Abe FortasAbe Fortas, (1910-1982) U. S. Supreme Court Justice

Abe Fortas Quote

“Government…may not be hostile to any religion or to the advocacy of no-religion; and it may not aid, foster, or promote one religion or religious theory against another… The First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality…”

Abe FortasAbe Fortas
~ Abe Fortas


Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

5 stars for the accuracy, 2 thumbs down for the application. Taking a cross down in the middle of the desert is not neutral. Removing God from education is not neutral. Eliminating prayer in school is not neutral. Promoting faith based ideologies such as scientific voodoo (non-science, creation and evolution) over other belief systems is not neutral. Forcing the oldest, highest quality, best result for children adoption entity in the country to close because its religious tenets did not conform to the despotic statist theocracy is not neutral. Stopping a secular organization from using public lands because it welcomes and rewards all individuals from all faiths (Atheism to Zen) is not neutral. Etc. Etc., Etc.

Waffler, Smith

We have the greatest proliferation of church and godliness and religion in the world, I think. I have been told by at least two European friends 1) "There are so many churches in America maybe that is why you are such a happy people" this was said by my Hungarian sister-in-law, 2) "In America the people run the churches!" this was said to me in a manner indicating surpise and awe of the stated fact by a Norwegian foreign exchange student. Now of course the world is made of opinion but it is sometimes interesting to see ourselves from the outside or as other people see us. I firmly believe that the neutrality Mike fails to see is exactly one of the forces if not the major force that permits us to be the among one of the most relgious and at the same time one of the most irrelgious at the same time. You can get it all in America,.

S. Tolo, New York City

5 Stars to Mike of Norwalk for the clarity involved in the issue. Well stated and the end of the argument.

J Carlton, Calgary

The attack launched on all aspects of Christianity in America is not neutral. The embracing and condonance of religions that call for our demise is not neutral. The media attacks on "In God We Trust" and God's place in the Constitution are not neutral. Like most aspects of the Constitution its being ignored in favor of a "God is Dead" / Communist World Government. And Obama boy is leading the parade...

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, I agree with your one perception that control of religion is an individual issue while the representative republic is to be a united secular expression.Your schizophrenic duality does not separate the role of the two. As stated in the quote, the government is to remain secular (non-partisan to any belief system, Atheism to Zen) and completely neutral. The point I made was, there is no longer a republic that represents the individual sovereign in a secular fashion. It doesn't matter what the First Amendment mandates, the statist theocracy that now infests this land is not religion neutral.

Waffler, Smith

Thanks Mike for having your eyes open to at least one perception. The Norwegians, Germans and much of Europe had and in some cases has a at least still has a deeply routed cultural tradition of the State being hand in hand with the Church. Luthers in Norway and of course Catholic in the latin countries. My German exchange student says that all Germans pay a tax that goes to the church. The taxpayer designates Lutheran or Catholic. Unbelievable my exchange student who said he and his parents were non-believers or atheists paid the tax also and he said it was inconceibale not to do so. Sooo I guess we should just be happy for the neutality of our governent because that is really what everyone came here for.

E Archer, NYC

In case some have forgotten, Christianity in various forms was forced upon the European countries -- that is the legacy of Christianity, endless persecution of 'non-believers.' America was a refuge from the Crown's religion which was obligatory upon all. Americans need not condemn their ancestors by removing all vestiges of the history of the growth of this country. Christmas is not a bad word, nor is Winter Solstice. The 10 Commandments are the basis of Common Law -- always has been, so why the need to remove 200 year old carvings from court houses to be 'politically correct?' If we are to say that America is a 'Christian' nation founded upon Christianity, I would beg us to re-study the facts. The Founders were quite averse to Christianity but not the teachings of Jesus. The use of the word 'Creator' and 'God' is Christian-neutral, even religion-neutral -- it is merely a word to describe the indescribable origin of Life. Religionists do indeed work night and day to convert new members, and government should not aid them for there are too many sects, many of which are not honorable in my humble opinion. Let the practitioners hold up their own faith. Let the truth-seekers seek, and let the unbelievers unbelieve. But we do not have to remove the under-pinnings of our very culture. Santa Claus is still allowed on the White House lawn, why not a nativity? A great many ancient myths are a part of our culture -- how about we do something different this year and welcome them? But not just one, but all. I am not a believer of Islam, but I respect the culture and upbringing of all under a myriad of beliefs. As long as their acts do not harm another or infringe upon their rights, then no crime has been committed. Our officers in government take their oaths and swear 'so help me God.' That is not religion as much as it is supposed to indicate the seriousness of the oath. There may indeed be 'God' and if so, let God do his work and let us do ours. Merry Christmas!

