Quit excluding religion

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The recent give-and-take on President Obama’s mandate for Christian groups to provide abortion and contraception, and presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s stand on other social issues, has brought out again the church-state issue. However, the most powerful force for religion in American is once again getting a free ride – public education.

“What?” you say. “Public education does not teach religion.” I beg to differ. Christians are regularly denied their civil rights to free speech on school and college campuses, while atheism is taught to the point of indoctrination for 12 years to those who graduate high school and 16 or more years for those who graduate college or higher. This denial and indoctrination is a double whammy in favor of turning out students with no moral values other than the religion of the state. (Oh, by the way, more than once the “infallible” Supreme Court has declared atheism a religion.)

It is well-documented that secularists in the 19th century planned the takeover of the schools for these purposes. They have greatly succeeded.

I am not sure that our country has a future other than totalitarianism with these self-absorbed, government-dependent and devoid-of-values graduates of government schools. Praise God there are many exceptions. And parents, day-by-day and year-by-year, keep sending their children for this indoctrination.

Many of our Founding Fathers told us repeatedly that our nation could not survive without the personal ethics of a biblical faith. Yet, officially in our schools and in our government, we de facto have the opposite – an official state religion. We deserve what we get in social and government justice for allowing this situation.

Ed Payne, M.D.

Augusta

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faithson
5525
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faithson 02/29/12 - 11:30 pm
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Ed, I hope your feeling

Ed, I hope your feeling better and can make that appt. with the boys downtown next time... can't think of a better candidate to sit around with and discuss the pressing issues of our times.......

willie7
1047
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willie7 02/29/12 - 11:43 pm
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Doctor Payne,our country will
Unpublished

Doctor Payne,our country will be OK. Actually it is better today than than it was 100 years ago, because we have extended freedom to almost all.

ultrarnr
944
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ultrarnr 02/29/12 - 11:53 pm
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Maybe to conspiracy theory DR
Unpublished

Maybe to conspiracy theory DR should take a trip to Athens and observe just how many religous groups are floating around campus. I have sent my kids to college so they can learn critical thinking. Somehow I missed the part of American history where the "secularists" took over the schools. Could someone give me the source material for this paranoid allegation?

specsta
7137
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specsta 03/01/12 - 01:36 am
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The problem with the doctor's

The problem with the doctor's summation is that he is only embracing "biblical" faith as the only option for religious discussion. Let us not forget that there are many world religions and faiths.

If the writer feels that religious matters should be discussed, why not discuss Taoism, Buddhism, Shinto, Sikhism, Islam, Baha'i, Rastafarianism or Scientology? Once you introduce a belief that religion has a place in the classroom based on "moral" grounds - whose morals and beliefs do you embrace? Choose one or the other and you do a disservice to those that do not embrace that particular religion.

Religion belongs at home and in your place of worship - not in the schools where critical thinking must take place.

skeptic griggsy
39
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skeptic griggsy 03/01/12 - 01:56 am
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Ed,you need help! We
Unpublished

Ed,you need help! We secularists had great teachers in Jefferson and Madison. No such conspiracy exists. Do you think that the Illuminati started all this? Do the Bilderbrgers have a role.Your second paragraph revels in a falsehood. Atheism is no more a religion that baldness is a hair color.
specsta,of course.
Everyone else, yes.
Ed, Google lamberth's naturalistic arguments about God to see the anti-Christ at work. And Lamberth plays no role in any conspiracy!
Ed, have a nice spring equinox [Easter -Astarte].

Jon Lester
2480
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Jon Lester 03/01/12 - 03:33 am
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Social policy is best decided
Unpublished

Social policy is best decided on a rational basis, and therefore should not be informed by religion.

TParty
6004
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TParty 03/01/12 - 08:36 am
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Atheism is taught? Atheism is

Atheism is taught? Atheism is not a belief system. Atheism is not a religion. Atheism is a lack of belief in gods.

The increasingly educated youth is turning away from religion because it is difficult for a truly educated mind to accept a jealous and needy deities, talking snakes, magical prophets, demons, devils and threats of eternal torment in a land of fire as truth. And just to get ahead of the Christians who say the Old Testament is all allegory and you don't have to take the word of god literally from the Old Testament, well Christianity is on the same plane as the other myths as every other religion. The belief that a cosmic Jewish zombie who is his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and drink his blood, while telepathically telling him that you can accept him as your master, so that he can remove an evil force from your soul which is present in all of humanity because of a woman made of one rib bone and mound of dirt was tricked into eating fruit from a magical tree by a talking snake…

You know, I think that would be enough for everyone to stop and give pause to this.... It's just weird to believe that God sacrificed himself, to himself, to appease himself, to change a rule that he made in the first place.  So he won't have to roast us alive, his beloved creation, for ever and ever.  He loves us so much, we cannot even comprehend, but if we don't love him back, he will put our soul into the molten lava jacuzzi for all eternity. Come on....

