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Separation of Church and State
#1
Since the mis-reading of the Constitution seems to be the Internet meme going around, I thought I would bring in another fun wedge issue and also an exciting excuse to get you off the Internet for a while and crack open a good book.

- Did you know that all Philadelphia County public school children had to read from the Protestant Bible every single day?
- That a single riot in Philadelphia County created the modern-day concept of a police force in the United States?
- That a single Catholic Bishop in Philadelphia was mainly responsible for a religious war that brought total disorder and chaos that martial law was declared for weeks?


If you're Irish or Irish heritage I'd recommend this book. Ken Milano, a historian in my admittedly-Irish neighborhood wrote a fantastic history book on the Philadelphia Nativist Riots. You can get it here:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Philadelphia-N...1626190194


Kensington Township was getting more and more Irish (and Catholic) during the potato famine as Philadelphia's ports were getting busier. The Protestant Quakers and other gentiles controlled Philadelphia--which was then only between "Vine and Pine". There was no such thing as a police force; only a few sheriff's scattered around and some volunteers that had to be rounded up in a volunteer posse.

After a Catholic bishop started petitioning for public schools to offer the Catholic version of the Bible to public school children (reading of it was mandatory), anti-Irish natives of Philadelphia County (mainly descendants of German settlers but long "Americanized") were deeply offended, and their hatred of anything popish still ran deep, since their own existence in America was typically based on religious persecution back home. The main drama happened in Kensington and in Southwark Township. Both areas are now Philly neighborhoods, but not before this riot.

Irish were seen as roaches who were filthy and infesting society, spreading their problems and their idiocy everywhere. African-American neighborhoods and Irish ones normally existed close to each other; as both groups were considered the bottom tier. The slavish devotion to Catholicism, the drinking and bawdyness, the clannish families, the fact that the Irish were coming for economic reasons and to soak up jobs in the region... Protestants didn't like it and didn't want it, and exempting Irish schoolchildren from reading the Protestant version of the Bible was the last straw that caused escalation of tensions to open warfare when the Irish fought back.

The rest of the book goes into the crisis in the still new state capital at Harrisburg, the trial that followed and the Act of Consolidation which followed which was a sly tactic to capture the new wealth in Northern Liberties township and expand the City's borders so the more moderate Protestants could control the entire county; and the founding of the Philadelphia Police Department which came from that--where Irish applied to serve in the Police force in droves. The echos of the Irish flooding the ranks of police departments in Boston/NYC and Phila. is still visible in many fire houses and police forces.

Irish were of course assimilated just as the Scots-Irish had been years before, but not without their own drama (see: Whiskey Rebellion in Western PA).


Kinda interesting though compared to today how the courts get clogged up with the back and forth between evangelicals and atheists over prayer in schools. I'd imagine if we still had compulsory school prayer and not had these riots... it was after the Nativist Riots that religious schools started popping up in America to get around the secularism that was growing... a similar Nativist Riot could break out right now if someone pushed to replace the Bible with the Koran and get time-outs for their kids so they can throw down a prayer mat in geometry class.
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#2
Quote:Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

There is nothing in this that says "separation of church and state".

It says "Congress shall make NO LAW RESPECTING..." As long as there are no LAWS *respecting* a religion...it does NOT say that religion is not allowed in government.

Congress is not allowed to make LAWS that prefer one religion over another. Nor are they allowed to prohibit the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or the press.

I think that laws forcing religious people to do things against their religion, such as sell birth control or whatever else, is definitely crossing the line, since nothing says to "separate" religion "away" from the government....but it definitely says that the government is not allowed to hinder people from freely exercising their religion.
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#3
RugerGirl;129295 Wrote:
Quote:Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

There is nothing in this that says "separation of church and state".

It says "Congress shall make NO LAW RESPECTING..." As long as there are no LAWS *respecting* a religion...it does NOT say that religion is not allowed in government.

Congress is not allowed to make LAWS that prefer one religion over another. Nor are they allowed to prohibit the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or the press.

I think that laws forcing religious people to do things against their religion, such as sell birth control or whatever else, is definitely crossing the line, since nothing says to "separate" religion "away" from the government....but it definitely says that the government is not allowed to hinder people from freely exercising their religion.

then you are fine with parents who let children die from diseases that simply could have been cured because it was against their beliefs to use modern medicine?
"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"

goofin, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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#4
goofin;129299 Wrote:then you are fine with parents who let children die from diseases that simply could have been cured because it was against their beliefs to use modern medicine?

I, personally, am not fine with it. My children are vaccinated and get regular health care and always will. But I do not believe in forcing people to use modern health care. After all, 75 years ago, nobody had it anyway.

By next year, Obama will probably see that nobody has it again.

Anyway, the Constitution pretty clearly protects people from being forced into doing something they do not want to do having to do with their religion. That would include forcing Muslims to remove their headgear and whatever else.
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#5
All valid.

I bring it up because in 1820s Pennsylvania, Bible verse reading was compulsory (in PHILLY!). You could argue there was really no atheism back then, not in a place that had a skyline dominated with massive church steeples. Drama began when Catholics wanted the public school system to spend the resources to do Catechism for their own kids.

