Louisiana Ten Commandments Bill

Stewie

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This is fairly interesting in light of a debate we had with the Indian posters here a while back who insisted India is a secular country along the lines of USA. My argument was that even in the so-called secular states, a lot of the legislation is derived from religion and in fact no legislation is completely devoid of religious influence, whether its the Abrahamic faiths or in the case of India, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, etc.

Even a country like USA, where we believe in the separation of church and state, something codified in the constitution, we still see a lot of legislation that derives its motivation directly from the Judeo-Christian traditions. This bill is the latest example of that.

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A bill signed into law this week makes Louisiana the only state to require that the Ten Commandments be displayed in every classroom in public schools and colleges — and stirs the long-running debate over the role of religion in government institutions.

Under the new law, all public K-12 classrooms and state-funded universities will be required to display a poster-sized display of the Ten Commandments in “large, easily readable font” next year.

Civil liberties groups planned lawsuits to block the law signed by Republican Gov. Jeff Landry, saying it would unconstitutionally breach protections against government-imposed religion. “We’re going to be seeing Gov. Landry in court,” said Rachel Laser, the president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

State officials are stressing the history of the Ten Commandments, which the bill calls “foundational documents of our state and national government.”

Similar bills requiring the Ten Commandments be displayed in classrooms have been proposed in other statehouses — including Texas, Oklahoma and Utah.

Reasonable and needed or unconstitutional and harmful?

At Archbishop Shaw High School, a Catholic-run school in suburban New Orleans, the head of school, the Rev. Steve Ryan, said he was pleased that the Ten Commandments will be posted on public school walls.

“These laws, which are part of the Judeo-Christian tradition, are good safeguards for society. They are actually reasonable,” Ryan said.

In Baton Rouge, Attorney General Liz Murrill, a Republican ally of Landry, said she was looking forward to defending the law.

“The 10 Commandments are pretty simple (don’t kill, steal, cheat on your wife), but they also are important to our country’s foundations,” she said on social media.

Opponents of the law argued that eroding the constitutional barrier between religion and government is illegal and unfair.

“We’re worried about public school families and students in Louisiana,” Laser said. “They come from a variety of different traditions and backgrounds, different religious beliefs, nonreligious beliefs and students in those classrooms will be made to feel like outsiders when they see the government endorsing one set of narrow religious beliefs over others.”

Louisiana’s 2020 teacher of the year, Chris Dier, echoed those fears, and said he doesn’t intend to post the Ten Commandments in his classroom.

“I don’t believe in doing something that is unconstitutional and harmful to students,” he said. It is unclear whether there is a punishment for refusing to comply with the mandate.

The law was praised by former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was removed from office in 2003 after disobeying a federal judge’s order to remove a 5,280-pound (2.4 metric tonne) granite Ten Commandments display from the state court building.

“Nobody can make you believe in God. Government can’t tell you that, but it must acknowledge the God upon which this nation is founded,” Moore said.

Members of the Islamic Society of North America and the Council on American-Islamic Relations expressed concerns about the law.

“Is it to highlight universal principles that everyone should embrace? Or is the intent to send a message to Muslim students or others that, ‘Your religion — not welcome here, only one understanding of one religion is welcome here?’” said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, national deputy director of CAIR.

Mitchell said Muslims respect the Ten Commandments, which are largely reinforced by similar passages throughout the Quran and the teachings of the prophet Muhammad. But he said the context is troubling for reasons including the use of a Ten Commandments translation associated with evangelicals and other Protestants.

Earlier Ten Commandments controversies​


In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a similar Kentucky law violated the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution, which says Congress can “make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The high court found that the law had no secular purpose but rather served a plainly religious purpose.

In its most recent rulings on Ten Commandments displays, the Supreme Court held in 2005 that such displays in a pair of Kentucky courthouses violated the Constitution. At the same time, the court upheld a Ten Commandments marker on the grounds of the Texas state Capitol in Austin. Those were 5-4 decisions but the court’s makeup has changed, with a 6-3 conservative majority now.

The main differences in the two cases — at least according to the one swing vote, then-Justice Stephen Breyer — was that the Kentucky counties’ officials demonstrated an unmistakable track record of religious motives in the posting, whereas the motives behind the Texas display were more on the “borderline” between religious and secular. Plus, Breyer said, the Texas monument had passed a test of time, standing among other monuments for decades without legal challenge.

Other religion-government fights

After he was removed as chief justice of Alabama Supreme Court in 2003 for his refusal to remove the Ten Commandments monument, Moore was elected to the post again, but was suspended from the bench in 2016 after a judicial discipline panel ruled he had urged probate judges to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Moore disputed the accusation.

Louisiana has had a prominent role in the church-state legal fight before. In 1987, the Supreme Court struck down a 1981 Louisiana statute that required instruction on evolution to be accompanied by teaching on “creation science.” The court found that the statute had no identifiable secular purpose and the “pre-eminent purpose of the Louisiana Legislature was clearly to advance the religious viewpoint that a supernatural being created humankind.”

Mississippi has mandated the display of “In God We Trust” in schools since 2001. Louisiana passed a similar mandate that became law last year.

The latest pushes to post the Ten Commandments follow a major victory for the religious right in 2022: The Supreme Court ruled that a high school football coach in the state of Washington who knelt and prayed on the field after games was protected by the Constitution.

