What of religious freedom?

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In response to Augusta Chronicle reporter Susan McCord’s report that an anti-religion group from Wisconsin is questioning the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast (“Prayer breakfasts scrutinized,” July 7), it saddens me that any group would object to the fact that, once a month, Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver gathers with men and woman of different faiths – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – to pray for the people of this city.

Our Founding Fathers believed in God, and did not have any hesitation in referring to the Creator in our Declaration of Independence. In that document they stated, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that
all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness ... .”

Our Founding Fathers believed that true happiness is something endowed by our Creator. Our nation was founded on belief in God. The president takes his oath of office by placing his hand on the Bible, the Word of God, and ends with, “So help me God.” In our Pledge of Allegiance we say “one nation under God.” On our money is “In God We Trust.” Our Congress has a chaplain, begins each session with a prayer and provides for chaplains for the military.

As a man of faith, I want to pursue my right to true happiness. As a patriotic American, I do not hesitate to say that God has made a huge difference in my life, and, I believe, a huge difference in the life of our country. I would hope that people of faith always will be able to freely talk about our God and allow his will to direct our lives. This is a precious grace that He has given to us.

Our country was founded on this concept of religious freedom. Our Founders may have opted for a separation of church and state, but not for a separation of God and state. For a person of faith, dividing life into the sacred and the secular is a false dichotomy. There is not now, there never was and there never will be the purely secular – that is, anyone or anything that is not dependent on God.

What the Constitution guarantees is not freedom from religion but freedom of religion – freedom to practice religion. The irony – the contradiction – is that those who are pushing for freedom from religion are actually pushing their own religion, which is secular humanism. We would all be spiritually poorer if this became the established “religion” of this great land. In a country as wonderfully diverse as ours, I pray that they do not succeed.

The Rev. Jerry Ragan

Augusta

(The writer is pastor of St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church.)

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allhans
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allhans 07/10/12 - 01:39 am
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A prayer is also said before

A prayer is also said before each Congress convenes.
The group from Wisconsin, spreading their tail feathers, would turn and run if you said "BOO!".

Jon Lester
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Jon Lester 07/10/12 - 04:03 am
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As I understand it, references to God in founding documents

are meant to express of the supremacy of the law above mortal men. Also, I believe it was Jefferson who pointed out that English common law was well-established before Christianity was introduced to the British Isles.

Liberty wins
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Liberty wins 07/10/12 - 04:25 am
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Truth

Exactly! There seems to be a concerted effort to gradually change the founding principles that made America great. I believe if people researched the concept of our nation more deeply they would find that Christianity is all about freedom of choice and liberty. Although we may hate the sin, we love the sinner and you're not accountable to us but rather God. Everyone should take a careful look at the differing governing systems around the world and determine who has the most personally empowering….there's nothing more important for you to do today.

America must stand-up now for our Christian rights and history because they are in fact being changed.
http://www.wallbuilders.com/

Techfan
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Techfan 07/10/12 - 05:14 am
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The above comment is a prime

The above comment is a prime example of the many problems with the right wing of today. They call real scholars and intellectuals "elitists", while promoting hacks such as David Barton and his Wallbuilders above them. If you go to Wallbuilders, you will find a lot of religion. A whole lot of religion. What you will not find is any accurate representation of American history. Barton is a preacher, not a historian. His education credential is a BA in religious education from Oral Roberts University, nothing related to history. He makes up history to fit his narrative. If that requires using lies, distortions, and, opinion as fact, he's your guy. If you seek facts, research from primary instead of secondary sources, and true scholarly work, stay as far away from Barton as you can.

http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/politics/4589/selling_the_idea...

