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Thread: Religious Liberty

  1. #1
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    Default Religious Liberty

    I'm going to put this in its own thread. It may sink rapidly, but not much risked, no shortage of electrons. Stumpstalker, one of our friends on the right, wrote that Mr Trump 'has delivered for Christians with regard to religious liberty', and that this was one of the major reasons he supported him. So a question for those who think Trump is doing a good job and would agree with this: What exactly has he done that has enhanced your 'religious liberty'? In what respects didn't you have religious liberty before, and do now? Please be as specific as possible.

    Personally, I don't see it; as far as I can tell, 'religious liberty' by any plausible definition hasn't changed even slightly in the past three years, with the possible exception that churches can edge closer to directly endorsing candidates without risking their tax-exempt status, and non-Christian religious institutions are a bit more at risk of violence or direct discrimination. But obviously Stumpstalker disagrees, and I'd very much like to read his response, and that of anyone else who agrees with him.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Freedom to exercise one's God-given right to express bigotry.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    .
    "Religious Liberty" that benefits predominately christian sects is no liberty at all.

    My behavior ought not be prescribed by christian zealots with state and federal legislators in their back pocket. If so, I will eventually be deprived of my liberty to drink, dance and play cards (among other behaviors).
    .
    Last edited by Tom Montgomery; 02-11-2020 at 08:44 AM.
    "Trump's authoritarianism is a feature, not a bug." -- Sky Blue

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    There ought to be a law against ridiculing Christians. Just sayín. . .
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    after further thought, iím pressing the button on keith

    temptation for mockery like this shouldnít exist
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    It all depends on what one thinks freedom is.

    The religious right seems to feel it has been persecuted by liberals. Abortion is a big issue there. The Supreme Court has moved right. That gives the religious right some hope that their religious views on abortion will get a fair hearing.
    Life is complex.

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    After further thought, i’m pressing the button on Keith. Temptation for mockery like this shouldn’t exist.
    Now, now, play nice Paul. You can restrain yourself.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    I'm going to C&P Stumpstalker's reply here, to avoid derailing the other thread.

    Mr. Wilson:

    It is true that Christian sects in the U. S. are quite divergent with regard to Donald Trump. Reflective of this is my experience in my own locality, going to the Sunday services of different churches. In one sermon he was denounced; at another he was praised and at a few more his name has not come up at all. I go to different ones; kind of why I why I consult The Bilge.

    Here I cite for you examples of Trump supporting religious liberty for Christians, at least in the view of evangelicals, as per a Dec. 15, 2017 article in THE CHRISTIAN POST:

    The nomination Neil Gorsuch to the U. S. Supreme Court, expected to be an originalist (conservative) on abortion and who had previously sided with Hobby Lobby against the Obama Administration in a 2013 contraception mandate case.

    A May 2017 Executive Order that instructed the Treasury Department and IRS not to take adverse action against churches and 501 c (3)s organizations that speak out about moral and political issues in accordance with their faith. This was to counter the Johnson Amendment, which bans tax-exempt organizations from engaging in political campaigning.

    The Trump Justice Department, under A. G. Jeff session, “issued a sweeping guidance on religious freedom” to all Federal agencies. This was seen by evangelicals as interpreting Constitutional law as going beyond protecting merely one’s right to believe in private, preach or assemble in private, but also permit one to perform or abstain in certain physical acts on those beliefs. That Guidance said that agencies must not “second-guess the reasonableness of a religious belief”.

    These actions contrasted with the Obama Administration taking the position that religious freedom did not extend in to the public square, all of which was symbolized by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s rhetorical shift to referring to “freedom of worship” in public statements, rather than the more Constitutional and familiar-to-most Americans-ears “freedom of religion”. The concern by some Christians, and not solely by evangelicals, was that their Constitutional rights pertaining to faith were being characterized as being just something that took place for a couple of hours on Sunday, rather than something that could daily be acted on.

    Trump reversed Obama’s transgender public-school policy, which urged schools to allow male students to go into female student’s "bathrooms; locker rooms and showers and vice versa". Many Christian parents believed that the Obama policy infringed on student’s privacy rights.