How the Ten Commandments are viewed

Jews and Christians regard the Ten Commandments as having been given by God to Moses, according to biblical accounts, on Mount Sinai. Not every Christian tradition uses the same Ten Commandments. The order varies as does the phrasing, depending on which Bible translation is used. The Ten Commandments in the signed Louisiana legislation are listed in an order common among some Protestant and Orthodox traditions.

Disputes over the law likely won’t just be about whether the commandments should be mandated on school room walls, but also which version, said James Hudnut-Beumler, a professor of American religious history at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

“The Ten Commandments always look universal until you put a shortened list up on the wall and discover that there’s room for dispute.”

 
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CNN anchor spars with GOP lawmaker on Louisiana Ten Commandments bill: 'Answer the question’

Louisiana State Representative Lauren Ventrella, co-author of House Bill 71, joins CNN's Boris Sanchez to discuss the bill which mandates that a poster-size display of the Ten Commandments in every classroom at schools that receive state funding, from kindergarten through the university level.

 
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CNN anchor spars with GOP lawmaker on Louisiana Ten Commandments bill: 'Answer the question’

Louisiana State Representative Lauren Ventrella, co-author of House Bill 71, joins CNN's Boris Sanchez to discuss the bill which mandates that a poster-size display of the Ten Commandments in every classroom at schools that receive state funding, from kindergarten through the university level.

It will get struck down by the Supreme Court. US is not a theocracy like Pakistan.
 
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It will get struck down by the Supreme Court. US is not a theocracy like Pakistan.
I think Indians like to go for oversimplification and viewing things in black and white. There are no "theocratic" states and there are no "secular" states in the world. You like to hatefully refer to Pakistan as a theocratic state, but the fact is that Pakistan does not even use the codified Islamic law in its constitution and courts. Pakistan still uses the British common law with some implementations of Islamic Jurisprudence.

But don't let your gratuitous digression derail the topic here, so let us try and regain focus:

The legislations in most democratic countries is usually proposed in the forms of bills by lawmakers. You don't have to phrase the legislation to indicate its source of motivation. This LA bill can be viewed as a good example, that anything can go AND BECOME LAW as long as the people proposing and signing off on those bills and making them into law are motivated by religion. All they need is the right support and boom, its law.

You should read the history of such laws in the US. In fact the article I used mentions some of that history. Some have been struck down and some have been passed into law. With the more recent conservative leaning of the US Supreme Court bench, it is highly likely this wont be struck down.
 
Christians have come out against it as well, that itself shows how America is actually so far ahead.

Also states like Louisiana matter zilch, when Texas does this is when issues can arise.

Ability to bring laws are based on religion BUT America has come so far away from it as well, thats the point.

They have imposed laws that are favorable to the time now, and some states choose to have them and some don’t, voters get to decide on laws.
 
Southern and Midwest states are still very religious compared to the Coastal states. These kinds of bills will keep popping up once in a while.
 
Christians have come out against it as well, that itself shows how America is actually so far ahead.

Also states like Louisiana matter zilch, when Texas does this is when issues can arise.

Ability to bring laws are based on religion BUT America has come so far away from it as well, thats the point.

They have imposed laws that are favorable to the time now, and some states choose to have them and some don’t, voters get to decide on laws.
I think you are missing the bigger point here.

If any state has a decent majority of law makers who were support such bills, there is no stopping them from becoming laws at the state level. With the conservative majority of the supreme court bench, I think they have a clear path. More importantly, this is happening in a country that likes to talk about the separation of church and state.

I will say it again, there is no such thing as theocracy or secularism. It is all about what speaks to the masses, or what serves your ulterior motives.
 
I think Indians like to go for oversimplification and viewing things in black and white. There are no "theocratic" states and there are no "secular" states in the world. You like to hatefully refer to Pakistan as a theocratic state, but the fact is that Pakistan does not even use the codified Islamic law in its constitution and courts. Pakistan still uses the British common law with some implementations of Islamic Jurisprudence.

But don't let your gratuitous digression derail the topic here, so let us try and regain focus:

The legislations in most democratic countries is usually proposed in the forms of bills by lawmakers. You don't have to phrase the legislation to indicate its source of motivation. This LA bill can be viewed as a good example, that anything can go AND BECOME LAW as long as the people proposing and signing off on those bills and making them into law are motivated by religion. All they need is the right support and boom, its law.

You should read the history of such laws in the US. In fact the article I used mentions some of that history. Some have been struck down and some have been passed into law. With the more recent conservative leaning of the US Supreme Court bench, it is highly likely this wont be struck down.
Yes, France is as theocratic as Pakistan lmao.

Where would rather be an atheist or a religious minority, Pak or Usa
 
I think you are missing the bigger point here.

If any state has a decent majority of law makers who were support such bills, there is no stopping them from becoming laws at the state level. With the conservative majority of the supreme court bench, I think they have a clear path. More importantly, this is happening in a country that likes to talk about the separation of church and state.

I will say it again, there is no such thing as theocracy or secularism. It is all about what speaks to the masses, or what serves your ulterior motives.
Yes but if that’s the case then you are actually speaking for Hindu rashtra being formed with those laws because they are the majority.

Point about uniform laws is simple, it cannot be completely religious. For example laws could have derived from religion but they still don’t represent them in pure form like you are trying to prove.

World has easily evolved from Roman catholic ruling over countries, that was purely religious, Saudi has purely religious laws but Turkey doesn’t…
 
Yes, France is as theocratic as Pakistan lmao.