"God is ever receding pocket of scientific ignorance that gets small and smaller as time goes on"

-Neil Degrasse Tyson

TParty
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TParty 03/01/12 - 08:43 am
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"If the writer feels that

"If the writer feels that religious matters should be discussed, why not discuss Taoism, Buddhism, Shinto, Sikhism, Islam, Baha'i, Rastafarianism or Scientology?"

Christians don't care about that, they just want their religion forced onto everyone. That's why they are calling it a win that the Ten Commandments are now allowed in public court rooms, but no other religious basic tenets are hanging up there! I posted this part in that article:

Well, so long as other religious laws are hanging with it, I don't see a problem. Hopefully the Buddhist Five Precepts can be added. I think we can agree on 4 out of the 5 no problem. Hinduism is among the oldest of the world's faiths, and thus should not be excluded.

No other religion should be excluded.

desertcat6
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desertcat6 03/01/12 - 09:01 am
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"Social policy is best

"Social policy is best decided on a rational basis, and therefore should not be informed by religion."

So Judeo-Christian values have no place in social policy? They're just the basis for the ethics and morals upon which our country was founded, and the laws upon which our laws are based.

If rational thought rules why should SS, MEDICARE, and other social welfare programs exist? There is nothing rational in letting the government support those who can't support themselves. If anything, bankrupting our country to sustain these program is irrational, and balancing the budget would be rational with everyone paying a fair share - same rates no minimum income.

Rationally, my taxes shouldn't be used to pay for the medical care of citizens who damage their health through the excessive use of drugs, booze or smokes. The same applies for those whose weight results from gluttony, or get a disease from self gratifying sexual activity.

Little Lamb
49001
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Little Lamb 03/01/12 - 09:06 am
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2
Desertcat deserves the award

Desertcat deserves the award for quote of the day:

There is nothing rational in letting the government support those who can't support themselves.

I wholeheartedly agree.

howcanweknow
2307
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howcanweknow 03/01/12 - 09:11 am
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TParty, Wow. There's so much

TParty,
Wow. There's so much to say, but it's probably just not appropriate for this forum. The points you raise are very common, and have been addressed here so often before. So many Christians have spent hours explaining the very points you raise. I really don't have the time or inclination to give you a point-by-point rebuttal for all misinformation you have.

Let me just say that you have practically no understanding of what true Christianity is. Not to be mean at all, but you are speaking out of a profound ignorance. You have just a little knowledge, and as they say, that is a dangerous thing. If I, or anyone else on this board, can help you to better understand Christianity, I'm very happy to do so. But, this is probably not the place. You need a major overhaul in your understanding.

For starters, I'd suggest reading some of the "Case for..." books by Lee Strobel -- a former investigative atheist who studied the facts and became a Christian. So many folks have been like you -- having only a superficial knowledge of Jesus Christ that produced only cynicism and doubt. That much is clear from your words. But when you do an open and honest investigation of the facts and the real teachings of Christianity, so many change their views and become believers; I mean very highly educated folks as well who refused to sacrifice their intellectual capabilities when examining Christianity.

Man, I'd love to go on and on, but I don't think I can here. Too much to tell you. I would strongly encourage you to do an honest investigation of Christianity, and see what you find there. You might be totally surprised by what you find.....

Bruno
780
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Bruno 03/01/12 - 09:11 am
1
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"Social policy is best

"Social policy is best decided on a rational basis, and therefore should not be informed by religion."
This statement implies that those of faith are not rational. That in and of itself is irrational and false.

Personally I believe that we have allowed the interpretation of a letter to a church which was written to assuage the churches fears of government intrusion into their worship, to bend the real meaning of "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" The government telling a private citizen that he or she can not read the Bible or evangelize for whatever religion he or she chooses to while on a campus is "prohibiting the free exercise". Rational thought will lead a rational person to that conclusion.

Little Lamb
49001
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Little Lamb 03/01/12 - 09:11 am
2
3
And if I may be permitted to

And if I may be permitted to slightly alter the first sentence of Desertcat's last paragraph, I would write:

Rationally, my taxes shouldn't be used to pay for the medical care of other citizens.

Period.

desertcat6
1140
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desertcat6 03/01/12 - 09:19 am
4
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LLamb, Almost went there, but

LLamb, Almost went there, but I think its rational to pay for the medical care of veterans who served their country with honor and their injury/illness resulted in the line of duty. Compensation for their disabilities too.

Little Lamb
49001
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Little Lamb 03/01/12 - 09:27 am
3
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I can buy that, Desertcat, as

I can buy that, Desertcat, as long as we are talking line-of-duty injuries/illnesses. There are a lot of elderly veterans getting taxpayer assistance at the VA for high blood pressure and adult-onset diabetes that have nothing whatsoever to do with their two year stint in the service.

