Category Archives: 2012

Seven decade tug-of-war between organized religion and the 1st Amendment

Nobody paid a lot of attention to issues of the ‘Separation of Church and State’ between Reynolds v. the United States in 1789 [upholding federal bigamy laws], and Everson v. The Board of Education, 1947 ruling it was okay for Catholic parents to be reimbursed for sending their kids to Catholic schools on buses, same as for public school kids using buses.

Those of us who attended public schools prior to Engels v. Vitale in 1962 managed to survive prayers coming over the intercom each morning without any permanent damage and the only eyebrows raised were in response to boredom.   In one school I attended, popular kids were selected each day to give the prayers and they seemed to compete with one another to add dramatic emphasis, but generally I’d count it all harmless.

Around that time Madalyn Murray O’Hair entered the picture and atheists became militant and vocal.   Maybe it was something in the water.    The Murray v. Curlett Supreme Court decision in 1963 ending religious study in public schools became a harbinger for a long series of religion versus state legal battles.

Maybe it was the times…. the fact is, a person declaring himself to be an atheist prior to the 1960s would have been asking for all manner of difficulties.   My granddad got a visit from the FBI out on his hardscrabble farm around 1953, because one of his neighbors reported he was an ‘atheistic Communist’.   In those times that was serious invective indeed.

But though I’ve spent almost all my adult life not subscribing to any organized religion, which in some circles damns me as an atheist, I’ve often thought the church/state religious battles that emerged to the US Supreme Court were mostly petty embarrassments.     If those were the worst infringements accusers could come up with insofar as the separation of church and state, it would have been better left alone than hold them up as evidence atheists were a lot of nit-picking whiners about nothing.

But that’s roughly what we’re left with.    Lawsuits filed, court time wasted about nativity scenes on courthouse lawns and plaques containing the Ten Commandments.

Ironically, now we see the Christian fundamentalists trying to establish a foothold as a state religion to protect the US from Islamics and scary Sharia Law.    While splinter groups of Mormons drift back into polygamy and assortments of Asian religious establishments creep into suburbia.

Keeping in mind that no legal battle arrives at the door of SCOTUS until it’s been through lower courts and appeal courts.    So the list below really doesn’t convey just how much legal time and money has found its way into the pockets of lawyers as a consequence of the determination of people who don’t want religion anywhere in their lives, and those who want their own religion to be implied as valid by display at public expense:

U.S. Supreme Court Decisions
(arranged by date)

Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1879)

Court finds that the federal antibigamy statute does not violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion.

Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947)

Court finds that a New Jersey law which included students of Catholic schools in reimbursements to parents who sent their children to school on buses operated by the public transportation system does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

McCollum v. Board of Education Dist. 71, 333 U.S. 203 (1948)

Court finds religious instruction in public schools a violation of the establishment clause and therefore unconstitutional.

Burstyn v. Wilson, 72 S. Ct. 777 (1952)

Government may not censor a motion picture because it is offensive to religious beliefs.

Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488 (1961)

Court holds that the state of Maryland cannot require applicants for public office to swear that they believed in the existence of God. The court unanimously rules that a religious test violates the Establishment Clause.

Engel v. Vitale, 82 S. Ct. 1261 (1962)

Any kind of prayer, composed by public school districts, even nondenominational prayer, is unconstitutional government sponsorship of religion.

Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963)

Court finds Bible reading over school intercom unconstitutional and Murray v. Curlett, 374 U.S. 203 (1963) – Court finds forcing a child to participate in Bible reading and prayer unconstitutional.

Epperson v. Arkansas, 89 S. Ct. 266 (1968)

State statue banning teaching of evolution is unconstitutional. A state cannot alter any element in a course of study in order to promote a religious point of view. A state’s attempt to hide behind a nonreligious motivation will not be given credence unless that state can show a secular reason as the foundation for its actions.