    Trump revoked an Obama Executive Order that had prevented federal contracts from being awarded to businesses that had hiring practices that discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation. This came after social conservative leaders expressed their disappointment when Trump was about to renew the Obama order that contractors have LGBT anti-discrimination policies.

    These actions by Trump are not seen as extending religious freedom by all Christian sects, I know; but they generally were by the evangelical ones.

    Mr. Russell: One could “reasonably” say that all matters of faith (the supernatural) are outside the realm of reason; and even the term “psychotic” might be applied here, however infelicitous for deliberative discussion.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Quote Originally Posted by Too Little Time View Post
    It all depends on what one thinks freedom is.

    The religious right seems to feel it has been persecuted by liberals. Abortion is a big issue there. The Supreme Court has moved right. That gives the religious right some hope that their religious views on abortion will get a fair hearing.
    As far as I understand it, they already had a fair hearing.
    Did you mean "biassed hearing"?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    I don't think it's a complicated question, and the answer is simple.

    He's nominating, and the senate is confirming, judges who will force Christian beliefs on all of us.

    It's not a question of allowing them to practice their faith, but allowing them to force US to practice their faith.
    How do we form a mutiny? Our new captain is navigating poorly.

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Stumpstalker's response demonstrates the understanding gap between our right wing evangelicals (and right wing fundamentalist sects we see among Muslims, Jews, Hindus, even Buddhists) and people of faith or secular who support religious freedom. Most of the examples Stumpstalker raises are examples of someone claiming the religious liberty to impose or deny an action to another.

    There certainly are people who view their personal religious opposition of abortion as such a deep matter that they must impose their value on all. More laughably is how some claim the same high moral tone to excuse imposing their opposition to birth control to employees. There are at least a few for whom this is serious and deeply held. I've got family like that: Totally don't get the irony of opposing both birth control and abortion.

    Valuing both religious freedom and religious-secular toleration means living in a world where some neighbors will value and do things you find abhorrent but which are not crimes. Toleration means not criminalizing actions (like abortion) on the sole basis of absolutist religious belief.

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    In the name of religious liberty, this old Catholic is off to vote for an even older Jew. May God have mercy on him if he wins...

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Long ago I knew two woman who, on religious grounds, actively opposed abortion. They both had abortions when they found themselves pregnant and didn't want to be.

    Then they went back to opposing abortion.

    A lot of religious people use their religion to tell others how to live, but cannot follow their own rules when those rules become inconvenient.
    How do we form a mutiny? Our new captain is navigating poorly.

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    OK, I’m going to summarize Stumpstalker’s post, rewording a bit and making it a little blunter. I do want to be accurate, however; please tell me if I’m not.

    1. Appointing judges that oppose abortion. OK, fair enough – but this isn’t religious liberty, but the ability to make abortion illegal, i.e. write your religious beliefs into law.

    2. Allowing totally secular organizations (Hobby Lobby) to avoid certain legal requirements (contraception coverage) when they conflict with the religious convictions of those running the organization. Do you support this? How do you decide when an organization can do this and when they can’t? What about ensuring that women are always in subordinate positions? Refusing to hire non-whites? Where are the limits? How do you decide?

    3. Not enforcing the Johnson Amendment – i.e. allowing religious organizations to participate overtly in political campaigning without losing their tax-exempt status. Note that there aren’t enough votes to repeal it, so this is refusing to enforce a law that you don’t like. Do you actually favor this?

    4. ‘Going beyond protecting merely one’s right to believe in private, preach or assemble in private, but also permit one to perform or abstain in certain physical acts on those beliefs.’ So -what acts precisely ? Does this apply to non-Christians as well? How does one decide what religious beliefs allow one to have an exemption from the law and which don’t, particularly if they can’t ‘second-guess the reasonableness of a religious belief’? I presume human sacrifice is off-limits, but short of that? How about female genital mutilation? That’s a sincerely-held religious belief by all too many people; is it covered?