Mike, Norwalk

Archer, I don't care what Waffler says about you, you're alright - you say good stuff. A slight adaption to your comment. Most of Europe had become 'Christian' through proselytizing when Rome created the first Christian theocracy. The Christian church that predated Rome's theology, such as in Armenia and the British Isles, was not so political. For political reasons, differing religious interpretations came in handy for creating competing theocracies. Such a great way to enslave body and soul, mind and heart, and justify tyranny. The U.S is not a Christian nation because it was founded upon Christianity or because a majority of its sovereigns profess Christianity as their belief system of choice. The founders, being mostly believing Christians, or at least the truthfulness of the Bible extracted those principles and laws that were time tested and unwavering under any circumstances, from bible history, thus the common law. The U.S. is a Christian nation because its founders based the country's foundational jurisprudence upon principles, laws and justice described through biblical experience. This could have been just as easily a Buddhist nation, even if its citizens were mostly Christian, if Buddhism history would have been the basis of law's administration. None of that effects, or addresses who Jesus the Christ is or is not. I may be one of the most hard core believers in the Divinity of the Christ that has ever been but, it still comes down to Jesus is either who He said He is, or He is not. I believe that Jesus is accepting of all the Family of Man so, I can be no less (-; I'm trying anyway ;-) A criminal is a breaker of natural law by his actions, not his thoughts or beliefs. The concept of a, or the title / word 'God' is foreign to the ancient Hebrew language and religion. The Hebrew 'el' or Aramaic 'al' now translated into god, literally meant power or strength and were almost always used in a political sense - a mayor, a governor, a Sampson, not for Adam's super human experience. The most ancient of Old Testament prayers and relationship would have been to their Father. The mingling of cultures (slaves in Egypt, marrying / battling with Philistines, Greeks, etc.) gained regular acceptance of the term and nebulous philosophy of a God. The cultures were so different that if a Jew said to a Greek, I pray to I Am, the Greek would have been totally lost and said, no - give me a verb or adjective that I can describe it - oh! you mean God. So Archer, your, "The use of the word 'Creator' and 'God' is Christian-neutral, even religion-neutral -- it is merely a word to describe the indescribable origin of Life" is exactly right

Mike, Norwalk

P.S. What I wrote above was legal intent and other legal reasons why the U.S. is a Christian nation, always was, and always will be, no matter what Obomunist says. I also have religious beliefs that this is a Christian nation but, that is for personal consumption and edification, and not for public nomenclature.

Waffler, Smith

Good stuff Archer, Peace On Earth and Goodwill towards men, that is all men and this is a Christian sentiment.

E Archer, NYC

Thanks, Mike, you're not half bad yourself. ;-) I do not have a problem with Christianity -- if only its professors actually practiced it. I am afraid history reveals Christian proselytizing by fire, sword, and terror is more the practice than the exception. As well, American jurisprudence was extracted mainly from Roman civil law predating Christianity by nearly a thousand years. Romans conquered the European nations and incorporated all the 'pagan' religions into their pantheon of gods. Christianity was no different, and as most know today, the Christian holy days are but the pagan holy days, and various saints were but incorporations of the pagan gods. The Roman Catholic church became very powerful and indeed claimed rule over all kingdoms in Europe -- every monarch needed the Pope's blessing. Canonical law is a merging of Catholic decrees and Roman civil laws, and the laws of the European nations (and America) will find their roots in canonical law. The biggest Roman export was Romanism, and most of Western Civilization has evolved from Roman ways. Christianity has little to do with it except whenever there were revolutions that successfully separated from the Catholic church -- Martin Luther and Henry the VIII come to mind. The Puritans burned 'witches' in colonial America at the same time as heresy in England was punished with a red hot poker though the tongue -- and worse. Those reasonable researchers who have discovered the same 'Christ' story throughout pre-Christian history may not be threatened with such tortures today, but they are no less ridiculed by today's 'believers' whose support of the bombing of Muslim nations keep the U.S. embroiled in religious wars ad infinitum. The American founders revered reason and the study of history above any dogma. As long as citizens continue to call the U.S. a 'Christian' nation, I think you will find that endless war and persecution of man against man will continue -- just like in Muslim nations and Israel, a Jewish nation. It is way too irresponsible to claim a 'get out of hell free' card excusing one's own crimes while punishing others for their 'crimes' against church and state. Too many good people have been persecuted because they refuse to believe in a myth. Statist and religious collectivism united are at complete odds with freedom, peace, and justice. It is only natural that a powerless slave will beseech the mercy of an all-powerful lord to save him, but when we have nothing left but the hope in supernatural powers to free us, we are really in trouble.

Ken, Allyn, WA

Interesting discussion, gentlemen. Archer, I think you maybe put too much blame on the symptom and ignore the cause of wars and crimes between people. You seem to believe it is religion, be it Christianity, Islam, or whatever, which inspires an empire to conquer its neighbors. If all religion and all memory of it were to disappear overnight, I would predict there would be a war the next morning. Some people just have a natural inclination to take others' property and they will do anything to get it. There is truth in the statement "the love of money is the root of all evil." If you go to the basic philosophy of most religions, they don't condone theft or murder, so it is not a get out of jail free card. Any philosophy can be perverted to mean whatever one wants it to mean by the unscrupulous, and the gullible will believe them and the cynical will profess to believe them. Atheists have stolen, lied, murdered, and conquered empires too.

  • Reply
Anon    3/14/10

The reason the U.S. government continues its non neutral position is because it wants to wipe out all the competition in the battle for control over the minds of men so the only thing left to believe in is their government or, their secular religion. This creed that upholds God is dead believes in the dictates of men because anything else just doesn't exist. Welcome to secular religiosity.

Ronw13, ID

Now as the sea churns, the usefulness of monotheism wanes and the rise of polytheism returns. "There was a time when all the sons of God sang together." Little (g) gods. This reference of very ancient antiquity. And yes much older than 6000 yrs. "Truth seeks reality as science seeks after God." Disruption of corruption within state and church body politics must adapt. Neutrality, the experiment of the individual sovereign At liberty with Freedom to defend, exist in the hearts and minds of individuals, termed Patriots of the highest order. The clash grows closer as the siege grows tighter, as the chains weight becomes more evident to the small and great. 


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