Lemon v. Kurtzman, 91 S. Ct. 2105 (1971)

Established the three part test for determining if an action of government violates First Amendment’s separation of church and state:
1) the government action must have a secular purpose;
2) its primary purpose must not be to inhibit or to advance religion;
3) there must be no excessive entanglement between government and religion.

Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980)

Court finds posting of the Ten Commandments in schools unconstitutional.

Wallace v. Jaffree, 105 S. Ct. 2479 (1985)

State’s moment of silence at public school statute is unconstitutional where legislative record reveals that motivation for statute was the encouragement of prayer. Court majority silent on whether “pure” moment of silence scheme, with no bias in favor of prayer or any other mental process, would be constitutional.

Edwards v. Aquillard, 107 S. Ct. 2573 (1987)

Unconstitutional for state to require teaching of “creation science” in all instances in which evolution is taught. Statute had a clear religious motivation.

Allegheny County v. ACLU, 492 U.S. 573 (1989)

Court finds that a nativity scene displayed inside a government building violates the Establishment Clause.

Lee v. Weisman, 112 S. Ct. 2649 (1992)

Unconstitutional for a school district to provide any clergy to perform nondenominational prayer at elementary or secondary school graduation. It involves government sponsorship of worship. Court majority was particularly concerned about psychological coercion to which children, as opposed to adults, would be subjected, by having prayers that may violate their beliefs recited at their graduation ceremonies.

Church of Lukumi Babalu Ave., Inc. v. Hialeah, 113 S. Ct. 2217 (1993)

City’s ban on killing animals for religious sacrifices, while allowing sport killing and hunting, was unconstitutional discrimination against the Santeria religion.

https://infidels.org/library/modern/church-state/decisions.html

If you believe this isn’t over yet, you are probably correct.   Because even though religious affiliation in the US is evidently dropping somewhat rapidly, the strength of the fundamentalist right, the Latter Day Saints, the Jews, and the Islamics is gaining, rather than losing momentum.

There’s cause to suspect we’ll see at least another half century before any of the parties involved are powerless.    It’s a crapshoot who will be the last man standing.

Old Jules

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The Social Security Entitlement Adventure

What with the Congress and prez conducting a war against Social Security now in 2018, I was surprised to find this in my blog posted back during 2012. After reading through it I find my perspective hasn’t changed all that much, but my dependency on SS has. Old Jules

So Far From Heaven

Good morning readers. I’m obliged you came by for a read.

I got an email yesterday from an old acquaintance who’s carrying a serious chip on his shoulder about somebody calling the Social Security pension he lives on an ‘entitlement’. He raged on about how he paid into it fifty years, and his employers matched everything he paid. So, he says, it’s not an entitlement.

Sheeze. I wonder what else a person would call it. He’s entitled to it. What the hell is it but an entitlement?

But I think he’s concerned that because ‘entitlement’ has become a buzzword for something else he doesn’t like.  Namely a whole range of government payouts to bank owners, automobile companies, multi-national corporations, all manner of people bleeding the US budget dry with bailouts and payoffs.  I think he figures they might quit paying him his pension because they called it an entitlement.  Putting him down…

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Nobody said it would be – Philosophy by limerick

Locomotive Rock located on the Laguna Rez a few miles north of Acoma.

Stopping a train just ain’t easy
The methods are bloody and sleazy
But changing direction
Requires a correction
More solid than whiney and breezy.

Old Jules

The Genius MBA – Philosophy by Limerick

Made his money the hard way, inherited.
Went to Yale where he struggled and merited
Every cent that he earned
With his MBA; spurned
Do-nothings with slogans he parroted.

Old Jules – July 31, 2012 blog entry

 

 

Humpty Dumptytime

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming around.  I’m hoping you’re all getting your ducks in a row to put whatever lousy issues you’ve got to rest, come midnight.  Beginning one minute afterward we’ve all got to start the serious business of trying to live with all that behind us.  The Coincidence Coordinators have a lot in store for each of us and they don’t want any of it getting bogged down in tanglefootedness left over from yesteryear.