    5. “These actions contrasted with the Obama Administration” . . . followed by what looks to me like a grotesque caricature of the Obama administration’s position, mostly hot air. I won’t bother to respond to that.

    6. So you think everyone should be required to use the bathroom labeled for the gender that’s on their birth certificate? i.e. that transgender people shouldn’t really exist, and should never be recognized as such? Really? How is this religious at all?

    7. It appears you support allowing secular business organizations to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without penalty, if this is endorsed by the religion of those who run the place? How about discrimination against women? Ethnic or racial minorities? Non-Christians? Non-Muslims? How about discrimination against Christians by an atheist business owner? Remember that regulators are no longer allowed to ‘second-guess the reasonableness of a religious belief’.

    Now really, I’m not intending to be snarky. I understand that aspects of certain laws do go against the religious beliefs of certain people, and this is sometimes allowed for. A classic example is the draft exemption for conscientious objectors. So how do you figure out when we should let someone have an exemption from legal requirements because of their religious beliefs? Short of human sacrifice, where are the limits, if you can’t ‘second-guess the reasonableness of a religious belief’? And remember, religious and non-religious philosophical convictions must be treated equally under the Constitution. It’s not at all a trivial question, and I’d be interested in what you think. But calling the ability to ignore certain aspects of the law you don't agree with, or the ability to write your convictions into the law and enforce them on others 'religious liberty' seems disingenuous at best.


    Personally, I think Trump's pandering and favoring the biases of his fundamentalist supporters, pure political favoritism with not the slightest intellectual coherence. Trump all the way.
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 02-11-2020 at 01:15 PM.
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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    The real issue is about money and how rich churches can be certain of liberty of being seen as a business. The Religious Liberty more often than not is part of the larger dodge.

    The LDS is worth over 100 billion dollars. Thats a lot of freedom - FROM TAXES!
    Last edited by Ted Hoppe; 02-11-2020 at 12:45 PM.

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Quote Originally Posted by Too Little Time View Post
    It all depends on what one thinks freedom is.
    Freedom has an agreed upon definition, regardless of what you think.
    See> Dictionary

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Freedom has an agreed upon definition, regardless of what you think.
    See> Dictionary
    Getting tired of double-talk and misdirection?

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    OK, Iím going to summarize Stumpstalkerís post, rewording a bit and making it a little blunter. I do want to be accurate, however; please tell me if Iím not.
    Au contraire. All his points are matters of the separation of church and state and/or the regulation of behavior, not belief.

    The lack of separation of church and state is a violation of religious liberty.
    Trust me to defend the Constitution just as soon as I'm sure you're going to vote for me again.

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Hoppe View Post
    The real issue is about money . . .
    I don't think so; you underestimate these guys' sincerity. None of stumpstalker's points involved money at all, except allowing direct political campaigning while still preserving a church's tax exemption - i.e. expanding the scope of what's allowed while keeping the money as it is now.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    "Religious liberty" is objectively defined as the freedom to practice one's religious faith (including one's rejection of having one) without either Government censure, or oppression from other parts of the society.

    So, being an observant Jew and not having your synagogue shut down by govt, or subject to firebombing without the same law enforcement response as if, say, a golf club was firebombed. Being a Christian without being put into a re-education camp, or having jobs denied to you specifically because you personally have a Christian faith.

    Religious liberty has nothing to do with government enacting specific policies because they align with one or another religious group's take on their faith. So re-opening Roe vs Wade because of a promise to a religious community is actually a step away from religious liberty, because the attempt to play to a particular religious group is also the imposition of their faith-based position on folks who may have equally strongly held religious beliefs in the other direction.

    "Religious liberty" is similarly eroded by intentionally appointing judges which over-represent a particular faith community, rather than the diversity of the general population. Etc.

    The Trump and RW Evangelical position is most charitably grounded in the notion that other Faiths (or folks who have no faith) are overrepresented, and a rebalancing is required to reflect the general population. It's most often actually grounded, though, in the notion that it is right, good, and necessary to have a particular Christian brand dominate public policy and societal mores.