Where would rather be an atheist or a religious minority, Pak or Usa
Modern day governance is not based around religions or secularism, its what gets the votes or energizes your voter base. Its time we shed our blind folds. This is not meant to be a x country vs y country debate. It is much broader and all encompassing if you have the vision to properly see it
 
Yes but if that’s the case then you are actually speaking for Hindu rashtra being formed with those laws because they are the majority.

Point about uniform laws is simple, it cannot be completely religious. For example laws could have derived from religion but they still don’t represent them in pure form like you are trying to prove.

World has easily evolved from Roman catholic ruling over countries, that was purely religious, Saudi has purely religious laws but Turkey doesn’t…
Correct, they do not. Not in all cases. They only serve the purpose of either following certain rhetoric or appeasing certain section of people.

The argument I have seen several times is in absolutes and there are no absolutes here.
 
You like to hatefully refer to Pakistan as a theocratic state, but the fact is that Pakistan does not even use the codified Islamic law in its constitution and courts.

That's like saying Imran Khan is not a muslim because he prays only once a day. Pakistan calls itself islamic republic and makes islam-centric laws, that's all that matters.
 
That's like saying Imran Khan is not a muslim because he prays only once a day. Pakistan calls itself islamic republic and makes islam-centric laws, that's all that matters.
Pakistan was literally founded in the name of Islam
 
Correct, they do not. Not in all cases. They only serve the purpose of either following certain rhetoric or appeasing certain section of people.

The argument I have seen several times is in absolutes and there are no absolutes here.
I agree there are no absolutes, but world tries their best to move away from religious laws towards progressive ones which ushers innovation.
 
That's like saying Imran Khan is not a muslim because he prays only once a day. Pakistan calls itself islamic republic and makes islam-centric laws, that's all that matters.
USA - uses some form of your generic British common wealth laws and states introduce religion based laws to implement in schools at state level... Oh no its a secular state

Pakistan - uses some form of your generic British commonwealth laws with implementations of Islamic laws ... oh yes its a theocratic state, because that's all that matters.

Hypocrit much?
 
The legislations in most democratic countries is usually proposed in the forms of bills by lawmakers. You don't have to phrase the legislation to indicate its source of motivation.

Source of motivation is irrelevant. If there is no explicit appeal to religious doctrine while enacting a law, then a country is secular.
 
Unfortunately, that's the biggest lie or misrepresenation of facts. Please feel free to open a separate thread on the topic and we can discuss it there.
How is it wrong, Pakistan was founded as homeland for Muslims.

In older threads, many Pak posters have said that Pak was founded in the name of Islam
 
USA - uses some form of your generic British common wealth laws and states introduce religion based laws to implement in schools at state level... Oh no its a secular state

Pakistan - uses some form of your generic British commonwealth laws with implementations of Islamic laws ... oh yes its a theocratic state, because that's all that matters.

Hypocrit much?
Is USA not more secular than Pakistan, Pakistan is officially an Islamic State.

You have blasphemy laws, restriction on the sale of alcohol, harsh laws against homosexuality and only a Muslim can be the head of State.

America isn't the same, you are creating a false equivalency
 
This is fairly interesting in light of a debate we had with the Indian posters here a while back who insisted India is a secular country along the lines of USA. My argument was that even in the so-called secular states, a lot of the legislation is derived from religion and in fact no legislation is completely devoid of religious influence, whether its the Abrahamic faiths or in the case of India, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, etc.

Even a country like USA, where we believe in the separation of church and state, something codified in the constitution, we still see a lot of legislation that derives its motivation directly from the Judeo-Christian traditions. This bill is the latest example of that.

=======================================================================

A bill signed into law this week makes Louisiana the only state to require that the Ten Commandments be displayed in every classroom in public schools and colleges — and stirs the long-running debate over the role of religion in government institutions.

Under the new law, all public K-12 classrooms and state-funded universities will be required to display a poster-sized display of the Ten Commandments in “large, easily readable font” next year.

Civil liberties groups planned lawsuits to block the law signed by Republican Gov. Jeff Landry, saying it would unconstitutionally breach protections against government-imposed religion. “We’re going to be seeing Gov. Landry in court,” said Rachel Laser, the president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

State officials are stressing the history of the Ten Commandments, which the bill calls “foundational documents of our state and national government.”

Similar bills requiring the Ten Commandments be displayed in classrooms have been proposed in other statehouses — including Texas, Oklahoma and Utah.

Reasonable and needed or unconstitutional and harmful?

At Archbishop Shaw High School, a Catholic-run school in suburban New Orleans, the head of school, the Rev. Steve Ryan, said he was pleased that the Ten Commandments will be posted on public school walls.

“These laws, which are part of the Judeo-Christian tradition, are good safeguards for society. They are actually reasonable,” Ryan said.

In Baton Rouge, Attorney General Liz Murrill, a Republican ally of Landry, said she was looking forward to defending the law.

“The 10 Commandments are pretty simple (don’t kill, steal, cheat on your wife), but they also are important to our country’s foundations,” she said on social media.

Opponents of the law argued that eroding the constitutional barrier between religion and government is illegal and unfair.

“We’re worried about public school families and students in Louisiana,” Laser said. “They come from a variety of different traditions and backgrounds, different religious beliefs, nonreligious beliefs and students in those classrooms will be made to feel like outsiders when they see the government endorsing one set of narrow religious beliefs over others.”

Louisiana’s 2020 teacher of the year, Chris Dier, echoed those fears, and said he doesn’t intend to post the Ten Commandments in his classroom.

“I don’t believe in doing something that is unconstitutional and harmful to students,” he said. It is unclear whether there is a punishment for refusing to comply with the mandate.