Some of you probably remember that bottle of Jack Daniels Black Label,

Juggling the Possibilities.

 I wrote about it November 17, 2011,

“I finished off most of this bottle of Jack Daniels on December 31, 1999, while I was sitting around listening on the short wave radio to Y2K not happening, first in New Zealand, then Australia, then places further west until it got to me, where it happened well enough to make up for those other places it didn’t.

“But as you can see, there was some left in the bottle when Y2K got to me.  I resolved to hold it back until something else happened.  I’ve had it sitting over there on the microwave collecting dust for several years, threatening to celebrate various New Year and Thanksgivings and I-don’t-know-whatalls.  I’d had it in the back of my mind lately I’d do my 70th birthday with it, then slid the clock backward and thought maybe my 69th here in a few days.”

Fact is, that bottle qualifies as an open container.  I can’t travel with it in the RV.  So this evening I’m going to put on some good music and sip that Jack Daniels to death celebrating all the Humpty Dumpties in my 2012.

The Great Speckled Bird: Respecting our Betters

The Great Speckled Bird went off maybe in July to wherever chickens go when they die, and later in the year I Humpty Dumptied my contracts with the hens and other roosters.  [Sip anticipated] 

I terminated my contract with Shiva The Cow Cat.  [Sip anticipated]

There’s this:

Roof and Chimney Leaks — White Trash Repairs

But we didn’t reach a consensus, the felines etc. on the matter of roof repairs and leaks.  Shiva the cow-cat argues, “What the hell!  Here’s a perfect spot for both those indoor cats in a thunderstorm.  What’s the big deal?  If they don’t like it throw them outdoors with Tabby and me.

I’m sick and tired of all the age discrimination around here in favor of geriatric cats.” [Sip anticipated]

And of course, the Humpty Dumpty trees. [Sip anticipated]

Men's ThermoPlus Extreme Boot Liner

http://www.sorel.com/Men%27s-ThermoPlus-Extreme-Boot-Liner/NU1490,default,pd.html

I’ve used my Sorel boot liners several years as thermal house shoes when it’s cold, and they’ve begun to fray.  Looked up the price of replacing them and discovered it’s $45, so I went to work on the seams and edges with super glue.

No Humpty Dumpty for them.  But I’ll sip to them anyway if there’s any left.

As for Shiva, she’s doing well up there, happy.  Jeanne and I have a ritual of talking on the phone, speaker phone on on her end.  Shiva sits on her shoulder, purrs, slobbers, and rubs her face against the phone.

I’ll sip to a happy ending, a new adventure, and the three remaining felines with active contracts.

And wish things equally good for you.  [Final sip]

Old Jules

Christmas morning assumptions to all

Old Sol

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I assume all of you are responding to the Universe in whatever ways suit you best this morning, and I wish that on you with profound enthusiasm and cheer.

For those of you who haven’t noticed, things have changed a lot here on earth since last Christmas.  For instance, the barycenters of earth and moon:

                                   Earth                                 
    
                     Barycentric Equatorial Positions                    
                    Mean Equator and Equinox of J2000.0                  
    
   Date        Time               X                Y                Z  
        (UT1) 
             h  m   s             AU               AU               AU
2012 Dec 25 00:00:00.0    –  0.059985055   +  0.898520188   +  0.389478777

                                   Earth                                 
    
                     Barycentric Equatorial Positions                    
                    Mean Equator and Equinox of J2000.0                  
    
   Date        Time               X                Y                Z  
        (UT1) 
             h  m   s             AU               AU               AU
2011 Dec 25 00:00:00.0    –  0.048871098   +  0.900279920   +  0.390286717

                                   Moon                                  
    
                     Barycentric Equatorial Positions                    
                    Mean Equator and Equinox of J2000.0                  
    