ForeverFrog
1
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ForeverFrog 03/01/12 - 09:28 am
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TParty, what an awesome

TParty, what an awesome comment!!! There's hope that there are some rational people in the CSRA. Refreshing!!!

howcanweknow
2307
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howcanweknow 03/01/12 - 09:35 am
3
3
Ignorance is not awesome.

Ignorance is not awesome. It's sad.

ForeverFrog
1
Points
ForeverFrog 03/01/12 - 09:36 am
4
4
howcanweknow, please read

howcanweknow, please read "God is not great" by Hitchens and/or "The God Delusion" by Dawkins. Or are you afraid to? FYI: I was brought up Xian but was taught to think for my self by my father.

TParty
6004
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TParty 03/01/12 - 09:45 am
4
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howcanweknow- No, I will not

howcanweknow-

No, I will not go out and read other books that explain away the bible. I've read the bible- and what I wrote sums it up.

You might go ahead and cherry pick the good parts of the bible, how Jesus taught love and caring- that's fine. Still not going to worship the book, Jesus, the holy spirit or god. I'll go ahead and take the good parts and apply to my life, but I did the same with Dr. Seuss and his books, like Horton Hears a Who. It has a great story, and great teaching. Still not going to worship the elephant or think for a moment the people of Who-ville are real.

howcanweknow
2307
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howcanweknow 03/01/12 - 09:47 am
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Taylor, as does TP, you speak

Taylor, as does TP, you speak out of ignorance too. I have read Dawkins' book. Several times. Like you and TP, Dawkins criticizes what he does not understand. This is what Dawkins, Hitchings, et al. do. Their points are derived from prejudice, not an honest investigation of Christianity.

I have read the books you suggest. In kind, would you please read the books by Stroble, or even McGraith's "The Dawkins Delusion" to see an objective and highly intelligent critique of these atheists' writings.

By the way, Christianity instructs it's follower to think and sort through the facts. There's no blind faith here.

I wish atheists would do the same.

howcanweknow
2307
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howcanweknow 03/01/12 - 09:50 am
5
4
Love it. I get criticized for

Love it. I get criticized for not reading the writings of atheists. But, then the atheists refuse to read the writings of equally intellectual Christians.

Believe me, I have thoughtfully considered both sides of the fence, and have come down firmly on the side of Christianity.

It is sad that "intellectual" atheists who demand I research the facts refuse to take their own advice.

A little hypocrisy here?

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 03/01/12 - 10:02 am
4
2
Great letter, Dr. Payne.

Great letter, Dr. Payne. Unfortunately, it appears that you have cast your pearls before the swine.

Magpie
77
Points
Magpie 03/01/12 - 10:21 am
3
2
If we must include religion

If we must include religion then we must include ALL religion, not just Christianity.

InChristLove
22485
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InChristLove 03/01/12 - 10:29 am
2
4
2 Corinthians 4:4 "Satan, who

2 Corinthians 4:4 "Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God."

Galatians 6:7 "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap."

My prayer list just increased to include some of you.

pearlthesquirrel
786
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pearlthesquirrel 03/01/12 - 10:36 am
4
4
It's too bad the people of
Unpublished

It's too bad the people of the CSRA couldn't have read my post - you know, it's "abuse warning" time. Sad, so sad. Ed Paynes letter is filled with 100x the vitiolic, venomous, virulence that was in my post and yet his "blast the secularists" letter gets printed. Hypocrisy my man, plain old hypocrisy.

museofsatie
586
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museofsatie 03/01/12 - 10:51 am
4
1
I'm just curious. Has the

I'm just curious. Has the author of this been in a college in the past, say, 15 years? I don't think he has. If he had been in one, he would see the vast amount of religious groups on campus, prayer before ceremonies, religious selections of music performed during ceremonies and concerts, etc. I attended both Brenau University and Augusta State (the former being a private but not religiously affiliated school). My husband went to (for undergrad) goes to (for grad) a school in the Texas A&M system. All three of these universities had (and have) multiple religious student organizations which never have any problems practicing their faith and trying to spread it to others; these groups also tend to be those with the highest numbers of members. There are even some people who carry crosses (not necklaces; actual large crosses) with them to school and classes at ASU every day, as a sign of their faith. I've never heard of any of them being asked by the school to not do that; if they were asked, they didn't listen and continued to bring the cross to class with them anyway.

In summary: Christians, as a whole, are most certainly not denied their rights to free speech in college. And I don't recall being taught any atheistic "religion" in elementary and middle school (quite the opposite from some of my teachers), but according to the writer here, I'm probably just too stupid and indoctrinated to know anyway. :)

And as a side note, I went to private Christian school in high school and ended up not really considering myself a Christian. A vast majority of my friends and peers at ASU when I attended went to public schools but either became or remained very devoted Christian people who are so very strong in their faith in god.

