantime, I've really enjoyed and appreciated all the involvement, particularly from George and JuliantheApostate
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