    And that view is the opposite of "Religious Liberty." Quite literally the reason that the Puritans moved to New England in the first place, actually.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Tom F is right!
    Trust me to defend the Constitution just as soon as I'm sure you're going to vote for me again.

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Religious liberty is the freedom to practice your religion.

    If your religion teaches that those that don't follow it are so evil that they deserve eternal torture in hell, then they certainly deserve your condemnation in this life. If God himself hates them enough to give them the worst punishment imaginable, who are you to tolerate them?

    What these people mean by religious liberty is the freedom to hate nonbelievers, and perhaps to act upon that hatred.

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    The comic battle for the hearts of mankind has been raging ever since a man and woman who really did have the gubment sustaining every need and want, allowed themselves to be convinced; don't listen to Him, you can have the knowledge of good and evil for yourselves. The war has been raging ever since.....

    A feigned lack of understanding by the "let's be reasonable", team captain of the Bilge democrat establishment is pointless. Even John immediately replied:

    I don't think it's a complicated question, and the answer is simple
    I credit a relative newcomer, who describes himself as:
    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpstalker
    not really a confirmed believer, but more of a recovering atheist
    with the most reasoned, balanced, eloquent responses to this topic that I've ever witnessed in the Bilge. This guy doesn't appear to have an agenda and just plain gets it.

    Let's just accept reality, this conflict as old as humanity itself, is never going to be settled and will continue until the end of mankind as we know it.

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    I don't see any "mockery" at all in Keith's OP. I see a reasonable discussion concerning wo points of view. Personally, I do not think the "Christian right" is "Christian" al all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    after further thought, i’m pressing the button on keith

    temptation for mockery like this shouldn’t exist

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Paul was being wry; the idea being that the temptation for mockery of folks like sutmpstalker in the thread would be too great. I'd like to avoid that, at least for now.

    Rick, I'm not 'feigning' anything. I am genuinely trying to understand how someone else thinks who I very seriously disagree with. As a part of that process, I'm challenging some of his ideas, asking him to explain further, and in some cases to defend them. You're free to ignore it or argue with me if you like.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless
    There ought to be a law against ridiculing Christians. Just say’n. . .
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless
    after further thought, i’m pressing the button on keith

    temptation for mockery like this shouldn’t exist
    It really doesn't matter Paul, pointing fingers in any direction on topics like these is an exercise in futility. As stated above, it's not going away.....

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson

    Rick, I'm not 'feigning' anything. I am genuinely trying to understand how someone else thinks who I very seriously disagree with. As a part of that process, I'm challenging some of his ideas, asking him to explain further, and in some cases to defend them.
    John figured it out at a glace, I don't buy it for one second that a smart guy like you doesn't understand.

    I'm just thrilled this great experiment in freedom, which was founded on religious liberty, hasn't devolved into people killing each other as history is replete with.

    My overriding motivation as related to this topic in all things political and otherwise, is to keep it that way......

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    EDITORIAL: Obama's party says no to God
    Convention meltdowns show Democrats are in disarray

    By THE WASHINGTON TIMES - The Washington Times - Thursday, September 6, 2012
    ANALYSIS/OPINION:

    The most memorable moment of the Democratic National Convention was when the delegates denied God three times from the convention floor. It was the latest blunder in an Obama re-election effort that increasingly looks like it doesn’t have a prayer.

    The deity issue arose when conservatives slammed Democrats for deleting references to God and a united Jerusalem that were in the liberals’ 2008 platform. The slap must have stung because the Obama campaign quickly orchestrated a floor amendment to stuff the clauses in the previously approved 2012 platform. It should have been a pro-forma matter, but when convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles, called the vote, the floor responded with a vigorous “no” twice. In a fit of procedural integrity, Mr. Villaraigosa tried to get the required two-thirds to amend a third time, but the “no’s” were louder than ever. Finally, visibly frustrated, he announced the motion had passed even though everyone in the hall knew it hadn’t. It was amateur hour.