The law was praised by former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was removed from office in 2003 after disobeying a federal judge’s order to remove a 5,280-pound (2.4 metric tonne) granite Ten Commandments display from the state court building.

“Nobody can make you believe in God. Government can’t tell you that, but it must acknowledge the God upon which this nation is founded,” Moore said.

Members of the Islamic Society of North America and the Council on American-Islamic Relations expressed concerns about the law.

“Is it to highlight universal principles that everyone should embrace? Or is the intent to send a message to Muslim students or others that, ‘Your religion — not welcome here, only one understanding of one religion is welcome here?’” said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, national deputy director of CAIR.

Mitchell said Muslims respect the Ten Commandments, which are largely reinforced by similar passages throughout the Quran and the teachings of the prophet Muhammad. But he said the context is troubling for reasons including the use of a Ten Commandments translation associated with evangelicals and other Protestants.

Earlier Ten Commandments controversies​


In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a similar Kentucky law violated the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution, which says Congress can “make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The high court found that the law had no secular purpose but rather served a plainly religious purpose.

In its most recent rulings on Ten Commandments displays, the Supreme Court held in 2005 that such displays in a pair of Kentucky courthouses violated the Constitution. At the same time, the court upheld a Ten Commandments marker on the grounds of the Texas state Capitol in Austin. Those were 5-4 decisions but the court’s makeup has changed, with a 6-3 conservative majority now.

The main differences in the two cases — at least according to the one swing vote, then-Justice Stephen Breyer — was that the Kentucky counties’ officials demonstrated an unmistakable track record of religious motives in the posting, whereas the motives behind the Texas display were more on the “borderline” between religious and secular. Plus, Breyer said, the Texas monument had passed a test of time, standing among other monuments for decades without legal challenge.

Other religion-government fights

After he was removed as chief justice of Alabama Supreme Court in 2003 for his refusal to remove the Ten Commandments monument, Moore was elected to the post again, but was suspended from the bench in 2016 after a judicial discipline panel ruled he had urged probate judges to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Moore disputed the accusation.

Louisiana has had a prominent role in the church-state legal fight before. In 1987, the Supreme Court struck down a 1981 Louisiana statute that required instruction on evolution to be accompanied by teaching on “creation science.” The court found that the statute had no identifiable secular purpose and the “pre-eminent purpose of the Louisiana Legislature was clearly to advance the religious viewpoint that a supernatural being created humankind.”

Mississippi has mandated the display of “In God We Trust” in schools since 2001. Louisiana passed a similar mandate that became law last year.

The latest pushes to post the Ten Commandments follow a major victory for the religious right in 2022: The Supreme Court ruled that a high school football coach in the state of Washington who knelt and prayed on the field after games was protected by the Constitution.

How the Ten Commandments are viewed

Jews and Christians regard the Ten Commandments as having been given by God to Moses, according to biblical accounts, on Mount Sinai. Not every Christian tradition uses the same Ten Commandments. The order varies as does the phrasing, depending on which Bible translation is used. The Ten Commandments in the signed Louisiana legislation are listed in an order common among some Protestant and Orthodox traditions.

Disputes over the law likely won’t just be about whether the commandments should be mandated on school room walls, but also which version, said James Hudnut-Beumler, a professor of American religious history at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

“The Ten Commandments always look universal until you put a shortened list up on the wall and discover that there’s room for dispute.”

This bill goes against every establishment clause and and will get stuck down. This type of shenanigans by southern states are not new and have not survived when rubber met the road.

Almost a century ago was the Scopes trial in another southern state. Doubt the outcome is any different here.

If you have to hang your hat on a Lousiana bill to support your case ......
 
Source of motivation is irrelevant. If there is no explicit appeal to religious doctrine while enacting a law, then a country is secular.
Can you provide some scenarios of what you exactly mean by that? I ask because the context of the term secularism is different for Indians than it is for Americans.

But let me give you my POV: If a state says, its mandatory to display ten commandments in class, where lets say Mr atheist's kids go... does that mean the country is secular or does not it mean its not secular? Same with the whole gay rakshak thing in India, which once again to the point, its not in absolute sense a religious laws. There is no Hindu scripture that defends the law but since its speaks to a wider audience, its law now.

Secularism means you keep religion and government separate. in the case of LA, its a law entrenched in religion. Does that mean US is not secular anymore?
 
USA - uses some form of your generic British common wealth laws and states introduce religion based laws to implement in schools at state level... Oh no its a secular state

I told you .. this law will be struck down. I know this supreme court is uber conservative and judges very religious but I suspect even they respect the first amendment of the Constitution.
 
This bill goes against every establishment clause and and will get stuck down. This type of shenanigans by southern states are not new and have not survived when rubber met the road.

Almost a century ago was the Scopes trial in another southern state. Doubt the outcome is any different here.

If you have to hang your hat on a Lousiana bill to support your case ......
you should read the article and history of such laws in the US. this has happened in Alabama and there was an attempt in Texas as well, which failed due to the bill not making it there on time. had it made it, we don't know what the outcome would have been.

The point I am trying to make is simple. US allows for freedom of religion, yet it wants the separation of church and state. If a majority of the lawmakers invoke freedom of religion to introduce a religious laws, what happens then?

Also, the duality of some people here is astounding. If Pakistan does something similar, its a theocracy but its all good happening in the USA or India.
 