Techfan
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Techfan 07/10/12 - 05:29 am
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carcraft
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carcraft 07/10/12 - 07:28 am
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Jon Lester Christianity was

Jon Lester Christianity was in the British Isles long before Rome Fell. I think your history is a little Fuzzy! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_England The arrival of St Augustine tied the Christians to Rome and lead to the full Christianization of England in 600 AD. this is a quota form Wikipedia “ Since 1189, English law has been described as a common law rather than a civil law system (i.e. there has been no major codification of the law, and judicial precedents are binding as opposed to persuasive).” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_law. So it is clear to see that the full Christianization of England occurred before 1066 when William the conquer entered England and the establishment of English common law as a result around 1100’s. Maybe you could cite a source?

skeptic griggsy
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skeptic griggsy 07/10/12 - 06:48 am
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Truth
Unpublished

Techfan, why, this truth could set right-wingers free!
That God was the one of deism! Pres. Jefferson wasn't a Christian but wrongly held to Yeshua's ethic.
Google covenant morality for humanity- the presumption of humanism for a much better one! Qur'anic and Biblical ethics reflect an egregious simple morality whilst that of a Lord Russell or Michael Ruse can be a humane simple subjectivism. My covenant whilst, being objective,paradoxically includes what I call wide-reflective subjectivism where considerd judgments override ones tastes and whims.
No, liberty owes nothing to religion: it was the free thinking of the people of the Enlightment that was. Theists merely read into their scriptures that very liberty that the scriptures oppose!
I urge naturalism and humanism for that more abundant life; they are the truths that can set you free!
http://fathergriggsy.wordpress.com
http://rabbigriggsy.wordpress.com
Barton is a Liar for Yeshua! So is Duane Gish!

TrukinRanger
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TrukinRanger 07/10/12 - 06:50 am
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It doesn't matter what
Unpublished

It doesn't matter what religion (or non religion) you belong to- it should not be mixed with politics/government. - and by the way, the pledge of allegiance did not originally have "under God" in it. It was added later.

nofanofobama
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nofanofobama 07/10/12 - 07:09 am
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tech fan--our country was and

tech fan--our country was and is based on christian ehtics and laws..it is the christian ethics that gives us our freedom...to deny this is to deny all our history... but this does not mean we are a christian nation...and tech plesaseeeee my experts are as valid as your ..at least for discussion sake...after all experts are only people who agree with our views...

chascushman
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chascushman 07/10/12 - 07:12 am
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‘There seems to be a
Unpublished

‘There seems to be a concerted effort to gradually change the founding principles that made America great’
Michelle Obama said, "Barack knows that we are going to have to make sacrifices; we are going to have to change our conversation; we're going to have to change our traditions, our history; we're going to have to move into a different place as a nation."

nofanofobama
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nofanofobama 07/10/12 - 07:14 am
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and tech i do not know who

and tech i do not know who who barton is really dont care...any trip thru DC and tours such as mt. vernon etc..will show you the importance these men put on objective law not subjective law..meaning law comes from GOD not the whims of a king or queen..im so tired of the left trying to distort history to devalue GOD..

carcraft
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carcraft 07/10/12 - 07:22 am
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I read some of Tech Fans

I read some of Tech Fans references and they are as factually incorrect as he accuses Burton and Wall Builders of being. One referenced the Thomas Jefferson Danbury letter incorrectly! America was a very religious nation and we are still one of the most religious nations among the “Western Nations”! It is a fact that George Washington order a day of fasting and prayer when he took command of the Continental Army (I would like to see that tried today)! It is a fact that he founded the Chaplains Corp. It is a fact the Congress has a Chaplain. You cannot deny the influence of Christianity on the founding of American Government. Now tech fan will appreciate the fact that this is a primary source! “The Continental Congress having earnestly recommended, that "Thursday next the 20th. Instant, be observed by the Inhabitants of all the english Colonies upon this Continent, as a Day of public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer; that they may with united Hearts and Voice unfeignedly confess their Sins before God, and supplicate the all wise and merciful disposer of events, to avert the Desolation and Calamities of an unnatural war". The General orders, that Day to be religiously observed by the Forces under his Command, exactly in manner directed by the proclamation of the Continental Congress: It is therefore strictly enjoin'd on all Officers and Soldiers, (not upon duty) to attend Divine Service, at the accustomed places of worship, as well in the Lines, as the Encampments and Quarters; and it is expected, that all those who go to worship, do take their Arms, Ammunitions and Accoutrements and are prepared for immediate Action if called upon. If in the judgment of the Officers, the Works should appear to be in such forwardness as the utmost security of the Camp requires, they will command their men to abstain from all Labour upon that solemn day.” that was the order issued by George Wahsington for a day of fasting and prayer! So I sorta have to guess that much has changed in our view of religion and the Amendment prohibiting government from establishing a religion and prohibiting the free exercise thereof!