    It’s not surprising that Democratic delegates were generally hostile to God. According to the latest Gallup numbers, President Obama has a 46 percent advantage over Mitt Romney among those who profess “no religion” and lags 23 percent behind Mr. Romney among those who say they are “highly religious.” Asking a group of Democratic true believers — or in this case, true nonbelievers — whether they want God in the platform is their secular equivalent of blasphemy

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Here's what the constitution actually says:

    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.
    So, if your religion prohibits abortion, the government cannot force you to have an abortion. Turning your religious preference into a law people of other faiths must obey would amount to establishment of religion. An awful lot of people don't know what that means, but it means having a state religion. America's founders had a clear notion of what that was like. They knew how Bloody Mary got that name, for causing people who professed to be Christian but were not the right kind of Christian to be executed for heresy. Once you have an established state religion, you have the state defining who really belongs to that religion.

    The idea of separation of church and state was best articulated by John Locke in his Letter on Toleration:

    https://www.constitution.org/jl/tolerati.htm

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    Stumpstalker's response demonstrates the understanding gap between our right wing evangelicals (and right wing fundamentalist sects we see among Muslims, Jews, Hindus, even Buddhists) and people of faith or secular who support religious freedom. Most of the examples Stumpstalker raises are examples of someone claiming the religious liberty to impose or deny an action to another.

    There certainly are people who view their personal religious opposition of abortion as such a deep matter that they must impose their value on all. More laughably is how some claim the same high moral tone to excuse imposing their opposition to birth control to employees. There are at least a few for whom this is serious and deeply held. I've got family like that: Totally don't get the irony of opposing both birth control and abortion.

    Valuing both religious freedom and religious-secular toleration means living in a world where some neighbors will value and do things you find abhorrent but which are not crimes. Toleration means not criminalizing actions (like abortion) on the sole basis of absolutist religious belief.
    Ayup.

    I notice, too, that you also use the word 'sect'. Except you use it correctly, as a small branch of any religion who are regarded as holding beliefs at least slightly 'heretical' to that religion.

    When stumpjumper presumes to speak authoritatively on the issue at hand, then exhibits such a basic misunderstanding of the difference between 'sect' and 'denomination'... it becomes quite difficult to take his comments seriously. Ignorance sometimes sheds light on a topic... but not often. And not, it seems, in this case.
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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick-Mi
    I'm just thrilled this great experiment in freedom, which was founded on religious liberty, hasn't devolved into people killing each other as history is replete with.
    Me too. Prohibiting the establishment of a state religion was a genius move by the founders.

    That is what you were driving at, correct?
    "Trump's authoritarianism is a feature, not a bug." -- Sky Blue

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Bobby wants Allah on the platform. Who knew?

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Is this a serious thread? Whenever some Trumpalo talks about “delivering liberty” or “freedom” or “free speech” it’s freedom for Trumpalos and only Trumpalos to do what they want

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Montgomery View Post
    Me too. Prohibiting the establishment of a state religion was a genius move by the founders.

    That is what you were driving at, correct?
    That's absolutely correct Tom, I agree totally.

    What's missing from your question is the other side of the equation, which is all powerful government authoritarians imposing their will who are often hostile to religion, which always includes diminished freedom and often and is accompanied by much worse. Which is why the wisdom of our founding fathers gave us the 2nd amendment right after the 1st amendment, so a free people could keep both.

    I'm seeking the balance of the foundation of liberty built by the genius of our founding fathers. As even they vehemently disagreed at times among themselves, not everyone sees things the same way, which is why we have a civilized process to settle those differences. I'm 'all in' on that method and will continue to be so.

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    Default Re: Religious Liberty

    To some people the basic definition of "freedom" is as follows "Freedom for me to bully and exploit anyone else and make my ideology the only uncontested truth without needs for proofs nor logic nor responsibility for tomorrow nor regard for the well being of others".

    Trumpet himself seems to be one of those people........ no wonder that he and his supporters can claim to have given the world more of their "freedom". They did it didn't they.
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