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In response to:

IMPEACH! IMPEACH! IMPEACH!

Doug Indeap* Wrote: Jul 13, 2014 11:57 AM
Oh. I see. You actually believe half the drivel served up at TH, Fox, etc. You and those similarly deluded would, by arm waving about impeachment and such, merely distract us from serious efforts to solve serious problems. Then again I suppose that suits those who have long opposed this president's every effort, regardless of damage they do to our nation in the process, just fine.
In response to:

IMPEACH! IMPEACH! IMPEACH!

Doug Indeap* Wrote: Jul 12, 2014 11:21 AM
That Obama, a moderate pragmatist, appears to you an obscene parody and fraud says more about you than him.
Careful! Slow down. Early TH commenters have responded to the news ridiculously: It's not so! It's a conspiracy! It's a trick! It doesn't matter, Obama did something, everything wrong anyway! Give yourself some time to let this news sink in, really sink in, and then purge your mind of all of Issa's contrary arm waving and fact-free invective, and then rethink--objectively--I know you can.
In response to:

IMPEACH! IMPEACH! IMPEACH!

Doug Indeap* Wrote: Jul 12, 2014 2:11 AM
First, let's understand that those talking out loud about impeachment without turning red from embarrassment are smokin dope. Ridiculous!
Ah, a lefty-righty smear--meaningful to ideologues needless of argumentation, discussion, or even thought.
Justice Ginsburg nailed it: The Court majority has strayed into a minefield. We can look forward to the day when this decision is reversed either by the Congress or by the Court after coming to its senses.
Owning a gun is one thing. Openly carrying it into restaurants, stores, etc., is another. Having freedom to do even stupid stuff is one thing. Actually doing stupid stuff is another.
In response to:

Getting Back To Religious Freedom

Doug Indeap* Wrote: May 25, 2014 11:48 AM
Oops! The reply above was meant to go here.
In response to:

Getting Back To Religious Freedom

Doug Indeap* Wrote: May 25, 2014 11:47 AM
You rightly note that the constitutional separation of church and state does not prevent citizens from making decisions based on principles derived from their religions. Moreover, the religious beliefs of government officials naturally may inform their decisions on policies. The principle, in this context, merely constrains government officials not to make decisions with the predominant purpose or primary effect of advancing religion; in other words, the predominant purpose and primary effect must be nonreligious or secular in nature. A decision coinciding with religious views is not invalid for that reason as long as it has a secular purpose and effect. Wake Forest University has published a short, objective Q&A primer on the current law of separation of church and state–as applied by the courts rather than as caricatured in the blogosphere. I commend it to you. http://divinity.wfu.edu/uploads/2011/09/divinity-law-statement.pdf With respect to symbols and such, generally, if a monument is displayed “by” a government on its land, then that likely will be regarded as “government speech” to be assessed for compliance with the establishment clause. If a monument is displayed by a private person or group on government land, it may well be regarded as “individual speech” to be evaluated under the free exercise clause. In the latter case, the government, of course, cannot discriminate against particular religions and thus generally must allow other persons or groups equal opportunity to express their religious views on the government land. In sorting this out, much depends on the details of each case. The Wake Forest paper does a nice job of describing how the courts have approached the issues in this context.
In response to:

Getting Back To Religious Freedom

Doug Indeap* Wrote: May 24, 2014 7:13 PM
It is important to distinguish between "individual" and "government" speech about religion. The constitutional separation of church and state does not purge religion from the public square--far from it. Indeed, the First Amendment's "free exercise" clause assures that each individual is free to exercise his or her religious views--publicly as well as privately. The Amendment constrains only the government not to promote or otherwise take steps toward establishment of religion. As government can only act through the individuals comprising its ranks, when those individuals are performing their official duties, they effectively are the government and thus should conduct themselves in accordance with the First Amendment's constraints on government. When acting in their individual capacities, they are free to exercise their religions as they please. While figuring out whether someone is speaking for the government in a particular circumstance may sometimes be difficult, making the distinction is critical. While the First Amendment undoubtedly was intended to preclude the government from establishing an official religion as Mr. Charles notes, that was hardly the limit of its intended scope. The first Congress debated and rejected just such a narrow provision (“no religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed”) and ultimately chose the more broadly phrased prohibition now found in the Amendment. During his presidency, Madison vetoed two bills, neither of which would form an official religion, on the ground that they were contrary to the establishment clause. While some in Congress expressed surprise that the Constitution prohibited Congress from incorporating a church in the town of Alexandria in the District of Columbia or granting land to a church in the Mississippi Territory, Congress upheld both vetoes. Separation of church and state is hardly a new invention of modern courts. In keeping with the Amendment’s terms and legislative history and other evidence, the courts have wisely interpreted it to restrict the government from taking steps that could establish religion de facto as well as de jure. Were the Amendment interpreted merely to preclude government from enacting a statute formally establishing a state church, the intent of the Amendment could easily be circumvented by government doing all sorts of things to promote this or that religion–stopping just short of cutting a ribbon to open its new church.
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