The witches brew of xenophobia and nativism fueled a drama was way more serious than this Duck Dynasty BS. There was literally blood in the streets. It was heavier than the LA Riots, and looked like it was gonna be a genocide of one side or the other.

Think of just the Episcopals. These were the people who were a part of the Church of England who had to regroup after the Revolution. There was sentiment early-on that they should be the state religion of America. After all, Anglicans had a political role in Britain (the bishops in the House of Lords), why not in America, too? But... Episcopal worship services closely resemble that of Catholics. That's a no-go to Lutherans and Quakers, also Baptists and most everyone else Protestant that has no time for "idolatry and pointless ceremonies". The people most angry about it, of course... Puritans. Then Episcopals have that whole Book of Common Prayer, which Lutherans considered an evil piece of trash assembled by the bastard child of a murderer (Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII).



The Nativists Riots changed the national attitude at the time that it's just not ever going to work to heavily mix religion into the machinations of government. You wind up alienating and creating enemies out of someone. When Irish Catholics were flooding in the resentment between them and the Protestants before them was very strong; stronger than the tension now between American Christians and American Muslims; more akin to the tensions that exist still in Belfast and divide unionist Protestants from republican Catholics now.
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#6
I'm a decent boy just landed
From the town of Ballyfad;
I want a situation, yes,
And want it very bad.
I have seen employment advertised,
"It's just the thing," says I,
"But the dirty spalpeen ended with
'No Irish Need Apply.' "

"Whoa," says I, "that's an insult,
But to get the place I'll try,"
So I went to see the blackguard
With his "No Irish Need Apply."

Some do count it a misfortune
To be christened Pat or Dan,
But to me it is an honor
To be born an Irishman.

I started out to find the house,
I got it mighty soon;
There I found the old chap seated,
He was reading the Tribune.
I told him what I came for,
When he in a rage did fly,
"No!" he says, "You are a Paddy,
And no Irish need apply."

Then I gets my dander rising
And I'd like to black his eye
To tell an Irish gentleman
"No Irish Need Apply."

Some do count it a misfortune
To be christened Pat or Dan,
But to me it is an honor
To be born an Irishman.

I couldn't stand it longer
So a hold of him I took,
And gave him such a welting
As he'd get at Donnybrook.
He hollered, "Milia murther,"
And to get away did try,
And swore he'd never write again
"No Irish Need Apply."

Well he made a big apology,
I told him then goodbye,
Saying, "When next you want a beating,
Write `No Irish Need Apply.' "

Some do count it a misfortune
To be christened Pat or Dan,
But to me it is an honor
To be born an Irishman.
gascolator, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Nov 2012.
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#7
ArcticSplash, was the Bible reading compulsory from the government? Or just from the local school "board" or group? Because the problem is not prayer in schools. The only thing that would be unconstitutional about prayer in school would be if Congress made a law having to do with it. But there is nothing unconstitutional about any particular school requiring that the classes pray, or read the Bible, or whatever else.

I'm not saying they should or should not, but I'm saying that the freedom of choice should be there.

Because the government has their finger in every pie in the entire country, though, it seriously complicates things and definitely blurs the lines drawn in the Constitution, because the founders never intended government to get this far.

I'm with Ron Paul as far as getting rid of the Dept of Ed...I wish.
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#8
RugerGirl;129312 Wrote:ArcticSplash, was the Bible reading compulsory from the government? Or just from the local school "board" or group? Because the problem is not prayer in schools. The only thing that would be unconstitutional about prayer in school would be if Congress made a law having to do with it. But there is nothing unconstitutional about any particular school requiring that the classes pray, or read the Bible, or whatever else.

I'm not saying they should or should not, but I'm saying that the freedom of choice should be there.

Because the government has their finger in every pie in the entire country, though, it seriously complicates things and definitely blurs the lines drawn in the Constitution, because the founders never intended government to get this far.

I'm with Ron Paul as far as getting rid of the Dept of Ed...I wish.

That's the fun bit. Philadelphia at this period was the "California" of the USA--a place to experiment. Public schooling was something still sort of new and wasn't well organized. Townships would pool resources or find a large benefactor and establish a school. America's rich lived in Philadelphia and there was plenty of money to go around, so there were many. Same for the large growth of universities. None of these were ever centrally managed until after the Act of Consolidation. They lived as free spirits of their own; and had degrees of exclusion attached to each. Most people emulated the early Quakers who had established the first schools and emulated them, which were religious institutions.

Regulation of the schools mainly dealt with certification and funding and this lied with Harrisburg. Philadelphia City had its own school board that it set up 40 years before the riots after the state pushed it to find a solution to get poor children into private schools that didn't want them, which led to the City itself founding a number of schools to take them in after buying spaces in private schools wasn't working. You could argue that school vouchers were tried in Philadelphia first. The problem then was capacity--the city was expanding so fast with nearly a thousand new residents a month, housing conditions were getting worse and poverty from immigration was also bad.