Bizkit
35538
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Bizkit 03/01/12 - 11:03 am
3
2
I've read all of Dawkin's

I've read all of Dawkin's books, The Selfish Gene, etc. First he is not a scientist (because you have a PhD in a biological science doesn't make you a scientist-I teach now so I am not a scientist but I was a researcher for 15 years and was then a scientist-I know its semantics)-he has few peer reviewed publication mostly opinionated books-like The Selfish Gene which isn't science because you can't test or falsify it. Second he has a political position as a Bright's Scholar which is dedicated to humanism. The God Delusion does a great job of attacking Creationism-Intelligent Design with science but when it comes to religion it is just his opinion (some vitriolic). Which he had to detract some statements because he offended people of faith like Francis Collins and other educated people with PhD who are also people of faith. Dawkins admits that religions are evolved "memes" thus his denial isn't based on science but a personal opinion. The science tells us that religions must serve a biological purpose and are an evolved biological trait just like the genes for blue eye color. Other memes are language, the written word, cultural phenomena. I've attended Universities and medical schools and I can't count the number of physicians I've met who are people of faith, but I can count on one hand the number of PhDs scientist who will admit to a faith. I find the dichotomy interesting since both are highly educated.

howcanweknow
2307
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howcanweknow 03/01/12 - 11:07 am
3
3
I attended a very liberal and

I attended a very liberal and highly intellectual university -- Emory. Despite the presence of a Theology school, my education was rigorous and highly secular. I appreciate this training, as it has prepared me for a solid and scholarly objective analysis of facts, data, and logic.

Because of this secular education (not in spite of this training), I am a Christian. I believe in the integrity of scripture verified by history and archeology. I believe in the witness of those earliest Christians (who knew Christ personally) who gave their lives as the ultimate testimony for the truth of their witness. I believe in the multiple 1st-century secular historical accounts which verify the basis of Christianity.

I do not believe in the intellectual integrity of modern atheists who discount Christianity without first doing a careful review and logical analysis of the facts. That's not scholarship. That's prejudice. My highly secular education taught me to judge by truth and analysis, not by supposition, prejudice, or pseudo-intellectualism.

bjphysics
36
Points
bjphysics 03/01/12 - 11:19 am
3
1
“(Oh, by the way, more than

“(Oh, by the way, more than once the “infallible” Supreme Court has declared atheism a religion.)”

As some have claimed here, people with a superficial knowledge of Christianity often make over simplified or erroneous statements regarding Christianity.

The same appears to be true in the letter regarding superficial knowledge of judicial case law. The courts have not ruled Atheism is a religion in the normal understanding of that word; the courts have ruled that “for the purposes of the First Amendment”, Atheism may be considered “equivalent” to religion; typical wording in rulings takes the form:

“Without venturing too far into the realm of the philosophical, we have suggested in the past that when a person sincerely holds beliefs dealing with issues of ‘ultimate concern’ that for her occupy a ‘place parallel to that filled by . . . God in traditionally religious persons,’ those beliefs represent her religion. …We have already indicated that atheism may be considered, in this specialized sense, a religion.”

And

“The Supreme Court has recognized atheism as equivalent to a ‘religion’ for purposes of the First Amendment on numerous occasions, most recently in McCreary County, Ky. v. American Civil Liberties Union of Ky., ___ U.S. ___, 125 S.Ct. 2722, ___ L.Ed.2d ___ (2005). The Establishment Clause itself says only that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,’ but the Court understands the reference to religion to include what it often calls ‘nonreligion.’ In McCreary County, it described the touchstone of Establishment Clause analysis as ‘the principle that the First Amendment mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.’”

Plus

“At one time it was thought that this right [referring to the right to choose one's own creed] merely proscribed the preference of one Christian sect over another, but would not require equal respect for the conscience of the infidel, the atheist, or the adherent of a non-Christian faith such as Islam or Judaism. But when the underlying principle has been examined in the crucible of litigation, the Court has unambiguously concluded that the individual freedom of conscience protected by the First Amendment embraces the right to select any religious faith or none at all.”

http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F3/419/678/617423/

howcanweknow
2307
Points
howcanweknow 03/01/12 - 11:28 am
3
3
Interesting point, Bizkit. I

Interesting point, Bizkit. I wonder if the dichotomy is related to the fact that scientists, in general, work on animals or pieces of animals: organs, tissues, cells, or even molecules. In contrast, physicians must deal with the whole human being -- physical, intellectual, and spiritual. There are no spiritual aspects to working with a strand of DNA; it is what it is. However, a human being is far more complex. Could it be that while DNA is stamped only with a nucleotide sequence, a person is stamped with the "image of God"?

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