KSL
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KSL 07/10/12 - 07:32 am
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It seems to be quite

It seems to be quite important to some to attempt to obliterate any and all references to the connection the origins of our country had with Christianity.

Techfan
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Techfan 07/10/12 - 07:33 am
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“The legitimate powers of

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
“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 Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”
“Torrents of blood have been spilt in the old world, by vain attempts of the secular arm, to extinguish Religious discord, by proscribing all difference in Religious opinion.”
"no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

dstewartsr
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dstewartsr 07/10/12 - 07:34 am
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The debate so far

...only demonstrates how far we as a nation have fallen in terms of understanding and treasuring our history. It is remarkably easy to re-write history to those whose education has been neglectful of first principles and facts, instead, being fed a curriculum of selective outrage and victimization studies.

The Ministry of Truth arrived long before 1984. Winston Smith, phone home.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 07/10/12 - 07:41 am
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"I am of a sect by myself, as

"I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know."

KSL
121579
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KSL 07/10/12 - 07:52 am
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I no longer read any of

I no longer read any of Techfans references.

carcraft
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carcraft 07/10/12 - 07:56 am
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KSL -I ussually don't either

KSL -I ussually don't either

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 07/10/12 - 07:57 am
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Who's Barton?

This right winger has never heard of him and certainly finds towering intellects like St Paul, St Jerome, St. Athanasius, St. Augustine and John Paul II worth reading.

I can't help but wonder why Techfan would pick someone like Barton to characterize what Christian conservatives believe and ascribe to, unless he simply has no knowledge of the real giants of Christianity.

Thanks, Fr. Jerry, for speaking out.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 07/10/12 - 08:14 am
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"I can't help but wonder why

"I can't help but wonder why Techfan would pick someone like Barton to characterize what Christian conservatives believe and ascribe to" The 0425 post provided a link to Wallbuilders, Barton's organization and propaganda machine.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 07/10/12 - 08:17 am
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It depends if the blog is

It depends if the blog is from some Joe in his mom's basement or in this case, a divinity student to provide another religious view on Barton.

justthefacts
20365
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justthefacts 07/10/12 - 08:24 am
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Links

Opening links just isn't a good idea. Even with firewalls and virus protection tools, it just invites trouble. Got an opinion, express it instead of letting someone do it for you.

Southern Leslie
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Southern Leslie 07/10/12 - 08:53 am
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"My blogs are better than
Unpublished

"My blogs are better than your blogs."

A divinity student named Joe.....in his mom's basement.

KSL
121579
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KSL 07/10/12 - 09:06 am
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All I know about Techfan is

All I know about Techfan is what I have seen he has posted here in the past 5 or 6 years. I recall what he posted about his occupation, his religeous affiliation, what his living conditions are, and the reason he chose to be known as techfan.

carcraft
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carcraft 07/10/12 - 09:11 am
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One of the interesting things

One of the interesting things I notice about the left is that they want to ignore the good of Christianity in history and seek to diminish the influence that it has had on the course of history and even some of their sacred cows such as equality. There can be no denying that Wilberforce in England and the Abolitionist in America largely influenced by their understanding of the gospel of Christ, lead to the end of Slavery in Western Society and transformed America into a much better nation!

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 07/10/12 - 09:23 am
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Six More Months

Jon Lester posted:

As I understand it, references to God in founding documents are meant to express of the supremacy of the law above mortal men.

Well, that's certainly one opinion. One person who demonstrates he does not support the idea of the supremacy of the law above mortal men is our current president (for only six more months I pray).

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