Later on in 1891 the Free Library of Philadelphia was founded on the similar model of free public education; which first began in 3 little rooms of City Hall, then moved to 12th and Chestnut, and of course by then Andrew Carnegie had splashed his money (libraries were a big thing with him) and the idea of public libraries spread to everywhere. First started with philanthropic donations to set it up, it then switched to tax financing to stay open.



I understand the modern disgust with schools being used as weapons to further political causes. But then I also wonder how effective that strategy is; since if public schools' goals are to stamp out conservatism, it doesn't seem to be working. And I would argue that it's in the interests of those who are critics of how schools are run and how children are taught should be the folks who butt-in, take over school boards and offer diversionary options not just for their own kids--but for people of lesser incomes.

That's why characterization is so popular with some folks. PAGOP loves it because it's a way to bust the teacher unions, Democrats love it because it's a new way to shower contracts on political hacks.

Andrew Hardy Williams, the Democrat who is the current front runner in the mayoral race and has a number of charter school scandals under his belt is a big pusher of characterization and is more than happy to throw the current public school model in the trash and replace schools with expense checks. The local building unions, who hold a huge amount of power in this town are also silent on the Teacher's Union being destroyed---they see dollar signs in all these pop up charters needing carpenters, plumbers and electricians.


The way characterization is going, and no test score proof that charter school kids are coming out any better here, I'm dismayed.

How do you expect to keep civil liberties in place and expanded and hold on to your rights when the voting public is a bunch of dumb shits?

It's not just us. The wealthy oligarchy in our country will fall when the population is dumb enough to elect a government who is set to destroy their way of life and existence. Make it big in Russia? Better not get on Putin's bad side, you can be sitting in jail with Pussy Riot, even if you are a multibillionare.

If you don't invest in education you wind up with an electorate who will throw our whole democracy and way of life away. The rich who feed off our collective ignorance may one day find the tap is shut-off and their rights are stripped when the stupids come after their condos. This happens frequently in societies where education is strictly rationed.

For Philadelphia I've always said the only way to fix what is going on here is to get rid of the school district, set up a bunch of smaller ones, and let the districts play "death match" with the same budget pool and let school choice depend on public school districts battling each other. The ones that lose out, the administration is fired--tenure and pensions are lost, and the reset button is pushed to try again until they get it right. Charterization on the other hand is allowing the kids to scatter to a number of god-knows-what contractors and parents are left to assess for themselves whether it is working or not--which is fine, but the problem here is there is still no school board, the SDP is still calling the contracting shots, and we've had two-dozen scandals in the last 15 years. Charters doubling up as nightclubs, cyber charters run by people who's only experience in a school is janitor, etc. It's a fucked-up mess.
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#9
"Separation of Church & State" is an Internet meme, it's also intentional intellectual dishonesty. It's akin to purposefully interpreting the 2nd amendment to mean that only the army should have guns.

I know that's not the point of the topic. It's just something I had to get off my chest.

If protestantism was as absurd, unbelievable and ridiculous as it's made out to be those who hate it they wouldn't have to fight tooth and nail to eliminate all exposure to it as an idea. It could, reasonably, be taught in schools as an acceptable world view alongside alternate world views. The fact that's it's purposefully and intentionally banned outright actually gives credit to it as a whole. If compared to the alternative beliefs it fell short in every possible arena it would be no risk or danger to anyone being presented alongside the opposites. Teaching about the history of Nazis doesn't brainwash children in to become Nazis, likewise teaching about the fundamental and Christian history of America and elsewhere doesn't automatically brainwash children into being Christians. It allows for teachers, children and parents to examine facts, ideas, opinions etc and make their own conclusions with as much information as possible. It is, after all, one of the most significant facets of human history and American culture.

The education system as a whole, like the media, appears more and more like a propaganda machine the closer it's scrutinized. Not that there's anything wrong with propagation entirely, but the eduction system should probably work more on eduction. American history and an understanding, knowledge and exposure to a major world view offers and opportunity for eduction. Cultural understanding and acceptance is important. What else could be more relevant to American children when it comes to culture than American culture? Some people accept The Bible as the word of God, some do not, everyone is free to make their own choice. This is America, after all. So, let's all learn a little bit about what half of the country believes in, shall we? Afterwords, or before it doesn't matter, we can learn a little bit about what other people believe so that we can better understand each-other and co-exist peacefully and with understanding.
"As I lay rubber down the street I pray for traction I can keep, but if I spin and begin to slide, please dear God, protect my sweet ride."
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#10
RugerGirl;129312 Wrote:ArcticSplash, was the Bible reading compulsory from the government? Or just from the local school "board" or group? Because the problem is not prayer in schools. The only thing that would be unconstitutional about prayer in school would be if Congress made a law having to do with it. But there is nothing unconstitutional about any particular school requiring that the classes pray, or read the Bible, or whatever else.

GONG!!!!!

The general interpretation has ALWAYS been that if "Congress" can't do it, state or local government sure as hell can't, either.

And that principle has held up for about 200 years of cases in the Supreme Court of of the United States.
gascolator, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Nov 2012.
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