I told you .. this law will be struck down. I know this supreme court is uber conservative and judges very religious but I suspect even they respect the first amendment of the Constitution.
Perhaps you should re-read this part of the what I shared then:

"

Earlier Ten Commandments controversies​


In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a similar Kentucky law violated the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution, which says Congress can “make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The high court found that the law had no secular purpose but rather served a plainly religious purpose.

In its most recent rulings on Ten Commandments displays, the Supreme Court held in 2005 that such displays in a pair of Kentucky courthouses violated the Constitution. At the same time, the court upheld a Ten Commandments marker on the grounds of the Texas state Capitol in Austin. Those were 5-4 decisions but the court’s makeup has changed, with a 6-3 conservative majority now."
 
I agree there are no absolutes, but world tries their best to move away from religious laws towards progressive ones which ushers innovation.

This is true, but there is also a backlash against the same "progressive" laws which while seemingly well meaning, are causing chaos and confusion in civil societies in the west.

British PM Rishi Sunak has demonstrated this by doing a U-turn on the cross-gender changing rooms and toilet facilities which had become de riguer in modern western culture. Now that he has seen the public revolt, he has quickly jumped on the bandwagon and declared for gender separation.

I think @Stewie topic needs to be seen in this light. Even Indians voted en masse for a party which harkened back to ancient cultural values so maybe everything is not so cut and dried as first appears.
 
Is USA not more secular than Pakistan, Pakistan is officially an Islamic State.

You have blasphemy laws, restriction on the sale of alcohol, harsh laws against homosexuality and only a Muslim can be the head of State.

America isn't the same, you are creating a false equivalency
Arent there dry states in India? Arents there laws that enforce the view of only majority religious sections in some states?

Before you answer that, I hope you bear in mind, I am actually sitting on the same side as you are. I like to believe that there should be religion of freedom and its okay to have such laws in place if the majority exercises its freedom of religion to vote for such laws. The premise of my argument is that most laws are derived from religion.
 
I agree there are no absolutes, but world tries their best to move away from religious laws towards progressive ones which ushers innovation.
Progressive laws are on the other end of the "absolute" spectrum, my friend. I hope you will realize this soon.
 
I think Indians like to go for oversimplification and viewing things in black and white. There are no "theocratic" states and there are no "secular" states in the world. You like to hatefully refer to Pakistan as a theocratic state, but the fact is that Pakistan does not even use the codified Islamic law in its constitution and courts. Pakistan still uses the British common law with some implementations of Islamic Jurisprudence.

But don't let your gratuitous digression derail the topic here, so let us try and regain focus:

The legislations in most democratic countries is usually proposed in the forms of bills by lawmakers. You don't have to phrase the legislation to indicate its source of motivation. This LA bill can be viewed as a good example, that anything can go AND BECOME LAW as long as the people proposing and signing off on those bills and making them into law are motivated by religion. All they need is the right support and boom, its law.

You should read the history of such laws in the US. In fact the article I used mentions some of that history. Some have been struck down and some have been passed into law. With the more recent conservative leaning of the US Supreme Court bench, it is highly likely this wont be struck down.
To some extent your point is taken.

There is no perfect separation of church/mosque/temple and State. Given the thousands of years of human history, there are bound to be lingering influences. All countries are on some scale of the separation, ranging from say China, France, Scandinavia on one end to Iran, The Vatican City on the other.

However, it's specious to state that just because there's no perfection, everyone is at the same level. That's like saying that because all men have the occasional lecherous thought, your average guy who stares too long at an inadvertently exposed body part is as bad as a rapist.
 
This is true, but there is also a backlash against the same "progressive" laws which while seemingly well meaning, are causing chaos and confusion in civil societies in the west.

British PM Rishi Sunak has demonstrated this by doing a U-turn on the cross-gender changing rooms and toilet facilities which had become de riguer in modern western culture. Now that he has seen the public revolt, he has quickly jumped on the bandwagon and declared for gender separation.

I think @Stewie topic needs to be seen in this light. Even Indians voted en masse for a party which harkened back to ancient cultural values so maybe everything is not so cut and dried as first appears.
that's exactly what I am/was referring to. We view everything in black and white when there are multiple shades of gray involved.


Secular states have religious laws, so called theocratic states never had full religious laws, but just religious in name only, like Pakistan is.

its whatever suits your purpose. Pakistan is majority Muslim, so let us call it the Islamic Republic and everybody pumps fists, fact remains the Islamic laws are next to nothing in its constitution or governance or courts.

Human beings are complicated individuals. A majority of the Americans will tell you they believe in the Judeo Christian traditions and would like to follow it and yet the country is founded on the separation of church and state. Such dualities exist everywhere.
 
To some extent your point is taken.

There is no perfect separation of church/mosque/temple and State. Given the thousands of years of human history, there are bound to be lingering influences. All countries are on some scale of the separation, ranging from say China, France, Scandinavia on one end to Iran, The Vatican City on the other.

However, it's specious to state that just because there's no perfection, everyone is at the same level. That's like saying that because all men have the occasional lecherous thought, your average guy who stares too long at an inadvertently exposed body part is as bad as a rapist.
Well that is my whole point as well, we all fall on different spots on the spectrum and there is no definitive answer. So perhaps its best to stop labelling Pakistan as a theocratic state or Islamic Republic, because it quite frankly is not. It is just attempting become an Islamic Republic like India is trying to become a secular republic and was much better at it a few years ago than it is now.
But its definitely more secular than Pakistan. I would say Pakistan is closer to an Islamic Republic than India is to being a Hindu Rashtra, and believe it or not that a compliment for India.
 