   Date        Time               X                Y                Z
        (UT1) 
             h  m   s             AU               AU               AU
2012 Dec 25 00:00:00.0    –  0.058478965   +  0.900591248   +  0.390372982

                                   Moon                                  
    
                     Barycentric Equatorial Positions                    
                    Mean Equator and Equinox of J2000.0                  
    
   Date        Time               X                Y                Z
        (UT1) 
             h  m   s             AU               AU               AU
2011 Dec 25 00:00:00.0    –  0.048617062   +  0.897988672   +  0.389385589

Nothing to be alarmed about, at least not yet, but still something to keep in mind.  I’m a lot more concerned about Old Sol and that Frosty The Snowman carrot he’s got for a nose at the moment.  That can’t bode well for any of us.

However, on a more cheerful note.  Or less ominous, anyway.

I just got around to opening my latest Hawaii KONATE bulletin from December 19, expecting to find out what time it was somewhere sometime.  Instead, I got this:

human clock

time greetings

I’m not certain what to make of it.  The time might be ten minutes until twelve somewhere, or  what?  Ten pm?

Then there’s this thing declaring time is valuable and what I ought to do with mine.  What the hell do these people know about time?  If it’s so valuable, what the hell are they doing lying around pretending to be a clock?

Here I was wanting to know what time it was in Hamburg sometime last week and might be in Peking day-after-tomorrow.  Last thing I wanted Christmas morning was a lot of cryptic meaning telling me what to do with my time and people lying around somewhere sometime on an upside-down clock.

But I hope you’ll all respond to it in whatever barycentric way you choose.

The New Old Jules and the Enlightened Cats

Wishing you whatever kind of Christmas you want for yourselves

la cantina antlered head 2

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I sat in a Mexican food cafe in Snora the other morning chowing down on a buffet breakfast I hadn’t asked ahead of time how much would cost.  After all, how much could they charge for a buffet breakfast, anyway?

Well, that’s another story.  What I was going to say was that the table next to me had five men having breakfast together.  Obviously something they did frequently, judging from the conversation.  None of them gave off the physical aura of having missed many big breakfasts for a while.

But these were serious, corn fed Texas men wearing cowboy hats and gimme caps with an air of having shiny new pickups with dual wheels out in the parking lot and weighty matters on their minds.  Men of substance and strong opinions about what’s wrong in this world and how to go about solving it.

Men, I thought as I eavesdropped on them, who wouldn’t sit still for someone telling them what kind of Christmas or New Year to have, because these men were capable of figuring it out for themselves.

I learned a lot as I listened to them telling one another things the others weren’t listening to while they waited for openings to allow themselves to tell the others things they wouldn’t listen to.

But it was all right, because they were all saying pretty much the same things, anyway.

So I waited in a state of fingernail-chewing anticipation to find out whether one of them would slip up and tell the others what kinds of Christmas to have, causing a confrontation, a fist-fight, maybe a gunfight out in the parking lot.  I hurried my meal so’s if I had to duck under a table I’d have already packed my gut with as much as time allowed.

However, strangely enough, they all stirred the remains of their meals around on their plates, finished off whatever each had to say that the others wouldn’t hear, and almost in unison, ordered one another to have a Merry Christmas.  No steely eye squints.  No, “Don’t you tell ME what kind of Christmas to have, Charlie!”

Everyone made allowances, I suppose, for the fact it was breakfast ending and they had serious matters to attend and not enough time to do it.  No time for a fist fight before getting on with it.  Or maybe they just didn’t hear what the others said, as they’d done throughout the meal.  Didn’t realize someone told them what kind of Christmas to have.

However, after thinking it and talking it over to the cats, I think my own approach is to mildly suggest that you readers have whatever sort of Christmas you want to have.  But if you choose not to, it’s okay.  I’m not insisting.

The New Old Jules and the Enlightened Cats