ErikLaurence wrote:I was asking for a reference from Washington about Jesus' divinity, not Washington's divinity.
I respect faith. Faith is a personal matter in which the government has no business interfering. But the moment your faith includes proselytizing it is no longer personal. As soon as ones faith starts telling other people how to live their lives we've got a problem. If you start using the government as a club to hit others over the head with the tenets of your religion then we have a BIG problem.
An example up here in Maine: Gay marriage. The Unitarian church, some parts of the Episcopalian church, many sects of Judaism all recognize gay marriage. But right now we have the Catholic church and the Mormon church (amongst others) spending ridiculous amounts of money (tax deductible money) in trying the suppress the religious freedom of others using the government as a tool.
The government has no business involved in marriage in any way. If the Catholics don't want to marry gay people, they don't have to. That's religious freedom. If the Unitarians are OK with it, they should be able to. That is religious freedom too.
But you do continue to favor the protection of the state over the protection of religion. For example, if gay rights prevail in the marriage issue in all states as I suspect they will, and the Catholic church refuses to marry gay Catholics in the church, is the resulting issue one of civil rights or will the first amendment protect the church's right not to marry the gay couple? You would defend the right of the individual over the institution. In this case, the institution would be compromised. That is not the intent of the first amendment. Is it your intent?
When the government uses the law as a big club to coerce the church to do what it wants, it becomes a BIG problem too. Not just the religious are capable of proselytizing, which by the way is not a crime.
What I see between the lines in all of your writing on religion is an undercurrent of personal disdain and a desire to isolate religion. You would insist that faith is personal to the point of excluding it from the public discourse. You would seek to marginalize it by making it so personal that it cannot be discussed or expressed publically to prevent its proliferation. You would prefer that it could not be expressed by the believer as an internalized part of his or her value system without the requirement of an underlying empiricism. This is where you dangerously differ from the founders.
I always thought proselytizing was protected as free speech. Funny how some people can turn that around.
In another thread, I talked of political party balance. I don't care if you keep the faith. I do care that we keep the balance.