This is true, but there is also a backlash against the same "progressive" laws which while seemingly well meaning, are causing chaos and confusion in civil societies in the west.

British PM Rishi Sunak has demonstrated this by doing a U-turn on the cross-gender changing rooms and toilet facilities which had become de riguer in modern western culture. Now that he has seen the public revolt, he has quickly jumped on the bandwagon and declared for gender separation.

I think @Stewie topic needs to be seen in this light. Even Indians voted en masse for a party which harkened back to ancient cultural values so maybe everything is not so cut and dried as first appears.
That is true as well but Congress was only bringing reform laws to one religion, so many pointed out the hypocrisy of Congress on this but they have refused to budge.

I do agree on a balance and not everything can be considered progressive esp gender changing rooms, there needs to be debates on that.

My point is discourse is important on these issues and progressives usually have always been open to that, of late leftists aren’t but true Liberals are.
 
Progressive laws are on the other end of the "absolute" spectrum, my friend. I hope you will realize this soon.
They are not, a lot of middle ground is achieved in many countries across the world..women being allowed to vote itself was a progressive law once upon a time.
 
They are not, a lot of middle ground is achieved in many countries across the world..women being allowed to vote itself was a progressive law once upon a time.
My apologies, I also spoke in absolutes. haha.

Not all but some of the more extreme progressive laws these days are not leading towards progress but towards the different end of extremism.
 
Arent there dry states in India? Arents there laws that enforce the view of only majority religious sections in some states?

Before you answer that, I hope you bear in mind, I am actually sitting on the same side as you are. I like to believe that there should be religion of freedom and its okay to have such laws in place if the majority exercises its freedom of religion to vote for such laws. The premise of my argument is that most laws are derived from religion.
I think the first step for a country is to establish that separation of Church and State is a fundamental principle.

If a country fails to do that, like Pakistan has over the last 30-40 years, it's tough to give it credit just because it's been imperfect in combining the two to favour the State religion and implement religious principles in law.

India, on the other hand at least passes the first test. I share your concern (and feel it deeper) that we've backslid in living by our agreed fundamental principle but 1. We haven't slid too far and 2. There is still a huge constituency against abandoning it.

We're still justified in calling ourselves a secular country (with a few flaws). Pakistan is not...any secularism only remains because of apathy not intent.
 
Arent there dry states in India? Arents there laws that enforce the view of only majority religious sections in some states?
India is not a true secular state like those in the West, that's why we unfortunately have these religious based laws.
 
I think the first step for a country is to establish that separation of Church and State is a fundamental principle.

If a country fails to do that, like Pakistan has over the last 30-40 years, it's tough to give it credit just because it's been imperfect in combining the two to favour the State religion and implement religious principles in law.

India, on the other hand at least passes the first test. I share your concern (and feel it deeper) that we've backslid in living by our agreed fundamental principle but 1. We haven't slid too far and 2. There is still a huge constituency against abandoning it.

We're still justified in calling ourselves a secular country (with a few flaws). Pakistan is not...any secularism only remains because of apathy not intent.
Fair points. Hard to disagree with any of it.
 
“The state is like religion; it works if people believe in it.”
Errico Malatesta (1853 - 1932), Italian anarchist

“The Geography of a country is not the whole truth.
No one can give up his life for a map.”
Rabrindranath Tagore (1861 - 1941), Bengali Poet and Philosopher

***

More than destinations, it is often the journeys - journeys of the mind and journeys of the heart - that matter. I don’t agree wholly with @Stewie conclusion, for the principle of constitutional separation of ‘church’ and ‘state’ in the USA needs to be reckoned with. But I find the journey to that conclusion interesting and thought-provoking. And he has clearly thought deeply about this matter. To me it raises interesting questions around the influence of religion - in both a narrow and broad sense - to American nationalism.

First, some historical context. In France, at the time of the French Revolution in 1789, church and state were in an alliance. It is therefore no surprise that the revolt against the monarchy was also a rebellion against the Catholic Church. In the USA the absence of an equivalent national religious authority - like the Catholic Church in France - led to a different outcome. Many who had migrated to the USA were non-conformists - individuals who had been of minority faith in Europe and therefore had experienced civil disabilities. There were so many competing churches - Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Baptists, Methodists, Quakers - which meant that there was good pragmatic reasons for the churches agreeing that no one Church should become the ‘Church of the USA’.

From the outset, then, there was a much less antagonistic relationship between the nation-state and Christianity in the USA. Indeed as historian Sam Haselby (The Origins of American Religious Nationalism) has written: “disestablishment was as much the result of the strength of competing churches, rather than the weakness of religious interests.”

Second, I think it is a perfectly reasonable argument to point to the influence of religion on public life. The Declaration of Independence concludes with a request “to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions,” and claims “a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.” The Pledge of Allegiance was amended in 1954 to add the assertion that the USA is “one nation under God.” The Oath that President of the United States takes upon entering office contains the words, “So help me, God.” On the dollar bill there is the motto, “In God We Trust."

For Haselby, there is a “distinctively Protestant historical consciousness,” at work:

“In historical consciousness, those who revere the US constitution, in particular its originalists, are the sectarian heirs of Martin Luther, or at least his mode of authority. The same Protestant consciousness if evident in the extent to which the matter of whether proposals or programs are “constitutional” predominates in the American political discussion, often in lieu of whether they are effective or counterproductive, wise or foolish, ethical or immoral. When it comes to politics, Americans are textual exegetes and a people of the word.”

