MEMBER & GUEST INTERACTION SECTION > THE CONSTITUTION

Any thoughts of John Adams Quote?

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Michael Bush:
Why do people see the freedom to practice your own religion as contradictory to being moral and religious?  Adams said nothing about whether you should be a Presbyterian or a Catholic or even a practicing Jew.  And that was what the "freedom of religion" in the 1st amendment was about.  It's about Congress not establishing an official religion.

Acebird:

--- Quote from: Michael Bush on July 05, 2022, 07:02:21 am --- It's about Congress not establishing an official religion.

--- End quote ---
No it is about the United States being a government separate from religious beliefs which it is far from right now.

Michael Bush:
>No it is about the United States being a government separate from religious beliefs which it is far from right now.

Here's exactly what the 1st ammendment in it's entirety says:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The religion part is:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

No mention of separation.  No mention at all.  Only that the Congress can make no law either establishing or prohibiting any religion.  Things like the ten commandments on the SCOTUS building neither establishes nor prohibits any religion.  Deciding that abortion is up to the states neither establishes nor prohibits any religion either it merely leaves the issue up to the states per the 10th amendment.  In fact, though I don't mind that SCOTUS has interpreted this to mean that the States can't establish or prohibit religion either, the Constitution doesn't address that.  It only says the U.S. Congress cannot.

Michael Bush:
As to John Adams, I was never a fan.  First he was very much into more power for the federal government and less for the States.  Second, he was very vain.  He proposed and signed into law the Foreign and Sedition act, which is still on the books, by means of which he unconstitutionally (though legally according to the foreign and Sedition act) arrested anyone who made fun of him in the press.  He wanted to be addressed as "your majesty" when he was president.  Thankfully, that never caught on.

Though I admit, he was instrumental in getting the country started.  The Declaration of Independence might never have passed without his support.

Kathyp:
He was not wrong.  I am with MB on much about Adams, but he understood that if the government was not going to have complete control over people, there needed to be something else that controlled behaviors.  Since there were already a huge number of different sects of religions in the country, and since he didn't name any one of them, his meaning is not hard to discern. 

We have historical examples of what happens when neither government nor shared moral/belief systems are at work.  One of the best and easiest to understand is the French revolution.  They wanted to do away with the monarchy and the Catholic church.  To a large extent, they were successful, but that left no foundation for society.  They had to invent a god and even that didn't work.  It took a dictator coming back on the scene to fix things.  It was not until after Napolian that they were able to get together some kind of constitution and democracy, but it took a long time. 

The next example would be the Russian revolution, which was a little more complicated but ended up with order restored by dictatorship...and government terrorism against the people.

All Adams was saying was that if the government was to have a light hand as designed, then something else had to hold society together.  That something was a shared underlying belief system, but not a shared single religion. 

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