Thirdly, we can acknowledge that it is not easy to define religion. Some will point to the presence of God or Gods in a religious belief system but where does that leave Buddhism? So what if we started with a broad definition as Emilio Gentile adopts in his book, Religion as Politics, when he defines it as “a system of beliefs, myths, rituals, and symbols that interpret and define the meaning and end of human existence by subordinating the destiny of individuals and the collectivity to a supreme entity.”

Seen this way the seeming contradiction between the USA not being a confessional state and yet there existing a profusion of the “profession of religious faith expressed by mottos, symbols, and political rituals” disappears:

“faith in God or the Almighty as expressed in symbols and political rituals of the American nation is the manifestation of a particular form of religion, one that does not correspond to any particular religion professed by the citizens of the United States. It is a civil religion, by which we mean a system of beliefs, values, myths, rituals, and symbols that confer an aura of sanctity on the United States as a political entity, and on the country’s institutions, history, and destiny in the world.

The American civil religion has its own “holy scriptures,” the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, which are treasured and venerated like the Tables of the Law. It has its own prophets, such as the Pilgrim Fathers. It celebrates its own sacred heroes such as George Washington, the “American Moses” who freed the “new people of Israel” from slavery under the English and led them to the Promised Land of freedom, independence, and democracy. It venerates its martyrs, such as Abraham Lincoln, the sacrificial victim assassinated on Good Friday of 1865… Like all religions, this civil religion has its own temples for the veneration of its leading figures, such as the monument to Washington, the Lincoln Memorial, and Arlington Cemetery, where the tomb of the Unknown Soldier is revered as a symbol for the citizens who fell to save their nation. Finally, the civil religion has its sermons and liturgy: the presidential inaugural speeches, Independence Day on 4 July, Thanksgiving Day, Memorial Day when the war dead are commemorated, and other collective ceremonies that celebrate personalities and events in American history turned by myth into a “sacred history” of a nation elected by God to fulfill its particular mission in the world.”

I am grateful to @Stewie for prompting me to do some research and to reflect on the points he raised. In the end of course the reader may not agree with what I have written but I can only hope that it has encouraged them to embark on their own interesting journeys of the mind on this topic.

***

“The traveler who knows the secretes of journeying
Fears the destination more than the highwayman.”
Iqbal
 
“The state is like religion; it works if people believe in it.”
Errico Malatesta (1853 - 1932), Italian anarchist

“The Geography of a country is not the whole truth.
No one can give up his life for a map.”
Rabrindranath Tagore (1861 - 1941), Bengali Poet and Philosopher

***

More than destinations, it is often the journeys - journeys of the mind and journeys of the heart - that matter. I don’t agree wholly with @Stewie conclusion, for the principle of constitutional separation of ‘church’ and ‘state’ in the USA needs to be reckoned with. But I find the journey to that conclusion interesting and thought-provoking. And he has clearly thought deeply about this matter. To me it raises interesting questions around the influence of religion - in both a narrow and broad sense - to American nationalism.

First, some historical context. In France, at the time of the French Revolution in 1789, church and state were in an alliance. It is therefore no surprise that the revolt against the monarchy was also a rebellion against the Catholic Church. In the USA the absence of an equivalent national religious authority - like the Catholic Church in France - led to a different outcome. Many who had migrated to the USA were non-conformists - individuals who had been of minority faith in Europe and therefore had experienced civil disabilities. There were so many competing churches - Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Baptists, Methodists, Quakers - which meant that there was good pragmatic reasons for the churches agreeing that no one Church should become the ‘Church of the USA’.

From the outset, then, there was a much less antagonistic relationship between the nation-state and Christianity in the USA. Indeed as historian Sam Haselby (The Origins of American Religious Nationalism) has written: “disestablishment was as much the result of the strength of competing churches, rather than the weakness of religious interests.”

Second, I think it is a perfectly reasonable argument to point to the influence of religion on public life. The Declaration of Independence concludes with a request “to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions,” and claims “a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.” The Pledge of Allegiance was amended in 1954 to add the assertion that the USA is “one nation under God.” The Oath that President of the United States takes upon entering office contains the words, “So help me, God.” On the dollar bill there is the motto, “In God We Trust."

For Haselby, there is a “distinctively Protestant historical consciousness,” at work:

“In historical consciousness, those who revere the US constitution, in particular its originalists, are the sectarian heirs of Martin Luther, or at least his mode of authority. The same Protestant consciousness if evident in the extent to which the matter of whether proposals or programs are “constitutional” predominates in the American political discussion, often in lieu of whether they are effective or counterproductive, wise or foolish, ethical or immoral. When it comes to politics, Americans are textual exegetes and a people of the word.”

Thirdly, we can acknowledge that it is not easy to define religion. Some will point to the presence of God or Gods in a religious belief system but where does that leave Buddhism? So what if we started with a broad definition as Emilio Gentile adopts in his book, Religion as Politics, when he defines it as “a system of beliefs, myths, rituals, and symbols that interpret and define the meaning and end of human existence by subordinating the destiny of individuals and the collectivity to a supreme entity.”

Seen this way the seeming contradiction between the USA not being a confessional state and yet there existing a profusion of the “profession of religious faith expressed by mottos, symbols, and political rituals” disappears:



I am grateful to @Stewie for prompting me to do some research and to reflect on the points he raised. In the end of course the reader may not agree with what I have written but I can only hope that it has encouraged them to embark on their own interesting journeys of the mind on this topic.

***

“The traveler who knows the secretes of journeying
Fears the destination more than the highwayman.”
Iqbal
Thank you for your thoughtful response. In a nutshell, I want to say the point of this whole thing is you cannot keep the religion out of governance entirely. It cannot happen in India, it cannot happen in the US and it cannot happen anywhere unless the state is absolutely draconian like China or Russia.


If I understand correctly, your view is that the separation of Church and State in the US is strong, and thereby you disagree with some of my points. You used a historical context to make your argument.

While I do not disagree with anything you have stated in the historical context, I feel the trend we are seeing in the US now, is in response to the MORE RECENT progressive liberal/atheist movement. The conservatives love to lump them all together, WHICH IS NOT NECESSARILY accurate but for the sake of the argument here and to give their view point, I will do so as well. The liberals and the atheists want to use the separation of church and state in absolution and want the mention of God removed, including any reference to the holy books. What we have witnessed recently in America, is a direct blowback in response to that. That comes from the political right though that loves to combine constitutional conservatism with religious conservatism and they have the majority white Americans on their side.

So my point is: what is in the past is in the past, but this is what we face right NOW. There is a concerted effort from the alt right, religious right, whatever you wanna call them to shape the governance moving forward, and they definitely have the supreme court bench in their favor to help them do it Skirting around the first amendment is the issue. But its been proven that it can be done. We have "in God we trust" everywhere on government documentation.

Another argument coming from the right is that the country was always made in the views of the Judeo-Christian tradition and the real idea was the allow for freedom of religion and not the removal of religion. I know this speak directly in opposition to the First Amendment as well but it is not stopping the US poliicians from using these views. As you can clearly see from the videos/links I referenced. For this precise Louisiana case, the lawmaker simply said "Dont look at it" if you don't believe the ten commandments. So they will put it in the classroom and the students who don't follow the faiths don't have to look at it. LOL

Human nature is constantly evolving. Both US and India are see populist conservative movements who are tooting the horn of religious conservatism as a direct blowback to progressie liberalism of the last 40 odd years.
 

What is Louisiana’s Ten Commandments law and why is it controversial?​


The US state of Louisiana has passed a law requiring all state-funded schools and universities to display the biblical Ten Commandments, which are considered central to both Christianity and Judaism. The new law was signed on June 19 by the Republican Louisiana governor, Jeff Landry.

“If you want to respect the rule of law, you’ve got to start from the original law-giver, which was Moses,” Landry said at the signing ceremony, referring to the biblical precepts believed to have been revealed to Moses, a Hebrew teacher and leader depicted in the Bible.

Critics argue that the new law – House Bill 71 – violates the First Amendment, which guarantees the right to free speech, and some say it amounts to an attack on LGBTQ rights.

Here’s a look at the latest in a rising number of new conservative laws, mostly passed by Republican states, and what it means.

What does the new Ten Commandments law stipulate?
Louisiana is the first US state to require the Ten Commandments to be displayed in schools. The law stipulates the following:

Public schools are required to display a poster or framed copy of the Ten Commandments in every classroom, school library and cafeteria.

They must be displayed on a poster of minimum 11×14-inch (28×35.5cm) size and be written in an easily readable, large font.

What other religion-related laws has Louisiana adopted?
House Bill 71 is not the only religious-leaning law to have been passed in Louisiana recently. House Bill 98, which was passed last month, permits public school districts to hire chaplains to serve as mental health professionals and counsellors.

Louisiana also became the eighth US state to adopt the Given Name Act, which allows school employees and teachers to refuse to use a student’s chosen name or pronouns if they differ from the ones given to them at birth, when it passed House Bill 81 last month.

Workers repaint a Ten Commandments billboard off of Interstate 71 on Election Day near Chenoweth, Ohio

Has Louisiana considered any other laws like these?
Earlier this month, Louisiana House Bill 463 which would ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors was proposed. If that bill passes, it will prohibit transgender minors from accessing any gender-affirming treatments. This includes irreversible procedures like breast surgery, which alters breast tissue, as well as the prescription of puberty blockers to young people who wish to delay the onset of puberty at the normal time.

In May this year, Louisiana became the first state to pass a bill which designates the abortion pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, as “controlled dangerous substances”. The two abortion pills – mifepristone and misoprostol – would be placed in the same category as opioid pills and other highly addictive drugs under Louisiana’s Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law, which regulates addictive drugs such as opioids. Possession of these drugs will become illegal without a prescription if Governor Landry signs it into law, something he is expected to do as an abortion opponent.

A pregnant woman possessing the pills “for her own consumption” would be exempt from the law, but anyone who is not a doctor or a licensed provider who helps women get the pills could be prosecuted.

Source: Al Jazeera
 

Ten Commandments won’t go in Louisiana classrooms until at least November as lawsuit plays out​


Louisiana will delay implementing a requirement that the Ten Commandments be placed in all of the state’s public school classrooms until at least November, according to an agreement approved by a federal judge Friday.

A lawsuit was filed in June by parents of Louisiana public school children with various religious backgrounds, who said the law violates First Amendment language forbidding government establishment of religion and guaranteeing religious liberty.

Backers of the law argue that the Ten Commandments belong in classrooms because the commandments are historical and are part of the foundation of U.S. law.

In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a similar Kentucky law violated the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution, which says Congress can “make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The high court found that the law had no secular purpose but rather served a plainly religious purpose.

In 2005, the Supreme Court held that such displays in a pair of Kentucky courthouses violated the Constitution. At the same time, the court upheld a Ten Commandments marker on the grounds of the Texas state Capitol in Austin.

Source: Western Slope Now
 
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